21H.931 | Spring 2003 | Undergraduate

Seminar in Historical Methods


Research Paper: First Preliminary Report

The most important single assignment in this class is the fifteen-page research paper I am asking you to complete by the last day of classes this term. The paper must be based on original research in an archive that contains material relevant to your topic. It is most likely that you will want to work in an archive in the Boston area, but you may also wish to do research in an archive elsewhere, if you have the time to do so during spring break or at some other point in the term.

This first preliminary report will be due in class in week #4, the same day you will make oral presentations on your archives. The preliminary report should be one or two pages long, and it should chronicle your visit to a local archive to explore holdings that are of potential interest to you. I am not asking you to make a final commitment to a topic in week #4, but you should use this assignment to as an opportunity to explore themes that interest you. You might proceed in one of two ways

  • Brainstorm about potential topics, search the websites of local archives to see what material they have that is relevant to your topic, then go to the repository to consult the materials.
  • Search the websites of local archives for a set of papers or materials that looks intriguing, then go to the archive and begin to consult the materials.

Either way, you will want to browse the websites listed on the class website for our week #2 session. At some point during the next two weeks following that session, go to the archive or library you have selected and consult the material that interests you. The written report you will submit in week #4 should detail your findings, discuss their relevance for your proposed topic, and indicate what research steps you plan to take next. I will hand back the report, with comments, at our class session in week #5.

Interim Report On Research Paper

Please turn in an interim report on your research paper in week #11. We do not meet as a class that day. This report will not be graded, but I will read it carefully and make suggestions. It is an opportunity for you to pose questions, and for me to make sure you are on track with the assignment. I may ask you to rewrite the report if it is not sufficiently explicit, or if I think you should reconsider your outline.

By week #11, you should have completed all of your archival research and be prepared to begin drafting the paper. The report you submit should consist of the following

  • A detailed outline of the paper you intend to write.
  • A bibliography listing all of the primary sources you will use, and a minimum of three secondary sources. (Provide full citations for both primary and secondary sources. I will provide you with examples of the proper citation format.)

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2003
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments