21 Sep The purpose of this assignment is not only for you to learn about a historical figure and time period in a more in-depth fashion than we will be able to do in class, but also for you to impr
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Research Paper Assignment
Your research paper for this class will be based on a historical figure of your choice. You may pick any person who falls within the scope of the course-that means it must be a figure from the Western world (Europe or the Middle East) who lived between the beginning of recorded history and the mid-18th century. This gives you a wide variety of people to pick from, so pick someone who interests you. (Hint: later people are easier to find sources for)
The purpose of this assignment is not only for you to learn about a historical figure and time period in a more in-depth fashion than we will be able to do in class, but also for you to improve your writing skills, research skills, and ability to analyze information and create an argument.
While this paper is based on a person, it should NOT be solely the story of their life from birth to death, but should make an argument that focuses on the historical events that affected their lives, and the events that they affected.
The purpose of a research paper is to do research on a topic in order to gather evidence which you will use to support the argument that you are making. Think about this like you would a science experiment. Your argument, or thesis, is yours, but you need evidence to convince the reader that your argument is true, and that evidence comes from your sources.
For example, if you chose Nicolo Machiavelli as your topic, you should spend very little time talking about his early life and career, and more discussing his entry into politics, the changes in his political opinions, how and why he wrote his great work The Prince, and how it affected politics both in his native Italy and across Europe, both in his time and to the present. You should choose something about Machiavelli’s career that you feel you can make an argument about, find evidence that supports that argument, then present it in a concise, well-organized essay. In order to do this, finding good sources is very important!
Your final paper will be graded on four major criteria:
Thesis: This is the argument of your paper. Does the paper have a strong thesis statement at the beginning? Is the argument addressed throughout the paper? Does the conclusion appropriately address the thesis?
Content: Does the paper contain good information? Does it contain all the major events of its’ subject’s life, and does it place these events in the appropriate historical context? Does it demonstrate a clear understanding of the subject’s historical importance? Are the sources used good sources, and are they used well? Did you use appropriate sources (no websites, must have an author and page numbers) and did you use enough in text citations?
Style: Is the paper well written? Is it appropriately cited? Is it well organized?
Mechanics: Does the paper have correct spelling and good grammar?
Citations and Plagiarism
Please remember that this is a research paper, and all assertions, ideas, and facts that are not general knowledge must be supported by your sources. The fact that World War I happened from 1914-1918 is general knowledge. The fact that the war caused a shift in European society due to the death of most of a generation of young men is not, and must be supported by a citation.
Any information that you learned from a book or article MUST BE followed by a citation EVEN IF you are paraphrasing and not actively quoting from that work. This means at MINIMUM two citations per paragraph since you should be conveying these authors’ ideas in your paper, and NOT your own.
Please remember that any ideas which are in your paper and are not your own must be cited, or they qualify as plagiarism. This includes ideas from sources in your Works Cited, things your friends told you, or wrote for you, stories that you heard on TV, ideas from Wikipedia, etc, etc. Any evidence of plagiarism in your papers will result in a failing grade and probably in other nasty disciplinary action. Lots of pain and suffering for both of us, so write your own work, please. And do not, I mean do not, turn in a paper that you have written for another course.
MLA format requires internal citations in parentheses, consisting of the author’s last name followed by the page number or numbers from which you took the information. Like this (Smith 63).
If you are in doubt about the formatting of any part of your paper, including citations, stick to the MLA format, which can be acquired in print at any bookstore or online. Some websites have portions of it online for free. Here are a couple of good ones.
Each paper should be 6 to 8 pages in length.
That means a minimum of 6 full pages, and a maximum of 8 full pages. It should have an introduction that includes your thesis statement, which is the statement of your argument, and then gives an overview of the argument you will make in your paper. The body of your paper should discuss the evidence that you feel proves your argument. The conclusion should then recap your argument. The paper should be typed, double-spaced, in a normal font such as Times New Roman, Arial, etc, in 12-pt font with one-inch margins. The header at the top of the page should include your name, the class and section, and the date. Your paper should have a title that in some way includes the name of your chosen historical figure. The paper should include page numbers at the top right-hand corner of the page. As discussed above, all facts must be cited within your paper. The last page of the paper should be a Works Cited page, where you will list the full citations of each one of your sources in proper MLA fashion. The Works Cited page does not count toward your page total. Papers must be turned in to the Assignment folder on D2L on time. Late papers will be reduced by ten points per day, up to a maximum of twenty points, and failure to turn in a paper in both formats will reduce the grade by ten points.
Good luck, and remember that I am always available to help you get started and to
answer any questions.
And if you are struggling please contact me or take advantage of Trident’s Writing Center! It is an amazing resource that is available to you.
Paper Topic Suggestions
Hatsepsut Abu Bakr Augustus Muhammad Philip II Theodosius Alexander the Great Theodoric the Ostrogoth Aristotle Tutankhamun Plato Geoffrey Chaucer Socrates Giovanni Boccaccio Pericles Thomas Becket Charlemagne Niccolo Machiavelli Cyrus Joan of Arc King Solomon Erasmus King David Jesus of Nazareth Saint Augustine Ulrich Zwingli Paul (from the Bible) Xerxes Constantine Virgil Julius Caesar Homer William the Conqueror Sophocles Cnut the Great Pythagoras Thomas Aquinus Nefertiti Eleanor of Aquitaine Tamerlane (Timur the Lame) Marco Polo Catherine the Great Genghis Khan Frederick William Kublai Khan Peter the Great Alfred the Great (have you all watched the Last Kingdom on Netflix?) Bartolomeu Dias Christopher Columbus Thomas More Hernan Cortes Oliver Cromwell King Charles I King Charles II (how is he tied to Charleston?) Henry VIII Queen Elizabeth Mary Queen of Scots John Calvin Martin Luther Emperor Charles V Ignatius Loyola Louis XIV John Locke
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