The AMH 2010 Final Writing Assignment is designed to hone and practice your research and writing skills.

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Prepare a 750-1,000 word research paper on a topic of your choosing. Using the course textbook, select an interesting person, place, event, or idea American History from Exploration to 1877. If you are having difficulty selecting a topic, reach out to me. Be careful not to choose too broad of a topic, as you cannot cover all of the American Revolution in 750-1,000 words.


For example, you cannot choose to write about Thomas Jefferson’s role as Secretary of State in President Washington’s cabinet.
If you have a question, ask in advance.

Research papers must answer this fundamental question:

What is the significance of (your topic) in American History to 1877?


Must be a minimum of 750 words, but no more than 1,000 words. Word count must be noted on the last page of the paper, NOT ON THE WORKS CITED PAGE;
Must answer the fundamental question, What is the significance of (your topic) in American History to 1877? with a clear and convincing thesis statement;
A clear and convincing thesis statement answers the question, What is the significance of (your topic) in American History to 1877? and provides the reasons for the answer:

For example:

The English Bill of Rights was significant in American History because it laid the foundation for civil rights, decreased the power of the monarchy, and gave rise to the modern legal profession.

Must have a separate Works Cited page;
Must be double-spaced;
Must have an original title and the appropriate heading and title on the first page, see sample paper;
Must have the appropriate header, see sample paper;
Must use the 8th edition MLA citation style, see attached handouts;
Must include in-text citations;
The bibliography must contain at least 5 sources, two of which must be primary sources; YOU MUST REFERENCE AND PROVIDE A QUOTE FROM AT LEAST TWO PRIMARY SOURCES IN THE BODY OF YOUR PAPER; and,
Must be submitted in one of the following file formats: .doc or .docx

The following link may be helpful to students who are inexperienced at writing formal research papers: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History.
(Links to an external site.)
Read all the sections, but pay particular attention to these pages:

Preparing History Papers;
How to read primary and secondary sources;
The Research process;

The following is a link to a Research Guide prepared by FSW American History to 1877
(Links to an external site.)
, which features primary source collections and reliable secondary source suggestions.

Please find below a sample research paper and MLA Handouts that illustrate the proper MLA format, heading, and header, and it is instructive for those that need some additional help with organization and writing. Download the files and keep as a reference.


MLA 8th Edition Citation Guide.pdf


For assistance with your bibliography and in-text citations, use these links:

Citation Guide .
(Links to an external site.)
from FSW;

(Links to an external site.)

(Links to an external site.)


What to Cite and Common Knowledge:

In a research paper for history, you DO NOT NEED TO CITE COMMON KNOWLEDGE. Common knowledge may be considered any information easily available in an encyclopedia. Common knowledge can be comprised of basic historical facts, such as biographical information about famous people, dates of historical events, and place names. For example, most everyone knows that the Civil War began in 1861.
Little known facts or specifics about a historical event or famous person are not considered common knowledge. In our Civil War example, the name and rank of the military personnel that fired the first shots on Fort Sumter would NEED TO BE CITED.
Matters of historical interpretation are particularly IMPORTANT TO CITE. Let’s consider the Civil War example again. The date and place of the attack are common knowledge no one would think to dispute. But what about the argument that the Union forces at Fort Sumter chose to ignore the intelligence of an impending Confederate attack as a non-controversial way to blame the Confederacy for starting the Civil War? This claim is a debatable interpretation among historians. It is not accepted as fact, but an interpretation or argument. If you incorporate such claims by other authors in your paper, you must cite your sources.
Keep in mind that students must also cite evidence to support their interpretations or conclusions. For example, if after your research you draw the conclusion that Lincoln knew of the impending attack, you have to support your claim with primary source evidence. Your evidence might be a document from Lincoln or the order from the Secretary of War ordering the Union garrison to remain at Fort Sumter in South Carolina throughout the Spring of 1861.
Anything taken verbatim from any source must have quotes and must be cited.

When & how do I cite?

You will be required to use MLA, 8th edition for AMH 2010. Use parenthetical, in-text citations to cite sources within the body of your paper. Create a Works Cited page for each work cited within your paper. Quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing are the main ways to incorporate another person’s ideas into your paper.

What exactly is a quotation?

Quotations are the exact words of an author, copied word for word directly from the source. Attribute quotations to the original author, and use quotes.

What exactly is a paraphrase?

Paraphrasing is restating a sentence or passage from a resource in your own words. Paraphrases should be approximately the same length as the original passage. Attribute all paraphrases to the original source.

What exactly is a summary?

Summarizing is rewriting the main ideas of a source in your own words. Summaries provide a broad overview of a source, and typically are shorter than the original. Attribute all summarized ideas to the original source.

Citation Tips

Create and maintain a list of every resource you consult during your research
Take clear, precise notes on where you found your information
Write down complete citation information for every resource you use
Use quotation marks when repeating another person’s words verbatim
Credit original authors for their information and ideas
Each paragraph, excluding the introduction and conclusion, generally will need at least one citation
Do not cite common knowledge, such as a well-known quote, familiar proverb, or universal fact. For example, you do not need to cite when the American Civil War ended (1865).

Once your paper is submitted, it will be automatically uploaded to turnitin.com to check for plagiarism. Please note the following:

Students involved in plagiarism and/or cheating will be given a zero (0%) on the assignment and the Dean will be notified for disciplinary action;
Students are encouraged to ask for assistance if they have any questions about plagiarism or cheating; and,
Students should review the Academic Integrity policy as stated in the syllabus and/or FSW Code of Student Conduct.

For more information on plagiarism, refer to the Plagiarism Tutorial
(Links to an external site.)

In addition, CAREFULLY review the rubric for the AMH 2010 Writing Assignment!

Finally, you will be graded on content, as well as, spelling, grammar, and style. Remember to edit your work before submission.

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns!

AMH 2010 Final Writing Assignment Rubric

AMH 2010 Final Writing Assignment Rubric

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