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Your Research Project
Inventing Western Civilization
HISTORY COURSE PAPER INSTRUCTIONS
Assignment: Select a topic from the list provided by your instructor or one
approved by your instructor.
Requirements:
1. LENGTH: Your paper must be at least 5 full, typed pages (text) (minimum
of 1500 words), double-spaced, with one inch margins. Maps and
illustrations are in addition to the 5 pages of text.
2. RESEARCH: Your paper must have a works cited page with a minimum of
FOUR solid sources DO NOT USE your textbook, general
encyclopedias, or an on-line or CD encyclopedia (like Encarta) as a cited
source in your paper. You should use both printed and online sources. If
you need help finding appropriate sources, ask your instructor and/or a
reference librarian for help.
3. CITATIONS: You MUST include citations in the body of your paper to
indicate the source of all the information you used from your research
sources. A list of your sources on the Works Cited page IS NOT
ENOUGH. See “Citation of Sources” below for more detailed instructions
on citations. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your instructor
to explain it. You cannot receive above a C- (71) on a research paper that
does not have citations. Document the sources of the information you use in
the MLA format. If you do not understand what is meant by the MLA
format, ask your instructor to explain it. Do not assume that the way you did
a research paper in high school or another college or for another class is the
right way. Ask your instructor if you have any doubts or questions about
doing citations.
4. Be sure to keep a duplicate copy of your paper in case the original is lost.
Papers are due in class on the day designated in the syllabus and on the
course calendar. All students must submit a paper to pass the course.
Suggestions for Writing a Research Paper:
1. Choosing a topic: Start with your textbook. Look up some of topics using
the index and read about them. Don’t overlook the illustrations. Or pick a
historical period and country that interests you. You can also use an
encyclopedia, Encarta, or the Internet to help you decide if a topic interests
you. Even though you cannot use general reference works as specific
sources in your paper, they are a good place to get started.
2. Doing Research:Start with very general books such as a history of a
civilization, people, region or country (e.g. Roman history, British history,
Middle East), a period of history (e.g. Ancient history, Middle Ages,
Renaissance, Reformation), or the history of a subject (e.g. science, art, a
religion). Try to learn as much as you can about the country and century
appropriate to your topic. Gradually narrow your research down until finally
you focus on specific events and people. If you use a book that is specifically
about your topic, you should not have to read the whole book. You should
already know enough about your subject to be able to look up specific facts,
quotations, and events for more detailed information.
Use a variety of sources (books, articles, internet, videos). Try to use a
PRIMARY SOURCE. This is something written by someone who lived during
the time you are writing about – an eyewitness account, something written by
one of the historical characters in your paper, or a history written at the time.
You are not limited to the Trident Tech library (Learning Resource Center).
Try the libraries at the College of Charleston and The Citadel, as well as the
public library downtown (on Calhoun Street with free parking for one hour).
3. Finding the Thesis: You need a PURPOSE to guide your research and
organize your paper. Begin with a research question like, “What was it like
to live in this time and country?,” “What happened?” “Why and how did it
happen this way?” “Who were the important people?” “How did they shape
events?” “What made this person stand out in his/her time?” “Why was this
event an important turning point in history?” As you find answers to these
questions, select a significant theme relating to the events, person, place, and
time of your topic and put it into a statement that answers some of your
research questions. This is your THESIS. Deciding on a thesis is the most
important step in your research. It will tell you what is relevant and help you
select the information that you will use in your paper.
Your thesis should be limited to the time period of your paper. Don’t try to
connect or compare your topic to the present. This is a more demanding type
of paper and beyond what you are expected to do in this course.
4. Writing the Paper:THIS IS THE HARDEST PART. DON’T PUT IT OFF
UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. You will probably enjoy doing the research
and the tendency is to keep researching right up to the last minute, thinking
that you are making progress. The research is the easiest part. SET
YOURSELF A DEADLINE to stop researching and START WRITING at
least a week before the paper is due. If you want me to look at a draft and
give you suggestions, you must give me the draft no later than a week before
the paper is due.
IMPORTANT: I do not want you to write just description of a country, a
narrative of events, or a biography of a person. History is not just what
happened, but why and how it happened, and the significance. How did things
change? Why did they stay the same?
