David Lauderback
Professor of History

Research Project Guidelines
US History II

http://www.austincc.edu/dlauderb
 

The Purpose

The United States found itself at war with peoples of the Pacific Rim three times in living memory:  first with Japan in World War II, then Korea in the early 1950s, and finally in Vietnam from 1965-1975.  In this assignment, students will examine in detail some aspect of the life during the wartime by including evidence contained in popular culture:  oral history; music; television programming; radio; movies; literature; poetry; and advertising -- radio, print, and/or TV.  Students will then discuss what changes -- if any -- occurred as a consequence of war.  In this term research project, students will combine an analysis of the historical literature with an examination of the manifestations of popular culture to determine the the legacy of the wars on some aspect of life in the United States.

The Research Project

To begin, students will choose a Respondent and conduct an Oral History.   The Oral History will form the foundation of the research project.  Using the information gained from the Respondent, students will decide on a specific aspect of life in the United States during wartime to research and turn in a Topic Page.  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 must 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 a Final Draft of the Research Project the highest grade that you can receive is a C.  Additionllly, completion of the Final Draft does NOT automatically guarantee a grade of B or better.  The final effort will receive a point value that will be factored into the final course grade.  Please see the Course Schedule for details on grading.

Please see the Course Schedule for the dates by which you must submit your:  Respondent, Recorded Interview & Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, Outline, and Final Draft.

Selecting an Oral History Respondent

The oral history Respondent will be chosen in consultation with the instructor.  Respondents can be family members, neighbors, family friends, co-workers, classmates, or someone you have just met.  No, your respondent does NOT have to be someone who served in the United States Armed Forces.  They must, however, have reached 18 years of age by 1965.  That is, they must have been born no later than 1947.  Students MUST confirm their choice with the instructor via e-mail.

Conducting the Recorded Interview

Students will rely on the suggestions contained in the Sample Questions and Interview Guide (See below) to direct the conversation with their respondent.  Feel free to range beyond the categories and specific questions listed below, but be sure that you do cover each of the categories that you will need to write about in your final draft.  To ensure that you can accurately depict the words and experiences of your respondent, students must record the interview.  Use a recording device, e.g., tape recorder, answering machine, or iPOD.  Students will be expected to turn in their Recorded Interview with their Topic Page.  See Turning in the Recorded Interview below.

Interview Guide

Students will be expected to find someone who lived during at least one of these conflicts to discuss how the war, or wars, affected their lives.  In addition to gathering basic biographical information, students will be expected to determine to whether or not their subject accepted important historical themes, e.g., containment, racism, anti-Communism, etc., and to what extent they still share those beliefs.  The purpose of your interview is to learn, first hand, what life during wartime was like for one person.

Sample Questions

Use the Sample Questions below as a starting point for your conversation.   Be sensitive to your respondent and do not hesitate to explore their experiences that do not appear in these questions.  Remember, you will discuss issues and events that are very personal.  Let your interviewee tell you their thoughts.  DO NOT JUDGE THEM.  The purpose here is to gather a slice of life.  They lived through very different times.  Learn about those times through their experiences.

A. Biographical Summary
Ask about your interviewee's life.  When and where were they born?  Where and how did they grow up?  Tell me about their family, childhood, hometown, and education.  Did they ever marry?  Have kids?  Tell me about their adult life.  What kind of jobs have they held?  Why?  Spend some time getting to know your person and what has made them who they are.  Be sensitive to your respondent and do not hesitate to explore their experiences that do not appear in these questions.
B. Experiences
Now you need to focus on  the war(s).  Tell me about their experiences.  Where did they live during the war?  Did they serve in the Armed Services?  War Industry?  Did any family member so serve?  How did the war change their lives?  Their friends, neighbors, and family?  How did the war shape their view of life, family, and the future?  Did they go to school/college?  If so, where?  What did they study?  If so, how, if not why not?  Be sensitive to your respondent and do not hesitate to explore their experiences that do not appear in these questions.
C. Attitudes
Here you need to explore your respondent's ideals and values through their personal experiences and opinions.  How did issues of family, ideology, patriotism, and racism shape their thinking and their lives?  Do they have the same feelings now?  How have they changed?  Be sensitive to your respondent and do not hesitate to explore their experiences that do not appear in these questions.
D. Legacy
This is the most important part of your interview.  Find out how the war(s) affected your respondent's life.  What were their dreams/hopes/ambitions going into the war(s).  How did the events during the war(s) change their plans?  How has their view of the war changed of the years?  How has life in American changed because of the war?  Be sensitive to your respondent and do not hesitate to explore their experiences that do not appear in these questions.
Turning in the Recorded Interview

You must turn in the Recorded Interview when you submit the Topic Page.  The Interview can be either on tape or you can submit the recording on a disc/CD or via e-mail as a file that can played on Windows Media Player.  Students and are strongly encouraged to make sure that the instructor can retrieve any and all electronic files prior to any and all deadlines.  It is the student's responsibility -- and not the instructor's -- to ensure the accurate and timely submission of all course materials.  Do it early!

