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 Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات

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مُساهمةموضوع: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات   السبت 27 فبراير 2010, 9:29 pm

[ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذه الصورة]



Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students


1.a.

Introduction



For all who have taken history courses in college, the experience of writing a research paper is etched indelibly in memory: late nights before the paper is due, sitting in pale light in front of a computer monitor or typewriter, a huge stack of books (most of them all-too-recently acquired) propped next to the desk, drinking endless cups of coffee or bottles of Jolt cola. Most of all, we remember the endless, panicked wondering: how on earth was something coherent going to wind up on the page - let alone fill eight, or ten, or twelve of them? After wrestling with material for days, the pressure of the deadline and level of caffeine in the body rise enough, and pen is finally put to paper. Many hours later, a paper is born - all too often something students are not proud to hand in, and something professors dread grading. "Whatever does not kill us makes us stronger." While Nietzsche may sometimes have been right, he likely did not have writing history papers in mind. On the contrary, I sometimes wonder if students' bad experiences writing papers does not drive some them away from history. How can we make this process less traumatic, more educational, and ultimately more rewarding for all concerned?

The assignment of preparing a research paper for a college-level history course is an important one which should not be neglected. In no other endeavor are so many history-related skills required of students. Just think of the steps required:

First, students must find a historical problem worth addressing. This is done most often by reading and comparing secondary history sources, such as monographs and journal articles. Simply finding relevant secondary materials requires its own particular set of skills in using the library: searching catalogs, accessing on-line databases, using interlibrary loan, and even knowing how to pose questions to reference librarians. Reading these sources, determining their arguments, and putting them in conversation with each other constitute another broad set of skills which are enormously difficult to master.

Second, having developed a historical problem, students must find a set of primary historical sources which can actually address the question they have formulated. Once again, this is no easy task. It requires another array of skills in using the library. Students must know how to message the on-line library catalog, and perhaps even (gasp!) use the card catalog. They must be willing to explore the stacks, learn to use special collections, travel off-campus to new libraries, or interview informants. This kind of primary source research demands a diligence and persistence rare in these days of easy Internet access.

Finally, students must put all this information together and actually produce knowledge. They must craft a paper wherein they pose a clear historical problem and then offer a thesis addressing it. In a well-structured, grammatically correct essay, they must work their way through an argument without falling into common historical fallacies. They must match evidence to argument, subordinate little ideas to big ones, and anticipate and pre-empt challenges to their argument.

Phew! It is little wonder that college history students, especially first-years and non-majors, can find the research paper assignment so traumatic. It doesn't help that history professors often have trouble teaching the essay-preparation process. This is understandable. History professors often represent that portion of the undergraduate population that "got it"; we are the students who somehow, often in spite of our professors, learned how to "do history." Having received the information virtually through osmosis, we often do not understand how we think about the history-writing process, let alone how to teach it. By and large, we follow the advice of shoe companies and "just do it."

Most students do not have it so easy. Many do not have the innate passion for the past which propelled history teachers over their steep learning curve. Many do not have learning styles which make them likely candidates for the "osmosis" technique many of us used. These students deserve every opportunity to succeed, and it is important that they do. Even those with little apparent interest in the past need to approach what they read with a critical, analytical eye. In this age of information overload, they need to know how to pose critical questions, uncover the data which can answer their queries, and present their findings to themselves, their employers, and to the world at large.

This set of guides was prepared with these thoughts in mind. In it, I have compiled a wide-ranging set of materials I share with my students at Bowdoin. Not all of the ideas here are my own: some are fairly standard bits of wisdom, others were offered by a very talented and generous group of colleagues, including Betty Dessants, Nicola Denzey, Liz Hutchison, and Susan Tananbaum. I have divided the material into several categories: there are chapters on reading primary and secondary historical sources, the nature of historical arguments, the research process, structuring history papers, writing papers, working with sources, and editing and evaluating our own historical writing. The last chapter includes handouts to accompany a presentation I give on the writing process. You'll find many of the ideas repeated in several sections - such as what makes a good thesis. The more I teach, the more it seems that good reading, writing, and evaluating and are deeply linked. I hope that this holistic approach comes through.

Please incorporate these guides into your own teaching or writing as you see fit. You may freely reproduce any part of this website for your students - I ask only that you properly cite the source. For those who wish to share parts of this guide with students, I have provided links to .pdf versions of each handout, which may be printed out and xeroxed free of charge. I have also provided a .pdf version of the guides as a whole. ("PDF" stands for "portable document format"; .pdf files can be easily read using Adobe's Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded for free by [ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذا الرابط].) And please let me know how the guides could be more useful. I would be happy to know what works for you.


1.b.

Preparing History Papers

The Short Version





You need to know a lot of things when preparing your paper for a history course. I have prepared extensive online guides for you, and there are a great many published books and websites that offer help. But it is easy to feel overwhelmed by so much information. This short guide is the best introduction to paper writing I can furnish you. It is not comprehensive, but will help you avoid the costliest paper-writing mistakes, and point the way toward further resources.

Formatting basics:


  • Your paper should have a title page, on which appears the title of the paper, your name, the course number, the professor's name, and the date.
  • Double-space the text, and use a simple font, such as Times Roman 12pt.
  • Number of the pages.
  • Staple the pages together (do not use clips or fancy binders).


Footnote citations: Each time you quote a work by another author, or use the ideas of another author, you should indicate the source with a footnote. A footnote is indicated in the text of your paper by a small arabic numeral written in superscript, directly following the borrowed material. Each new footnote gets a new number (increment by one); do not repeat a footnote number you've already used, even if the earlier reference is to the same work. The number refers to a note number at the bottom of the page (or following the text of the paper, if you are using endnotes). This note contains the citation information for the materials you are referencing. Do not use parenthetical or other citation formats. The citation format you should use for history papers is called Chicago style. The writing guides listed later in this guide will show you how to cite sources using Chicago style.

Citation formats: While there are standard principles for citing different kinds of sources, each requires its own unique citation format. Thus, a book will be cited differently than will a journal article. Your style manuals (Rampolla and Turabian) explain the differences in these formats. Also,
Chicago style requires one way of citing sources in footnotes, and another way for citing sources in your bibliography. (A bibliography is a list of sources you consulted in your research, which appears at the end of your paper.) Consult your style manuals (Rampolla and Turabian) for the differences in citation formats, and pay close attention to the way you format footnotes and bibliographies in your paper.

Quoting sources in your paper: Most often, you should paraphrase materials from other authors, making sure to cite your sources with a footnote. Sometimes, when the original words of another seem particularly poignant or important, you will want to present those words directly to your reader. There are many rules of quoting material, which can be found in the resources listed at the end of this sheet. Here are some basic rules to get you started:


  • When quoting others, any words of another author are placed between double quotation marks, exactly as they appear in the original. Do not put between quote marks any words that do not appear in the original.
  • Never simply drop a quotation into your paper. Quotations must be integrated into your own prose. Introduce your speaker to your readers, so they will know who you are quoting.
  • Pay close attention to the grammar and syntax of sentences with quotations in them. Just because you are quoting someone does not mean that the standard rules of writing cease to apply. In order to check this, imagine the sentence without the quotation marks; if it is not grammatically correct without quotation marks, it will not be grammatically correct with them.
  • Pay close attention to what your style manuals have to say regarding punctuation in your quotations. Commas and periods generally go inside the quote marks.
  • Footnotes go after the quotation, and are usually followed by no other punctuation.
  • Avoid at all costs the use of brackets to insert clarifying material into your quotations. Instead, simply construct the sentence so that brackets are unnecessary, or consider paraphrasing the material rather than quoting it.


Avoiding plagiarism: The best way to avoid unintentional plagiarism is to take complete and accurate notes, and to cite your sources properly. When taking notes, clearly indicate whether you are paraphrasing a source or quoting it directly. Be sure to include a complete bibliographic citation of the source, so you can create an accurate footnote later. When writing, include a footnote citation for every idea or quotation you use from another author.

Common writing errors to study and avoid (consult Diana Hacker, Rules for Writers):


  • comma splices and run-on sentences
  • tenses: use the simple past tense when speaking of the past
  • passive voice: thing something is done to a thing rather than by a thing
  • faulty pronoun reference: when pronouns such as "they" lack clear referents
  • faulty predication: when nouns do things they cannot do
  • parallel structure: when sentences are not balanced


Research basics:


Three books you should own:

  • Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 3rd ed. (Boston: Bedford Books/St. Martin's Press, 2001). Contains much concise, useful advice, including a guide to Chicago-style citations.
  • Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). The standard source for college history writers. Comprehensive presentation of Chicago-style citation formats (as well as other styles).
  • Diana Hacker, Rules for Writers, 3rd ed. (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1996). A standard grammar, useful for identifying and correcting mistakes.


Online guides for citing sources:


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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات   السبت 27 فبراير 2010, 9:31 pm

1.c.

Avoid Common Mistakes In Your History Paper





Good writing requires attention to lots of rules and conventions. They may not be fun to learn, but they are vital if you are to communicate your ideas with credibility.

Number the pages and staple them together. Why is this so hard to do? Number them by hand if you cannot make your computer do it.

When speaking of those in the past, there is rarely a point in speaking of what they "felt." Thomas Jefferson did not "feel" that an agrarian lifestyle was the best security against tyranny, he "said" it, or "believed" it, or "argued" it - anything but felt. Why are students so enamored of "felt"? Perhaps it is a function of our self-help age. Perhaps it feels safer to assert "feelings" rather than beliefs. In any case, it is ahistorical. We can rarely know what those in the past actually felt, and it is more accurate to describe what they say as beliefs rather than feelings.

History should be written in the past tense. Use the simple past tense (or "preterite") whenever possible. Use the present tense only when speaking of other historians, or (rarely) when your subject is a text itself. Avoid the subjunctive tense, as in
"After serving as minister to France, Jefferson would go on to become the President of the United States." Instead, simply say: "After serving as minister to France, Jefferson became the President of the United States." The subjunctive tense often reveals an author who desires to anticipate something that will come later in the paper; avoid this.

