Hist 1301 research project instructions


HIST 1301 Research Project Instructions

The purpose of this research project is to enhance your abilities as a researcher, writer, editor, student and future professional. You will be required to choose a historical topic and demonstrate what you have learned in your tenure as a student. 

Learning Objectives

1. Create an argument through the use of historical evidence. 

2. Analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources. 

3. Analyze the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on this period of United States history. 


This research project divided into a series of tasks, each with its own set of instructions.

1. Select your Topic

2. Compile a Research Journal

3. Outline your Ideas

4. Write your Research Paper

5. Make Corrections

Minimum Requirements for the Paper

Your paper must meet or exceed the minimum requirements listed below: 

1. Minimum of approximately 1,500 words. (I will be checking.) You will lose ten points for every 100 words below the minimum limit.  

2. Your work needs to be cited in Chicago format with footnotes. There will be no excuse for not having proper citations. There are plenty of materials on my website and the internet on how to do this. No Citations = No Grade  

3. Your paper must contain at least three primary and four secondary sources. The secondary sources must come from academic journals. 

4. Using Direct Quotes – You are limited to two direct quotes.  Five points will be deducted for each direct quote in excess of two. 

5. The paper needs to be submitted in Adobe (.pdf) or MSWORD.

Below you will find a step-by-step guide to assist you in developing your research project. 

Step 1 – Select your Topic

Selecting a topic for your paper is an important part of the research process. Select a topic that is both interesting to you and that there are enough available resources available. First, the topic must be interesting to you because you will find the paper more difficult to complete if you quickly lose interest. Secondly, you want to choose a topic that has enough available information; for example, writing about pre-Columbian Native American societies, you may run into the problem of a lack of primary sources.

If you wish to discuss a topic with me, you need to visit me during tutoring, office hours or by appointment.  We can also discuss your topic through email. There are a few topics that are off-limits. You cannot write papers over topics covered in other assignments in this course.  I also ban the Salem Witch Trials, out of redundancy.

Requirements for Topic Selection

1. The topic must be between the years 1607 and 1865. 

2. The topic should not be a biography or a summary of an event.

3. The topic should be about United States History

4. Do not choose topics that are too broad, this is a short paper, trying to discuss the Civil War 

Please submit your topics to the corresponding area in the Canvas Modules. 

Step 2 – Compiling a Research Journal

A research journal will help you organize and track your sources throughout the research project. There is a Research Journal Worksheet in the Major Paper Module in Canvas. This worksheet will assist you in completing your paper’s bibliography. 

Step 3 – Developing an Outline

At some point, before you begin to write your paper, you will need to organize your thoughts and information you have collected. A poorly organized paper is confusing and will leave the reader wondering what the purpose of the paper is.

Organize the information you have collected into major themes you wish to discuss. You will need to distinguish between your main arguments, secondary arguments, and supporting evidence. A sample outline is available at the end of this document (click here).  

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