History Research Paper

History Research Paper

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Students must choose one (1) of the following two (2) options for the research paper

assignment. The assignment is due at the start of class on Thursday, April 2, 2015. Students will

submit both an electronic version via the Dropbox feature on CourseDen (before arriving to

class) and a printed hardcopy version (in class) – on or before the start of class on Thursday,

April 2, 2015.

Assignment Option #1:

Students will form an original thesis statement that is supported by a minimum of three

(3) primary sources and a minimum on two (2) secondary sources. The thesis statement will be

supported by a historical interpretation of the selected primary sources that utilizes other primary

sources and secondary sources to support the interpretation and argument.

The essay option paper should be a minimum of three (3) pages (about 650-700 words) of

double-spaced lines, 12 point font, and 1” margins. Additionally, this paper will include

footnotes at the end of each page or endnotes that are listed after the main text, optional image

page(s), and a Works Cited page – in that order. The total word count does not include

foot/endnotes, image titles, name and date, or the Works Cited page.

Refer to section “Interpreting Primary Sources and Objects (for both options)” for

specific instructions on how to select a primary source; and the section “Secondary Sources (for

both options)” for specific instruction about secondary sources. Both section are listed after the

description of assignment option #2 (below).

Students choosing to interpret objects (use an artifact/object/material culture as a primary

source) rather than documents should include quality images of those objects on a separate page

following the last page of typed text or the last page of endnotes. Any image pages should

precede the Works Cited page and the sources of the images will be included on the Works Cited

page. Additionally, each image should have a proper title, author/creator, date, and source below

the image.


This academic research paper should be formatted in the traditional essay format:

I. Main Text

a. Introduction paragraph with thesis statement

b. Body paragraphs (no less than 3 total)

i. Support argument point #1

ii. Support argument point #2

iii. Support argument point #3

iv. Etc.

c. Concluding paragraph

d. Endnotes (if footnotes are not used)

e. Optional image page(s)

f. Works Cited Page

i. Primary sources

ii. Secondary sources

iii. Optional image source(s)

Assignment Option #2:

Students will create a theoretical mini-exhibit (on paper) that features a minimum of three

(3) artifacts, or objects.

The mini-exhibit option requires a minimum of 650-700 total words (about 3 full pages).

Each paper will begin with 200-250 word (about 1 full page) summary that is similar to the

traditional essay described in the assignment option #1 (above). This summary includes an

original thesis statement and a well-supported argument that connects all three (3) selected

objects together.

In addition, the student will interpret each object separately in the following pages in a

minimum of 150-200 words (about ½ a page). After typing each object’s individual

interpretation, students should insert a quality image of the object on the same page of the typed

interpretation above the text. Each image should have a proper title, author/creator, date, and

source below the image.

The mini-exhibit option paper should be a minimum of three (3) pages (about 650-700

words in total) of double-spaced lines, 12 point font, and 1” margins. Additionally, this paper


will include footnotes at the end of each page or endnotes that are listed after the main text,

optional image page(s), and a Works Cited page – in that order. The total word count does not

include foot/endnotes, image titles, name and date, or the Works Cited page.

Choosing & Interpreting Primary Sources and Objects (for both options):

The selected objects or primary sources may be historical objects, images, or documents

found in our primary text America’s History, the supplementary primary source text Sources for

America’s History, primary sources uploaded in CourseDen, or limited and reputable online

sources, such as the Smithsonian, the Atlanta History Center, the National Museum of American

History, the National Women’s History Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of African

American History and Culture, and the United States National Archives websites. Websites

should be affiliated with museums or archives that are approved by the instructor (if not

previously listed).

The selected objects or primary sources must date from c.1450 to 1865, the period this

class examines, ending with the Civil War. The selected objects or primary sources should tell

the story of a group of people, a significant person(s), and/or a significant event that was

discussed in this class.

Maps, charts, and diagrams found in the required text of this class are not considered

historical and should not be used as an exhibit object or a primary source.

The selected objects or primary sources should tell an American “story” or an experience.

The jacket of an officer during the Civil War can tell the story of his regiment, a battle he fought

or died in, or the life of a Civil War soldier at war, for examples. A late-18th century model of the

cotton gin can tell the story of the Industrial Revolution in America, the worklife/role of

Southern slaves, or the life of Eli Whitney, for examples. Do not forget about letters and diary

entries as well. Be creative! Think about how to use a piece of history to tell an accurate and

historical “story.”

When interpreting an object or a primary source think about:

 Why; when; how; who; and where?

 What are the biases of the creator of the object(s)?

 Why are these objects important?

 How are all of my selected objects connected to one another?


 What story do my objects tell individually? Together?

 Has another historian interpreted these objects before? (If yes, find that secondary


 Can I support my interpretations (the argument) with information from other

primary sources and secondary sources as well?

Additionally, it is very important to provide context when describing or interpreting an

event, a person, a group of people, a time period, or a movement and to connect to larger

historical themes.

Secondary Sources (for both options):

One of the secondary sources for both assignment options must be the required text

America’s History. Other primary sources may include books or articles written by historians

from the mid/late-20th century through the 21st century. Students must be wary of historical

interpretations written before the modern scholarship developed and understand that some older

interpretations may be outdated. Students may find the second, third, fourth, etc. secondary

source(s) in Ingram Library, through GIL Express, resources found in CourseDen, and on

GALIELO Databases, mainly JSTOR. Please remember that any information or description of a

primary source found on a website, for example, the Smithsonian’s website, should be cited as a

secondary sources as well.

