Analyze source material and present an effective and original argument about the historical significance of the research.

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HIST 223A Winter 2022
Alexander College

VITAL INFORMATION: Failure to follow instructions may result in ‘ZERO’ or other penalties
All submissions MUST be made on Canvas. Upload Word or PDF files for the two main pieces of writing.
Paper submissions will be accepted in addition for students who want detailed comments.
Assignments MUST include footnotes and bibliography (which does not count for the length requirements). Absence of footnotes is unacceptable and will result in ‘ZERO’.
WLC appointments are ALWAYS recommended and rewarded. Upload the WLC reports when submitting assignments.
Encyclopedias and online sources are occasionally acceptable, but inappropriate use of these materials may result in ‘ZERO’. Follow the instructions closely and check if unsure.

Develop critical thinking about historical problems.
Experience the complexity and process of researching historical events and individuals.
Evaluate the merits of different source materials and critically examine their bias or purpose.
Recognize the importance of correlating questions and sources to present credible and influential arguments.
Produce a clear and concise thesis statement that makes a conscious contribution to the historical conversation using specific research materials.

In this course we will cover a broad range of subjects in class readings and discussion, and this project is your opportunity to do more work on an aspect of history that you find personally interesting. Whether it is within your chosen field of study or simply for knowledge, the goal of this project is to add something that is not already known to the historical conversation.
To do this you must find a gap in the research with something that you feel is more important than historians have recognized, or you must find a disagreement between historians that would benefit from additional research material. Presenting unique research material means that you will produce a thesis statement that explains how your material fits into the existing historical discussion.
At each stage the project is graded, keep the overall purpose in mind. The quality of the ideas and arguments is more important than the volume of writing that is submitted.

Term Paper Research Project involves two stages in producing a final paper, and each one has its own requirements for the number and nature of sources. These guidelines must be respected.
The research expectations are cumulative, and reflect the total material that should be used at each point in the project.
Primary Sources: available online. See links on the Research Help Module.
Documents and excerpts from leading nineteenth century thinkers can be found on the Modern History Sourcebook at Fordham University; the Hanover Historical Texts Project; and on It is recommended to select longer documents and avoid brief excerpts.
Points to the Past contains numerous sub-databases including newspapers, official documents and literature. Tends to favour British history. For nineteenth century history consider the Times Digital Archive as a starting point; for twentieth century history the Times and Daily Mail archives are excellent. For eighteenth century history consider Eighteenth Century Collections Online or the Burney Collection of newspapers.
Museum websites, run by reputable institutions. Ensure that you are finding primary sources, not descriiptions written by the museum. If you want to work with art or material artifacts contact the instructor.
Look through footnotes in other sources or use other literature to give clues for search terms.
Secondary Sources: Available online or in the AC Library
Ebook chapters or scholarly articles are acceptable, but students will be evaluated on the quality of their chosen works.
Library databases, particularly EBSCO and JSTOR Essentials will be the main source for secondary sources.
Avoid Intermediate and Popular Secondary Sources unless you receive prior approval to work on a history and memory project.

Part I: History Research Worksheet (10%) – Due Week #6
Part II: Research Paper Final Draft (20%) – Due Week #12

Due Week 6 (12 Feb 2023)

Develop a ‘specialization’ in a particular area of historical research.
Experience the challenges and benefits of primary source research in archives and databases.
Analyze source material and present an effective and original argument about the historical significance of the research.
Practice professional and scholarly communication.
General Instructions:
Follow the steps laid out in the worksheet in order and work through the process. Do not skip to the end, even if you have a research topic in mind.
The worksheet will incorporate the proposal, annotated bibliography and outline phases of the research project. Thoroughly completing the worksheet is the best way to advance the research project and earn higher marks.
Underlined blanks are there to indicate an answer is expected. Blanks are not formatted – make sure to write complete sentences and fully answer the question.
¶_____ signs indicate a paragraph of 6-7 sentences is required. ¶¶____ indicates two 6-7 sentence paragraphs are expected
Regular blanks “_____” require a single sentence or simple fill-in-the-blank responses.
History research requires primary sources and this must always be the first priority in designing a research project.
Review the video essay (Research and Writing Support Module) discussing the various types of source material – Direct Primary; Indirect Primary; Intermediate Secondary; Academic Secondary and Popular Secondary. No marks will be directly awarded for completion, but understanding these concepts may save you from receiving zero on a major assignment.
Any historiography papers that are examining and comparing purely secondary source material must be personally discussed with the instructor.

