Research Project Guidelines
US History I
The Research Project
Students will examine in detail some aspect of the life of slaves in the United States since 1619. Students will take advantage of a wealth of "slave narratives" -- words from slaves and former slaves themselves -- to research and write about slave life. To begin, students will choose to read a Book, one of three Classic Slave Narratives: Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, or Harriet Jacobs/Linda Brent. The narrative students choose to read will form the foundation of the research project. Using the information gained from reading one of the above narratives, students will decide on a specific aspect of slave life to research and turn in a Topic. Then, students will assemble an Annotated Bibliography of primary and secondary readings for the project where they will describe the utility of each source. Next, students will prepare a detailed Outline of their final research paper that will conform to the specific guidelines on the Outline page. Finally, students will prepare a Final Draft of their research in a paper. All written work submitted for the Research Project must conform to the Format and Documentation Requirements listed below and be submitted by the deadlines listed in the Course Schedule.
The Research Project will require a sustained effort over the entire semester. Be sure to consult regularly with your instructor for details on how to complete the Research Project.
The Research Project is required for those students who desire a grade of B or better. If you do NOT complete the Research Project the highest grade that you can receive is a C. Additionally, completion of the Research Project does NOT automatically guarantee a grade of B or better. The Research Project is comprised of a: Book Choice, Topic Page (10 pts), Annotated Bibliography (15 pts), Outline (25 pts), and Final Draft (50 pts). Combined, the Research Project will equal the value of one exam grade (100 pts).
Please see the Course Schedule for the dates by which you must submit your: Book choice, Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, Outline, and Final Draft.
Selecting a Book
Students will use one of three slave narratives as the foundation for their research into the life of African-American slavery in the United States. The three Classic Slave Narratives are: Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, or Harriet Jacobs/Linda Brent. Each of these works is available on the web. Just click on the title:
NOTE: Try both links for the Frederick Douglass book.
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass or Narrative of the Life of Frederick DouglassEach of these works has been published many times and are available at the ACC Library. Or they can all be found in:
Harriet Jacobs/Linda Brent, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Olaudah Equiano, The Life of Olaudah Equiano
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., ed. and intro., The Classic Slave Narratives (New York: Signet Classics, 2002). ISBN 0451528247
Students will read their chosen narrative to learn the first-hand experiences of a former slave. The Book will provide background on the subject and assist students in choosing a Topic to research. Students must submit their choice of a Book to read by the deadline listed in the Course Schedule.
Students will read the Book in search of a Topic for the Final Draft. For the purposes of the Final Draft the Topic must be very specific so that students can investigate and usefully explain their findings in one semester. To help disinter the evidence from the primary sources, students will pick three (3) themes/events/issues to analyze. Students will determine their Topic and the three (3) themes/events/issues in consultation with the instructor.
Submitting a Topic Page (10 pts)
The Topic Page will form the core of the introduction in the Final Draft. So start by making your topic your title. Centered at the top of the Topic Page students will place a word or phrase as the title. The title describes the focus of the Research Project. Underneath on a separate line, students will list the three themes/events/issues they intend to explore in the Final Draft. Next, below the Topic and themes, students will write one paragraph that concentrates on the three (3) themes/events/issues that will be the focus of the analysis. Students need to launch their introduction with a sentence that captures the readers attention. Then, students will discuss each of the three (3) themes/events/issues. Finally, students will wrap up the paragraph with a statement of why they feel the project has merit. Tell me why you believe your topic matters. The Topic paragraph should be at least 13 but not more than 17 lines long. The Topic Page will conform to the Format and Documentation Requirements specified below. Students must submit the Topic Page in class by the deadline listed in the Course Schedule.
Next, students will assemble an Annotated Bibliography of primary and secondary readings for the project. A primary source is something written by an individual who lived at the time and took part in the event that he or she is describing. Primary sources usually take the form of letters, diaries, journals, newspapers, government documents, and autobiographies.
Students can find a veritable host of primary sources from the following web sites.