INTRODUCTION: Your opening paragraph should briefly introduce
your subject (person, place, and time), and, most importantly, state the
thesis or purpose statement of your paper.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: You have to put the events into a
historical context. One way to begin your paper might be to describe a
place and a period of time. To do this effectively, you may have to
briefly describe the society, events, important institutions (e.g. society,
government, religion, warfare, cities) and leaders of the period.
NARRATIVE OF EVENTS: Rather than trying to tell everything about
a place and time or a person’s life, select formative influences, turning
points, and greatest achievements or failures. Describe what happened,
who the important characters and groups were in the events, why events
happened as they did. The quality of your history (and your grade!)
depends both on which facts and informationyou decide to include and
your interpretation and explanation of those facts. Be sure to
adequately EXPLAIN the causes and significance of important
events. DO NOT ASSUME I know what you are writing about.
CONSEQUENCES: Discuss the immediate consequences of the events.
What changed? What was the impact on the people involved, their
country, maybe the world. DO NOT make judgments about how an
event has affected the modern world or our lives today unless you are
writing about a recent event (in the last 50 years).
WRITE IN THE PAST TENSE. To avoid confusion in which verb
tense to use, I recommend writing in the past tense throughout your
paper. Do not skip back and forth from present to pasttenses. It is not
necessary to mention your sources (historians and books) in the text of
your paper. I don’t want a paper about historians or histories, but about
history. But be sure to use the MLA citation to credit the sources of your
information.
***IMPORTANT***
***IMPORTANT***
***IMPORTANT***
5. Citation of Sources:YOU MUST USE CITATIONS to tell your reader the
source of all the facts and opinions in your paper that you get from your
research. You must have a citation for all the information from your research
material, EVEN IF IT IS NOT A DIRECT QUOTATION. IT IS NOT
NECESSARY TO USE A DIRECT QUOTATION for the information you use
in your paper from your research source, but you must give a citation even if
you do not quote from your source. Avoid overusing direct quotations. It is
usually better to put the material in your own words along with a citation of its
source. BE SURE TO USE THE CORRECT MLA FORMAT for citations. For
example, a reference to a fact on page 17 of a book by Adam Smith would look
like this: (Smith 17). For other citation formats refer to the MLA Handbook or
you can find instructions online. Also be sure to give complete information on
all your research sources on your WORKS CITED PAGE.
OTHER IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS FOR CITATIONS:
A. As a rule of thumb, most of the paragraphs in the body of your paper
(except the introduction and conclusion) would normally have at least
one citation per paragraph.
B. Avoid using direct quotations too much. It is usually better to put the
information in your own words as long as you include a citation of its
source. I do not want you to use over 5 direct quotations in your paper.
Do not include more than two lengthy quotations (over four
lines). Quotations over four lines should be indented without quotation
marks. YOU MUST USE A CITATION FOR ALL THE
INFORMATION you use from your research sources, EVEN IF YOU
DO NOT DIRECTLY QUOTE the author’s words from the source.
C. Make sure the information or opinion you include in your paper from
one of your sources MAKES SENSE in your paper. You may have to
explain people, events, or terms that are mentioned in the quotation or
paraphrased segment you extracted from your source.
D. The way that the MLA Handbook and most English courses suggest to
do citations is to mention the author and/or book in your paper. For
example, you would write:
According to historian Robert Palmer in his History of the British
Empire, Great Britain was the superpower in the 19th century
(118). [The number in parentheses indicated the page number in
Palmers book on which that information is found.]
I prefer that you NOT mention the source of the citation in the sentence
itself, but put it in the citation after the sentence. For example:
Great Britain was the superpower in the 19th century (Palmer 118)
Citations are one of the most difficult parts of doing a good research paper. If
you have not written a college research paper before or have not taken ENG
101, you may need help from your instructor or the Writing Center (building
100, room 157).
Choosing Your Topic
Step One
Many different peoples and civilizations contributed to western civilization as we know it
today. The evolution of western civilization began in the Middle East with the emergence of
the first civilizations over 5000 years ago, but it was the peoples of Europe who played the
largest role in the formation of western civilization. The purpose of this research project is for
you to learn how one of the peoples in a particular time period contributed to the invention of
western civilization.
