Professor Brosnan, HIST 1493—030

This research paper will be approximately 2000 words (about 6-7 pages).

Primary Sources

You will identify evidentiary sources for your research paper by using one of the approved online primary source collections found at If you wish to use a different primary source collection, check with your Discussion Leader for approval.

As a rule of thumb, use 7-10 primary sources as a target figure. Depending on the kind of sources you use, you may need to go over (or under) this range. Check with your Discussion Leader for approval if you are over or under the suggested range.

Secondary Sources

You must locate and use two secondary sources in your paper. For the purposes of a historical research project, secondary sources are generally scholarly books and articles. You may find some secondary sources among the pairings at Additionally, you may use the library guide to find databases that will allow you to identify other secondary sources; see

If you have trouble identifying appropriate secondary sources, speak with your discussion leader or Dr. Brosnan. Alternatively, you might contact the University librarian for history, Laurie Scrivener, at

Requirements and Deadlines

  • You must submit an annotated bibliography to Canvas by 3 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 11. An annotated bibliography is a list of primary and secondary sources you will use in the second essay. You will provide 100-150 words, briefly summarizing each source and explaining how it supports your thesis. Please see the handout on Canvas for additional information on the annotated bibliography. (The bibliography is worth 25 points.)
  • Your thesis paragraph for the paper is due in Canvas by 3 p.m. on Thur., Nov. 2. Also bring a hard copy of the paragraph to your discussion section in week 11. (The paragraph is worth 25 points.)
  • You must submit the final paper to Canvas for your discussion section no later than 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15. (The essay is worth 150 points.)
  • 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 at A pdf of the citation guide also appears on Canvas.
  • You need not include a bibliography or “works cited” page

Writing the Essay

Success in course writing assignments will depend on careful research and clear writing. The website features tutorials to help you:

  • Thesis and Introduction: 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.
  • Using Quotations: Most of a history essay should consist of “evidence paragraphs,” which develop and support the thesis with quotations. Quote when you’ve made an assertion your reader is unlikely to accept without proof. After you quote, always explain: try to tease unforeseen implications out of the evidence; try to fend off a naysayer’s objection to your reading of the quotation.
  • Structure: 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.