Spell out numbers up to 100. Consult Turabian for the rules on using numbers in your papers.

Do not use contractions, such as "didn't"; instead, say "did not."

Faulty pronoun references are inexcusable at the college level. Pronouns referring to plural referents must be plural. Often, the trouble happens when authors attempt to make language gender neutral. Find the faulty reference in this sentence:
"The political candidate could not spread their message because they lacked the resources to control media."

No one writing at the college level should have sentence fragments, comma splices, or run-on sentences in their papers. Learn what these are and avoid them! (See Hacker, Rules for Writers for more.)

Sentence fragment: A sentence fragment is a sentence that is not a sentence because it lacks a subject, verb, or modifying clause.
"Jefferson, who served as minister to France during the Critical Period."

Comma splice: A comma splice occurs when two clauses are improperly joined with just a comma, as in:
"Thomas Jefferson became minister to France, he went on to become President of the United States."

Run-on sentence: A run-on sentence is a sentence that is not grammatically correct because Run-ons can be cause by a variety of problems. Usually the culprit is a sentence that is trying to do too much. If you are not sure of your long sentences, break them up into shorter, simpler ones. Here is a sample:
"Jefferson, who was schooled at William and Mary and lived the life of an independent farmer and something of Renaissance man who read avidly and acquired the best private library in America."

Quotations, footnotes, and bibliographies: Small matters of style, such as where footnote number are placed, the use of commas, or how indenting works, are important. You will be learning and using citation styles for the rest of your life; it is crucial that you become proficient in following them closely. The following examples should help.

Samples of quotations with footnotes.

In the words of J. Theodore Holly, a powerful national affiliation was "all-powerful in shielding and protecting each individual of the race."12

At various times, these moralists railed against drinking,7 theater-going,8 and even dancing.9

"Free the slaves," Delany urged, "and I warrant you, they will not fall short in comparison."34


Sample note for a book:

19Cyril E. Griffith, The African Dream: Martin R. Delany and the Emergence of Pan-African Thought (University Park: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1975), 129-32.

Sample note for a journal article:

23Chris Dixon, "An Ambivalent Black Nationalism: Haiti, Africa, and Antebellum African-American Emigrationism," Australian Journal of American Studies, vol. 10, no. 2 (December 1991), 13-14.

Sample bibliography entry for a book:

Griffith, Cyril E. The African Dream: Martin R. Delany and the Emergence of Pan-African Thought. University Park: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1975.

Sample bibliography entry for a journal article:

Dixon, Chris. "An Ambivalent Black Nationalism: Haiti, Africa, and Antebellum African-American Emigrationism." Australian Journal of American Studies, vol. 10, no. 2 (December 1991): 10-25.

Again, there are lots of rules to learn about good writing. This is just a quick guide. It is up to you to learn how to fix your errors. Good writers follow good models. Study and use the assigned writing guide for this class: Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History


2.a.

How to Read a Secondary Source





Reading secondary historical sources is a skill which may be acquired and must be practiced.
Reading academic material well is an active process that can be far removed from the kind of pleasure reading most of us are used to. Sure, history may sometimes be dry, but you'll find success reading even the most difficult material if you can master these skills. The key here is taking the time and energy to engage the material -- to think through it and to connect it to other material you have covered.

I: How to read a book


1. Read the title. Define every word in the title; look up any unknown words. Think about what the title promises for the book. Look at the table of contents. This is your "menu" for the book. What can you tell about its contents and structure from the TOC?

2. Read a book from the outside in. Read the foreword and introduction (if an article, read the first paragraph or two). Read the conclusion or epilogue if there is one (if an article, read the last one or two paragraphs). After all this, ask yourself what the author's thesis might be. How has the argument been structured?

3. Read chapters from the outside in. Quickly read the first and last paragraph of each chapter. After doing this and taking the step outlined above, you should have a good idea of the book's major themes and arguments.

4. You are now finally ready to read in earnest. Don't read a history book as if you were reading a novel for light pleasure reading. Read through the chapters actively, taking cues as to which paragraphs are most important from their topic sentences. (Good topic sentences tell you what the paragraph is about.) Not every sentence and paragraph is as important as every other. It is up to you to judge, based on what you know so far about the book's themes and arguments. If you can, highlight passages that seem to be especially relevant.

5. Take notes: Many students attempt to take comprehensive notes on the content of a book or article. I advice against this. I suggest that you record your thoughts about the reading rather than simply the details and contents of the reader. What surprised you? What seemed particularly insightful? What seems suspect? What reinforces or counters points made in other readings? This kind of note taking will keep your reading active, and actually will help you remember the contents of the piece better than otherwise.

II. "STAMP" it: A technique for reading a book which complements the steps above is to answer a series of questions about your reading.

Structure: How has the author structured her work? How would you briefly outline it? Why might she have employed this structure? What historical argument does the structure employ? After identifying the thesis, ask yourself in what ways the structure of the work enhances or detracts from the thesis. How does the author set about to make her or his case? What about the structure of the work makes it convincing?

Thesis: A thesis is the controlling argument of a work of history. Toqueville argued, for instance, that American society in the first half of the nineteenth century believed itself to be radically oriented towards liberty and freedom while in fact its innate conservatism hid under a homogeneous culture and ideology. Often, the most difficult task when reading a secondary is to identify the author's thesis. In a well-written essay, the thesis is usually clearly stated near the beginning of the piece. In a long article or book, the thesis is usually diffuse. There may in fact be more than one. As you read, constantly ask yourself, "how could I sum up what this author is saying in one or two sentences?" This is a difficult task; even if you never feel you have succeeded, simply constantly trying to answer this question will advance your understanding of the work.

Argument: A thesis is not just a statement of opinion, or a belief, or a thought. It is an argument. Because it is an argument, it is subject to evaluation and analysis. Is it a good argument? How is the big argument (the thesis) structured into little arguments? Are these little arguments constructed well? Is the reasoning valid? Does the evidence support the conclusions? Has the author used invalid or incorrect logic? Is she relying on incorrect premises? What broad, unexamined assumptions seem to underlay the author's argument? Are these correct?
Note here that none of these questions ask if you like the argument or its conclusion. This part of the evaluation process asks you not for your opinion, but to evaluate the logic of the argument. There are two kinds of logic you must consider: Internal logic is the way authors make their cases, given the initial assumptions, concerns, and definitions set forth in the essay or book. In other words, assuming that their concern is a sound one, does the argument make sense? Holistic logic regards the piece as a whole. Are the initial assumptions correct? Is the author asking the proper questions? Has the author framed the problem correctly?

Motives: Why might the author have written this work? This is a difficult question, and often requires outside information, such as information on how other historians were writing about the topic. Don't let the absence of that information keep you from using your historical imagination. Even if you don't have the information you wish you had, you can still ask yourself, "Why would the author argue this?" Many times, arguments in older works of history seem ludicrous or silly to us today. When we learn more about the context in which those arguments were made, however, they start to make more sense. Things like political events and movements, an author's ideological bents or biases, or an author's relationship to existing political and cultural institutions often have an impact on the way history is written. On the other hand, the struggle to achieve complete objectivity also effects the ways people have written history. It is only appropriate, then, that such considerations should inform your reading.

Primaries: Students of history often do not read footnotes. Granted, footnotes are not exactly entertaining, but they are the nuts and bolts of history writing. Glance occasionally at footnotes, especially when you come across a particularly interesting or controversial passage. What primary sources has the historian used to support her argument? Has she used them well? What pitfalls may befall the historians who uses these sources? How does her use of these kinds of sources influence the kinds of arguments she can make? What other sources might she have employed?

III. Three important questions to ask of secondary sources

What does the author say? That is, what is the author's central claim or thesis, and the argument which backs it up? The thesis of a history paper usually explains how or why something happened. This means that the author will have to (1) tell what happened (the who, where, when, what of the subject); (2) explain how or why it happened.

Why does the author say it? Historians are almost always engaged in larger, sometimes obscure dialogues with other professionals. Is the author arguing with a rival interpretation? What would that be? What accepted wisdom is the author trying to challenge or complicate? What deeper agenda might be represented by this effort? (An effort to overthrow capitalism? To justify Euro-Americans' decimation of Native American populations? To buttress claims that the government should pursue particular policies?)

Where is the author's argument weak or vulnerable? Good historians try to make a case that their conclusion or interpretation is correct. But cases are rarely airtight - especially novel, challenging, or sweeping ones. At what points is the author vulnerable? Where is the evidence thin? What other interpretations of the author's evidence is possible? At what points is the author's logic suspect? If the author's case is weak, what is the significance of this for the argument as a whole?


2.b.

How to Read a Primary Source




Good reading is about asking questions of your sources. Keep the following in mind when reading primary sources. Even if you believe you can't arrive at the answers, imagining possible answers will aid your comprehension. Reading primary sources requires that you use your historical imagination. This process is all about your willingness and ability to ask questions of the material, imagine possible answers, and explain your reasoning.

I. Evaluating primary source texts: I've developed an acronym that may help guide your evaluation of primary source texts: PAPER.


  • Purpose of the author in preparing the document
  • Argument and strategy she or he uses to achieve those goals
  • Presuppositions and values (in the text, and our own)
  • Epistemology (evaluating truth content)
  • Relate to other texts (compare and contrast)


Purpose

  • Who is the author and what is her or his place in society (explain why you are justified in thinking so)? What could or might it be, based on the text, and why?
  • Why did the author prepare the document? What was the occassion for its creation?
  • What is at stake for the author in this text? Why do you think she or he wrote it? What evidence in the text tells you this?
  • Does the author have a thesis? What -- in one sentence -- is that thesis?


Argument

  • What is the text trying to do? How does the text make its case? What is its strategy for accomplishing its goal? How does it carry out this strategy?
  • What is the intended audience of the text? How might this influence its rhetorical strategy? Cite specific examples.
  • What arguments or concerns does the author respond to that are not clearly stated? Provide at least one example of a point at which the author seems to be refuting a position never clearly stated. Explain what you think this position may be in detail, and why you think it.
  • Do you think the author is credible and reliable? Use at least one specific example to explain why. Make sure to explain the principle of rhetoric or logic that makes this passage credible.


