paper TWO Instructions – History 1493 – SPRING 2020/dr. Brosnan

Paper two is an original research paper of approximately 2,000 words. It calls for you to engage in the essential skills of a historian: defining a research question, gathering evidence, analyzing primary and secondary sources, and developing and articulating an original argument based on your research.

For this paper, you will select a research topic from one of the seven research kits provided at Each research kit has multiple primary sources and secondary sources. Using these research kits, you will write an original research paper that includes roughly six to ten of the primary sources and at least two of the secondary sources provided.

Please note that while there are seven research kit topics, there are numerous research questions that you can pursue within these topics. The direction that you can take in these papers is limitless, as long as your argument is supported by evidence.

In preparation for this paper, you will prepare an annotated bibliography of your secondary and primary sources to be submitted to Canvas in advance of your discussion section on April 1, April 2, or April 3, respectively. Please bring a hard copy of the bibliography to your section. You can earn up to an additional 20 bonus points with this bibliography and the discussion of it in section. An example of an annotated bibliography is available on Canvas.

Requirements and Deadlines

  • You must submit an annotated bibliography to Canvas for your discussion section no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, April 10, as appropriate, and bring a hard copy to your discussion section. A sample bibliography can be found on Canvas. (worth up to 20 bonus points)
  • You must submit your paper to Canvas for your discussion section no later than 11 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21 (worth up to 200 points)
  • Final Papers are to be approximately 2,000 words, or 6-7 pages, double-spaced in 12-point font with one-inch page margins.
  • The paper should be submitted as a Word document
  • All papers must include footnotes formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style. See the Citation Guide on Canvas and at

Writing the Essay

Your grade for the second paper centers around these four categories:

  1. Thesis: First, we focus on the clarity of your thesis by asking the following questions: Is there a thesis? Is it an intelligent thesis informed by your critical examination of primary sources? Does it contain a challenging claim and specific support? We reward students who attempt to craft a thesis based on our discussions and the “Crafting a Thesis Statement” model (
  2. Quality and Analysis of the Evidence: You should use specific examples from the documents. We ask how effective you were in choosing examples and connecting them to your thesis. You are not expected to provide a summary of the documents. We pay attention to your ability to bring the documents into conversation with each other. Do you situate evidence in historic context, drawing on lectures, readings and discussions? Have you integrated quotations from the evidence effectively as discussed in
  3. Integration of Secondary Sources: How well have you used your secondary sources to contextualize and enhance your argument? Do you understand the authors’ arguments? The best papers also will engage the arguments offered by the authors of the secondary sources.
  4. Structure and Style: The best argument can be undermined by poor writing—weak topic sentences, disjointed paragraph structure, awkward phrasing, excessive or inadequate quotations, a feeble vocabulary, or typos. Do you unify each paragraph with a strong topic sentence and arrange them in a sequence that builds toward your strongest claims? We will not mark every error while grading. Rather, we mark representative examples of often repeated mistakes. Improper citations result in an automatic grade reduction.

Please note unauthorized collaboration between students on the assignment is considered inappropriate and will be reported to the Office of Academic Integrity. Plagiarism of any sort will not be tolerated. If you plagiarize, you will earn a zero on this assignment. The final work must be your own. If you have questions academic integrity, please consult: and


Excellent (A: 180-200)—The paper is clear and precise in regard to thesis, evidence, and writing. It contains a thesis that follows the model we have discussed. Analysis of the documents involves insights that go beyond basic facts. The student also integrates quotations effectively. The student identifies and integrates arguments from secondary sources. Judgments are subtle and reflect an awareness of the complexities of the subject. The paper is well organized with clear topic sentences. The paper contains no writing errors and makes expert use of citations.

Good (B: 160-179)The paper is well organized, coherent, technically sound, but provides little additional insight. There might be a weakness in the argument or the student could have done a better job connecting evidence to his or her thesis. Perhaps he or she could have done a better job connecting his or her analysis to the bigger question of what these documents can tell us about the era. The student uses secondary source for context but fails to address their arguments. The student uses topic sentences inconsistently. Paper also includes some writing, grammatical, or citation errors.

Fair (C: 140-159)The paper reflects a basic understanding of the subject, but it displays an obvious thesis. Alternatively, the thesis does not conform to the model we discussed. Although the paper summarizes the documents, it fails to incorporate specific examples, which makes the paper read more like a simple review of the documents rather than a critical analysis of them. The student might have integrated quotations in parts of the paper but not in others. The student cites secondary sources but fails to ingrate them in a meaningful way. Finally, the paper may include several common writing/grammatical mistakes.

Poor (D: 120-139)The paper displays some relevant material, but it is generally characterized by weak organization, a vague thesis, numerous writing/factual errors, or confusion. Although the paper discusses some documents, it lacks sufficient evidence for a paper of this scope. There is no engagement with the exercises for thesis or quotations. The student barely cites secondary sources. The paper may also include numerous writing or grammatical mistakes and display poor use of citations.

Unsatisfactory (F: 0 – 119)The paper displays little to no engagement with the subject and is in many ways incomplete. The student displays little interaction with the documents and provides a poor argument (or none whatsoever). The paper may include factual errors or value judgments/opinions, further revealing limited interaction with the documents. There are no secondary sources. The paper may include numerous writing/grammatical mistakes. You fail to include proper citations.