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).
The paper should support a thesis statement with information gained from research or investigation.
The paper will not be just, but will be a paper that carefully examines and presents your own historical interpretation of the topic you have chosen and your interpretation of the information you have gathered.
The paper may include consideration of problems and solutions, define key terms, or refute arguments against your thesis statement.
It will be important to choose a topic of interest to you.
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.)
Once you have found your thesis, write the paper to support it.
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 a historical argument, using refutation
Amassing support for a position
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:
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.
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.
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.
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