HIS 207 Analytical History Research Paper

HIS 207 Analytical History Research Paper directions AKA your research paper Bible Overview-

Writing a History Paper: The Basics (Example Essay Included)

  1. Identify the assignment’s goals. Have the assignment’s goals in mind as you familiarize
    yourself with your sources/evidence, develop a thesis, outline your main points, and write your
    *Note: Always follow your professor’s specific guidelines before the general suggestions in this handout.
    Example Essay Prompt: The assignment is to write a 5-7 pp. paper in which you assess the
    effectiveness of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. You must use secondary sources
    and two primary source documents.
    Before you begin your research, it can help to rephrase the assignment in the form of questions
    you will need to answer. For the above prompt, these questions are: Was the New Deal a
    success? Why or why not? In order to answer these, you will also have to consider two additional
    questions: What was the New Deal? What problems was it supposed to solve?
  2. Begin your research, keeping the assignment’s goals in mind. Reread the information on
    your topic in your assigned readings. If original research is required, you should look for a list of
    suggested further readings at the end of chapters and search Swem Library’s catalog and
    electronic databases. Take notes that will help you formulate a thesis and create an outline. Be
    sure to keep track of where the information you are writing down comes from. You will need this
    information to do your citations.
    Example Essay Research: Read several different works to get a sense of how different historians
    have analyzed the New Deal’s effectiveness.
  3. Formulate a thesis. A thesis is the central argument of your paper, based on the evidence you
    have discovered in your research. Give some thought to your thesis before outlining. Ask
    yourself, “What is the main question that I am trying to answer in this paper?” and “What is the
    one point that I want the reader to come away with after reading my essay?” Your thesis is like a
    coat rack upon which you will hang your supporting evidence. It should present your analysis of
    the meaning and significance of the source(s). Accordingly, your thesis should be argumentative,
    not descriptive.
    • Example of a descriptive “thesis”: “In Common Sense, Thomas Paine presented his views on
    why the American colonists should break with Great Britain.”
    *Note: No one would ever disagree with this statement since it only tells us what the author did and
    says nothing about the meaning or significance of Paine’s work.
    • Example of an argumentative thesis: “Thomas Paine’s use of plain language, biblical
    analogies, and egalitarian rhetoric explains the enormous appeal of Common Sense.”
    *Note: A writer could easily prove this argument by examining the three points listed in the sentence.
    Example Essay Thesis: After reading several works, weigh the evidence and decide whether or
    not you think the New Deal was effective. Your answer to that question will be the thesis of the
    paper. In this case, you have concluded that while the New Deal did not actually end the
    Depression and that some of its programs were unsuccessful, the bulk of the evidence
    demonstrates that the New Deal restored public confidence, promoted a partial economic
    recovery, and created many beneficial programs. You state your thesis as follows: “Although the
    New Deal did not end the Depression, it successfully restored public confidence and created new
    programs that brought relief to millions of Americans.”
  4. Find supporting evidence for your thesis. You should have done most of this work during
    your initial research, but you may wish to find additional information that will strengthen your
    argument. Remember that you have a page limit. Limit yourself to the evidence that you believe
    best supports your thesis. When you find evidence that contradicts your thesis, do not ignore it!
    As a historian, you should present contrary evidence, but show that the evidence that supports
    your thesis outweighs it. You might even consider reworking your thesis to account for this
    contrary evidence.
    Example Essay Supporting Evidence:
    A. The activity of Roosevelt’s first “Hundred Days” in office helped restore public
    confidence by showing that the government was actively promoting recovery.
    B. The “Bank Holiday” helped place the banking industry back on sound footing.
    C. Programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress
    Administration (WPA) put Americans back to work and accomplished important projects that
    benefited the public.
    D. The New Deal created Social Security, which helped millions of people at the time
    and continues to help millions of Americans today.
  5. List contrary evidence. You will touch upon these points briefly in your paper, but you do
    not want to spend excessive time on them. Acknowledge and describe the contrary evidence, but
    not in such depth that it undermines the evidence that supports your thesis.
    Example Essay Contrary Evidence:
    A. The New Deal did not end the Depression.
    B. The Supreme Court declared some New Deal programs unconstitutional.
  6. Complete your outline. An outline does not need to be anything more than your thesis and a
    list of the supporting evidence. You can add as much or as little detail to this as you deem
    helpful. Do not get bogged down creating an overly detailed outline.
    An outline should start with your thesis statement. Beneath your thesis, note what your
    introduction will include (e.g. background information necessary to understand your thesis and
    supporting evidence). Then list your items of supporting evidence and contrary evidence. If you
    think it will help, note where you will place quotations, statistics, etc. Finally, indicate where you
    will conclude your essay.