American Slave Narratives has 13 narratives from the Federal Writers Project and explains the strengths and weaknesses of this resource.Secondary sources are books and articles written at a later time, usually by historians who were not participants in the event. Encyclopedias and general information web sites, e.g., The History Channel, Wikipedia, History.com, etc., are not considered scholarly works and will not be accepted as secondary sources.
Been Here So Long is a useful introduction to the Federal Writers Project collection of slave narratives with a sample of 17 narratives from the Library of Congress along with good links to photos and documents.
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers Project The most complete collection of recordings from the late 1930s comes from the Library of Congress (LOC).
North American Slave Narratives is a remarkable compendium of published slave narratives as well as important documents by free blacks and whites.
The African Experience in Ohio: WPA Ex-Slave Narratives, 1937-8 has a collection of WPA recordings not available via the LOC.
Slavery and the Making of America: The WPA Narratives provides links to more slave narrative web sites.
The Slave Heritage Resource Center offers a number of primary sources including drawings, maps, and photos.
And The Mariners Center focuses on the trans-Atlantic slave trade
Students can find secondary literature through the following web sites;
A-Z List of ResourcesNo Final Draft will be accepted unless it contains the requisite number of primary and secondary sources. If you have any questions about a source, ask the instructor.
Start with Academic Search Premier and look for journal articles
Try also Books in Print
Another excellent search engine can be found at the Shomburg Library
In Motion -- The African-American Migration Experience
And, of course, the search engine at the ACC Library
Submitting an Annotated Bibliography (15 pts)
The Final Draft must use at least FOUR PRIMARY sources and FOUR SECONDARY sources. The Book is a primary source and counts as one of the FOUR primary sources that must be used in the Final Draft; the texbook by Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty! An American History, may be used as one of the FOUR secondary sources.
In the Annotated Bibliography, students will list each of their projected primary and secondary sources in alphabetical order using the Documentation form listed below. Then, students need to annotate each citation. The purpose of annotating your bibliography is to explain not only the contents of the source but its value to you in preparing the paper. Tell me, what the source is about and why does it help you. Be specific and provide at least three sentences in each description. Use quotes from the source in each annotation to demonstrate the author's ideas. Make sure that you use endnotes for each the quotes. And, remember, the Annotated Bibliography must conform to the Format and Documentation Requirements specified below. Students must submit an Annotated Bibliography by the deadline listed in the Course Schedule.
To assist in developing the Final Draft, students will be required to complete an Outline of their proposed Research Project. The purpose of the Outline is to give students an opportunity to organize their research in a useful manner and to provide the blueprint for the Final Draft. See the directions on the Outline page to complete this stage of the Final Draft. The Outline must conform to the Format and Documentation Requirements specified below. Students must submit an Outline by the deadline listed in the Course Schedule.
Please see the Course Schedule for the dates by which you must submit your: Book choice, Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, Outline, and Final Draft.
Writing the Final Draft (50 pts)
This is a term project that demonstrates a student's ability to write clearly, use good grammar and punctuation, analyze the material in a concise manner, and offer their thoughts on the primary and secondary sources. The Research Project will require a sustained effort over the entire semester. Be sure to consult regularly with your instructor for details on how to complete the Research Project.
Students are expected to accomplish five (5) tasks in the Final Draft:
Remember: ONLY students who submit the Book, Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, and Outline, by the deadline listed in the Course Schedule will be permitted to submit a Final Draft.
Some tips on writing
There are a few important things to consider when you write the Final Draft. To begin with you must:
When you write the Final Draft, DO NOT ASSUME that you can leave out critical information because you know that I am familiar with the subject.
Instead, you must tell me the:
MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION
so that I will clearly understand your analysis of the primary and secondary sources.
DO NOT REWRITE THE SOURCES.
Your task in this assignment is to show that you can digest several different primary and secondary sources, distill them down to their essence, and then apply selected nuggets into a coherent argument. You simply do not have the space to repeat everything. So, do not waste time and effort trying to rewrite the sources.
Begin your paragraph with a dynamic topic sentence that tells the
reader what is coming in the paragraph and why it matters. When
you tell your reader what you are going to talk about, you
describe the 'what.' When you explain 'why' it matters, now you
analyze. So be sure to start your paragraph with a topic sentence
that tells your reader the 'who' did 'what' and 'why.'