Presuppositions

  • How do the ideas and values in the source differ from the ideas and values of our age? Offer two specific examples.
  • What presumptions and preconceptions do we as readers bring to bear on this text? For instance, what portions of the text might we find objectionable, but which contemporaries might have found acceptable. State the values we hold on that subject, and the values expressed in the text. Cite at least one specific example.
  • How might the difference between our values and the values of the author influence the way we understand the text? Explain how such a difference in values might lead us to mis-interpret the text, or understand it in a way contemporaries would not have. Offer at least one specific example.


Epistemology

  • How might this text support one of the arguments found in secondary sources we've read? Choose a paragraph anywhere in a secondary source we've read, state where this text might be an appropriate footnote (cite page and paragraph), and explain why.
  • What kinds of information does this text reveal that it does not seemed concerned with revealing? (In other words, what does it tell us without knowing it's telling us?)
  • Offer one claim from the text which is the author's interpretation. Now offer one example of a historical "fact" (something that is absolutely indisputable) that we can learn from this text (this need not be the author's words).


Relate: Now choose another of the readings, and compare the two, answering these questions:

  • What patterns or ideas are repeated throughout the readings?
  • What major differences appear in them?
  • Which do you find more reliable and credible?


II. Here are some additional concepts that will help you evaluate primary source texts:

1. Texts and documents, authors and creators: You'll see these phrases a lot. I use the first two and the last two as synonyms. Texts are historical documents, authors their creators, and vice versa. "Texts" and "authors" are often used when discussing literature, while "documents" and "creators" are more familiar to historians.

2. Evaluating the veracity (truthfulness) of texts: For the rest of this discussion, consider the example of a soldier who committed atrocities against non-combatants during wartime. Later in his life, he writes a memoir that neglects to mention his role in these atrocities, and may in fact blame them on someone else. Knowing the soldier's possible motive, we would be right to question the veracity of his account.

3. The credible vs. the reliable text:

1. Reliability refers to our ability to trust the consistency of the author's account of the truth. A reliable text displays a pattern of verifiable truth-telling that tends to render the unverifiable parts of the text true. For instance, the soldier above may prove to be utterly reliable in detailing the campaigns he participated in during the war, as evidence by corroborating records. The only gap in his reliability may be the omission of details about the atrocities he committed.

2. Credibility refers to our ability to trust the author's account of the truth on the basis of her or his tone and reliability. An author who is inconsistently truthful -- such as the soldier in the example above -- loses credibility. There are many other ways authors undermine their credibility. Most frequently, they convey in their tone that they are not neutral (see below). For example, the soldier above may intersperse throughout his reliable account of campaign details vehement and racist attacks against his old enemy. Such attacks signal readers that he may have an interest in not portraying the past accurately, and hence may undermine his credibility, regardless of his reliability.

3. An author who seems quite credible may be utterly unreliable. The author who takes a measured, reasoned tone and anticipates counter-arguments may seem to be very credible, when in fact he presents us with complete balderdash. Similarly, a reliable author may not always seem credible. It should also be clear that individual texts themselves may have portions that are more reliable and credible than others.

4. The objective vs. the neutral text: We often wonder if the author of a text has an "ax to grind" which might render her or his words unreliable.

1. Neutrality refers to the stake an author has in a text. In the example of the soldier who committed wartime atrocities, the author seems to have had a considerable stake in his memoir, which was the expunge his own guilt. In an utterly neutral document, the creator is not aware that she or he has any special stake in the construction and content of the document. Very few texts are ever completely neutral. People generally do not go to the trouble to record their thoughts unless they have a purpose or design which renders them invested in the process of creating the text. Some historical texts, such as birth records, may appear to be more neutral than others, because their creators seem to have had less of a stake in creating them. (For instance, the county clerk who signed several thousand birth certificates likely had less of a stake in creating an individual birth certificate than did a celebrity recording her life in a diary for future publication as a memoir.)

2. Objectivity refers to an author's ability to convey the truth free of underlying values, cultural presuppositions, and biases. Many scholars argue that no text is or ever can be completely objective, for all texts are the products of the culture in which their authors lived. Many authors pretend to objectivity when they might better seek for neutrality. The author who claims to be free of bias and presupposition should be treated with suspicion: no one is free of their values. The credible author acknowledges and expresses those values so that they may accounted for in the text where they appear.

5. Epistemology: a fancy word for a straight-forward concept. "Epistemology" is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of knowledge. How do you know what you know? What is the truth, and how is it determined? For historians who read primary sources, the question becomes: what can I know of the past based on this text, how sure can I be about it, and how do I know these things?

1. This can be an extremely difficult question. Ultimately, we cannot know anything with complete assurance, because even our senses may fail us. Yet we can conclude, with reasonable accuracy, that some things are more likely to be true than others (for instance, it is more likely that the sun will rise tomorrow than that a human will learn to fly without wings or other support). Your task as a historian is to make and justify decisions about the relative veracity of historical texts, and portions of them. To do this, you need a solid command of the principles of sound reasoning.
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات   السبت 27 فبراير 2010, 9:35 pm

2.c.

"Predatory" Reading




Reading scholarly material requires a new set of skills. You simply cannot read scholarly material as if it were pleasure reading and expect to comprehend it satisfactorily. Yet neither do you have the time to read every sentence over and over again. Instead, you must become what one author calls a "predatory" reader. That is, you must learn to quickly determine the important parts of the scholarly material you read. The most important thing to understand about a piece of scholarly writing is its argument. Arguments have three components: the problem, the solution, and the evidence. Understanding the structure of an essay is key to understanding these things. Here are some hints on how to determine structure when reading scholarly material:

1. Think pragmatically. Each part of a well-crafted argument serves a purpose for the larger argument. When reading, try to determine why the author has spent time writing each paragraph. What does it "do" for the author's argument?

2. Identify "signposts." Signposts are the basic structural cues in a piece of writing. Is the reading divided into chapters or sections? Are there subheads within the reading? Subheads under subheads? Are the titles clearly descriptive of the contents, or do they need to be figured out (as in titles formulated from quotations)? Are there words or concepts in the titles (of the piece, and of subheads) that need to be figured out (such as novel words, or metaphors)?

3. Topic sentences. Topic sentences (usually the first sentences of each paragraph) are miniature arguments. Important topic sentences function as subpoints in the larger argument. They also tell you what the paragraph that follows will be about. When reading, try to identify how topic sentences support the larger argument. You can also use them to decide if a paragraph seems important enough to read closely.

4. Evidence. Pieces of evidence -- in the form of primary and secondary sources -- are the building blocks of historical arguments. When you see evidence being used, try to identity the part of the argument it is being used to support.

5. Identify internal structures. Within paragraphs, authors create structures to help reader understand their points. Identify pairings or groups of points and how they are telegraphed. Where are they in the hierarchy of the argument? Hierarchy of major points is very important, and the most difficult to determine. Is the point a major or a minor one? How can you tell?

6. Examine transitions. Sometimes transitions are throwaways, offered merely to get from one point to another. At other times, they can be vital pieces of argument, explaining the relationship between points, or suggesting the hierarchy of points in the argument.

7. Identify key distinctions. Scholars often make important conceptual distinctions in their work.

8. Identify explicit references to rival scholarly positions. Moments when a scholar refers directly to the work of another scholar are important in understanding the central questions at stake.

9. Stay attuned to strategic concessions. Often authors seem to be backtracking, or giving ground, only to try to strengthen their cases. Examine such instances in your readings closely. Often, these signal moments where authors are in direct conversation with other scholars. Such moments may also help steer you toward the thesis.

10. Remember that incoherence is also a possibility. Sometimes it is very difficult to determine how a section of a piece is structured or what it's purpose in the argument is. Remember that authors do not always do their jobs, and there may be incoherent or unstructured portions of essays. But be careful to distinguish between writing that is complex and writing that is simply incoherent.

Finally, remember that you cannot read each piece of scholarship closely from start to finish and hope to understand its structure. You must examine it (or sections of it) several times. It is much better to work over an article several times quickly -- each time seeking to discern argument and structure -- than it is to read it once very closely.


2.d.

Some Keys to Good Reading




Three important questions to ask of secondary sources:

  • What does the author say? That is, what is the author's central claim or thesis, and the argument which backs it up? The thesis of a history paper usually explains how or why something happened. This means that the author will have to (1) tell what happened (the who, where, when, what of the subject); (2) explain how or why it happened.
  • Why does the author say it? Historians are almost always engaged in larger, sometimes obscure dialogues with other professionals. Is the author arguing with a rival interpretation? What would that be? What accepted wisdom is the author trying to challenge or complicate? What deeper agenda might be represented by this effort? (An effort to overthrow capitalism? To justify Euro-Americans' decimation of Native American populations? To buttress claims that the government should pursue particular policies?)
  • Where is the author's argument weak or vulnerable? Good historians try to make a case that their conclusion or interpretation is correct. But cases are rarely airtight - especially novel, challenging, or sweeping ones. At what points is the author vulnerable? Where is the evidence thin? What other interpretations of the author's evidence is possible? At what points is the author's logic suspect? If the author's case is weak, what is the significance of this for the argument as a whole?


Broad approaches to essay reading:

  • What is the general subject of the author's investigation?
  • What are the central problems or questions the author is investigating?
  • What is the solution or explanation the author offers?
  • How does the author go about convincing us that the solution/explanation is correct?


That is, what is the structure of the argument? What are the major points, and what minor points are subordinated under each major point?

What is the author's argument?


  • What is the thesis question?
  • What are the premises underlying it?
  • What is the thesis?
  • What is the "road map"; that is, given this thesis, what are the individual points the author will have to prove to make the thesis be true?
  • What assumptions has the author made which remain unaddressed?


There are two general steps to reading scholarship:
Stage 1: Observation. What is the author's argument and how is it structured? This is the first read through the piece. Your objective is merely to understand what the author is trying to do.
Stage 2: Evaluation. Where is the argument particularly strong or weak? What about it is weak? This is the second read and subsequence analysis of the piece. Your objective is to evaluate the author's success in making her or his case.


