Historical research using primary and secondary sources is the most basic enterprise of the historian, and how our understanding and interpretation of the past is formed. This is merely a more formalized and intellectually rigorous process that every person does every day. “What did you do last weekend?” is a question that requires historical research to answer. You may use secondary sources (your friends’ descriptions, for example) or primary ones (pictures posted on Facebook).
After choosing their topic in the first weeks of the semester, students visit the library. During a presentation on research skills, they begin to cull sources for their paper. The requirement is that students collect 4 primary sources (not including the one from class), 4 secondary monographs, and 2 secondary journal articles. These 10 sources are the minimum, but not the maximum, required for the paper.
• addresses assignment
• develops clear historical thesis that:
o understands the past rather than passes judgment on it (cause-and-effect rather than good and bad)
o recognizes change over time
• defines terms and includes appropriate background information
• analyzes rather than summarizes sources
• includes appropriate use of relevant sources that back up claims/are linked to arguments
• shows awareness of the difference between primary and secondary sources
• demonstrates ability to independently manipulate sources
• demonstrates ability to read critically
• engages in larger historiographic analysis, debate among historians
Pre-Written Pages: 10
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