You will research and write the final draft of an analytical history essay on an historical topic of your choice. Your topic may stem from any of the political, economic, social, technological, or cultural aspects of the course, I encourage you to engage in historiographical analysis as well about your topic, or an analysis and comparison of the sources you used to write your paper.

-Choose a relatively specific topic, and then analyze it broadly by putting it into context with broad factors of the society or civilization that it relates to.

Write the paper with me as your audience, but don’t assume that I know a lot about your topic. You should provide context for every sub-topic that you discuss. Why am I supposed to do this?

-You will learn effective communication*by developing your writing skills, and learning to organize, communicate, and support your ideas and arguments effectively and clearly.-You will build information literacy*, or the ability to conduct history research paper effectively, identifying where to get the information you need from reliable sources.

-You will build and develop critical thinking* skills as you analyze and evaluate your topic, as well as the primary and/or secondary sources you use to write it.-You will learn to document your sources correctly in Chicago Style format, which you will be required to use in any other history course you take.

-All of the skills I just mentioned will help you understand the world around you in a new and different way, as well as form and communicate effective interpretations and arguments about history and other academic subjects. Thus, it will inevitably help you in both your academic and professional career.-Best of all, this is where you get to construct a historical narrative of your own! You get to tell the story as you see it, based upon your history research paper and critical thinking skills. And I get to see what you have learned over the course of the semester, and whether I have done my job well or not.* FRCC Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)Yikes! Where can I get help with this?

First, relax and BREATHE deeply. You can do this! I have broken the paper down into parts, and you will get feedback at least three separate times from myself and your classmates over the course of the semester on your paper. I encourage you to email me pieces of your paper, call me, or come to my office hours as often as you like for support. Usually I sit in my tiny office very much alone and dying to talk about history – so PLEASE come talk to me about your history research paper!

History research paper

-I have provided a list of suggested topics, as well as many other resources, on the content page under the Research Paper module (scroll to the bottom of the content page).-You will submit a topic proposal first (required) early in the semester so I can give you feedback about your topic and provisional thesis statement. Directions for the proposal are in the D2L dropbox.

-You will submit a rough draft for additional feedback. The more complete your draft, the better the feedback I can provide.
-There will be a peer review activity in class where you receive feedback on your rough draft from a classmate, and provide feedback on their draft as well in history research paper.

-Beyond the support I am providing, I require that you submit your rough draft to the writing center for feedback, and email me documented proof that you did so. If you do not do so, I will deduct 10 points from your final draft.
requirements to consider:-You MUST include BOTH footnotes (or endnotes) AND a bibliography in both your rough draft and final draft. I won’t accept your final draft without both those things.-You MUST turn in your proposal before I will grade your rough draft, and you MUST turn in your rough draft before I will grade your final draft.-You MUST turn in your proposal, rough draft, and final draft to the dropbox on D2L as a .doc, .docx,or .rtf file.