  • Evaluating argument structure: What are the steps in the argument? How is the author breaking down sub-points? Why might the author being doing it this way? What other possibilities did the author not choose?
  • Does the author do what the author sets out to do?
  • Was what the author set out to do the right or a useful enterprise in the first place?


3.a.

Argument Concepts




What is the author's argument?

  • What is the thesis question?
  • What are the premises underlying it?
  • What is the thesis?
  • What is the "road map"; that is, given this thesis, what are the individual points the author will have to prove to make the thesis be true?
  • What assumptions has the author made which remain unaddressed?


What arguments does the author make that may be challenged?

  • Premises underlying thesis question
  • Individual points of the argument in the "road map," or body of the work.


If you wanted to challenge this author, how would you go about it?

  • Choose one point -- either a premise underlying the thesis question, or a part of the author's "road map."
  • What kind of primary source evidence would you be looking for to "test" this point? What kinds of primary source evidence would tend to support the author? What kinds would undermine the author's argument?
  • The last step would be to go to the primary source evidence itself, and see what you find.


Two important concepts:

1. The "valid" argument: an argument structured such that, given that the premises are correct, the conclusion must be correct. In the following argument, the premises are not correct, but the argument is still valid, for its logic is correct:

p1: Martha Ballard was a midwife
p2: All midwives had professional educations
c: Therefore Martha Ballard had a professional education


1. The "sound" argument: a valid argument with true premises. The preceding argument is valid but not sound, for not all of its premises are true (p2 is false).

2. This argument is invalid, and hence unsound (despite that its premises are correct):

p1: Martha Ballard was a midwife
p2: Martha Ballard caught over fifty babies
c: All midwives caught over fifty babies


  • This argument is sound, for its argument is valid and its premises true:


p1: Martha Ballard was a midwife
p2: All midwives catch babies
c: Martha Ballard caught babies

A very important thing to remember: Very often, we confuse good or possible arguments with the arguments a scholar actually made. In evaluating a scholarly argument, you are making claims about what an author has stated. You do not have the freedom to put arguments in authors' mouths; you must be able to back up every claim you make (about an author's argument) through reference to the text. There is a distinction between what an author might have argued and what the author did argue. If it's not in the text, the author did not argue it -- even if it would have made a good argument. It is vital to imagine possible arguments, but remember -- that enterprise is not the same as determining what the author actually argued.


3.b.

Analyzing Arguments




This guide is intended to:

  • Help you analyze historical arguments. Once you've determined the thesis question and thesis behind an argument, you can use this information to analyze the quality of the argument.
  • Help you construct your own historical arguments by helping you understand what makes a good historical argument.


Consider this thesis question, which is the one Frank Tannenbaum asked in From Slave to Citizen:

How did differing patterns of slavery in the Americas lead to differing patterns of post-emancipation race relations in the Americas; specifically, how did these differing historical patterns of slavery make post-emancipation Latin America a better place for people of African descent than the post-emancipation United States?

What are the premises underlying it?


  • There were differing patterns of slavery in the Americas
  • These led to differing patterns of post-emancipation race relations
  • Latin America is a better place for people of African descent than the United States


Now consider this thesis:

As evident in patterns of emancipation, slavery (and hence post-emancipation race relations) in the United States was harsher than in Latin America because -- due to a legacy of Catholicism and Roman law -- Latin American slavery recognized to a greater degree the moral value of the slave.

What is the "road map" for this paper? That is, what is the chain of reasoning this paper must pursue if it is to demonstrate the veracity of its thesis?


1. There were differing patterns of slavery in the Americas

2. These determined differing patterns of post-emancipation race relations

3. Latin America is a better place for people of African descent than the United States

Note that thus far the paper is structured around the premises underlying the thesis question. The veracity of these need to be established before any further claims can be made.

1. Slavery in the United States was "harsher" than slavery in Latin America.

2. Differences in harshness were due to differences in the degrees to which the institution of slavery recognized the "moral value" or humanity of the slave.

3. Differences in the degrees to which slavery recognized the "moral value" or humanity of the slave resulted from differing religious and legal institutions; Latin America was less harsh due to a legacy of Roman law and Catholicism.

Note that these are all new claims, which can only be made once the "thesis premises" have been established. Note that much of the paper must deal with simply establishing that the thesis question may be asked.

How to evaluate this argument:


  • Are there any ill-defined terms in the thesis question or thesis? Are there any fuzzy concepts which may make analyzing the veracity of claims difficult or impossible? In this instance, I can find two:
  • What is "harshness" and how is it measured?
  • What does it mean to recognized the "moral value" of the slave?
  • Is the logic of the "road map" valid? If the logic of any step in the road map is not valid, the argument may fail, regardless of the veracity of its individual claims.
  • Is the veracity of each step of the "road map" demonstrated? If any step of the road map is not sufficiently demonstrated, every conclusion which succeeds it is suspect.


3.c.

How to Ask Good Questions




1. Good questions require thought and research. It is easy to pose a question like "should the atomic bomb have been dropped on Japan?" Such a question is simply an opinion question: it requires no research or special understanding into the problem. One way to begin framing better questions is to steadily add facts into the stew. These complicate your argument, basing it on solid historical premises (which of course you would need to prove in an essay). Think in terms of "givens." For example:

  • Given that the Japanese military establishment had vowed to fight to the bitter end, should the United States have dropped the bomb on Japan?
  • Given that the United States' government was becoming increasingly concerned with post-war struggles with the Soviet Union, should the United States have dropped the bomb on Japan?
  • Given that many in the United States expressed what may be called racist views of the Japanese, and in fact interned Japanese Americans in concentration camps during the war, should the United States have dropped the bomb on Japan?
  • Given that the United States had already embarked on an extensive and deadly campaign of carpet-bombing Japanese cities (like Tokyo), should the United States have dropped the bomb on Japan?


2. Explore premises and make them explicit. The questions above are not quite explicit enough. For example, so what if many in the United States were racist towards the Japanese? What does that have to do with the legitimacy of dropping the atomic bombing? Of course, most of us can guess what this author intends: that racism might have pre-disposed the U.S. to drop the bomb on the Japanese without sufficient military or political provocation. But it is very important to not let such assumptions go unstated. It is the task of the author to make every part of the argument explicit. In the case of the questions above, each of the unstated premises may be expressed as a more detailed part of the larger question:

  • What impact did racism have on the decision to drop the bomb?
  • What impact did the brewing Cold War with the Soviet Union have on the decision to drop the bomb?
  • What impact did military strategy have on the decision to drop the bomb?


3. Keep going. Even these questions can be further broken down:

  • Did racism lead the U.S. to drop the bomb on Japan when it would not have done so on Germany? How exactly did American views of the Japanese and Germans differ? How could such popular cultural views have influenced a foreign and military policy thought to be rational?
  • What in our dealings with Stalin might have prompted the U.S. to drop the bomb on Japan? Why might U.S. strategists have thought dropping the bomb would have been useful at all?
  • What, rationally, could U.S. strategists have considered necessary to win the war against Japan? Why did they press for unconditional surrender when they knew Japan was beaten? What is actually the case that dropping the bomb saved U.S. lives? If so, what about the moral costs of bombing civilian non-combatants?


As you can begin to see, once you start thinking about it, one simple question can lead to a huge chain of questions. Remember, it is always better to keep asking questions you think you cannot answer than to stop asking questions because you think you cannot answer them. But this can only happen when you know enough about your subject to know how to push your questioning, and this depends on reading and understanding the assigned material. How can you know that racial stereotypes of the Japanese may have played a key role in the decision to drop the bomb if you have no knowledge of the period?
Finally, you may also note that there are some very large questions underlying this entire debate. What were legitimate reasons to drop the bomb and what were not? When is it legitimate to use a weapon of mass destruction, and especially against a civilian population? What moral and ideological factors keep it from happening more frequently? What political and strategic factors permit it under certain circumstances? Such questions may or may not be the immediate subject of your investigations, but you should always be on the lookout for them, and always keep them in mind. Such questions tend to be the ones that make all others worth asking.


3.d.

What Makes a Question Good?




To prepare any facet of the academic process, be it class discussion, leading class, or composing a paper, you need to be able to formulate for yourself some good critical questions. "Critical," in this sense, of course, does not mean "mean-spirited" but "analytical."

Since there are many types of questions which produce a variety of answers, it would be helpful to go over the difference between a "critical" question and a "simple" question:

1. A simple question...


· can be answered with a "yes" or "no" (this is not helpful when trying to elicit further questions, discussion, or analysis).
· contain the answers within themselves.
· can only be answered by a fact, or a series of facts


2. There are also questions which are concerned with morals or values, in the nature of "how do you feel about this text?" While these types of questions often produce interesting discussion (and students therefore tend to like them very much) they have nothing to do with a critical analysis of the text itself, which very often was not written with students in mind as the ideal audience.

3. A critical question...


· leads to more questions
· provokes discussion.
· concerns itself with audience and authorial intent
· derives from a critical or careful reading of the text, using the hermeutic of suspicion
· addresses or ties in wider issues or hermeneutical strategies
· moves you out of your own frame of reference ("what does this mean in our context?" to your author's ("what was the author trying to convey when he/she wrote this? how would the audience have responded?")


Here are some sample questions. What makes them useful or not so useful?

