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HIS 202 - Essay 1 (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? 

This paper should be 3-4 pages long.

Q. How many sources?

In addition to your textbook and notes, use at least 3 secondary sources OR 2 secondary sources and 1 primary source.

Q. What kind of sources?

You can use a mix of primary and secondary sources for your essay.

Primary sources are documents created during the time-period/event being studies and could include journals, diaries, speeches, photographs, government documents, newspaper articles, etc.

Secondary sources are books, articles, and reputable websites about your time-period/event.

Q. How do you cite sources?

Most instructors will ask you to use MLA format for your citations, but double-check to make sure. 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? 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. Consider the following:

Q. Do you have a choice?

You have a choice of the following topics for your essay:

  1. In the late 1800s, amusement became a new commercial activity. Discuss one or two amusements/leisure activities of the turn-of-the-century and how it/they reflected a change in American culture.
  2. Choose an immigrant group to study and analyze their experience coming to America after 1877. Be specific about the time period you are covering. Some questions to think about: How difficult was their entry into America and how would you characterize their early experience in America? What was US government policy and popular attitudes toward this particular group and why?
  3. How did Americans' views on childhood change during the Progressive Era with the onset of industrialization? How did education play a role?
  4. Analyze the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. What were the causes? How did the United States attempt to control it? How did the pandemic impact American life?
  5. Choose either WW1 or WW2 and discuss how the war advanced, halted, or made no change to the rights of woman or another marginalized social group in the United States.
  6. Choose either WW1 or WW2 and analyze how wartime affected civil liberties in the United States.
  7. WRITE YOUR OWN: If you have a topic you are just burning to research and study, contact Ms. Nass to get your topic approved.

Q. Do you have an interest?

If 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.