The first step of your research project is to choose one of the peoples or historical periods that
played a major role in the formation of western civilization between 2000 BC and 1700. Choose
one of the following research categories:
1. Jews
2. Greeks
3. Romans
4. Christian Church
5. Medieval Europe
6. Muslims
7. Renaissance
8. Protestant Reformation
If more than one student chooses the same research category, they will be able to collaborate
on research and discuss their papers. However, each student must write his/her paper
individually.
Step Two
Next you will choose a single specific topic from your research category for your paper.
Suggested topics are:
1. Jews
“Moses & the Exodus: the Origin of Passover and the Torah”
“Hebrew Prophets & the Babylonian Exile”
“Josephus & the the Jewish Revolt”
“Philo & the Jews of Alexandria”
“Rabbis & Talmud”
2. Greeks
“Herodotus and the Persian Wars”
“Cleisthenes & the Rise of Athenian Democracy”
“Pericles and Aspasia”
“The Trial of Socrates”
“Thucydides and the Peloponnesian Wars”
“Greek Theater”
“The Olympic Games”
“The Oracle of Delphi and Greek Religion”
3. Romans
“Cicero & the Roman Republic”
“Julius Caesar & the Fall of the Roman Republic”
“Roman Law”
“The Roman Empire under Augustus Caesar”
“Virgil & the Golden Age of Latin Literature”
“Constantine & Christianity”
“The Byzantine Empire under Justinian & Theodora”
“The Great Builders: Roman Architecture & Engineering”
4. Christian Church
“Popes & the Church of Rome from Leo I and Gregory the Great”
“Ambrose of Milan & Augustine of Hippo”
“Desert Fathers & Mothers: the Origins of Monasticism”
“Jerome and the Christian Bible”
5. Medieval Europe
“Europe & the Age of Charlemagne”
“English State & Church: King Henry II and Archbishop Thomas Becket”
“Medieval Women from Eleanor of Aquitaine to Christine de Pizan”
“The First Crusade”
“Frederick II & the Holy Roman Empire”
“English Law from Common Law to Magna Carta”
“Edward I and the Birth of the English Parliament”
“The Kingdom of France from Philip I to Philip IV”
“The Medieval Church of Pope Innocent III & Francis of Assisi”
“Marco Polo
6. Muslims
“Baghdad in the Golden Age of Islam”
Saladin and the Third Crusade”
“Cordoba & the Civilization of Muslim Spain”
“Ibn Batuta, Arab Explorer”
7. Renaissance Italy
“Florence and Dante Alighieri”
“Machiavelli: War and Politics in Renaissance Italy”
“Medicis of Florence”
“Renaissance Artists: Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo”
8. Protestant Reformation
“Church Reform: Erasmus and Martin Luther”
“English Reformation from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I”
“Protestant Rome: Geneva and John Calvin”
Your Research Project
Inventing Western Civilization
HISTORY COURSE PAPER INSTRUCTIONS
Assignment: Select a topic from the list provided by your instructor or one
approved by your instructor.
Requirements:
1. LENGTH: Your paper must be at least 5 full, typed pages (text) (minimum
of 1500 words), double-spaced, with one inch margins. Maps and
illustrations are in addition to the 5 pages of text.
2. RESEARCH: Your paper must have a works cited page with a minimum of
FOUR solid sources DO NOT USE your textbook, general
encyclopedias, or an on-line or CD encyclopedia (like Encarta) as a cited
source in your paper. You should use both printed and online sources. If
you need help finding appropriate sources, ask your instructor and/or a
reference librarian for help.
3. CITATIONS: You MUST include citations in the body of your paper to
indicate the source of all the information you used from your research
sources. A list of your sources on the Works Cited page IS NOT
ENOUGH. See “Citation of Sources” below for more detailed instructions
on citations. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your instructor
to explain it. You cannot receive above a C- (71) on a research paper that
does not have citations. Document the sources of the information you use in
the MLA format. If you do not understand what is meant by the MLA
format, ask your instructor to explain it. Do not assume that the way you did
a research paper in high school or another college or for another class is the
right way. Ask your instructor if you have any doubts or questions about
doing citations.
