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HIS 105 Argumentative Paper (Nass)

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 paper? 

Your paper should be 3 pages long.

Q. How many sources?

You will need to use at least 2 secondary sources in addition to your textbook and your class notes. 

Q. What kind of sources?

Secondary sources include books/eBooks, articles from library databases, and reputable websites.

Q. How do you cite sources?

Use 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? Is it just a paper? 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 paragraphs?  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. Consider the following:

Q. Do you have a choice?

Choose one of the following prompts for your paper:

  • Choose one commodity that was bought and sold in the Columbian Exchange (e.g. tobacco, sugar, potato) and argue for how it profited and/or harmed one of the new lands where it was introduced.
  • Analyze the impact of the Protestant Reformation in Europe on one of the following: women, education, or state formation.
  • Compare and contrast Europe and China's view of maritime exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • How did the transatlantic slave trade change African societies?
  • How revolutionary were the enlightenment ideals of the 18th century philosophies?

Q. Do you have an interest?

Since you have a choice on what topic you can choose, consider which one you find the most interesting.  Which topic do you think would be the easiest to research? Which topic would you have the most to say about?

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.