History 1301 (Distance Learning)
A-Level Objective: Research Paper

To make an A in this course you must have a TEST AVERAGE OF 24  AND write a research paper.

Rationale: This term paper provides an opportunity for the student to examine, in depth, one specific event, topic, or person in American History from 1492 - 1877. It will enable you to research an area of interest to you, define a specific subarea of particular interest for further research, and then present the results in a well-written term paper.

General Requirements:

1. You must select the topic in consultation with me before the date specified in the syllabus. Recognize that this is a collaborative process that will usually take several emails/conversations to ensure that you have a topic that is narrow enough so that you can have something valuable to say, but is also a topic that has readily available sources for you to consult. In the past, students have proposed topics that research a historical question that is related to their major field of study. While it is not a requirement, the idea is to involve you in an area of interest that will also benefit you in your chosen career path and, at the same time, have sources of information readily available to you. Remember, you will be making an argument rather than just recounting a narrative of events. When thinking about your topic you will want to think of what VERY SPECIFIC question you intend to answer in your paper. You must have WRITTEN APPROVAL for your topic or your paper will not be accepted. This project should help to develop your knowledge of historical resources and give you experience in critically examining a large amount of written material while crafting a well-written term paper. You may wish to consult other links on my webpage and the ACC History Department's webpage for additional help in choosing a topic, finding sources and writing the paper. Other useful sites to help you in selecting a topic and writing your paper include the  ACC History Databases, ACC Research Guides, and Reading, Writing and Researching History.

2. The BODY of the paper (not including footnotes and bibliography) must be at least 2000 words and no more than 2500 words long. This translates into about eight double-spaced typewritten pages. Exceptions to these limits must be approved by the instructor before the paper is submitted. 

3. The term paper must include A MINIMUM of  THREE PRIMARY sources and FOUR SECONDARY sources. At least TWO of your sources must be books that you have read. A primary source is something written by an individual who lived at the time and observed the event that he or she is describing. Primary sources usually take the form of letters, diaries, journals, newspapers, government documents, and autobiographies. IT DOES NOT COUNT AS ONE OF YOUR PRIMARY SOURCES if you take a source listed in one of your secondary sources. Secondary sources are books and articles written at a later time, usually by historians who were not participants in the event. Your textbook, encyclopedias (including Wikipedia), dictionaries and juvenile works are NOT ACCEPTABLE SOURCES.  No term paper will be accepted unless it contains the requisite number of primary and secondary sources. The  SOURCES MUST DIRECTLY SUPPORT THE ARGUMENTS you make in your paper. The quality of your sources is an important factor in determining if your paper is accepted. If your sources (both primary and secondary) are of low quality or they do not reflect the statements made in your paper or they are of only tangential value YOUR PAPER WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.  Make sure to contact me if you have any questions about a source.

4. Consult with me or any ACC librarian  for direction in finding your sources. Austin has numerous libraries and depositories including The University of Texas General Libraries, the Benson Latin American Collection, the Barker Texas History Center, the Travis County Collection of the Austin Public Library, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, and many others in addition to the resources available at ACC. 

5. FOOTNOTES/ENDNOTES ARE REQUIRED in the term paper and they MUST BE SEPARATE from the annotated bibliography. The preferred forms are found in Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations located in the ACC libraries.  Footnotes/endnotes are mandatory for both direct quotations AND information you use from other sources.,

6. AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY is required. Divide your sources into PRIMARY and SECONDARY groupings. For each source write a few sentences explaining its value and content.  The form can be found in Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. The purpose of annotating your bibliography is to get you to think critically about the sources that you use in your research. These sources must be germane to your paper. Sources that are of little or only tangential value to your paper will not be considered acceptable. This means your paper WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Make sure to contact me if you have a question about a source. 

7. Any form of scholastic dishonesty, especially plagiarism, in the production of this paper or in any other part of the course WILL NOT BE TOLERATED! Any student committing any form of scholastic dishonesty in this course will automatically receive the grade of "F" in the course and be reported to ACC authorities for further disciplinary action. The college policy states: "Acts prohibited by the College for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty. including but not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their thought, research, or self-expression. Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations, and homework." Help understanding plagiarism can be found at the ACC Library website and accreditedschoolsonline.org.

8. If you have any questions concerning the term paper at any point in the process, be sure to contact me.

9. Proofread your paper. Recognize that a paper rife with misspellings and grammatical errors WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Make sure that you use Kate Turabian's, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations for your footnotes/endnotes and bibliography. You will submit two copies of your paper. One copy will be sent to SafeAssign via Blackboard and the other will be sent to me as an email attachment. In the attachment you send to me make sure that you:
Include a COVER SHEET that
    A. includes your name
    B. course number (History 1301-098 for example)
    C. your thesis statement or the specific question your intend to answer in your paper
2.) Name your attachment, "your name." 
3.) Make sure your paper is a doc, docx or pdf format. Other formats WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
4.) Make sure your paper answers the question you originally posed
5.) Make sure your bibliography is annotated and divided into PRIMARY and SECONDARY sources. Primary sources are those written by someone who has observed they events they are writing about. If your do not have the requisite number and types of sources or your sources are not germane to your argument, your paper WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED
Make sure you send your paper to me and to SafeAssign via Blackboard before the deadline because papers sent in after the deadline WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
7.) Make sure that I respond indicating that I have it. Failure to meet ANY OF THESE  instructions will mean that your paper WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Grading: The research paper will be graded "ACCEPTED"or "NOT ACCEPTED." Failure to meet any of the above requirements will mean that your paper will not be accepted. If you submit your paper one week BEFORE the deadline date in the syllabus and it is graded "NOT ACCEPTED" you may revise it and resubmit it prior to the deadline date. 

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