Updated 1/19/2010


Guidance on writing the Historical paper:


Papers should be 7-10 pages, but some subjects may require more space.


Read Davidson and Lytle's book, not because you need to cite it, but because it provides excellent examples of how to tell a story and then raise questions about that story.


NOTE: No late papers will be accepted.


1) Your Name

2) Your TA

3) Who (if anyone) you worked with

4) List Your Primary Sources

5) List Your Secondary Sources

6) List the names of librarians you consulted with


7) Tell your story.  Explain why what you chose to study is influential and important (this is called 'framing').


8) Telling your story should give you excellent entrée into the discussion of sources.  What are the sources for the different parts of your story?  How do you evaluate the sources?  How does the nature, or tenor of the story depend on the different specific sources?  How do the sources agree or disagree?  What have you learned about the reliability of certain sources from other sources?  Think about the different filters that might come between you and the actual events (perspective, censorship, interpretation, availability, resources, bias, lies, and so on).  What have you learned about the reliability and availability of different kinds of sources?


9) When using secondary sources, be sure to read the footnotes or endnotes to figure out what primary sources your secondary source is relying on. If possible, you should comment on how the choice of primary sources may affect the perspective or bias of your secondary source.


10) Your historical paper should, of course, take account of the feedback you received on your historical proposal.