The core assignment of thiscourse is a documented research paper (1000-1500 words in length = approx. 4 -6 pages double spaced, 12-point font). MLA Format
· The essayshould support a thesis statement with information gained from research or investigation.
· The paperwill not be just a report presenting information, but will be an essay thatcarefully examines and presents your own historical interpretation of the topicyou have chosen and your interpretation of the information you have gathered.
· The papermay include consideration of problems and solutions, define key terms, orrefute arguments against your thesis statement.
It will be important to choosea topic of interest to you.
· Approachthis assignment with an open and skeptical mind, then form an opinion based onwhat you have discovered.
· You mustsuspend belief while you are investigating and let the discoveries shape youropinion. (This is a thesis-finding approach.)
· Once youhave found your thesis, write the paper to support it.
You will use some of thefollowing critical thinking skills in this process:
1. Choosing anappropriate topic, limiting the topic
2. Gatheringinformation, summarizing sources
3. Analyzingand evaluating sources
4. Definingkey terms
5. Synthesizinginformation, comparing and contrasting sources
6. Testing athesis, making an historical argument, using refutation
7. Amassingsupport for a position
Because this may be a longeressay than you have written before and a complex process is involved, it isrecommended that you complete this paper using the following steps:
1. Choose atopic related to U.S. History after 1877 (Chapters 16-28) that you wouldtruly like to explore and that you are willing to spend some time on. Yourchosen topic should be focused. Pose a question that you really want to answer.You may want to begin with more than one topic in mind.
2. Do somepreliminary reading on the topic(s). You may begin with the textbook, thenfurther explore the information available. Refine your topic. Summarize yourtopic, your interest in the topic, the questions you want to answer, and ahypothesis you want to test.
3. Gatherinformation from a variety of sources. Use a minimum of four sourcesfor your paper, and at least one must be a primary source.
o Examples of primary sources are ones that are used in ourdiscussion forums 2 – 8.
o They are sources that are contemporary to the times underinvestigation.
o An example of a secondary source is our textbook, though thetextbook also contains excerpts of primary sources, which you may use as asource in your essay.
4. Outline theresults of your research and then plan for your essay (note you are notrequired to submit the outline).
5. Write thefinal draft and be sure to include a Works Cited List; be sure to use thecorrect MLAdocumentation style.
INTRODUCTION & THESIS: Theessay makes a clear and effective statement (the thesis) about the chosentopic. /15
FOCUS AND DEVELOPMENT: Body ofthe essay focuses on this thesis and develops it fully, recognizing thecomplexity of issues. /30
SUPPORT AND SYNTHESIS: Usessufficient and relevant evidence to support the thesis (and primary points),including facts, inferences, and judgments. Quotes, summarizes, andparaphrases accurately and effectively–appropriately introducing andexplaining each quote. /30
CONVENTIONS: Uses MLA formatcorrectly; includes a Works Cited list; is free of errors. /10
CORRECTNESS AND STYLE: Showscritical thinking and depth of understanding; uses appropriate tone; showssophistication in language usage and sentence structure. /15