Write a research paper on a topic on U.S history AFTER 1877.

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Central Texas College


Use a minimum of four sources for your paper, and at least one must be a primary source.

There are a lot of primary sources posted online, often in databases or archive collections. A good example of one of these is the Yale Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy. It can be accessed athttp://avalon.law.yale.edu/.

Another one is Our Documents at https://www.ourdocuments.gov/.The three secondary sources must be legitimate. Scholarly journal articles are the best example of this. If anyone is not sure what a scholarly journal article is, here is a link from Northern State University in South Dakota that describes one; http://www3.northern.edu/library/services/infolit/tablesversion/lessons/lesson5/periodicals.htm.

Begin the paper with an introductory paragraph that clearly identifies your topic and contains a thesis statement that says what you are going to do with it. Use the academic third person, so that it says “This paper will show,” not “I will show.

The Research Paper is basically a persuasive essay in which your goal is to convince your reader that your interpretation or answer on the topic is correct. State your interpretation or answer in the thesis statement so that it is clear from the beginning what you are trying to do. The thesis statement would therefore be something like this:

“This paper will examine the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 in order to demonstrate that the decision to use the bombs was correct.”

Think about the order of events, themes, or examples of your topic, as with whether they work best in chronological or thematic order.

Get to the point in the paper. It is appropriate to provide some background leading up to your topic, like the course of the war against Japan that led up to the use of the atomic bombs, but this should take no more than one page at the most.

Address views or evidence that oppose your thesis. This shows that you have done your research. Examine the views or evidence objectively too, so that you explain why they are wrong rather than simply criticizing them or their source. A page for this should be enough. Do this part of the paper before you defend your thesis, and then follow with the bulk of the paper that explains why your thesis is correct.

End the paper with a concluding paragraph. This basically sums up what you have just done and includes any insights or conclusions you have obtained from it. If you want to editorialize on your topic, this is the best place for it.

Do not rely on overlong quotes from sources to make points in a paper. Instead, use your own words to make points in the paper, and then support them with carefully selected excerpts from sources.

Introduce quotes when you use them so that it is clear who or what is speaking. They work better that way than if they are just dropped in unannounced. Work the quote into your own writing too, and make sure that it is correct as regards the point you are making.

All citations in MLA require the page number of the source. If it is an online source with no page breaks, use the paragraph number.

Include a reference page with the full documentation of sources.

The Research Paper is to be 1500-2000 words (approximately six-eight pages), double-spaced, with one-inch margins and twelve-point type. This does not include the reference page.

MLA formatting does not require a cover-title page, although you can include one if you want to. It is also not included in the word count for the paper.

Watch your spelling and grammar. These nuts and bolts things count for points. It is possible too for a good idea to get lost or misunderstood if it is poorly written.

If you have any questions or concerns, let me know.

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