Format, Referencing, and Citations (for both options):

Students should cite their work and format their paper using the Chicago Manual of

Style, which can be found online

It may be useful to sign up for a free trial to this site: http://press- It is important to note that the Chicago

Manual of Style dictates the entire format of a typed paper, not just foot/endnotes and citations.

This includes, but is not limited to margins, spacing, abbreviations, and block quotes. In

addition, students may reference A Manual for Writers by Kate Turabian. Several editions

Turabian’s book are available at Ingram Library: Another helpful site is Additionally, do not hesitate to contact


UWG’s Writing Center if you need assistance composing an academic paper: Please know that if you want assistance from the Writing Center

that you must make an appointment with them in advance and DO NOT wait until the last


Citations should be inserted as footnote or endnote, which will create superscripts for

each reference in the paper. If you are using Microsoft Word, click “References” at the top menu

bar, then click “Insert Footnote” or “Insert Endnote,” then the program will jump to the bottom

of the page or the end of the document where you type your citation. Foot/endnotes should be 10

point font. Not citing your work using footnotes or endnotes will result in significant point

deductions on the assignment, so be thorough and provide all of the information required.

If you paraphrase or quote any author – you should cite their words in your own paper. If

you reference or quote a primary source – you should cite that object or document in your own

paper. When in doubt – cite! It is important to use quotations in your text when you are typing

word-for-word from any author, and it is equally important to contextualize direct quotes or

paraphrased text. For example: Archaeologist James Deetz found that [insert paraphrased

material here] in 17th century Virginia. Deetz’s work, In Small Things Forgotten, […]. That text

would then have a superscript that is connected to a end/footnote that provides the exact source

of information.

When using the textbook as a secondary source for the first time, the citation should look

like this, for example: James A. Henretta et al, America’s History, Volume 1: To 1877, 8th

edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2014), 16-21. (There should be a period at the end of that

citation – please refer to Chicago Style). After the first end/footnote for the text, you may then

cite the book as the secondary source like this, for example: Henretta et al, 17. Please refer to

Turabian and Chicago Style for detailed instructions.

When referencing a primary source in the textbook, the citation should like this, for

example: Henry Whistler, The Narrative of General Venables, in America’s History: Volume 1:

To 1877, 8th edition (Boston: Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2014), 57. If you reference that same primary

source a second, third, etc. time, the footnote will look like this: Whistler, 57.

Chicago Style outlines how to cite a web source as well. Students should click on the

provided links in this document or Google “Chicago Manual of Style” to learn how to properly


cite all types of sources using Chicago Style. There is no excuse for not attempting to properly

cite – there are many, many resources available to all students.

Students will then create a works cited (similar to a bibliography) list at the end of their

papers that will be on a separate page – Turabian’s manual will have instructions or you can

Google “works cited Chicago Style.” Primary and secondary sources should be listed separately

(as in two different lists) and organized alphabetically according to the author’s last name. For

example, your textbook listed as a secondary source will look like this in the bibliography:

Henretta, James A. et al. America’s History, Volume 1: To 1877. 8th edition. Boston:

Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2014. Please note the slight differences from the footnote. The Chicago

Style website provides clear instructions for the distinctions in citations.

A title page is not necessary and student may include the title of their work in 12 point

font that is center-justified before the main text on the first page, like this:

Smith 1

John Smith

HIST 2111, 08

Keri Adams

April 2, 2014

This is the Title

This is main text. This is the introduction paragraph, which includes a clearly stated

thesis and a well-supported argument. Please note that my name and date is single-spaced, but

the main text is double-spaced.


Guidelines (for both options):

1. Minimum of three typed pages (excluding all images, image titles, name and date, end/footnotes, and the Works Cited page);

2. Main body of the paper should be doubled-spaced (excluding name and date); 3. 12 point font (that includes punctuation, name, and titles, but not footnotes and endnotes); 4. 1” margins on all sides; 5. One space between the end of one sentence and the beginning of the following sentence; 6. Grammatically correct (no contractions and proper punctuation); 7. Clear thesis statement at the beginning of the paper; 8. Well-supported argument (support your thesis with facts and then interpret your

primaries/objects) that proves you have an understanding of course material and key


9. Use of no less than three artifacts (images, objects, or documents) or primary sources; 10. Use of textbook as secondary source (at minimum); 11. Use of at least one other secondary source in addition to the required text; 12. Your last name followed by the page number in the top right corner of each page; 13. Properly formatted foot/endnotes (refer to Chicago Style); 14. Works Cited page at the end of the paper (after the footnotes or endnotes on a

new/separate page);

15. Top, left corner stapled; 16. In the top left corner, single-spacing and left-justified (see more detailed example above):

Student’s first and last name

HIST 2111, Section Number

Instructor’s Name


17. Last name and page number in the top right corner of each page; 18. Properly cited references (primary and secondary sources) using the Chicago Manual of

Style (APA and MLA are not acceptable);

19. Original work (as in not plagiarized and well-documented); and 20. Turned in at the beginning of class on Thursday, April 2, 2015 both in Dropbox on

CourseDen and one hardcopy in class.

Students that do not meet the above listed guidelines will not receive an A on this

assignment. Late submissions will receive a 10 point deduction for each day the paper is late.

Students should not expect to receive any extensions for this assignment. If you will not be in

class on the day that this paper is due, you will turn your paper in to me (both in-person only and

in the CourseDen Dropbox) before April 2nd at the start of class. Papers are considered late 16

minutes after the start of class – arrive to class on time.

History Research Paper

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