  • Did the Republican Party use racist images of blacks as inferior and immoral to further its cause?
  • How did plantation owners try to keep former slaves on the plantation? How did they use vagrancy laws and property rights to do that?
  • In the Declaration of Independence the Founding Fathers declared than "all men are created equal." Yet those like Thomas Jefferson actually held slaves at the time they wrote such statements. Jefferson even had a black mistress, with whom he fathered several children. How could he have been so inconsistent?
  • Some of Lincoln's statements seem contradictory. On the one hand, he says during the Lincoln-Douglas debates that he thinks that blacks are inferior and that they should remain so. On the other, he frequently expressed his disdain for slavery, and in fact sought to free the slaves by preparing the Emancipation Proclamation. How do these conflicting statements and actions influence our view of Lincoln?
  • (In considering photographs of the Civil War, and illustrations from magazines like Harper's Weekly and Leslie's Illustrated.) Art is able to illustrate a story, but it is done so through the eyes of the cultural context and time period. Once again we are seeing a reinterpretation of a story, and not necessarily the reality. Do we pick and choose which version suits us? Can there be so many sides to the stories about the Civil War? Do you think some or all of these images have some truth to them. If we put them all together would we get the whole story?
  • Smith says that "the sort of stories made up about a man are often better evidence, more penetrating characterizations, than are exact reports of his actions" (Smith 149). As this applies to Lincoln, what do you think? Does this allow us to understand him more or simply work to confuse and frustrate us?
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات   السبت 27 فبراير 2010, 9:38 pm

3.e.

From Observation to Hypothesis




As I've said before in class, there is no more important task for the scholar than asking questions. Asking questions - good, scholarly questions, is both a technique which can be learned, and an art which must be intuited. Let's see how the process begins. Consider the following primary source:

Affidavit of a
Georgia freedwoman, 1866. My husband and I lived in Florida about four months. During that time he beat and abused me. I reported it to the officer in charge of the Freedman's Bureau. He had him arrested, and he got out of the guard house and left the place, remaining away until a new officer took charge. He then came back and beat me again. I had him arrested. He knocked the officer down and ran away and came here to Savannah. Since that time he has abused me and refuses to pay for the rent of my room and has not furnished me with any money, food, or clothing. I told him that I would go to the Freedmen's Bureau. He replied, "Damn the Freedmen's Bureau--I'll cuss you before them." On Saturday night, he came to my room and took all his things. He told me he would rather keep a woman than be married because she could not carry him to law and I could. I then told him that if he wanted to leave me to get a divorce and he could go. He said, "If I can get a divorce without paying for it, I'll get it for you. If I can't I won't give it to you, you can go without it." I said, "If you want to leave me, leave me like a man!" He has no just complaint against me.

Observation derived from primary source: This document depicts a freedmen's physical abuse of his wife.

Thought: This seems like an instance of gender oppression. But we've been thinking about things in terms of race. Plus, this is strange: we've just seen enslaved African Americans become free; now we see evidence of gender conflict. (Why is this "strange"?) I guess it's strange because I expected the expansion of freedom for all blacks to have been shared equally among black men and women. Perhaps this was not so.

Hypothesis: Are these two things -- emancipation and gender conflict -- related? If so, how? Did emancipation cause gender conflict? If so, how? Did freedom intensify conflicts that existed before? Why would freedom have intensified conflict -- what about it would do that? (Note that this process is about mulling over possibilities. When I ask, "if so, how?" I then respond with several options. This process of considering alternative possible answers is crucial!)

The big question: <How did emancipation affect gender conflict between African-American men and women? (But wait - that is too general a question! -- you've already moved past that in your thinking. This is more a statement of theme: the relationship between the general emancipation of enslaved African Americans and gender conflict between black men and women.)

Here is what else you've thought about:
There may have been a rise in gender conflict after emancipation
It may have been more than coincidental -- there may be a causal relationship

Here is what I've not clarified:
What do I mean when I say gender oppression? Who oppressed who, exactly? (Of course, I mean that men oppressed women. This is obvious, but I've yet to say it yet.)
What do I mean when I say oppression? Is there just one kind of oppression? If not, how many kinds are there? What kind am I looking at here? (Many of these I can't answer yet, yet I do know that what I mean here by "oppression" is that the husband beat and abandoned his wife.)

So I could reformulate my question to make it more specific: What about emancipation caused an increase in the physical abuse and abandonment of African-American women by African-American men?

Questions to ask when asking questions:


  • What words, phrases, or concepts in my questions have yet to be explored?
  • What assumptions have I made (or are implicit) in the questions I've asked?
  • What are the parts or components of my question?
  • How would I go about testing my hypotheses?
  • What would a possible answer or solution look like?


4.a.

Research Papers



Arguments and the thesis: The best papers are not droll surveys of historical data, but arguments. That is, they stake out a thesis (a conclusion or historical argument) and try to support it. Arguing a point provides focus for your paper; it engages you as the author and challenges you to think critically.

Developing your topic: The best way to devise a thesis to argue is to pose yourself questions about subjects that interest you. What was behind lynching: was it economic or psychological? How did African Americans feel about participating in World War II: were they happy or ambivalent? How successful was non-violence as a strategy during the Civil Rights movement? These are examples of questions or problems that can lead you into theses. You start out by looking into the question you set for yourself. As you learn more, you refine your question until you develop the problem that will guide you through your paper-writing. Ideally, your question will be interesting enough to let you do a sophisticated paper, yet narrow enough to be manageable. I can help you develop a problem and narrow your topic once you have expressed an interest in a particular time or subject.

Sources: The sources you will use will provide the raw data from which you will seek to answer the question you pose for yourself. In order to get you thinking and writing quickly, I will work closely with you to determine the sources you will use. This will prevent you from spending all your time simply finding material. All of the material we will use will be readily available. Some sources are more challenging to get and use than others; be realistic about what you are willing to do.


PAPER WRITING STEPS

Here are the steps involved in writing a paper.

Start out: Develop a problem and select primary sources in consultation with me.

Find primary sources: Locate the primary sources you will use. Check them out, if possible. If not, determine how and when you will use them (as in the case of microfilm, etc.). Consult with me about useful sources.

Research: Take notes from your primary sources. It is best to do this on note cards, so that you can arrange notes by topic when you prepare to write. Make sure to note on each card the source for the note, so you can footnote it later.

Analyze notes: Every night after you have taken notes, look over all the note cards you have compiled so far. Do this even if you have just started taking notes. Look over your notes, noting interesting recurring patterns in your data, or interesting questions that pop up. The point is that you must analyze your notes as you do your research. Constant analysis will suggest themes to look for when researching, and will help you develop your argument. Do not wait to analyze your notes until you have finished taking them; it doesn't work like that.

Prepare outline and develop hypothesis: After analyzing your notes, prepare an outline of your paper. An outline is your tentative scheme for organizing and writing the paper. The main purpose of the outline is to determine the structure of your paper. Without an overall sense of how the component parts of your research will address your topic (and hence support your thesis), you will have a very difficult time writing your paper. Through preparation of an outline, you should begin to get a sense of the argument you want to make. This argument is your tentative thesis, or hypothesis. You should keep your hypothesis in mind at all times when writing; you should ask yourself if your material supports it, or if you need to modify it.

Write first draft: Once you have a good collection of notes (you needn't have finished all of your research) and an outline, you should write a first draft of your final paper. Arrange your notes according to your outline. Your paragraphs should correspond to your outline, and each should advance your goal of supporting your hypothesis. A first draft will challenge you to articulate ideas that have been floating around in your head. You will probably realize that what you thought were simple ideas are actually complex, and are more difficult to express than you expected. That is normal; most of us don't realize how smart we really are.

Write final draft: Evaluate and edit your first draft. This is a crucial step! After reconsidering your paper, write your final draft, revising your first draft and incorporating the extra research you have completed. Throughout the paper writing process, the most important (and challenging) task will be to constantly edit and revise your work.


TAKING NOTES

Your research paper is based on your reading from different sources, so your notes must be sufficiently complete to be meaningful after the source has been read (or interviewed or heard or seen). Since you have to document (foot- or end-note) your paper, your notes must contain adequate resource information. Notecard method (using 3"x5" or 4"x6" index cards) is a convenient and flexible method of organizing your research. When you take notes, write only one note on each card. In addition to the note itself, write:

a. in the upper left hand corner of the card, the appropriate category or topic/subtopic to which the note refers.

b. in the upper right hand corner, the name of the source.

c. the page number(s) of that part (or those parts) of the source that you have used in taking the note. If you have used more than one page, indicate your page numbers in such a way as that when you start to write your paper, you can tell from what page each part of your note comes, for you may not choose to include the whole note.

This separate card method will make organizing your information much easier. When you come to outline and to organize your paper, you will be able to sort your notes in any way you please--by subtopic for example--and to arrange them in any order you please. You may even find that you want to recategorize some of your notes. Such flexibility is impossible if you take notes in a notebook. You will also be able to footnote your paper without having to refer to the sources themselves again.

In taking the note itself, paraphrase or quote your source or do both; but do only one at a time. Paraphrases and quotations require special care. Anything between paraphrase and quotation is not acceptable: you either paraphrase or quote, but do nothing in between. To paraphrase a source (or part of a source) is to reproduce it in words and word orders substantially different from the original. When you paraphrase well, you keep the sense of the original but change the language, retaining some key words, of course, but otherwise using your own words and your own sentence patterns. As a rough guide, if you copy more than three words in a row from a source, these words should be in quotation marks.

To quote a source (or part of a source) is to reproduce it exactly. When you quote well, you keep both the sense and language of the original, retaining its punctuation, its capitalization, its type face (roman or italic), and its spelling (indeed, even its misspelling).


WORKING BIBLIOGRAPHY

A working bibliography should be started at the outset of your investigation. It has a few functions:

a. it tells you if there are insufficient, adequate, or overabundant amounts of information on your topic.

b. it gets you organized and points a direction for you to start researching. It helps you to get down to work.

If you compile your bibliography on index cards, you will have more flexibility in alphabetizing and adding and deleting sources. Your bibliography should always be undergoing change as your research progresses.

Keep a separate card for each source you consult. Be sure to include all of the relevant publication information for each of your sources. A few examples taken from Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, (Chicago: Fifth Edition, 1987) follow. These are only the most common types of sources you will need to cite; you will surely need to consult Turabian or another style manual for others. Note that the way to cite a source in a bibliography if different than the way to cite a source in a footnote.

1. Book (footnote, bibliography):

1John Hope Franklin, George Washington Williams: A Biography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 54.

Franklin, John Hope. George Washington Williams: A Biography.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

2. Article in a scholarly journal (footnote, bibliography):

1Richard
Jackson, "Running Down the Up-Escalator: Regional Inequality in Papua New Guinea," Australian Geographer 14 (May 1979): 180.

