Individual History of a Civilization Research Paper 1. Choosing a topic: Choose an individual from the list below.
Even though you cannot use your textbook or encyclopedias as sources in writing your paper, they are a good place to get started.
- Doing Research: Start with very general books such as a history of a civilization, people, region or country a period of history, or the history of a subject (e.g. science, art, a religion). Try to learn as much as you can about the individual, his/her country and century appropriate to your topic.
Use a variety of sources (books, articles, internet, etc.). Try to use a PRIMARY SOURCE if possible. This is something written by someone who lived during the time you are writing about ñ an eyewitness account, something written by one of the historical characters in your paper, or a history written at the time. You are not limited to the Trident Tech library (Learning Resource Center). Try the libraries at the College of Charleston and The Citadel, as well as the public library downtown (on Calhoun Street with free parking for one hour). Our libraryís interlibrary loan program is also very good about getting books quickly.
- Finding the Thesis: You need a PURPOSE to guide your research and organize your paper. Your Thesis will be fairly straightforward. Your paper is to analyze the importance and significance of the individual you choose as your topic.
Your thesis should be limited to the time period of your paper. Don’t try to connect or compare your topic to the present. This is a more demanding type of paper and beyond what you are expected to do in this course.
- Writing the Paper: THIS IS THE HARDEST PART. DONíT PUT IT OFF UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. While doing the research is the easier part, SET YOURSELF A DEADLINE to stop researching and START WRITING at least a week before the paper is due. If you want me to look at a draft and give you suggestions, you must give me the draft no later than 2 weeks before the paper is due. (See ìOTHER IMPORTANT NOTESî below.)
Individual History of a Civilization Research Paper
- Start with an introduction paragraph (introduce your individual and give a little background on the country/empire that your individual is from that helps place him/her in his historical location).
- End your intro with your Thesis (Was this individual significant/important? Why?)
- After your intro, your next paragraph should give some background on the individual himself and re-enforce your thesis.
- You then should have about 3-5 paragraphs supporting your thesis (what your individual did and why it was important/significant). This is where your research should be used to support your thesis and your ideas. (This is where the analysis really comes in!!) (Although the thesis and ideas are yours, you should NEVER write in the First Person. Rather, your paper should always be in Third Person, and in Past Tense!) While supporting your thesis, do not forget to look at evidence that may possibly ìdisproveî your thesis, and try to counter it with arguments that support your thesis.
- Finally, you will have a conclusion paragraph that wraps up the entire paper. You will want to re-visit your thesis in the conclusion and give your final analysis as to why your thesis is correct and supported.
Individual History of a Civilization Research Paper Core Curriculum Competencies
All courses approved for the general education core curriculum help students develop critical thinking and/or communication skills.
HIS 104 develops the critical thinking core competency. Critical Thinking is the ability to evaluate concepts and information and draw clear, logical conclusions based on evidence.
Critical Thinking Assessment: All students will demonstrate the critical thinking competency in the Research paper.
IMPORTANT: I do not want you to write just description or a biography of a person. History is not just what happened, but why and how it happened, and the significance. How did things change? Why did they stay the same? Choose your topic, do your research, then develop your own position, argument or opinion and use your research to support your position.
- Citation of Sources: YOU MUST USE CITATIONS to tell your reader the source of all the facts and opinions in your paper that you get from your research. You must have a citation for all the information from your research material, EVEN IF IT IS NOT A DIRECT QUOTATION. It is not necessary to use a direct quotation for the information you use in your paper from your research sources, but you must give a citation even if you do not quote from your sources. Avoid overusing direct quotations. It is usually better to put the material in your own words along with a citation of its source.
Individual History of a Civilization Research Paper Other Important Instructions for Citations:
Citations are one of the most difficult parts of doing a good research paper. If you have not written a college research paper before, you may need help from me, or the Writing Center (in the Learning Center in building 920, room 211).
- Do not put all your citations at the end of a paragraph but put them immediately after the sentence or sentences containing the information from that source. Do not break up a sentence with a citation.
- Anything that is considered ìcommon knowledgeî does not need to be cited. (For example: ìColumbus sailed to the New World in 1492.î No citation needed. BUT ìOn 13 January 1493 Columbus made his last stop in the New World. He landed on the Samana Peninsula where he met the hostile Ciguayos who presented him with his only violent resistance during his first voyage to the Americasî (Dunn and Kelly, pp. 333-334). Note both (a) since the sentence contains specific knowledge it needs to be cited, and (b) the citation comes at the end of the sentence, after the closing of the parenthetic, and before the period to end the sentence.
- Avoid using direct quotations too much. It is usually better to put the information in your own words as long as you include a citation of its source. Quotations over four lines should be indented without quotations marks.
I prefer that you NOT mention the source of the citation in the sentence itself but put it after the sentence.
It is not necessary to mention your sources in the text of your paper. I do not want a paper about historians or histories, but about history.
WRITE IN THE PAST TENSE. To avoid confusion in which verb tense to use, I recommend writing in the past tense throughout your paper. Do not skip back and forth from present to past tenses. It is not necessary to mention your sources (historians and books) in the text of your paper. I donít want a paper about historians or histories, but about history. But be sure to use the MLA citation to credit the sources of your information. ALSO, DO NOT USE FIRST PERSON (I, ME, WE ETC.)
OTHER IMPORTANT NOTES. Avoid asking ìhypotheticalî or ìrhetoricalî questions in your paper! Instead, you should make the question a statement. Make sure to write out contractions with full words (ex. Write do not instead of donít). When writing numbers, if the number is less than 100, or if it is the first word of a sentence, write the number out (ex. ìThere were eighty-five deaths and 2000 injuries. Three-thousand were reported missing.î) Exception: when writing dates always use numerical characters (ex. ìIn the year 70 AD the city of Jerusalem was besieged by the Romans.î)
PLAGIARISM. Do not copy any portion of your paper from your textbook, an internet website, or any other source without clearly indicating that it is a direct quotation by putting it in quotation marks and by giving a citation showing the source. You are allowed to use a few quotations in your research paper but use them sparingly. Most of your paper must be your own words and no portion of it can be written by someone else. Changing a few words of a passage does not make it your own wording. Copying any portion of your paper other than what is clearly identified as a direct quotation from another source or personís writing is a form of academic misconduct as defined in the Trident Technical College Student Handbook 2009-2010 (pages 45-46) and can result in a failing grade for that assignment as well as disciplinary action.
WORD OF CAUTION ABOUT PLAGIARISM: According to Websterís New World Dictionary, to plagiarize is to ìtake the ideas, writings, etc. from another and pass them off as oneís ownî (570). When you do this, you are committing a form of academic dishonesty and this is a type of stealing. Please read the STUDENT HANDBOOK, Academic Misconduct, Pages 45-46, if you have any questions. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and may result in a failing grade or suspension/expulsion from the College. I am always available to answer questions about sources and citations if need be, please do not hesitate to ask.