Note: Before beginning this assignment, read through  information contained in the Scholastic Dishonesty link in the course  menu to the left.

The core assignment of this course is a documented research paper  (1500-2000 words in length = approx. 6 – 8 pages double spaced, 12-point  font).

It will be important to choose a topic of interest to you.

You will use some of the following critical thinking skills in this process:

  1. Choosing an appropriate topic, limiting the topic
  2. Gathering information, summarizing sources
  3. Analyzing and evaluating sources
  4. Defining key terms
  5. Synthesizing information, comparing and contrasting sources
  6. Testing a thesis, making a historical argument, using refutation
  7. Amassing support for a position
  8. Documenting sources

Because this may be a longer paper than you have written before and a  complex process is involved, it is recommended that you complete this  paper using the following steps:

  1. Choose a topic related to U.S. History up to 1877 (Chapters 1-15)  that you would truly like to explore and that you are willing to spend  some time on. Your chosen 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 some preliminary reading on the topic(s). You may begin with  the textbook, then further explore the information available. Refine  your topic. Summarize your topic, your interest in the topic, the  questions you want to answer, and a hypothesis you want to test.
  3. Gather information from a variety of sources. Use a minimum of four sources for your paper, and at least one must be a primary source.
    • Examples of primary sources are ones that are used in our discussion forums 2 – 8.
    • They are sources that are contemporary to the times under investigation.
    • An example of a secondary source is our textbook, though the  textbook also contains excerpts of primary sources, which you may use as  a source in your paper.
  4. Outline the results of your research and the plan for your paper (you are not required to submit the outline).
  5. Write the final draft and be sure to include a Works Cited List, and use the correct MLA documentation style.

Grade Rubric

INTRODUCTION & THESIS: The paper makes a clear and effective statement (the thesis) about the chosen topic. /15

FOCUS AND DEVELOPMENT: Body of the paper focuses on this thesis and develops it fully, recognizing the complexity of issues. /30

SUPPORT AND SYNTHESIS: Uses sufficient and relevant evidence to  support the thesis (and primary points), including facts, inferences,  and judgments.  Quotes, summarizes, and paraphrases accurately and  effectively–appropriately introducing and explaining each quote. /30

CONVENTIONS: Uses MLA format correctly; includes a Works Cited list; is free of errors. /10

CORRECTNESS AND STYLE: Shows critical thinking and depth of  understanding; uses appropriate tone; shows sophistication in language  usage and sentence structure. /15

 

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