Historical Writing Project

VII. Research Paper:

You are to write a eight-to-ten page research paper on a specific aspect of National Socialism. First Version (100 pts.) Due: Tuesday, March 18. Second Version (100 pts.) Due: Tuesday, April 20.

A. Purpose:

This exercise will acquaint you with the processes used by historians in conducting original research. Thus you will read carefully, manage information, evaluate different historical opinions, compare and contrast arguments, organize you thoughts and present them in a clear, coherent and interesting narrative. You will also gain expertise and knowledge about a portion of the history of fascism in Europe.

B. Procedure:

1. Select by one of the following topics about National Socialism (or another with written approval of the instructor): Origins before World War One; Growth during the Weimar Republic; Expansion as a totalitarian state; Relations with Women; Use of propaganda; The churches; Conduct of World War II; Eugenics; Resistance.

2. Prepare a thesis, an argument about the topic which will guide your research and help explain National Socialism. By February 28, you should meet with the instructor, during regular office hours or by appointment, to discuss the adequacy of the thesis and the progress of your research. Please consult the instructor for any advice concerning the paper, well in advance of its due date.

3. Using your thesis as a guide, collect, interpret and organize information about the topic. Be sure to analyze the appropriate primary sources from the readings, and consult relevant historical monographs and journal articles. In addition to the relevant class texts, you must cite at least 8 books, 3 journal articles [not including those in the Niewyk text], 3 primary sources (those in the Remak book are permitted). Internet sites may also be included, but will not count toward your minimum they are to be used with caution.

4. Write, re-write, polish and proofread your research paper according to the instructions below, then turn 3 (three) copies in on March 18. This first version, which will be evaluated as a final version, not a draft, is worth 100 pts.

5. Write, re-write, polish and proofread your research paper, taking into account the corrections and suggestions offered on the first, teacher/student-corrected version. Turn in your second version, along with the first, teacher/student-corrected copy on April 27. This second version is worth 100 pts. The teacher will especially evaluate how well the paper was improved between versions.

C. Deadlines:

Meeting due dates are an important aspect of written assignments. Papers should be handed in to the instructor, by you yourself, at the beginning of class on the dates assigned (see class schedule, section VIII). Unless special arrangements have been made, no late papers or assignments will be accepted, which means no credit (zero).

D. Presentation:

Both for practice in following guidelines and to facilitate consistency in grading, papers should be uniform in appearance. For more information see .

E. Student Evaluations of Research Papers:

As part of the research paper assignment, you will evaluate the research papers of two other students. When you turn in your first version, bring three copies. One the instructor will evaluate, the other two will go to two other students chosen at random. In the next class the instructor will redistribute two papers for you to evaluate, according to a form modeled on the chart below.

In your assessment, be as honest, positive and thorough as possible. Only the instructor will see your comments, not the student whose paper you are evaluating. If you have any questions, please see the instructor. Your evaluations are worth up to 20 (twenty) points each, assessed according to their quality of care and thought. You must return your evaluated papers and forms to the instructor in class on March 25. Failure to turn it in on time may mean failure for the paper also.

The instructor will then prepare a combined evaluation sheet and give it and one copy of your paper back to you. You should use the suggestions as a basis to revise your research paper for the second version.

F. Assessment of research paper:

Using the following chart, other students will evaluate and the instructor will grade your research paper. You should use these criteria yourself as a self-assessment guide as you complete the project.

Selection of primary sources
Selection of secondary sources
Thoroughness of source search
Use of paraphrase and quotations
Effective use of details from sources
Appropriate thesis
Clarity of thesis
Factual accuracy
Support of generalizations and opinions
Support of conclusions by evidence
Complete introductory paragraph
Proper introduction of new points
Effective transitions between points
Clear topic sentences
Paragraphs well-structured
Comprehensive concluding paragraph
Spacing, margin, pagination
quotations format
Footnote/endnote format
Bibliography format
Word choice, grammar, spelling
Clarity of sentence structure
Understandable flow of ideas
Suitability to audience

Assignment developed by B. Pavlac of King's College