Each paragraph is a mini-paper. Make the first sentence of each paragraph an introduction to that paragraph. Tell your reader what to expect in the paragraph. This is called the topic sentence. Summarize your point at the end of the paragraph, like the conclusion of a paper. In between, give lots of evidence to prove your point. Each paragraph should be at least thirteen (13), but NOT more than seventeen (17), lines long -- NOT sentences, but lines on the page.
Make your sentences active. Fill your Final Draft with verbs that move the reader along from point to point. Writing that relies on the verb “to be” -- is, was, are, etc. -- quickly becomes repetitious and will NOT convince your reader. I do not expect you to eliminate the verb “to be” entirely, but come very close.
Quotes help spice up a paper by giving the reader the flavor of the sources. So, include quotations where appropriate to illustrate your points. Using quotes helps to establish your understanding of the key themes, events, person, etc., in your paper. Hence, the use of quotes constitutes a substantial portion of your Final Draft grade. Remember to cite your quotes following the directions in the Documentation section below. And, if you use information that comes from a source, you must cite that information whether you use a quote or not. Again, follow the directions in the Documentation section below.
ALL ASSIGNMENTS -- TOPIC PAGE, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, OUTLINE, AND FINAL DRAFT -- MUST CONFORM TO THE FORMAT SPECIFICATIONS BELOW.
If you do not follow the format requirements for the
completed Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, Outline,
and Final Draft listed below,
then you will lose Points:
- Submit as e-mail attachment as a Word or PDF file NO LATER THAN 11:59 PM on the deadline listed in the Course Schedule;
- NOTE: Do NOT submit as a Google.Doc or Pages.
Google.docs is limited and makes it very difficult to complete the format reqs or insert endnotes.
- TOPIC PAGE, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, OUTLINE, AND FINAL DRAFT submitted as Google.doc and/or Pages files will will NOT be accepted;
- Page numbers -- top right; 1 Point
- Title -- Top, center, page 1; 1 Point
- Name -- Center; below title with appropriate spacing (see below); 1 Point
- Text -- Begins right below the name on page 1, with appropriate spacing (see below): 1 Point
- Spacing -- TRIPLE spaced, typed; 1 Point
- Margins -- one (1) inch from the edge of the page on the: top, left, right, and bottom; 1 Point
- Font Size -- 12; 1 Point
- Font Type -- Times New Roman ; 1 Point
- Length --
- TOPIC PAGE 1 page; 3.0 pts or 70%
- There is no length requirement for the ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY or Outline;
- FINAL DRAFT must be seven (7) paragraphs in seven (7) pages, no more and no less; 15 Points or 70%
Keep paragraphs to thirteen (13) - seventeen (17), lines long -- not sentences, but lines on a page
- End notes -- place at the end of your document; [Not counted in the length. See Documentation below.] 2 Points
- Bibliography -- on a separate page. [Not counted in the length. See Documentation below.] 2 Points
- If you include notes but do not use the correct font size and type and spacing – see above –
or the correct Turabian or The Chicago Manual of Style Online indent and format – see Documentation below. 1 point
- DEADLINE: 70% See the Course Schedule for the date the Outline and the Final Draft are due.
- If the the TOPIC PAGE, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, OUTLINE and/or FINAL DRAFT are received after the 11:59 pm deadline on the date listed on the Course Schedule, the highest grade you can receive on the assignment will be 70%;
- TOPIC PAGE, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, OUTLINE and/or FINAL DRAFT submitted more than one day after the deadline listed in the Course Schedule will NOT be accepted.
- TOPIC PAGE, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, OUTLINE and/or Final Drafts submitted after the last day of the semester will NOT be accepted
DO NOT BOLDFACE; or
DO NOT ITALICIZE; or
DO NOT JUSTIFY
The above particulars are designed to ensure that all students complete works of similar length.
Do NOT use folders or other such binders; and
You do NOT need a cover sheet.
ALL ASSIGNMENTS -- TOPIC PAGE, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, OUTLINE,
AND FINAL DRAFT -- MUST CONFORM TO
THE DOCUMENTATION SPECIFICATIONS BELOW.
