The core assignment of this course is a documented research paper (1500-2000 words in length = approx. 4 - 6 pages double spaced, 12-point font).
It will be important to choose a topic of interest to you above. One you identify your topic, you will do the following:
- Utilize the library's scholarly databases in order to "answer" the posed research question.
- Approach this assignment with an open and skeptical mind, then form an opinion based on what you have discovered.
- You must suspend belief while you are investigating and let the discoveries shape your opinion. (This is a thesis-finding approach). The sources should be used to find your answer; you should not seek out sources to substantiate what you "think" is true. What evidence supports your thesis?
- Provide a quality introduction and thesis statement (a brief statement that indicates exactly what the essay will argue with no "questions" as to the outcome of the essay)
- Provide the reader historical context. The context is used to provide the reader an overview to the "larger historical setting". For example, if the topic centers on Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb to save lives, the context demonstrates the bloody nature of Pacific battles prior.
- Provide at least 3 support paragraphs that utilize source material in order to prove your thesis true.
- Utilize and paraphrase source material effectively to support points made (no generalizations, limited usage of direct quotes and no source identification)
- Cite scholarly (peer reviewed) and not popular sources (no wikipedia, history.com, britannica, etc.)
- Include properly formatted citations
Citations should be made in either APA or Turabian/Chicago Manual of Style (footnotes/endnotes).
You will use some of the following critical thinking skills in this process:
- Choosing an appropriate topic, limiting the topic
- Gathering information, summarizing sources
- Analyzing and evaluating sources
- Defining key terms
- Synthesizing information, comparing and contrasting sources
- Testing a thesis, making an historical argument, using refutation
- Amassing support for a position
- Documenting sources
Note: The assignment should be *professional* in appearance. There should be no references to you or others (i.e., "In this essay, I intend to prove...) or any other anecdotal evidence. It should be written in "standard" essay format with an introduction (and thesis), supporting paragraphs (with citations for paraphrased or quoted content), a conclusion, and a bibliography. There is no need for a title page, an abstract, a running head, or anything of that nature.
Please view the rubric for this assignment under "My Grades", the "Research Paper" assignment, and select "View Rubric".