Learning Goal: I’m working on a history writing question and need a sample draft to help me learn.
Undertake a research project about an issue or question that most intrigues you about the events, cultures, people, arts, trade, cross-cultural contact, and phenomena during the period from approximately 1750-1914 CE, putting forth a problem, question, and argument about a significant issue you have found in the scholarship on your topic.
Browse the course syllabus for themes, topics, and/or readings that seem particularly interesting to you. Think also about your passions in life, like sports, dance social justice, etc. Use the formula found on this list of possible topic categories to come up with a strong, narrow topic
Find sources related to your topic: 1) Primary source(s) that you will analyze, make an argument about, or use to support your argument 2) At least two secondary sources that you will use to define your conceptual problem, provide background on the topic, and support your analysis. You may find the library’s Online Guide to Primary Sources and the MMW 14 Library Guide helpful here. You will need at least 3 sources for your paper, at least two of which are peer-reviewed articles from academic journals.
You can use your primary source(s) in a variety of ways for your MMW 14 research paper: Perhaps as the focus of your analysis and argument, or perhaps as evidence in support of an argument about a larger topic. In both cases, you’ll want to think about the rhetorical situation and strategies being employed in your text and what that might tell you about your topic: Why might an author shape the text and audience in a particular way? What might that reveal about the author? What might that reveal about the time and place the text was produced? What might it tell you about gender norms, class, political, social, or economic life, etc.? See the page on “Primary Source Analysis” in the Writing Project Overview, Guidelines, and Resources module for more guidance on analyzing primary sources.
While we’ll ask you to develop an initial research question, you should continue to refine it over the course of the quarter, and it should directly address the conceptual problem you identify. Your question should be open-ended, and answerable using scholarship and an analysis of texts.
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