History 20 Research Paper Guidelines

Please read over the guidelines here as well as the documents under the Research Paper Lesson.  If you follow the tips and guidelines to write your paper, you should receive a high grade.  Please ask me if you have any questions at all.

  1.      Submit your paper to the Dropbox located on Canas by the due date listed in the syllabus (Remember, I do not accept late papers!) in Rich Text Format.  I will not accept papers in any other format.  To change your document to Rich Text Format, click on Save As, then Save as Type, choose Rich Text Format (RTF) and click save.
  1.      Content
  2.      Students may write on any topic they choose as long as it is within the scope of this class.  The topic should fit within the time period in American history before 1877 and must be connected to American history (as opposed to Russia, China, etc).   Students are encouraged to clear their topics with me first and must submit a draft so I can provide plenty of feedback before your final copy is submitted.
  3.      Student papers must reflect college level critical thinking and analysis.  Contrary to popular thought, the study of history is not the rote memorization of facts but the analysis of those facts in order to come to conclusions regarding how and why a particular historical event occurred and how a particular event, person, or idea has impacted history.  Each generation will evaluate history through different eyes and come to its own conclusion.  History is constantly evolving, with new information being discovered constantly that will also change the way a particular event is evaluated.  Each student paper should reflect the evolution of historical thought and insight as gathered through collecting and analyzing legitimate sources.
  1.      Sources and Citation
  2.      Students are required to use at least four (4) sources.  At least one of these sources must be a primary source (you may use more than one of course).  A primary source is a source created at the time period of your paper, such as a letter from a historical figure, legal document, speech, diary, or visual such as a picture that relates to your topic.  Great places to start looking for primary sources is the Internet History Sourcebook.  These sources have been translated into English from the original ancient language by scholars in the field of History and are therefore reliable translations.  The primary source must be integrated into the paper itself and referenced, it cannot just be a picture or document attached at the end.
  3.      Students are not to use encyclopedia resources, except for subject specific encyclopedias (i.e. Encyclopedia of the Civil War).  This includes, but is not limited to, Wikipedia, Ask.com, and other general encyclopedia sites.  Students who use these sources as part of their required four sources will lose points for not using four sources.  However, students may use general encyclopedias in addition to their four required sources.
  4.       Students are required to use Chicago Manual Style (CMS) to organize and format their papers as well as citing their sources.  I recommend using The Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker since the English Department requires it.  If you do not have this book in print, you may access it through the link on the document entitled Links, under Research Paper Lesson or use one of the copies on reserve in the library.  The CMS guide is located towards the back of the book, following the APA section.  There are a number of pages that show how to use in-text citations and a bibliographical entry for over 20 different types of sources.  In addition, there is a sample paper to show you how to use Endnotes.  You may also use Footnotes, if you prefer, at the bottom of each page of your paper.  You do not have to use both.  If you are using Microsoft Word, there is an option to add references that will coordinate your in-text citation numbers and your endnotes or footnotes.
  5.      Students must cite the sources used in the research paper, otherwise the paper is plagiarized.
  1.      Presentation
  2.      Students must use academic essay format, including an introduction with a thesis statement, multi-paragraph body, and a conclusion.
  3.      Students must use correct American English grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure.
  4.       Students must use standard margins (they are slightly over one inch for most word  processing programs) and double-space.
  5.      Font size should be no larger than 12 point and use a font style that is easy to read, such as Calibri, Times New Roman, or Arial.  Do not use cursive fonts or others that are difficult to read.  If I can’t read your paper, I can’t grade it.
  1.      Grading Rubric
  2.      Papers submitted after the due date will not be accepted or graded.
  3.      Topic and analysis—Up to 50 points
  4.      Students writing on a topic other than one of those listed above will receive a zero on the paper.
  5.      10 pts:  Student presented information related to the topic but did not provide any analysis.

iii.      20-30 pts:  Student presented information related to the topic and attempted to provide analysis but analysis was not college level and/or logic was flawed.

  1.      40-50 pts:  Student presented information related to the topic and provided college level analysis with few to no logic flaws.
  2.       Sources and citation—Up to 40 points
  3.      Students with no sources will receive a zero on the paper.
  4.      10 pts:  Student included sources but they were fewer than the minimum required, did not include the required types of sources or used sources that were forbidden, and/or the sources were not cited using Chicago Manual Style format.

iii.      20-30 pts:  Student included the correct number of sources but not the correct types of sources, and either attempted to use Chicago Manual Style format but with serious errors or used another academic citation style.

  1.      30-40 pts:  Student included the correct number and types of sources and cited the sources using Chicago Manual Style with few to no errors.
  2.      Presentation—Up to 10 points
  3.      Students who do not have a clearly written thesis statement may lose more than 10 points since the topic and purpose of the paper will not be made clear to the reader.
  4.      Students may lose as many as 10 points for incorrect English language usage, incorrect sentence structure, misspellings, and/or issues with spacing or font.
  1.      Students submitting papers that are not their own work will receive a zero on the paper and will have their name submitted to the Dean of Students.  See the WHCL Academic Honesty policy and my policy in the syllabus.  Please ask if you have any questions.