Writing A Historical Research Paper

Writing A Historical Research Paper
This assignment is a requirement of Boom & Bust. This assignment is broken into four
steps, each with a different due date. The ability to research and then present your
research in a paper is a matter of acquiring and refining some basic academic skills.
When doing research and the subsequent writing you will face three challenges:
 Supporting a thesis (main idea)
 Citing sources and avoiding plagiarism
 Integrating quotations and other source material.
*Your research paper will be broken into four parts; bibliography, outline and first draft,
*and final draft. Please note the due dates for each section.
Finding the Information
There are many sources of firsthand (eyewitness or participant) historical information;
diaries, letters, legal documents, ships logs, census reports, etc. These are all primary
sources. Newspaper accounts, editorial cartoons and autobiographies would also be
considered a primary source.
Secondary sources are descriptions or interpretations of events written after the event
occurred by persons who did not participate in the event. History books, biographies, and
encyclopedias are some examples of secondary sources.
*You absolutely may not use Wikipedia as a source.
On-line Library of Congress document source (primary)
Books (primary/secondary)
Academic magazine articles (secondary)
Reference materials (primary/secondary)
For this assignment you are required to have 2 primary source and 3 secondary sources
cited and evident in your paper. MLA formatting is required. You also need to come
up with your thesis statement/question. Your citations and thesis will be due
*___January 22nd___
Preparing The Research Based Paper
Once you have your research it is time to organize it all into a final product. The first step
in organizing is knowing exactly what information you have to work with and how it all
fits together.
One of the best ways to make this happen is to create an outline. This will become your
road map to writing the paper.
 Decide want you want to focus your paper on. Determine what information
belongs in your introduction, body, and conclusion.
 Determine the important facts that support each idea. Rank them in order of
importance. Remember that subheadings must come in pairs – no A’s without
B’s, no 1’s without 2’s.
Reread your outline – does it make sense? Are you missing any important
information? Now is the time to make that adjustment if you need to add to your
Sample Outline
John Glenn – A New Pioneer
A. The challenge to go to the moon
B. The men who accepted that challenge
A. Training to be an astronaut
1. Military background
2. Being chosen for NASA
B. Preparation
1. Day of launch
2. Final countdown
3. Looking back at Earth
C. In Space
What did it feel like?
a. Physical
b. Mental
Preparing to land on the moon
D. The Eagle has landed
1. One small step for man
2. One giant leap for mankind
*Your Outline will be due on ________January 29nd_______
Writing the Research Based Paper
All papers begin with a question. Something along the lines of “Why is John Glenn
important to the NASA program?” would be the question that would be answered in my
sample paper. That is why you need more than one source – you are comparing and
contrasting how other people answered your same question. In later papers you may be
trying to prove something for the first time about some piece of history – but for now
your question should be pretty basic.
You will need to appropriately cite sources and integrate source material into paper. This
does NOT mean cut and paste. This means you are using material appropriately to
support your information.
NASA training schedules, even in the early days of the space program, were very
difficult physically. One of their requirements was “150 pushups per day to be
completed by 0700.” (NASA 72) Other requirements were just as rigorous.
You may paraphrase but you still need to cite the source.
A NASA requirement was to perform 150 pushups early each morning. (NASA 72)
Writing a paper is a process – not a one-time shot! I will require a first draft of
your paper.
I will be checking grammar and mechanics, as well as content.
***First Draft due: ____February 19th____
Your final draft with an attached citation page and
title page will be due ** ____March 3rd____
Paper Requirements:
*5 full, typed pages - 14 Font is the largest you may use, 12 is the smallest you
may use.
*All papers will have a 1.25” margin – that is preset on the left and right margins – check
on your top and bottom margins. (Use the page set-up function before you begin!)
*You may use Tahoma, Garamond, or Times New Roman fonts only. Choose one and
stick to it!
*Your paper should be double spaced. Do not double-double space between
*Indent new paragraphs.
*You are required to cite in-text.
*Use MLA citation style and bibliography style. The in-text citation style was used in
the example (author, page number).
*A title page and citation page are required and do not count as one of your pages.
My Topic: ___________________________________________
You will have a minimum of 4 times in the computer lab for research and typing
purposes. I am well aware that this is probably not enough time – so you will need to
make up the difference on your time – it is a project!