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HIS 4990 Senior Seminar in History

This guide will assist you with HIS 4990 Research Paper. Updated Fall 2017

Research Paper Requirements

In your HIS 4990 Senior Seminar in History class, you will write a 25 page analytical essay based on extensive primary and secondary research. This guide will help you identify primary sources, footnote, and properly cite all sources.

Search Systematically

Preliminary Research - may be done in conjunction with revising your thesis.

  • Once you have an idea of what you would like to research (Settlement houses of the early twentieth century):
    • Begin with subject specific encyclopedias to give you an overview. This could help you find where researchers disagree or discover questions that are still unexplored.
    • Find secondary sources (books and journal articles). These will focus the context of your question, and provide you with academic examples of what your research should look like.
    • Secondary sources will provide a bibliographic trail - you will discover the "classic" works in your area. They will also provide information about the primary sources used.
  • Begin brainstorming and exploring which primary sources are available and accessible to you.
  • When researching with primary sources your research can take unexpected turns be ready to follow some and ignore others

Determining your Thesis - may be done before you begin researching, but most often is refined/revised while doing research. Don't panic, it is normal to revise your thesis!

  • This paper should be analytical in style
    • As young women reformers worked in the Aurora Settlement House their ideas of female gender roles changed. 
  • Avoid a strictly chronological description of your topic
    • Aurora Settlement House, 1920-1932

KNOW HOW TO CITE YOUR SOURCES BEFORE YOU EVEN BEGIN RESEARCHING! Make it a habit to record publication information before you even begin taking notes:

  • For secondary sources:
    • Author, title, publisher (issue, volume number, pages), date
  • For primary sources:
    • Author, date, title or type of document, name of the collection, and place of collection