Students will be assigned a historical or a literary character from the readings and asked to investigate, research (write a research paper). The character assigned to me is Napoleon Bonaparte.
The research paper should be typed and double-spaced. Footnotes or endnotes MUST follow the forms described in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers or Chicago Manual 14th ed.. The paper should focus on the noumenon (to be discussed in class) of a specific character of early modern history. See below for guidelines on content and structure of a research paper (8-10 pages)
Content and Structure in Research Papers (General Guidelines)
As a general rule, you should have at least one citation (footnote or endnote, Chicago Manual of Style) per paragraph except for interpretive paragraphs in the introduction and conclusion. You should also have about as many sources as you have pages of the paper.
You should try to have two or more sources per footnote. In other words, you should not have a series of notes drawn from one source only, followed by another series drawn from another source. Rather, you should have multiple sources to support most sections of your argument. After all, the one book upon which you are basing six pages of the paper could be dead wrong!
You should always give a full citation of a source the first time it is cited. After that you can use an abbreviated citation (author, short title, page).
You also must include a bibliography, also following Turabian or the Chicago Manual.
Do not confine citations only to quotations; cite paragraphs where you synthesize information from several sources also.
Annotate your bibliography, and especially the more significant sources (this means that under the sources you write one to three sentences describing the source and its role in your research.)
As a rule, four or five quotations in a twenty page paper is plenty, especially if the quotations are from secondary sources.
Content and Structure:
Your paper should be structured as an argument answering a question. You should begin, therefore, with an introduction in which you state the question or problem you address, lay out your argument, its significance or how it fits into the context of the topic you are studying, and explain how you intend to go about answering the question using your sources. (“This paper is a study of women’s hair styles in early modern Europe. Its purpose it to understand why women’s hairstyles changed, and how those changes reflected the changing work status of early modern women. This question is important, because it gives us an understanding of how much manual labor women from various classes performed. My sources are drawn primarily from . . . ). This section of the paper is about 1-3 paragraphs for a paper under eight pages, about 3-5 paragraphs for a paper of eight to twelve pages, and about three to five pages for a paper longer than twelve pages.
The body of the paper is where you lay out the evidence and construct the argument you are using to answer the question. You should not, therefore, be merely reciting “facts” you have found in your sources. Rather you should construct an argument (because – therefore). Use subheadings that reflect the sections (premises) of your argument that you are supporting in this section of the paper to be sure that you have covered all the material necessary and offered all the evidence possible to support your conclusions.
Your paper should conclude with a conclusion in which you recap your question and argument, and show how your evidence supports the answers you have offered the original question you asked.
You may want to use subtitles or asterisks to separate the sections of your paper and thus ensure that you have all the needed components of your argument. Outlines can also help to ensure that your paper is well structured and coherent.
Another good clue to whether or not your have actually built an argument is to see whether you use words like “because” and “therefore” in the paper, and whether or not you can summarize your basic argument in a paragraph or so. If you haven’t and you can’t, your paper probably rambles and does not include an argument or support it effectively.
Every paragraph must have a topic sentence. Every sentence in the paragraph must relate directly to that topic sentence. Avoid rambling paragraphs with multiple topics, or no topic at all.
Paragraphs one or two sentences long are probably too short and should be integrated with another paragraph, or lengthened. Paragraphs longer than one side of the page probably need to be broken into two or more paragraphs.
Paragraphs should relate to the topic of the paper or of the subsection they are in as sentences relate to the topic sentence of the paragraph. In other words, you should build your paper with a distinct structure that includes an introduction, a body of evidence divided with subheadings, and a distinct conclusion. Each of your paragraphs should build on the previous paragraphs to construct your argument. Paragraphs should not be placed randomly! Your paper should not read as if you shuffled the paragraphs like a deck of cards or tossed the pages down the stairs.
To avoid problems 1-3, use conjunctive adverbs such as because, therefore, thus, since, although, and however to organize your ideas and evidence, and to transition between ideas. These words show cause and effect and thus are essential to building an argument. Use an outline to organize your ideas into coherent paragraphs and sections of the paper.
**In addition, please know that the internet is not a reliable source for papers written for this class: there is a great deal of misinformation that circulates about historical events, the Renaissance and Revolutions . Websites ending in .com, .net, or .org are not acceptable sources for your papers, and it is in your interest to check with me before citing any information found online for your research in this class. You will be held responsible for the integrity of any information gleaned from internet sources. If you are having trouble locating information in other media, please let me know and I’ll be happy to help you.
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