Selecting a Topic

Students will conduct the Oral History in search of a Topic for the Final Draft.  For the purposes of the Research Project the Topic must be very specific so that students can investigate and usefully explain their findings in one semester.  Focus on the interview:  what did you learn?  What intrigued you the most?  What was the most significant event/fact/theme/subject etc.?  To help disinter the evidence from the primary sources, students will then examine that aspect of American life before and after 1968.  Students will determine their Topic in consultation with the instructor.

Submitting a Topic Page

The Topic Page will include a word, phrase, or sentence that describes the focus of the Research Project.  Below the Topic students will provide one paragraph that explains what they learned from the Respondent, tells why they want to pursue the subject they have chosen, and uses quotes from the Oral History to illustrate the purpose of  the Research Project.  The Topic paragraph will have a length of 13-17 lines.  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.

Selecting an Annotated Bibliography

Students are expected to provide appropriate historical context for the themes they explore in the Final Draft.  To help the reader understand the time and place of the respondent's life, the Final Draft must use at least FOUR PRIMARY sources and FOUR SECONDARY sources.  [The Oral History is a primary source and counts as one of the FOUR primary sources that must be used in the Final Draft; the textbook Nation of Nations, Concise may count as one of the FOUR secondary sources.]

Generally, 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.  For this assignment, students are encouraged to explore alternative sources of information in popular culture, such as:  oral history; music; television programming; movies; literature; poetry; and advertising -- radio, print, and/or TV.

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.

Students can find secondary literature through the following web sites:

A-Z List of Resources

Start with Academic Search Premier and look for journal articles
Try also Books in Print

And, of course, the search engine at the ACC Library

No 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.

Submitting an Annotated Bibliography

Students will list each of their projected primary and secondary sources in bibliographic form and then annotate each citation.  The purpose of annotating your bibliography is to explain not only the contents of the source but also its value to you in preparing the paper.  Be specific and provide at least three sentences in each description.  Use quotes from the sources in each annotation to demonstrate the author's ideas. 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.

Submitting an Outline

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 Research Project.  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: Respondent, Recorded Interview, Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, Outline, and Final Draft.

Writing the Research Paper

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:

To assist in developing the Final Draft, students will be required to complete an Outline of their proposed Research Project.  Please see the Outline page for the requirements for the outline.

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.

A typical Final Draft would be organized as follows.

Title
By [Your Name]

I. Introduction

Here students will rely on the Topic Page to frame the research paper.  Students will draw on the words of the Respondent to illustrate the important themes that they will explore in the research paper.  Students will conclude the introduction with a dynamic thesis that explains the argument of the paper.
II. Analysis
A. Historical Context
Here students will use the secondary sources from the Annotated Bibliography to place the research in historical context.  Students will focus on the themes stated in the introduction and show how the secondary sources treat with the same themes.  The purpose of this paragraph is to give the reader a sense of what was happening during the war and what other historians have said about the topic.
B. Evidence -- Pre War(s)
Before the war(s):  In this paragraph, students will draw on primary sources to examine the themes discussed in the introduction in the period before the war(s).
C. Evidence -- During the War
    Wartime:  In this paragraph, students will use primary sources to examine how wartime affected their subject.
D. Evidence -- Post War
Legacy:  In this paragraph students will examine how life in the United States changed because of the events of the war(s) that the respondent lived through.
E. Evaluation
This is most important paragraph in the Final Draft.  Here, you will evaluate your evidence and compare that to the analysis provided by the secondary sources.  Does your research support, contradict, and/or modify the existing literature?  Your research might do some of all three.  Show how and why with specific examples from the secondary and primary sources.
III. Conclusion
In this paragraph you must summarize your paper.  Briefly restate your purpose, summarize your main points, and offer some final thoughts.
Some tips on writing

There are a few important things to consider when you write the Final Draft.  To begin with you must:

NEVER ASSUME.

