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>.