4. Be sure to keep a duplicate copy of your paper in case the original is lost.
Papers are due in class on the day designated in the syllabus and on the
course calendar. All students must submit a paper to pass the course.
Suggestions for Writing a Research Paper:
1. Choosing a topic: Start with your textbook. Look up some of topics using
the index and read about them. Don’t overlook the illustrations. Or pick a
historical period and country that interests you. You can also use an
encyclopedia, Encarta, or the Internet to help you decide if a topic interests
you. Even though you cannot use general reference works as specific
sources in your paper, they are a good place to get started.
2. Doing Research:Start with very general books such as a history of a
civilization, people, region or country (e.g. Roman history, British history,
Middle East), a period of history (e.g. Ancient history, Middle Ages,
Renaissance, Reformation), or the history of a subject (e.g. science, art, a
religion). Try to learn as much as you can about the country and century
appropriate to your topic. Gradually narrow your research down until finally
you focus on specific events and people. If you use a book that is specifically
about your topic, you should not have to read the whole book. You should
already know enough about your subject to be able to look up specific facts,
quotations, and events for more detailed information.
Use a variety of sources (books, articles, internet, videos). Try to use a
PRIMARY SOURCE. This is something written by someone who lived during
the time you are writing about – an eyewitness account, something written by
one of the historical characters in your paper, or a history written at the time.
You are not limited to the Trident Tech library (Learning Resource Center).
Try the libraries at the College of Charleston and The Citadel, as well as the
public library downtown (on Calhoun Street with free parking for one hour).
3. Finding the Thesis: You need a PURPOSE to guide your research and
organize your paper. Begin with a research question like, “What was it like
to live in this time and country?,” “What happened?” “Why and how did it
happen this way?” “Who were the important people?” “How did they shape
events?” “What made this person stand out in his/her time?” “Why was this
event an important turning point in history?” As you find answers to these
questions, select a significant theme relating to the events, person, place, and
time of your topic and put it into a statement that answers some of your
research questions. This is your THESIS. Deciding on a thesis is the most
important step in your research. It will tell you what is relevant and help you
select the information that you will use in your paper.
Your thesis should be limited to the time period of your paper. Don’t try to
connect or compare your topic to the present. This is a more demanding type
of paper and beyond what you are expected to do in this course.
4. Writing the Paper:THIS IS THE HARDEST PART. DON’T PUT IT OFF
UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. You will probably enjoy doing the research
and the tendency is to keep researching right up to the last minute, thinking
that you are making progress. The research is the easiest part. SET
YOURSELF A DEADLINE to stop researching and START WRITING at
least a week before the paper is due. If you want me to look at a draft and
give you suggestions, you must give me the draft no later than a week before
the paper is due.
IMPORTANT: I do not want you to write just description of a country, a
narrative of events, or a biography of a person. History is not just what
happened, but why and how it happened, and the significance. How did things
change? Why did they stay the same?
INTRODUCTION: Your opening paragraph should briefly introduce
your subject (person, place, and time), and, most importantly, state the
thesis or purpose statement of your paper.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: You have to put the events into a
historical context. One way to begin your paper might be to describe a
place and a period of time. To do this effectively, you may have to
briefly describe the society, events, important institutions (e.g. society,
government, religion, warfare, cities) and leaders of the period.
NARRATIVE OF EVENTS: Rather than trying to tell everything about
a place and time or a person’s life, select formative influences, turning
points, and greatest achievements or failures. Describe what happened,
who the important characters and groups were in the events, why events
happened as they did. The quality of your history (and your grade!)
depends both on which facts and informationyou decide to include and
your interpretation and explanation of those facts. Be sure to
adequately EXPLAIN the causes and significance of important
events. DO NOT ASSUME I know what you are writing about.
CONSEQUENCES: Discuss the immediate consequences of the events.
What changed? What was the impact on the people involved, their
country, maybe the world. DO NOT make judgments about how an
event has affected the modern world or our lives today unless you are
writing about a recent event (in …
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