Step One: Define the Project’s Period, Place and People.
Time Period: ______________________ (max. 5-10 year period)
Geographical Location: ______________________ (which countries or regions do you want to understand? Refer to a map if necessary. Ex. Burgundy in modern France)
People: __________________________ (consider the social class, nationality, age and gender of the people you want to learn about. Ex. 16th century peasant life in England)
Combine these definitions into a single descriiptive term: ex. working-class women in eighteenth-century Bavaria; Venetian traders in the eastern Mediterranean in the 16th _______________
Source Material Type: _______________________________ (what are your top choices for documentary material? Direct or Indirect primary sources? Letters, reports, newspaper articles, books etc.).
Annotated Bibliography Entries
You will need to locate some source material to begin the research project and ensure that it is viable. This does not require reading the full source, only reviewing it.
For each source provide the proper CMS citation information. You will need this throughout the assignment, so do it properly the first time and then use as needed.
TWO Substantial primary sources or AT LEAST FIVE short sources like newspaper articles. The choice of sources and the level of work will be considered in the marking. More source material with stronger detail and analysis will receive top marks.
TWO ACADEMIC secondary sources. Use library books or databases and avoid general internet material.


Lastname, Author. “Short title if relevant.” Original Date. Book Title. Editor. Place: Publisher, date. Pages. Database Title. URL.
At least one paragraph of written summary and observations should be provided. This paragraph should identify at least two valuable topics, arguments or clusters of information that make this source a useful choice. Then the paragraph should make it explicit that you have a plan for how to use this source to support your research. This means making a clear connection between the source and your specific research question. This may change through the research process, but make a confident analysis based on your current understanding.

Consider the following places to find good historical PRIMARY AND SECONDARY sources. NOT ALL ARE RELEVANT TO YOUR COURSE.
Review the YouTube video (on IainTalksHistory, (Links to an external site.)
) discussing primary and secondary sources. Mis-identifying the nature of the source material can lead to failing grades on the assignment.

Alexander College Library to an external site.
Published collections of documents, academic articles and books
JSTOR to an external site.
Late nineteenth and twentieth century technical, scientific and academic literature. Secondary Sources.
Academic Search Complete (EBSCO) to an external site.
Academic secondary sources. Published works.
Hanover Historical Texts Project (Links to an external site.)
Excerpts and some full text resources relating to introductory history survey courses
Internet Archive (Links to an external site.)
Public Domain works of philosophy and literature from a wide range of sources. Some are accessible, some require accounts.
Marxists Internet Archive (Links to an external site.)
Soviet and Stalin’s documents, nineteenth and twentieth century ideological literature, great works of philosophy and literature from Early Modern period onwards.
Modern History Sourcebook (Links to an external site.)
Excerpts and some full text resources relating to introductory history survey courses. Excerpts should not be used as major sources.
Points to the Past (BC Only) (Links to an external site.)
European (and American) books, pamphlets, personal documents, newspapers (including the Times Digital Archive, Illustrated London News, and Daily Mail)
Project Gutenberg (Links to an external site.)
Public Domain works of philosophy and literature from a wide range of sources.
Wikisource (Links to an external site.)
Public domain works of literature, philosophy, science etc.
Museum websites and collections
British Library: (Links to an external site.)
Canadian War Museum: (Links to an external site.)

Useful for art or architecture studies. If you are looking at photographs please discuss it with the instructor before proceeding too far.

Establishing your historical argument
Describe your topic in two sentences: ______________________________
Describe the type of source material that you are using in two sentences: ____________

What does Wikipedia say about the topic? Is it a comprehensive descriiption or are there gaps or conflicts that need to be fixed? ¶_________________
Look at your secondary sources, generally in the first five pages of scholarly articles. What do historians debate about this topic? What is ONE disagreement or issue that is related to your research? ¶_____________
Original Research Outline
How will you add/challenge/complicate the historiography using the documents that you have selected? [This will become the basis of your thesis statement] ¶¶___________
What are the three to five most unique or significant insights that are provided by your primary source material? ONLY ONE SENTENCE PER INSIGHT
Insight 1: ¶_____________________
Insight 2: ¶_____________________
Insight 3: ¶_____________________
Insight 4: ¶_____________________
Insight 5: ¶_____________________

CHECK: Does your project still relate to the course? Is it connected to the right region of the world? To the right overall time period? ____________

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