National History Day – Initial Topic Research Paper – Due August

National History Day – Initial Topic Research Paper – Due August 30th
You will use this assignment as an opportunity to narrow down your topic. Your research will guide you.
Example: Women’s Right > Voting Rights > 19th Amendment
Vocabulary Review:
Primary Sources –A historical source that was created at or near the time of the events studied, by a
known person, for a known purpose. You must have a minimum of one primary source.
Secondary Sources –Any source that draws on one or more primary sources and interprets or analyses
them, resources created after the event. You must have a minimum of four secondary sources.
Annotated Bibliography – All of your sources must be cited and annotated in MLA style. You may use to accomplish this. Save this information so that you can add to it as you research, not
redo it every time. Fully explain why this source is a quality source, what did you learn from the source,
where did you get the source, etc.
Plagiarism - The copying of another person's ideas, text or other creative work, and presenting it as one's
own, especially without permission. ANY plagiarism will result in a zero for the assignment and
punishment listed in student handbook.
Requirements –
No Title Page – Your title, name and class period is fine
A minimum of five paragraphs each including at least 7 complete sentences.
The paper should be TYPED in 12 point font – Times New Roman – double spaced – I PROMISE…I
want BORING font!
Five sources cited with full annotations. Annotations should be a minimum of 4 sentences.
I should NOT read phrases such as: “Today I am going to write about…” “You are going to read
about…” “This is the end of my paper”
You will write a completely different paper at the completion of your NHD project. That will come after
2nd nine weeks, closer to the competition. Your sources will be added to as we progress through the
Your name
Your class period
Your Title (this will change as we progress)
I. Introduce the topic; explain why you choose this topic
II. Historical context before the event
III. The event itself, important aspect of person’s life, etc.
IV. Historical context after the event, what did person change, etc.
V. Explain how the topic fits the theme (this should be based on the information in your body
paragraphs), strong concluding sentence
VI. One sentence – What is your narrowed topic? See example above.
Third page – Annotated Bibliography
Sources should be divided - primary list / secondary list – then each list in alphabetical order. will put them in alphabetical order, but NOT divide them by primary and secondary.
(Example from the process paper of the second place junior division exhibit The Connecticut
Effect: The Hartford Circus Fire Changes America by Students: Claire Langdon, Emma Langdon &
Madeline Langdon)
Frank Shaw “Exterior of tent”. “Circus Fire Investigation Photographs”, Photograph 1944. Connecticut
State Library Archives, Hartford.
This picture is important to our project because it shows the tent burning while people watch in
disbelief. To them, and to us, this was a tragic event, but it seems that now they suffered for something.
The intense flames were caused by the combination of paraffin and gasoline that was highly flammable
causing the tent to burn to the ground in less than 10 minutes.