Jackson, Richard. "Running Down the Up-Escalator: Regional Inequality in
Papua New Guinea." Australian Geographer 14 (May 1979): 174-85.

3. Article in a newspaper (footnote, bibliography):

1William Lloyd Garrison, "Guilt of New England," The Liberator (
Boston), January 7, 1832.

Garrison, William Lloyd. "Guilt of
New England." The Liberator (Boston), January 7, 1832.

It is essential that you obtain complete and accurate bibliographical information on each source, whether it be primary or secondary, which you use. Consult Turabian, 175-228 for directions on information needed for different types of sources.


REVISING THE DRAFT

1. After you have written the first draft, you should revise it. You should not begin this revision immediately after you have finished the first draft. Let your paper sit for awhile and then come back to it with a fresh view. As the researcher and writer, you have been too close to your work. You need a little distance before you look at the paper again. You might want to change some of the original organization, or delete parts which are tangential or insignificant to your main argument. You may also need to do some additional research and strengthen your arguments.

2. Think about how you have arranged the arguments in your paper. Does the paper's organization offer the most effective arrangement of your ideas and evidence to support the theme?

3. Reread the topic sentence for each paragraph. Does the sentence make your point and does the information in the paragraph support it?

4. Be sure that you have placed your topic in its historical context, preferably in the first few pages of the paper.

5. Locate your argument among those offered in the secondary historical works which you have read. At this point, you should have some idea of how your approach/theme adds to the body of historical literature on your topic. How have other historians treated the subject? What is different and/or unique about your approach/theme by comparison to the way previous historians have treated the topic? (Bear in mind that I realize that you have not completed an exhaustive analysis of all of the secondary works on your topic. In fact, you have probably only read a few articles and/or books. I just want you to locate your work in relation to the secondary material you have read.)

6. Think about your introduction and conclusion. Remember that these are crucial to the paper and you should take some time when writing them. The introduction not only interests the reader in getting beyond the first few pages but it also presents the focus of your argument. The conclusion is your chance to make a lasting impression on your audience; take advantage of it!

7. The final revision of your paper should include a check of overall organization, style and composition, spelling, proof of thesis, and format (arrangement of title page, pagination, endnotes if applicable, bibliography, citation form.)


4.c.

Research Basics




Places to start finding stuff:


Online guides for citing sources:


Three books on writing every history student should own:

  • Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 3rd ed. (Boston: Bedford Books/St. Martin's Press, 2001). <D13.R295 2001> Contains much concise, useful advice, including a guide to Chicago-style citations.
  • Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). <LB2369.T8 1996> The standard source for college history writers.
  • Diana Hacker, Rules for Writers, 3rd ed. (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1996). <PE1408 .H277 2000> A standard grammar, useful for identifying and correcting mistakes


4.d.

Keeping a Research Journal




The function of a research journal is to set down on paper your thoughts about the primary and secondary source material you are reading. It is a record of your questions about the material and your tentative answers to those questions. It documents the connections you make between the materials you read, and provides a place to record the questions this material raises.
The object of the journal is to record your thoughts about the primary and secondary material at hand. You want to do this as close to the moment of having the thought as possible, and you want to minimize anything that hampers this objective. Make your journal accessible and easy to use. Use a special computer file devoted to the purpose, or a spiral-bound notebook, or whatever device works best for you. Don't worry about correct spelling or punctuation. The journal is not for anyone's eyes but your own.
The journal should document the ways you are thinking about the material and connecting it up with other things you've thought about. What surprises you about what you are reading? For example, one journal entry might merely be an expression of personal disgust that anyone had ever held slaves:

How could anyone have ever done this? How could they have ever considered it ok to hold HUMAN BEINGS as property? And the wierd thing is that some of these slaveholders look just like normal people -- they have families, they seem concerned about other humans elsewhere. How do I understand this!!!?

Such thoughts are extremely valuable. At first, they might seem like "non-academic" thoughts because they are personal feelings. But every historian relies upon such feelings at some level; they tell us what is important to consider. In this case, the thought above suggests a thesis question: "We tend to vilify slaveholders as inhuman monsters, yet in many ways they looked just like people we do not vilify. How did slaveholders reconcile the practice of slaveholding with their own humanity?"
The journal is not a place to take notes on your sources. A journal entry may begin with, contain references to, or discuss notes, but the notes themselves should be kept elsewhere. The function of the journal is to discuss your notes, not record them. Take your notes elsewhere; if you use the journal to take them, the journal will be of less value.
Before and while writing your paper draft, go back over the journal. How has your thinking evolved on specific issues? By keeping in mind the intellectual journey you have made through the material, you are reminded that your readers will be making a similar journey, through which you must guide them. Oftentimes, properly-edited journal entries may even form the basis of paragraphs. Editing and expanding journal material may help you make the difficult transition from researching to writing.
Here is an example of one of my journal entries:

11/9/95: reading No Chariot Let Down intro (p. 11). speak of respectability demanded of free blacks in the south. check also black masters for this, as well as Berlin. idea of respectability common to free blacks North and South. free blacks of charleston, when faced with resentment of white workers who competed against them, fell back upon personal relationships with white elites. placed them among white aristocrats, because associating with slaves was dangerous. in North, blacks often Federalist, then Whig. (that Clay etching/cartoon demonstrates this.) piersen mentions it, too. black elites had closer ties to white elites than to white working class. this is the claim, anyway. dificult to test, especially at the lower level. was the boy in the clay etching representative of anything else? also, I can see former slaves maintaining their whig alliances with old masters, but what about the free elite who sought to distance themselves from associations with slavery? would this desire change things?

A few comments on this entry:


(1) I start with the date. This is the only kind of formatting rule I am concerned with, and I do it only because it helps me trace how I thought about an idea. Other than that, I am totally unconcerned with making the entry look good. I'm just thinking thoughts on paper.

(2) There are many references here that no one but me will understand. That's fine -- the important thing is that I will understand later what I was talking about. In the present case, I'm thinking about other sources that apply to my argument.

(3) In the entry, I'm making connections. I wrote the entry because I was reading a book about free blacks in antebellum Charleston, SC, and it triggered some thoughts about free blacks in the antebellum North. My entry thus makes connections between the kinds of material I've read. Ask yourself, how does what I'm reading bear on the work I'm doing?

(4) The entry also raises questions that are left unanswered. This is the most important thing I can stress about the journal. Good historical writing is the result of a process of asking questions and pondering answers (even if it looks like the historian had all the answers from the start). You simply cannot develop good papers without engaging in this process. The journal is a way to record these internal conversations, and use them to develop your paper.

You probably engage in this process anyway. Whenever you read, you ask yourself questions ("why are they representing slave speech like they are," or "what the heck was the Nullification Crisis, anyway?"). Most of us, however, don't respect our internal questions; we are taught that if we have to ask them we must be deficient, and we therefore ignore them. The journal process is about becoming comfortable with our own questioning. It is about respecting our internal (and external) discussions about what we read, and elevating our trained intuitions to the center around which we build our writing.

The point behind all of this is to develop interesting and worthwhile papers. Too many papers focus on simple, easy-to-answer, "fact"-based questions, such as "How did slaves escape their masters?" These are valid questions, but they tend not to lead to interesting papers. Rather, they produce rather dry narratives or recitations of facts. In the above case, the paper might merely relate the different ways that different slaves escaped.

Such papers lack interest. Your paper is not primarily an opportunity to relate the "facts" about something; it should be a chance for you to explore interesting questions. These are the kinds of questions that don't have simple answers; they are the ones historians and other scholars deal with constantly. With such questions, you may not arrive at the "right" answer, because there is no right answer. Instead, your paper will focus on helping us understand how we might think about a particularly troublesome issue.

Students often shy away from considering such questions because they think they cannot "prove" their point. Yet it is precisely this ambiguity which makes the questions worth asking in the first place; if the answer was easy, it wouldn't be worth asking. In the above case, it is fine to start with the question, "how did slaves escape their masters?" but at some point the issue should get more complicated. For instance, what was the meaning of slave escape? Did it reflect a revolutionary challenge to the system? Or in some ways did it actually support the slave regime? What were the causes of escapes, and what do these causes have to do with the meaning of escape in a larger sense? The list of possible questions is nearly endless; formulating and asking them is one of your first and most important task!

This process of honing-in on a good thesis question can only take place when you listen to your own thoughts about the material you read. For instance, you might start with one of those straight-forward, "fact"-based questions, like "How did masters control their slaves?" In the process of finding out how, you look up slave narratives published in the North in the 1850s. And what you find there -- among many other things -- is tale after tale of female slaves being beaten savagely, often after being stripped of their clothing. You wonder about this, but don't really know what to make of it, so you move on, ignoring it in your search for "real" answers to your question.

You have just missed a golden opportunity. Instead of ignoring your thought, you might have pulled out your journal and jotted a quick note:

on reading solomon northups narrative: All this violence in the slave narrative -- it seems also lurid, so sexual. was this a kind of entertainment as well as antislavery propaganda? What's going on here??

The mere act of writing down this question gives credibility and substance to your thought. Once it is on paper, you may see it again later. Perhaps you will read a similar passage in another narrative, and something will click in your head. You are on your way to developing a fascinating thesis question: What is the role of violence and sexuality in the antebellum slave narrative?
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات   السبت 27 فبراير 2010, 9:39 pm

5.a.

Structuring Your Essay




  • INTRODUCTION

    • Introduce the problem
    • Define key terms
    • State the thesis

      • Stems from good question
      • Tentative answer is "hypothesis"
      • Refine hypothesis into thesis



  • THE BODY

    • How is the paper organized?
    • Paragraphs

      • Topic sentence (mini-thesis)
      • Argument supporting topic sentence
      • Transition to next mini-thesis

    • Arguing in paragraphs

      • Mini-thesis
      • Evidence
      • Analysis (what does evidence support?)



  • CONCLUSION

    • Re-state the thesis
    • Significance of thesis (why should we care about the problem?)



5.b.