Those are the only formats that work with turnitin.com (plagiarism checker software), and that I can edit and provide feedback for history research paper. How am I supposed to do this?:-Your proposal requirements are explained in the directions in the dropbox on D2L, and here they are as well: explain in at least one well-developed paragraph what you plan to research and write about include at least one sentence with a factual statement that provides context about your topic. also include a provisional thesis statement initalics, or a main argument that will provide the focus for your essay. Your thesis should be a clear statement of an analytical argument, and it should be able to stand alone, something like

“The American Civil War was a conflict caused by very complex political, economic, and social factors, and slavery was only one among many of them.”

don’t worry about committing to a thesis argument at this point, you may certainly change it as your history research paper and writing progresses. Just make sure to provide one in your proposal so I can give you feedback on it. provide a list of three sources you intend to use in your paper. They must be listed as a formal bibliography, in Chicago style.

Chicago Manual of Style Quick Guide

-Rough draft: must be at least 4 full pages (minimum) not including your title page, notes, and bibliography. See below for guidance about the elements of the paper. For full credit, you must include at least five footnotes or endnotes (Chicago style) and a bibliography with at least three sources listed. It must also state a clear central thesis argument in the introductory paragraph that is in italics. It must have separate and distinct introduction and conclusion paragraphs at the beginning and end of your history research paper.

It must be typed and submitted to the dropbox as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file.

I will not deduct from your grade for grammatical, stylistic, analytical, or structural problems or errors on this draft, but keep in mind that the purpose is for me to give you meaningful feedback, so please give it your best effort!-Final draft must be 7 full pages (minimum), not including your title page, notes, and bibliography.

You may of course write more if you wish, but keep in mind that a LONGER paper is not necessarily a BETTER history research paper. At least half that total needs to be analysis, so keep your summary of events and people concise. Turn in your entire paper, including notes and bibliography, in ONE file to the dropbox as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file. Any other file format will not be accepted, as turnitin.com cannot process other formats. Title page – should include a clear, effective title, name, professor’s name, and date. Formatting is up to you.


Your history research paper introduction should introduce and summarize your topic in a compelling way, and present your main arguments, including your thesis statement. Your thesis statement is a positive argument that can be expressed in one sentence. It is not a question! Your thesis statement should be sufficiently clear, analytical, and original.

Don’t rehash overly obvious and generic arguments, i.e. “Alexander the Great was a formidable military leader,” or “Rome significantly affected Western Civilization.” Also, state your thesis in italics so I can easily identify it. You need to reference at least two of the analytical themes below in your thesis, but don’t use the exact same terminology. In other words, don’t say “X affected the physical, social, and cultural factors in Y society.” Write an original thesis in your own original language. I can certainly help you with some ideas and suggestions for your history research paper.

-Body Your body paragraphs should be clear and concise, organized around one specific topic. Try to keep them to half a page or less. Long paragraphs are difficult to read, and your arguments get lost. Each paragraph should be connected in some way to your overall thesis, or main argument. They should all support your thesis argument as well.

Follow the “old/new” contract in presenting information. In your history research paper, don’t introduce any new information without first tying it in to information you’ve already given the reader. That goes for sentences and paragraphs. Make sure you relate what you’re talking about in a sentence or paragraph to what you’ve just said in the previous sentence or paragraph. And, of course, make everything you say relevant to and supporting your overall thesis argument.-Conclusion

At the end of your history research paper, you should provide a clear conclusion paragraph. You shouldn’t introduce any new information in the conclusion, rather you should wrap up and restate your main arguments, especially your overall thesis.-Style This is a polished academic essay, so write objectively in the third-person, and don’t use personal pronouns such as “I,” “my,” or “we.”

Your audience will be me, an academic professor, so write in a professional academic voice in your history research paper. Grammar and spelling should be right on at this point (use the tools in Word, and proof-read your paper yourself, as well as having someone else proof-read it for you). Narrate past events using ONLY the past tense in your paper.

Don’t use the present or future tense in your history research paper. Many story-tellers use present or future tense, and you’ll hear it in many historical documentaries, but don’t use it in an academic history paper.-Sources

Your final copy should incorporate at least 7 sources, and they have to be secondary and peer-reviewed (books or articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals), or primary (a written resource, piece or art, or other artifact that came from the time period you’re writing about). Please don’t cite any tertiary sources like online encyclopedias (Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Brittanica, etc.) or other websites. Some acceptable sources can be found online, like peer-reviewed articles or primary sources.

