Warren Metcalf, HIST 1493—040

This assignment is an original research paper of approximately 2,000 words, or six to seven double-spaced pages. In the process of writing this paper you will learn and then demonstrate the essential skills of the historian: defining a research question, gathering evidence, interpreting sources, and articulating an original argument about the significance of your findings.

Unlike the first paper, in which we provided you with a set of primary sources, the second paper requires you to find your own sources. The ExploreHistory website lists a number of primary source collections. You should use these collections to get started. It is suggested that you choose a collection based on your general interests and spend some time exploring the documents available.

As you get a feel for the collection, you should identify a specific set of sources on a particular topic, theme, or event. Once you have narrowed down your area of focus, continue your research into secondary sources for historical background and context for your analysis.

Your GTAs will guide you through the process of researching and writing these papers in discussion section, beginning with the process of defining your topic using the material on the course website. The process looks like this:

  • By the end of week six you must select a paper topic.
  • In week nine (October 20) you will submit an annotated bibliography on the sources that you plan to use in your paper. The bibliography should include at least 5-7 primary sources and 2-3 secondary sources. You must “annotate” this list by providing one or two sentences summarizing each source, indicate how they relate to your topic, and suggest how you will use them.
  • In week eleven (November 3) you must submit a draft of your introductory paragraph (approximately 200-300 words), including your thesis statement.
  • Your final research paper must be submitted via the assignment link in Canvas no later than December 1.

The bibliography and introduction/thesis are worth 25 points each, and your research paper is worth 200 points of your final grade.