The Three Parts of a History Paper




I. THE INTRODUCTION: The introduction is usually one paragraph, or perhaps two in a paper of eight pages or more. Its purpose is to: (1) set out the problem to be discussed; (2) define key terms that will be used in that discussion; (3) outline the structure of the argument; (4) CLEARLY STATE THE THESIS.

A. Suggestions for the introduction:

Establish the problem:
Quickly established the issue your paper confronts. Where and when are we? What are we examining? It is especially important to clearly define the limits of your exploration. If you are discussing the life of Frederick Douglass, it will not suffice to establish the setting by referring to the "days of slavery," since slavery has existed in all times all over the world. Frederick Douglass was a slave in
Maryland in the decades before the Civil War. Do not begin a history paper with absurdly general phrases like, "since the beginning of time," or "humans have always. . . ." Get as specific as necessary as early as possible.

Set the tone, voice, and style of your paper. (See other guidelines for how this is done.) Make sure you convey that the topic is of vital concern, and that you are interested in it.

Catch the reader's attention. You might start with an example, a quotation, a statistic, or a complaint. Be sure that this opening theme runs through your paper. Do not abandon this theme. You can use it again later to help unify your paper.

Provide a subtle blueprint (or "road map") for the paper. Let your reader know where you are headed (how you plan to tackle the subject) without giving away your best ideas. If, for instance, your paper breaks down into political, social, and cultural components, telegraph this to your reader so she will know what to expect.

B. The thesis:

The last function of the introduction is to present your thesis. This is so important to your paper that it merits lengthy consideration -- please see my handout on this topic. The biggest problem with student papers is that they contain no true thesis. The second biggest problem with student papers is that the thesis is vague and ill-defined.

How the thesis fits in the introductory paragraph: The thesis statement is the one-sentence version of your argument. The thesis thus presents your reader with new information. But a good thesis will require you to introduce the concepts in it before presenting the thesis itself. That is the task of the introductory paragraph. The following introductory paragraph presents a thesis that relies on concepts which have not been properly defined and clarified:

Since the beginning of time humans have owned one another in slavery. This brutal institution was carried to its fullest extent in the United States in the years between the American Revolution and the Civil War. Slaveholders treated their slaves as chattel, brutalizing them with the whip and the lash. The law never recognized the humanity of the slave, and similarly regarded him as property. Consequently, there was a big disparity between private and public rights of slaves.

This thesis presents two words -- "private" and "public" rights -- that are not even mentioned earlier in the paragraph. What are these things? This paragraph does nothing to establish the distinction. Instead, it is a bland statement of theme which provides little background for the thesis. Thus, when we do read the thesis, it seems to float -- the premises underlying it have not been established. Compare the last introductory paragraph with this one:

To many supporters of slavery, the nature of slave rights had a dual character. On the one hand, in order to maintain the total dominance of the white master class, the law denied any rights to slaves. Publicly, the slave was merely property, and not human at all. Yet the personal records of many planters suggest that slaves often proved able to demand customary "rights" from their masters. In the privacy of the master-slave relationship, the black man did indeed have rights which the white man was bound to respect, on pain of losing his labor or subjecting himself to violence. This conflict between slaves' lack of "public" rights and masters' "private" acknowledgment of slaves' rights undermined planters' hegemony and permitted slaves to exert a degree of autonomy and freedom within an oppressive institution.

Note how quickly this paragraph lays the groundwork for the thesis. It is clearly structured around two competing concepts -- public and private rights -- which are then incorporated into the thesis. Nearly every element of the thesis is established in the preceding paragraph, yet the thesis itself is not a restatement of the paragraph. This paragraph even tells the reader what sources will be consulted: planters' personal records. Note finally that, in contrast to the previous paragraph, the reader now has a strong sense of what the paper will need to argue to prove its thesis.


II. THE BODY: This takes up several pages, and constitutes the bulk of your paper. Here is where you argue your thesis. The content of this section largely will depend on your thesis, and what it requires you to argue. Think to yourself, "what do I need to support this argument?" If you find yourself unable to answer, you may need a more interesting thesis.

A. Structure of the body: You need an organizing scheme for your paper, which most often will be suggested by your thesis. Let's take this thesis: "In the 1950s, American auto workers developed their identities as laborers in the home as well as the workplace." This thesis suggests a structure: at the very least, you will have to divide things up into "home" and "workplace."

B. Logic and flow: The general movement in the body is from the general to the specific. Start with general statements, such as "Federal policy towards native peoples aimed at either assimilating Indians or exterminating them." Then move on to specific statements which support your general statement, such as "The origins of the policy of assimilation can be traced back to Puritan missionaries of the 1650s."

C. Paragraphs: Your paper is built on paragraphs. Each paragraph should be minimum of four (sometimes three) sentences. The first sentence of each paragraph is called the "topic sentence."

D. Topic sentences: The topic sentence should tell the reader what the paragraph will be about. In essence, it is a "mini-thesis" -- a small argument you will support in the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph will be support for this mini-argument. For example, the topic sentence for a paragraph may be the general statement:

Federal policy towards native peoples aimed at either assimilating Indians or exterminating them. (Note that you are including no specific facts in this sentence, you are merely making an argument which must be supported with facts and evidence.)

E. Support: Two kinds of support should appear in your paragraphs:

Source evidence and quotations: Taken from primary (sometimes secondary) sources. Can be quoted material, but not always -- you can always paraphrase (put in your own words) this material, as long as you acknowledge the source. This is the "raw data" that supports the mini-thesis of your paragraph. In the case above (federal policy towards Indians), you could, for instance, quote portions of this letter from Thomas Jefferson, in which he advocates to the Mohicans private ownership of land to Indians as a means of assimilating them:

When once you have property, you will want laws and magistrates to protect your property and persons, and to punish those among you who commit crimes. You will find that our laws are good for this purpose; you will wish to live under them, you will unite yourselves with us, join in our Great Councils and form one people with us, and we shall be Americans.[ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذا الرابط]

Analysis: Raw data can never, everstand alone to support your mini-thesis. It must always be interpreted and analyzed. This is especially true of quotes. Never just plop a quote in and expect it to be clear to the reader how it supports the mini-thesis. Following each citation of raw data, you must analyze and interpret it -- tell me how it supports the point. In the case above, you must supply the connection between the primary source evidence (the quotation above) and your "mini-thesis" (that assimilation was one of the goals of federal policy):

Jefferson had little interest in understanding Native American culture and society on its own terms. To him, "assimilation" meant encompassing natives in a web of obligations and institutional arrangements which utterly departed from the anarchy he alleged characterized their societies, and rendered them dependent upon the "civilized" society he represented. (Note that these are my thoughts, my words, and my analysis of the material. I am not permitting the material to speak for itself, because it cannot.)

F. Transitions: The body of the paper must flow from one idea to the next. This linking of ideas is accomplished through transitional phrases. There are transitions between paragraphs, and transitions within paragraphs. Often, but not always, the last sentence of a paragraph begins to guide the reader to the next idea. (For this reason, it is often a good idea to end paragraphs with a sentence summing-up their findings.) Or the topic sentence of the next paragraph may accomplish this. In the current example, this topic sentence for the next paragraph not only introduces a new mini-thesis, it serves as a transition from the preceding paragraph:

If
Jefferson embodied a policy of assimilation, President Andrew Jackson represented the ambivalence of a nation enamored with both assimilation and extermination of Native Americans. (The key to the transition is the phrase "If Jefferson embodied a policy of assimilation." This phrase bridges the last paragraph by summarizing its findings. As you can tell, the paragraph(s) must deal with the ways Jackson represented the embodiment of both policies towards Native Americans.)

Here is another example of a clear transition:

. . . Sailors in the merchant marine faced a troublesome labor picture. Seasonal fluctuations and the unpredictability of the economy of the shipping industry contributed to instability in employment relations. These in turn led to a decline in workers's loyalty and their sense of job stability.
Instability and insecurity also characterized the wage and employment conditions of longshore work. . . .
(The transition here is built on the use of "also" in this topic sentence, which links the "instability and insecurity" of the longshoremen in this paragraph with the "instability and insecurity" of the sailors in the previous paragraph.)

G. Arguing in the body: The body is where you will flex your rhetorical muscle. Scholarly argument is not necessarily rancorous; it does not rely upon heated emotions, raised voices, and passionate appeals to the heart. Rather, scholarly arguments
marshall facts -- and analyze those facts -- in a fashion intended to persuade the reader through reason rather than emotion. The most important technique for doing this is to anticipate the counter-arguments your argument is likely to receive. You must constantly ask yourself, what arguments which counter my thesis make sense? You may do this one of two ways:

(1) you may refute an anticipated counter-argument by proving that it is untrue (sort of a preemptive strike), as in, "While the federal census of 1890 seems to suggest an increase in black mortality, that census was infamous for recording specious data."

(2) you may concede certain points: accept the truth of statements which seem to refute your argument, but explain why they actually do not harm your argument (sort of a strategic retreat), as in "It was indeed true that Latino youth were incarcerated at a rate three to four times greater than Anglo youth, yet this may suggest the iniquitous workings of the local justice system rather than a Latino propensity towards crime."

In history, these strategies often mean dealing with evidence that seems to undermine the point you are trying to make. It is crucial that you not ignore this evidence; after all, the reader will not. Selectively invoking evidence while ignoring counter-arguments undermines your credibility, and hence the force of your argument. Consider the following paragraph:

White Southerners were concerned only with re-imposing a kind of slavery on the freedpeople. They voted the straight Democratic ticket, which sought to overturn "Negro rule," and they supported secret organizations like the Klan and the Knights of the White Camellia. In short, their regard for the civil rights of the newly-freed slaves was almost non-existent. (The fallacy here is one of over-generalization. The author claims that all southern whites supported the move to return freedpeople to a kind of slavery. But we know that some southern whites did support black rights in the era, and voted Republican. By refusing to consider countervailing evidence, the author undermines what is a generally sound point: most southern whites supported the Democracy, but not all. By anticipating and countering these criticisms, this author would enhance her credibility and make a good argument more persuasive.)


