Dr. Jay Casey

HIST 1493

Second Paper Assignment (Paper 2)

Overview: The papers in this course are exercises in research and writing. They are designed to enhance both analytical and communication skills and to provide a deeper understanding of history. Remember, your papers in HIST 1493 are a process in which you are learning part of the craft of an historian, but the final draft you turn in should be as complete and polished as you can make it.

Paper 2 is an original research paper of approximately 2,000 words, or 6 to 7 pages, double-spaced. The paper includes these steps:

  • Choosing or defining a research question.
  • Gathering evidence from the primary sources provided on in prepared Research Kits at http://explorehistory.ou.edu
  • Analyzing primary and secondary sources from the Research Kit you select and using them in your paper.
  • Developing and articulating an original argument based on your findings.
  • Using the Chicago Style form of footnote citation for your completed document.
  • Follow the guidelines for the Paper 2 rubric developed by the instructor and included with the instructions for the assignment on Canvas on a separate module titled Paper 2. (Located at the top of the Modules page, under “Useful Information”)


The Research Kits for each section of HIST 1493 are located at: http://explorehistory.ou.edu/research-kits-for-hist-1493/

The broad research topics are:

  • The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
  • The Battle for Yosemite
  • The Tulsa Race Massacre
  • Green Books Guides
  • Japanese-American Internment 1
  • Japanese-American Internment 2
  • Vietnam Vets Oral Histories
  • Gay Liberation Movement: The Gay Peoples Union Collection


  • Begin by exploring the research topic in the Research Kit you have chosen
  • Read through the primary sources to see what most interests you.
  • Questions about these materials will begin to occur to you. Write them down. This can help you develop a research question and also help you take a position on the information you are learning.
  • Collect, takes notes, and organize primary source materials you plan to use.
  • You will need to use at least 5-7 for your finished paper, but you can use more.
  • Develop a strong thesis, where you go beyond simply reporting what you have found. As a guide, consider how what you have found in the primary sources might broaden, qualify, or even contradict the understanding of an important theme in United States history.
  • You are encouraged to go beyond the information in the Research Kits, including consulting any secondary sources that will help you understand the historical context for the events you are writing about in Paper 2.

Writing the Paper 2 Essay: http://explorehistory.ou.edu features TUTORIALS to help you with the following essential elements of a strong paper:

  • Crafting a Thesis: A strong thesis goes beyond simply reporting what you found; it uses the evidence to broaden, qualify, or even contradict our understanding of an important theme in U.S. history. Your thesis may emerge gradually as you wrestle with your documents in early drafts. In your finished paper, however, feature your thesis in the introduction.
  • Working the Evidence: Most of a history essay should consist of “evidence paragraphs,” which develop and support the thesis with primary source analysis and quotations. Quote when you’ve made an assertion your reader is unlikely to accept without proof. After you quote, always explain and attribute (tell the reader who is speaking, about what, and when) try to tease unforeseen implications out of the evidence; try to fend off a naysayer’s objection to your reading of the quotation. Remember to adequately site all evidence using Chicago Style footnoting.
  • Structuring the Essay: As your paragraphs begin to emerge from this process of working the evidence, unify each one with a topic sentence, and arrange them in a sequence that builds toward your strongest claims. Your finished essay should thus feature a clearly sign-posted order as it advances from the introduction through your body paragraphs and, finally, to your conclusion.
  • Your essays should also be clearly written and free from spelling and grammatical mistakes. You are required to run spell check and to read through your own work before submission.

Other Directions:

  • This paper is worth up to 200 points (out of a possible 1000 for the class grade)
  • It should be approximately 2,000 words (6-7 pages, 12-point font, double-spaced)
  • Your essay must have a title and a title page that reflects your core theme or argument.
  • Your paper should include at least 5 to 7 primary sources from the Research Kit you chose,
  • Be sure to review the rubric for Paper 2 and apply the criteria from that rubric to your final draft of Paper 2.
  • Proofread your paper carefully to avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
  • You must include footnotes and a bibliography in Chicago Manual of Style. Here is the link to the Chicago Manual of Style guide (located at the explorehistory.ou.edu website):


Please consult the HIST 1493 Canvas site for deadlines associated with Paper 2.