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 secondary sources, and then distill them down to a their essence, and then apply selected nuggets from a variety of primary sources 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.

Each paragraph should be at least thirteen (13), but NOT more than twenty (20), lines long -- NOT sentences, but lines on the page.  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.

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 book.  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

Format Requirements 

ALL ASSIGNMENTS -- TOPIC PAGE, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, OUTLINE, AND FINAL DRAFT -- MUST CONFORM TO THE FORMAT SPECIFICATIONS BELOW.  ANY TOPIC PAGE, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, OUTLINE, OR FINAL DRAFT THAT DOES NOT CONFORM TO THE FORMAT SPECIFICATIONS BELOW WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

The format requirements for the completed Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, Outline, and Final Draft are:

Please:
DO NOT BOLDFACE; or
DO NOT ITALICIZE; or
DO    NOT         JUSTIFY
your text.

The above particulars are designed to ensure that all students complete works of similar length.

Please:

Do NOT use folders or other such binders; and
You do NOT need a cover sheet.

Documentation

ALL ASSIGNMENTS -- TOPIC PAGE, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, OUTLINE, AND FINAL DRAFT -- MUST CONFORM TO THE DOCUMENTATION SPECIFICATIONS BELOW.  ANY TOPIC PAGE, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, OUTLINE, OR FINAL DRAFT THAT DOES NOT CONFORM TO THE DOCUMENTATION SPECIFICATIONS BELOW WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

The documentation requirements for the completed Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, Outline, and Final Draft are:

To ensure that you give credit where credit is due, please refer to the source from which you extracted information.  Please use end notes to document your sources using the appropriate formatting (see above).  For the correct style, see John Grossman, ed., The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005). You can also use an abbreviated version by Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). The ACC Library has a link to TurabianThe ACC link is useful but at times limited. Both guides can be found at the ACC Library.  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 work cited.  Please use the appropriate formatting (see above).  And, please, do NOT ask if you can use MLA.  Use the Chicago Manual of Style or Turabian.

Grading Policy

The Topic Page will be graded "ACCEPTED" or "NOT ACCEPTED."  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 NOT submitted by the deadline listed in the Course Schedule will NOT be accepted.

The Annotated Bibliography will be graded "ACCEPTED" or "NOT ACCEPTED."  Recognize that an Annotated Bibliography rife with misspellings and grammatical errors will NOT be considered acceptable.  Any Annotated Bibliography that does NOT conform to the Format and Documentation specifications above will NOT be accepted. If you submit your Annotated Bibliography 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 Annotated Bibliography that is NOT submitted by the deadline listed in the Course Schedule will NOT be accepted. The Outline will be graded "ACCEPTED" or "NOT ACCEPTED."  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 NOT submitted by the deadline listed in the Course Schedule will NOT be accepted. The Final Draft of the Research Project will receive a point value equivalent to one (1) Exam grade that will be factored into the final course grade.  Recognize that a Final Draft rife with misspellings and grammatical errors will NOT be considered acceptable.  Any Final Draft that does NOT conform to the Format and Documentation specifications above will NOT be accepted.  If you submit your Final Draft before the deadline date in the syllabus and it is graded "NOT ACCEPTED" you may revise it and resubmit it prior to the date listed in the Course Schedule.  Any Final Draft that is NOT submitted by the deadline listed in the Course Schedule will NOT be accepted.

Deadlines

ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE DUE NO LATER THAN THE BEGINNING OF CLASS ON THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE;

and

STUDENTS WHO DO NOT SELECT A RESPONDENT BY THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO SUBMIT A FINAL DRAFT;

and

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;

and

STUDENTS WHO DO NOT SUBMIT A RECORDED INTERVIEW WITH THE TOPIC PAGE BY THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO SUBMIT A FINAL DRAFT;

and

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;

and

STUDENTS WHO DO NOT SUBMIT AN OUTLINE BY THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO SUBMIT A FINAL DRAFT;

and

ANY FINAL DRAFT THAT IS NOT SUBMITTED BY THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

REMEMBER:  ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE DUE NO LATER THAN THE BEGINNING OF CLASS ON THE DEADLINE LISTED IN THE COURSE SCHEDULE

The Research Project has several components.   Please see the Course Schedule for the dates by which you must submit your:  Respondent, Recorded Interview, Topic Page, Annotated Bibliography, Outline, and Final Draft.


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