Appendix A: The Research Paper A. General Steps To Writing Your Research Paper: 1. Decide on a topic. Pick your topic by selecting: a subject that interests you a subject that you know something about and want to learn more on by looking at the index of your text and/or looking through the pages of your book Example: You decide to write on the life of General Robert E. Lee from the American Civil War. 2. Find sources on your topic. Go to the library and begin researching your topic by: reading about your topic in the textbook, general encyclopedias, and historical encyclopedias like An Encyclopedia of World History, Ancient, Medieval, and Modern, Chronologically Arranged. (Boston: Houghton Miflin, 1972. William L. Langer, ed. This will give you an overall general idea. checking the card catalog checking the on line computer by using key words consulting the librarian. You may have to get the books you want by interlibrary loan. checking in historical journals like The Journal of Military History, The Journal of American History, American Historical Review, Journal of World History, etc. check on the Internet for sources. 3. Establish a theme for your paper. Do not begin your paper with so and so was born. Your research should help you develop a theme. For example, after reviewing sources on your topic you notice that there seems to be different schools of thought. Some books take a very favorable view of Lee and his generalship like: Gordon C. Rhea, The Battle for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 712, 1864 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997). Albert Castel, â The Historian and the General: Thomas L. Connelly Versus Robert E. Lee,â Civil War History, 16 (1970), pp. 5063. Gary W. Gallagher, Lee: The Soldier (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996). But others take a very negative view of Leeâ s generalship like: J.F.C. Fuller, Grant and Lee: A Study in Personality and Generalship (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1957). Thomas L. Connelly, â Robert E. Lee and the Western Confederacy: A Criticism of Leeâ s Strategic Ability,â Civil War History, 15 (1969), pp. 116132. You decide to name your paper, â A Critical Examination of the Generalship of Robert E. Lee.â Then evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments by these scholars and come up with your own conclusions. 4. Begin Taking Notes. Take careful notes using index cards. Be sure to avoid plagerism by putting the information in your own words, putting quotations marks around direct quotes, and giving credit to all the sources you cite. 5. Write an Outline of Your Paper. This helps you to stay on target and maintain a wellbalanced paper. 6. Write a Rough Draft. Be sure to read over and rewrite the draft numerous times. Make sure you cover the following: a. An inclusion of a strong introduction which establishes your theme or thesis. b. An identification of the historical figure by giving appropriate background and biographical information. c. Utilization of proper spelling and grammar. d. An assessment of the impact of your figure upon history describing what he/she did to affect the events of their time and alter the flow of history. e. A strong conclusion that sums up the major points. Be sure to discuss your critical evaluations of the sources weighing their strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you also include your own observations, opinions, findings, and critical analysis. 7. Miscellaneous Technical Points to Remember. 1. The paper must be 710 typed pages, doublespaced with one inch margins. Papers longer than 10 pages are fine, but not shorter than 7 pages. Handwritten papers will not be accepted. Long quotes, footnotes (or endnotes) should be single spaced. 2. Number your pages. Page numbers may appear either at the top or bottom of each page. 3. Make an extra copy for yourself. 4. Late papers will not be accepted. No exceptions. No excuses. No sad stories accepted. 5. The font size for your paper should be 12 point. (Example: This document is typed in 12 point). 6. Print style should be Times New Roman or Courier New. 7. Proper footnoting or endnoting is part of the grade. Document each paragraph unless 100% of the information in that paragraph is your own you wrote without the help of a book, etc. Follow the example given on the following pages or refer to Kate Turabian, A Manual For Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, University of Chicago Press. You must footnote/endnote every single paragraph unless 100% of the information in that paragraph is original to you and you alone. It’s really easy to footnote/endnote. It only takes three clicks of your mouse: 1. Click “Insert” Then click “Reference” 3. Then click Footnote or endnote. Then follow the example in the Course Document section. 8. The paper must include a bibliography at the very end listing a minimum of five scholarly book sources and one Internet source, then you may use reference works, textbooks, encyclopedias, additional Internet sources, etc. 9. Write and submit your paper in MS Word format.
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