Chat with a Librarian
Skip to Main Content
ask a librarian email questions

ENG 165: Blast from the Past

1. Getting Started

Exclamation PointFirst Things First - Assignment Requirements

Before you begin work on any research project, examine the assignment closely for any requirements. 

Q. How long is the presentation? 

Your presentation should be a 5-7 minute oral presentation and a PowerPoint presentation with at least 4-6 slides. Confirm these requirements with your assignment sheet. 

Q. How many sources?

How many total sources does your instructor ask for; are they all outside sources or does your textbook count as one of your sources? For this assignment, you will need at least two credible sources.

Q. What kind of sources?

Does your instructor specify certain types of sources? Are there other requirements such as how current/old the sources can be, or where the source should come from - the library, a database, a book/ebook, a peer-reviewed journals, etc.?

Q. How do you cite sources?

Cite your sources using MLA format for your citations. You may want to remind yourself what information you need to create the MLA Works Cited page and in-text citations.

Q. What is due?

What do you have to turn in? In addition to your presentation, you will also need to submit a 2 page (minimum) memo-style summary of the presentation. Are there other pieces like a rough draft, outline, summary, reading response, a tutorial, etc.  Make note of all the parts of the assignment and create a checklist to make sure you don't leave anything out.

Q. When is it due?

How long do you have to work on this project? Is there one due date for everything or are there multiple due dates for different parts of the assignment?  Plan out your time, so you don't get stuck doing all the work at the last minute. Plan extra time in case you have problems or get stuck.

Q. What other requirements should you make note of? 

Are there requirements to include a certain number of quotes or paraphrases? Do you need to have a certain number of slides? Do you need visuals/images? current statistics? Make note of any other requirements on the assignment sheet, and ask your instructor for clarification on any parts you're not sure about.

Selecting a Topic

The first thing you need to do before you begin a research project is to select a topic that you're going to write about. Remember, your historical figure should be connected to your field of study or your intended career in some way. Here are possible historical figures to consider:

Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies

  • Samuel Slater (factories)
  • Frances Cabot Lowell (first textile mill)
  • Lewis Hine (social reform)
  • Ella May Wiggins (social reform)
  • Henry Ford (productivity and morale)


  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Steve Jobs
  • Henry Ford
  • Madame CJ Walker
  • Thomas Edison

Computer and Engineering Technologies

  • Alan Turing
  • Charles Babbage
  • Ada Lovelace John
  • John van Neumann
  • Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider
  • Hedy Lamarr


  • Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Socrates
  • John Amos Comenius
  • John Locke
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Thomas Gallaudet
  • Horace Mann
  • John Dewey
  • Margaret Bancroft
  • Jane Addams
  • Maria Montessori
  • Paulo Freire
  • Anne Sullivan

Health Sciences

  • Edward Jenner (vaccines)
  • Elizabeth Blackwell (first female physician in US/UK)
  • Louis Pasteur (germ theory)
  • Joseph Lister (antiseptic surgery)
  • William Osler (specialty residencies)
  • Florence Nightingale (nursing)
  • Richard M. Lawler (successful organ transplantation)
  • Forrest M. Bird (ventilator)
  • Francis Crick (molecular biology)


  • Gertrude Jekyll
  • Laura McLaren, Lady Aberconwy
  • Vita Sackwille West
  • Lancelot Brown
  • Frederick Law Olmsted

Q. Are there sources?

Before you totally commit to a topic, you'll want to make sure that there are enough outside sources on the topic for your assignment. Not every topic is going to have information written about it. Newer topics or topics that aren't as well known may be harder to find sources for.  Do some searching in the library's databases to make sure there are sources, and Ask-A-Librarian to double-check if you're not sure there are enough sources for a topic you're really interested in.