English/History 3300
Term Paper Project

Due December 5

Selecting a topic:
Select your topic in consultation with me.  You may write on any subject appropriate for a study in American culture, but remember to use an interdisciplary approach to the subject.  Our study of both Gettysburg and the Civil Rights Movement serve as models for an interdisciplinary approach to a subject.  I will be happy to discuss with you how the models can be adapted to the topic you choose in consultation with me.


1.  Thesis:  a well presented argument that provides readers with an interpretation of a text, event or movement (etc).  The entire paper should be organized and focused
by this argument.

2.  Development:  Develop your argument with clearly articulated subpoints supported by discussion of appropriate passages from the work(s).  Do not weaken your paper by quoting excessively or substituting long quotations for discussion.  Remember that your task is to convince readers of your interpretation, and that cannot be done simply by copying
what others have written.

3.  Research:  Your thesis must be grounded in appropriate research from multiple disciplines and media--scholarship, journalism, oral history, popular media  While you will certainly consult more sources, you must demonstrate your familiarity with a substantial body of research elated to your topic by referring to 4-5 sources in your paper. Reading critical interpretations should sharpen your own thinking and perhaps bring to light issues you had not considered before.  But do not use secondary sources to "prove" your own interpretation.  Use them instead to demonstrate your awareness of some of what has been said on the subject you're exploring and to demonstrate for your readers what you are adding to the discussion or where you differ from what other critics have said.

Do not rely on or cite such sources as Cliff's Notes or similar sources available in print or online.  While such "notes" might help unravel some of the knots
presented by the difficult works we read, they are often unreliable and are always unauthoritative.  Similarly, while a number of respectable journals are
available online now, personal web sites posted to present an individual's views are not reliable sources for research. Do not cite such sources.

4.  Documentation:  Document sources completely and correctly using MLA, APA, or other disciplinary-related style of documentation appropriate to your field of study.  Use a Handbook.

5.  The final paper should be 10-12 pages in length, typed, double-spaced with one inch margins all around.  The Works Cited page should be the final numbered page.  It does not count toward the length requirements, however.  Mixed media projects are also welcome, but if you use other media--Powerpoint, photos, interviews, film--consult with me closely about the number of pages of analytical text you will need to write.  Creative projects based on research are also acceptable, but you must consult with me carefully to determine if your idea is appropriate.