Professor Paul Gilje
The research papers are exercises in research and writing. They are designed to enhance both analytical and communication skills and provide a deeper understanding of the interpretive function of thinking about and studying history.
The second assignment is an original research paper of approximately 2,000 words, or six to seven doublespaced 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 and specific questions to address, the second paper requires you to identify a topic and find your own sources. We will help guide you to an appropriate topic and The ExploreHistory website lists a number of primary source collections available through the library and the internet. 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. Once you have selected a topic and identified some primary sources, you need to search for additional primary and secondary material. For example, if you decide to write about the Boston Massacre, you can find additional information in the Adams Papers, newspapers (through America’s Historical Newspapers), and in books and pamphlets published at the time (almost everything in print before 1820, and much thereafter, is available on line through the OU card catalogue). Remember, too, sources in book form can be found on the library shelves and in an ideal world, we would like you to use both internet and tangible (ie a book in hand) sources. Also, do not expect simply to google a topic and find everything you need. History research entails using a variety of sources obtained from a variety of locations. The University of Oklahoma Library is an incredible resource both via the internet and through the books you can check out and hold in your hands.
There is no absolute number of sources each student should use. A great deal will depend on the subject matter and length of the sources. As a rule of thumb, however, use five to seven primary sources as a target figure, and a total of approximately 50 pages of primary source material. In addition, the student should have two to three secondary sources, such as journal articles or essays in a book.
Key Due Dates:
- Topic for Research Paper due in discussion section: Oct. 13, 2017
- Annotated Bibliography 25 points: Nov. 7, 2017
- Introduction and Thesis 25 points: Nov. 14 2017
- Research Paper 200 points: Nov. 21, 2017