Written Assignment/Paper Topic Selection and Thesis Statement

With your instructor’s approval, select a topic from within the historical parameters of this course that is relevant to the course outcomes. You will perform preliminary research and create a working thesis statement with the understanding that it may be slightly modified later in the research process. Your topic/thesis is due by the end of week 2 and must show that you’ve done some preliminary research.

Selecting a topic. Visit this Website, http://polaris.umuc.edu/ewc/ChooseTopic/ChooseTopic.html, for guidance on how to select a research topic. As indicated previously, I will make suggestions from time to time in the conference dialogues.

Developing a thesis statement. This is the main idea or central theme that you are developing, and the body of the paper should be designed to support your thesis. Therefore, the thesis should be stated at the outset of the paper, in your introduction. For example, “Should Abraham Lincoln be regarded as ‘the Great Emancipator’?” Here you provide evidence in support of this idea, as well as information to the contrary. Then you would weigh the merits of one versus the other and draw a conclusion. In the conclusion, you could take sides or decline to do so by indicating that both viewpoints have merit and why you believe that to be the case.

II. Written Assignment/Paper Annotated Bibliography

Write an annotated bibliography. This will list and describe a minimum of 10 primary and secondary sources, with specific requirements detailed below, that you may use in your paper.

The annotated bibliography should involve a variety of primary and secondary sources, including at least two primary sources and articles from at least two academic journals; it should not include encyclopedias (including Wikipedia), dictionaries, or non-professional websites. Each annotation should include a full, properly formatted Chicago style citation, 1-2 paragraphs detailing the basic argument of the work, the type of evidence used to prove the thesis, and an explanation of the value of the information to your paper. Your annotated bibliography is due by the end of week 3.

Identifying primary and secondary sources. Primary sources would be the words and deeds of Lincoln himself, and those of his contemporaries—like Frederick Douglass—while secondary sources would be what have been written about Lincoln based upon primary sources. The foundation of the paper must be primary sources, with secondary sources being used to present and/or support the thesis based on the work of other scholars.

III. Written Assignment/Paper

Submit a finished paper that includes a title page, endnotes pages (if used) and bibliography (without annotations). This paper will be 8-10 double-spaced pages (excluding the title page, endnotes pages, and the bibliography), with one-inch margins, times new roman font size 12, and either footnotes or endnotes (Chicago Style). Do not use parenthetical notes. If you’re not sure about what this means, ask your instructor.

Thesis Statement. Your paper will start with the thesis statement and introduction which should be a well-developed paragraph.

Body of the Paper. The finished paper will use both primary and secondary sources to increase the plausibility of the clearly stated, analytical thesis. It will be carefully structured, composed, and proofread, with all required components included in the correct order. You need a minimum of 7 sources to be eligible for a grade of C; 10 sources to be eligible for an A. Note the specific requirements for primary and secondary sources.

Conclusion. The end of the paper should indicate what conclusion you have come to after having researched and written about the subject. It should also demonstrate how or why you have arrived at a particular conclusion.

Bibliography. The works—both primary and secondary—that are used in your paper should all be listed in your bibliography.

The final paper should be 8-10 double-spaced pages in length, exclusive of title page and any endnote and bibliography pages. It should be composed in Microsoft Word with one-inch margins on all sides, 10 or 12 pitch, Times New Roman font. Check the Course Schedule for the due date.

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