Term Paper Guidelines: There will be one 2,600 word (text, in addition to the required endnotes or citations and bibliography) term paper required for this course. That is about ten double-spaced pages. Paper topics should center on the historical explanation of some very narrowly focused aspect of American history from 1900 to 1945. Avoid massive topics or biographies. It is a very good idea to select a topic that you find interesting. Often, such topics are associated with your major, your hobbies and interests, or variations of topics explored in your previous courses.
The paper will be in the form of a thesis argumentative essay (you present a logical argument for the validity of your thesis), with full citations and a bibliography on a separate page. The usual essay conventions (i.e., what you’ve learned in terms of writing a term paper for a course in English, Humanities, History, or Philosophy courses) apply here. The paper will be graded according to the rubrics developed by the History Department: the appropriateness and originality of the paper topic; the quality of argument development and support; the range, number and quality of supporting sources; the quality of composition; and proper grammar. Please review the recorded grammar and composition lectures to avoid the most common writing problems.
Margins must be 1” all around. Font must be Times Roman 12. Each page must be numbered in the bottom right hand corner. This paper must include “Turabian” style endnotes, or MLA citations. Please go over your paper very carefully before turning it in.
Your sources must be primarily academic books. Academic books are those published by an academic press, such as a university press, and which have endnotes and a bibliography. Internet sources are acceptable only if they come from a university (URL ends in .edu). Wikipedia is acceptable as a source, as long as it is used sparingly. The majority of sources must be academic books and articles. I would like for you to use the Worldcat database to find these books, and when necessary order them through Inter-Library Loan. Although use of articles in permitted, I highly recommend that you use academic books rather than academic articles. Academic articles tend to be highly theoretical and narrowly focused. They are meant for scholarly researchers, rather than for undergraduates.
You should use at least three sources in a substantive manner: each of these sources must be referred to a significant number of times, and a significant number of pages. In other words, don’t write a paper using really just one source, then adding a reference to a page in another book or article, and the same again for another. This is certainly easy to notice when I grade your paper.
Note that your term paper will be written twice: a draft, then a re-draft. Do not send me a quickly written paper, not carefully checked over by you. I can tell when a student has not put sufficient time and effort into a paper. If I determine that it is highly likely that you wrote your paper without care, and do not correct the paper and return it to me reasonably rapidly for further corrections, then I will lower your final paper grade.
You will write and submit the draft of your paper on the assigned date. I will then edit it and write comments, and return it to you, for you to correct problems I identify. The paper will then be re-submitted (redraft of your paper), and graded.