For this class and history research papers, essays and primary sources in our textbook are OK, since they are secondary and primary sources that meet the above requirements. When you cite them, be sure to include both the name of the essay or document and the title and publication information for the Merchant text.

-Citations and academic integrity – READ HERE TO ENSURE YOU DON’T PLAGIARIZE

You will need to have your citations correctly formatted (in Chicago style – notes and bibliography) for your footnotes or endnotes, and you need to include a separate bibliography as well. Without both notes and a bibliography, I will not accept your paper, and you will have to submit it again, and it may be late at that point, with corresponding point deductions.

Remember that ANY information that you get from an outside source MUST be cited. Not just direct quotes and statistics, but anything that is not common knowledge. I’ll expect to see at least one note in almost every paragraph, since you will most likely not be an academic expert on your topic. If I do not see enough notes, I will probably tell you that you need to revise your history research paper before I will accept it, and by then you may be penalized for a late paper.

You will submit the paper electronically through D2L, and it will be checked for originality with turnitin.com, so it MUST be submitted as a word file (.doc or .docx). If not, I will not accept it, and will ask you to re-submit it, and you may be penalized for a late submission in that case.-Paraphrasing and quoting sources

Since this is a lower-level history course, you will be relying heavily upon your sources to provide information for your paper. You must provide credit to those sources, as I mentioned above. Usually, you will be either paraphrasing or summarizing your sources.

That means you will either be conveying what your source said in your own words (paraphrasing), or condensing the information from your source down into a short synopsis (summarizing). If you do either of these, remember that you have to put it ENTIRELY into your own language history research paper, not just shift around the order of sentences. You may use direct quotes from your sources as well, but only do so if the specific language used by the author is crucial to the argument(s) you are making.

Direct quotes would be more appropriate if they come from primary sources, or if you are analyzing and comparing your secondary sources historiographically (see the “Analytical Themes for History” power point for a clearer explanation of historiography).Analysis – the “meat” of the paper!-Fully half of your paper must be analysis and evaluation. -If you want to earn an A on this paper, make sure to provide specific evidence to support each and every argument you make in your paper.

-Do not include personal value judgments in your arguments, and do not present religious beliefs from scripture such as the Bible, Qu’ran, or Tanakh as facts. Using scripture as a source is perfectly appropriate, just remember that you cannot regard such sources as factually reliable. Since this is an analytical paper, you must choose at least one theme from at least three categories below to address, or THREE THEME TOTAL in your analysis:

1.Category I – Physical factorsa.Theme 1 – Economic production/changeb.

Theme 2 – Human/environmental relationship (this theme is obviously required for this course) c. Theme 3 – Technological/scientific development 2. Category 2 – Social factors a. Theme 1 – Social class relations/roles b.

Theme 2 – Gender relations/roles c. Theme 3 – Race/ethnic relations 3.Category 3 – Cultural factors a. Theme 1 – Religious practices/structures/relationships b. Theme 2 – Philosophy, education, intellectual frameworks c. Theme 3 – Arts and literature

d. Theme 4 – Political structures/relationships
4.Category 4 – Historiography a. Theme 1 – Historiographical analysis/evaluation: What sources are you using, what are their main arguments and evidence, and how does their coverage and analysis differ?***For explanations of these themes, along with guiding questions to consider when addressing them, see the “Analytical Themes for History” power point presentation

-Finally, remember that this is a paper about Environmental History, so you may choose a topic that analyzes recent events or trends, but you’ll need to put that topic into a historical context that extends back at least several decades into American history, preferably even further. Remember also that you’re to analyze the topic objectively, not present a value-based judgment of policies or practices being right or wrong, good or bad, ethical or unethical, etc. Good Luck, and have fun with this! This is where you get to tell your own story about history. Remember that you’ll do it in stages, and you’ll have plenty of support.

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