The documentation requirements for the completed Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, Outline, and Final Draft are:
Please use endnotes and a bibliography to refer to the source from which you extracted information. To ensure that you give credit where credit is due, use Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). Please use the ACC Library link to Turabian. Save yourself considerable time confusion and do NOT use any other Turabian web page. Seriously. Most are incorrect. For the correct style, you can also see John Grossman, ed., The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010). Both guides can be found at the ACC Library.
Please do NOT use reference style where you put the author's name and page number at the end of the sentence. (Lauderback 2013, 1) Instead, be sure to insert an endnote in your text to tell your reader you have details that come from a source that is not you. Go to Microsoft Word Help and enter 'endnote' for how to insert notes. See the ACC Library link to Turabian for:
The ACC Librarians have put together a remarkable page with all kinds of details and examples for you to follow. And, a link for asking questions! Check out Turabian. Please use the appropriate formatting -- including margins, font size and type, and spacing (see above).
Include a Bibliography on a separate page (with no page number), at the end of your Topic Page, Outline and Final Draft. Here you provide a complete citation for each source cited. A bibliography is NOT the same as a Works Cited. And, a bibliography is NOT the same as the endnotes. And while a bibliography includes most of the same information as the notes, there are important differences, e.g., the order of the author's name, the use of commas, periods, parentheses, and page numbers. Please use the appropriate formatting -- including indents, margins, font size and type, and spacing (see above).
And, please, do NOT ask if you can use MLA. Use Turabian. Thank you!
The Topic Page will receive a maximum of 10 points. Recognize that a Topic Page rife with misspellings and grammatical errors will NOT be considered acceptable. Any Topic Page that does NOT conform to the Format and Documentation specifications above will NOT be accepted. If you submit your Topic Page before the deadline date in the Course Schedule and it is graded “NOT ACCEPTED” you may revise it and resubmit it prior to the deadline date. Any Topic Page that is submitted after the deadline listed in the Course Schedule will NOT be accepted.
The Outline will receive a maximum 25 points. Recognize that an Outline rife with misspellings and grammatical errors will NOT be considered acceptable. Any Outline that does NOT conform to the Format and Documentation specifications above will NOT be accepted. If you submit your Outline before the deadline date in the Course Schedule and it is graded “NOT ACCEPTED” you may revise it and resubmit it prior to the deadline date. Any Outline that is submitted after the deadline listed in the Course Schedule will NOT be accepted.
ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE DUE NO LATER THAN 11:59 PM ON THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE;
STUDENTS WHO DO NOT SELECT A BOOK BY THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO SUBMIT A FINAL DRAFT;
STUDENTS WHO DO NOT SUBMIT A TOPIC PAGE BY THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO SUBMIT A FINAL DRAFT;
STUDENTS WHO DO NOT SUBMIT AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY BY THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO SUBMIT A FINAL DRAFT;
STUDENTS WHO DO NOT SUBMIT AN OUTLINE BY THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO SUBMIT A FINAL DRAFT;
andSTUDENTS WHO SUBMIT AN BOOK, TOPIC PAGE, OR OUTLINE THAT IS "NOT ACCEPTED" WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO SUBMIT THE NEXT PART(S) OF THE RESEARCH PROJECT INCLUDING THE FINAL DRAFT.
ANY FINAL DRAFT THAT IS NOT SUBMITTED BY THE DEADLINE RULES LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
REMEMBER: ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE DUE NO LATER THAN 11:59 PM ON THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE.
YOU SUBMIT ANY OR ALL OF THE PARTS OF THE RESEARCH PROJECT ELECTRONICALLY VIA EMAIL AS A WORD OR PDF FILE.
ALL ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS MUST MEET THE FORMAT REQUIREMENTS ABOVE.
IF THE ATTACHED FILE CANNOT BE VIEWED BY THE INSTRUCTOR THEN THE ASSIGNMENT WILL BE MARKED “NOT ACCEPTED.”
The Research Project has several components. Please see the Course Schedule for the dates by which you must submit your: Book choice, Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, Outline, and Final Draft.
© David Marcus Lauderback, 2022 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED