In this module, you will take the research that you have collected from your sources, your bibliography, and your draft thesis statement and outline and create a 5 – 7 page (1250 – 1750 word) rough draft of your research paper.
The purpose of this assignment is to help you organize your argument and the evidence you have to support it, and to receive feedback that you can use to create a polished final draft at the end of the course. **Remember that this must be argumentative. You cannot simply list facts about this topic, but instead must take a position on an issue and prove this position.**
A draft is just that, a rough sketch of what you want to say in your final essay. It is an opportunity to receive feedback from your instructor on your work, but it is also an opportunity for you to get your thoughts down on paper, move away from them, come back with fresh eyes and revise. A draft need not be polished or perfect – it should be rough and that’s okay. The biggest mistake you can make with a draft is getting stuck with writer’s block because you think the draft isn’t good enough. Drafts aren’t supposed to be perfect – they are supposed to help you think about your work, and let others give you some ideas on how to improve.
- Your final historical research paper should include an introduction with a clear thesis statement, at least five paragraphs (probably more) that address topics that support your claims, and a strong conclusion that summarizes your argument. Attach your final bibliography (not annotated) at the end and include a cover page (in all formats) with your name, date, and the title of the paper. The title should be more than the topic, and should give the reader a sense of what the paper is about. Some examples:
- Paul Revere: Statesman and Craftsman
- The Salem Witch Trials: Fear and Superstition on the Frontier
- The Frontier: A Meeting of Cultures and Ambitions
- Make sure each paragraph contains at least one quote or other supporting evidence from your research, and that you use all your sources – primary and secondary (including the scholarly journal article). Primary sources do provide the best evidence, and a variety of sources provide event better evidence than a reliance on one or two sources. Always extrapolate quotations. Follow quotes with your own analysis or comments and explain how that evidence supports your argument.
- Quotations should be no more than two – three lines long. People tend to skip over longer quotes. All quotes must be cited as appropriate for the format you have selected – in-text citations for APA and MLA, or Notes for Chicago Style. Remember quotations also require a page number if available in all the formats. Even though quotations are important as support, the majority of your paper (roughly 85%) should by your own words of analysis.
- You may use illustrations or photographs as sources, but these should not be included in the body of the paper. If you decide that you must include these images, they should be attached as appendices and those pages do not count toward your page length or word count.
- The body of your paper should be 5 – 7 pages in length, double spaced, not including the cover page, or the bibliography. This is roughly 1250 – 1750 words. Your rough draft is expected to be as complete as possible as this will also be submitted for peer review, but receiving some feedback is better than none – so make sure you submit what you have completed by the due date noted on the Course Schedule. This should be one document in .docx or .rtf format (no PDFs!).
One final reminder – Drafts need not be perfect, as you will edit and revise it. It is better to turn something in for feedback, than to turn nothing in and have no information on how to improve the paper late.