Building a Historical Argument

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Building a Historical Argument
Step by Step Process
Step 1
• Conduct valid research about a worthy
historical topic.
– Are my sources academic or scholarly?
– Can my sources accurately be used to study
my given topic? (Are they valid?)
Step 2
• Review and evaluate your sources.
– Identify the arguments made in the secondary
sources.
– Identify the evidence used in the secondary
sources.
– Identify defining characteristics of primary
sources which tell you something about your
topic.
Step 3
• Formulate a thesis statement or argument
about your topic based on the results of
your research.
– What “big idea” can said about your topic
based on what you have found?
• Thesis Statement Examples:
– During the medieval period, the status of
female samurai decreased over time in
Japan.
– Buddhism changed dramatically after it was
adopted by the Japanese in the Medieval
Period.
Step 4
• Construct 2-3 key claims which support
your thesis statement.
– Identify the evidence in your sources which
supports your thesis.
– Describe this evidence in writing making sure
to reference the source, document, author,
etc. where you gathered this information from.
(You will want to explain how it
supports/relates to your thesis statement.)
• Key Claims/Supporting Sentences
Example:
– During the medieval period, the status of
female samurai decreased over time in
Japan.
1) According to Dr. Merryford at Indiana University, women were given fewer
jobs in the Japanese military during the seventeenth century unlike the eighth
century. His work demonstrates that women were expected to stay home to
take care of children rather than fight in the battlefield during the later part of
the Medieval Period.
2) In “Women Awaiting Death”, the seventeenth century watercolor painting by
Hirohito Shikibu, women are painted in scenes with their young children while
writing letters to their husbands who were fighting as samurai. The sword design
on their kimonos symbolizes their family’s tradition of sending samurai to battle.
However, it’s the husband, not wife who is doing the fighting in this scene.
Step 5
• Construct a bibliography which cites your
sources.
– Use proper MLA format and be sure to
alphabetize your 2 sources.
Now it’s Your Turn!
Aristocratic women worked very hard at
expressing themselves through their clothing
choices. According to one scholar at George
Mason University, aristocratic robes
demonstrated a woman’s cultivation, tastes,
and creativity. The kimonos painted on the
medieval artwork “Ten Scenes from the ‘Tale
of Genji’” by Iwasa Matabi School exemplify
this creativity. They appear in many patterns
and colors.
FORMAT
Proper Heading
Title
Historical Argument with Thesis and supporting sentences or
evidence. This is written in paragraph format using proper grammar
and spelling rules. This must be typed or written in blue/black ink.
Bibliography
This is alphabetized and indented starting with the
second line of each entry.
Be sure to follow all punctuation and rules for MLA. You will leave a
space between entries.
Bibliography
“Ten Scenes from the ‘Tale of Genji’, (mid 17th Century)
by Iwasa Matabei School :: The Collection”. Art
Gallery of New South Wales. 8 Jan. 2014.
<http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/wor
ks/338.2007.a-b/>.
“Women in World History: PRIMARY SOURCES”. 2014.
George Mason University. 8 Jan. 2014.
<http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/p/223.html>.
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