III. CONCLUSION: This is usually one paragraph long, and briefly recapitulates your thesis, pulling all your arguments together. The first sentence of the concluding paragraph is a clear, specific re-statement of thesis. The conclusion should do more than simply re-state the argument. It also suggests why the argument is important in the bigger scheme of things, or suggests avenues for further research, or raises a bigger question.


1. Jefferson to Delawares, Mohicans, and Munries, December 21, 1808, in Andrew A. Lipscomb and Albert E. Bergh, eds., Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington, DC, 1904), vol. 16, p. 452.


5.c.

The Thesis


I. WHAT IS A THESIS?

What is a thesis? The thesis is the controlling idea around which you construct the rest of your paper. In a history paper, the thesis generally explains why or how something happened. Every word of your paper should support your thesis. Information you do not directly relate to your thesis will appear irrelevant. This means, of course, that in a paper with a weak or no thesis, much of the paper will appear to be irrelevant and unguided.

How do I present the thesis? The thesis should be contained in a single sentence that is concise and grammatically correct. This is usually the last sentence of the first paragraph. More than one sentence may be necessary to establish the thesis. The remainder of the introductory paragraph should draw the reader's attention to the problem the thesis confronts, and define key terms that appear in the thesis.

What about theses in essay exams? In an essay exam, the thesis is the one-sentence answer to the question posed; the remainder of the paper will prove the thesis.

The thesis is a scholarly argument. Most writing attempts to convince the reader of something. Even a poetic description of a rock is an attempt to convince the reader that the rock appears a certain way. A history paper takes a stand on a historical issue or problem, and attempts to develop a coherent and persuasive line of thought intended to convince the reader of the validity of that stand. Your thesis is the concise statement of your argument.


II. THE THESIS QUESTION

A good thesis derives from a good question. Since the thesis is your conclusion to a scholarly argument, there must be a clear question at stake. A thesis which does not answer a question, or answers a simple or obvious question, is not a thesis. You need to ask thoughtful questions of your topic and primary source material to develop a good thesis. The best theses are good precisely because the questions they answer are significant, complex, and original.

What does a good thesis question look like? There are many sources for questions which lead to good thesis, but all seem to pose a novel approach to their subject. A good thesis question may result from your curious observations of primary source material, as in "During World War II, why did American soldiers seem to treat Japanese prisoners-of-war more brutally than German prisoners-of-war?" Or, good thesis questions may challenge accepted wisdom, as in "Many people assume that
Jackson's Indian policy had nothing to do with his domestic politics; are they right?" Finally, a good thesis question may complicate a seemingly clear-cut topic, as in "Puritans expropriated Indians' land for wealth, but were psychological factors involved as well?"


III. CONSTRUCTING A THESIS

How do I develop a good thesis? Here is an example of how you might arrive at a strong thesis.

(1) Start with a topic, such as discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II. (Note that this is a very general area of interest. At this stage, it is utterly unguided. You cannot write a paper on this topic, because you have no path into the material.)

(2) Develop a question around it, as in "why did government officials allow discrimination against Japanese Americans?" (You now have a question that helps you probe your topic; your efforts have a direction, which is answering the question you have posed for yourself. Note that there are a great many questions which you might ask of your general topic. You should expect in the course of your research to consider many such possibilities. Which ones are the most interesting? Which ones are possible given the constraints of the assignment?)

(3) Develop a unique perspective on your question which answers it: Government officials allowed discrimination against Japanese Americans not because it was in the nation's interest, but because it provided a concrete enemy for people to focus on. (This is a thesis statement. You have answered the question you posed, and done so with a rather concrete and specific statement. Your answer offers a novel and thoughtful way of thinking about the material. Once the terms of the thesis are clarified [what was the "national interest"; what was the meaning and value of having "a concrete enemy for people to focus on"?], you are on your way to a solid paper.)

Constructing a tentative thesis (hypothesis): Here is a somewhat formulaic approach to constructing a tentative thesis. It is just one possibility among many.

(1) A concessive clause ("although such and such"). If you do not concede something, you will appear strident and unreasonable. By conceding something, your point will stand out, for you will have contrasted it with an opposing position.

(2) The main clause. This is the heart of your argument -- the thing you will prove. The subject of the main clause should be the subject of the paper. Do not present it in the form of "I will show" or "I hope to prove."

(3) A "because" clause. This will force you to summarize support for your thesis as concisely as possible.

Example: Although the Scopes Trial was a legal farce, it reflected deep ambivalence in American thinking, because so many conflicting attitudes met headlong in
Dayton, Tennessee. (Not a great thesis, but a good start. What were those conflicting attitudes? What was the key to their conflict? This thesis should be re-visited later with these questions in mind.)

Another approach to thesis construction: Here is another exercise that might help you develop your thesis. On a separate sheet of paper, complete the following sentences:

(1) Dear Reader: I want to convince you that. . . . [This is a hypothesis]

(2) The main reasons why you should believe me are that. . . . [This is a summary of your evidence and logic.]

(3) You should care about my thesis because. . . . [This provides the seeds of your conclusion, and checks the significance of your thesis.]

Refining the thesis: A good thesis does not spring to life from nothing. A good thesis is the product of a discussion you have about your source material and its meaning. Here is what that process might look like:

(1) Start with a question about your source material, as explained above.

How did African-American women fare after slavery ended?

(2) Create a hypothesis, that is, a tentative answer to the question. I suggest using the formula above.

Although freedom made life better in general for the slaves, African-American women fared worse than African-American men under freedom, because society sought to impose sexist notions of gender roles on emancipated black families.

(3) Then, considering the contents of your primary sources, ask these questions: Is my hypothesis really true? What evidence at my disposal makes it false? How can I modify my hypothesis to make it true?

For instance, you may have some source information that suggests black women were beaten by their husbands when free, but you might also have some that suggests their husbands protected them from whites and kept them from working long hard hours in the fields. Perhaps it was only in the realm of relative equality within the family that women lost out in freedom.

(4) Develop a new, more complex hypothesis by modifying the old one. There usually is no need to start from scratch; simply alter what you started with.

Although freedom made life better in general for African-American women, freedwomen may have lost some of the power they had held in the family under slavery, because freedom subjected them to the patriarchal domination of a sexist society.

More suggestions for developing a good thesis:

Developing a good thesis is usually the most difficult part of writing a paper; do not expect it to come easily.

After developing a hypothesis, read through it again, searching for vague words and phrases that "let you off the hook," or permit you to not make strong arguments. Underline such phrases, and re-word them to be more specific. In every un-refined thesis, there is a word or phrase which remains unclear or unexplained. Find it and "unpack" it in your introductory paragraph.

You should start thinking about possible theses from the very start of your paper preparation, but you need to examine your primary sources before you can develop a strong thesis. It is impossible to develop a good thesis without already having begun to analyze the primary sources which supply your evidence. How can you know what is even possible to argue if you haven't looked closely at your data?

In a history paper, you must state your conclusion (thesis) at the outset. But this does not mean you have to write it that way. Often, you will not know exactly how you will make that complex thesis until you have gotten deeply into the material. Start your draft with a tentative thesis paragraph (perhaps constructed using the formula above). Once you have written a draft of the paper, go back and re-write the thesis paragraph -- you'll have a much better sense of what you just argued, and you'll come up with a better thesis. Then go back over the body and see if it supports this complex thesis. Good writing is a process of continually evaluating your work this way -- of constantly asking yourself if your evidence and analysis supports your thesis. Remember, the thesis is not the starting point of your exploration, but the result of it.

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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات   السبت 27 فبراير 2010, 9:42 pm


IV. PRESENTING THE THESIS

The thesis paragraph (See also the handout entitled "The Three Parts of a History Paper."): The first paragraph of your paper should be your thesis paragraph. The function of this paragraph is to define the problem your paper addresses, define key words and concepts you will use, and present your argument in summary. A thesis paragraph is not an opportunity to meditate on the history of the world; you do not have enough space in a thesis paragraph to do anything more than fulfill the purposes stated above. The last sentence of this paragraph should be your thesis. Here is an exercise which may help you develop your thesis paragraph. Answer the following questions:

What is the thing that happened? Succinctly introduce the event which frames your paper.

Starting in the 1890s, the legislatures of the southern states began to pass a series of laws which by intent and in practice removed African Americans from the voting population. Despite the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, which guaranteed black men's right to vote, African Americans found themselves steadily disfranchised through legal chicaneries like grandfather clauses, literacy tests, and all-white primaries.

Why should we be interested in the thing that happened? Explain the significance of exploring this topic. What problems will you help us solve? What insights does your exploration promise?

Historians have long wondered why this new spate of legislation appeared so long after the failure of the Republican Party in 1877. If Reconstruction ended black Americans' dreams of meaningful political equality, why did southern whites delay for over a decade their efforts to disfranchise blacks? Perhaps the new measures signaled not the continuation of old forms of racial control, but the rise of a new, more hostile form of racial thought among white Southerners.

How and/or why did it happen? This is the thesis.

Legal disfranchisement did not begin until twelve years after the end of Reconstruction, for it took an economic downturn in the South and the coming of age of the first generation of southern African Americans born into freedom to trigger legal efforts to keep blacks away from the polls.

These sentences, when placed together, could constitute a thesis paragraph. Notice three things about this paragraph:

(1) The thesis, while it effectively encapsulates the argument, can not stand alone. It requires the sentences which precede it to "set it up."

(2) These sentences not only perform the functions described in the questions, they introduce and explain key dates and terms (disfranchisement, Reconstruction, economic crisis, 1890s, etc.)

(3) The paragraph presents an entire argument in brief. It therefore lays out a structure for the paper. The author of this paper knows what needs to be established in the body of the paper (and hence, has an outline), and the reader has a "road map" for following the argument.

This road map may be:

Establish that southern states started passing new disfranchisement laws in the 1890s. Historical examples would be nice.

Introduce the historical dilemma: why the gap between the end of Reconstruction and the start of disfranchisement. A brief summary of the historical debate would help here.

Introduce and develop the idea that disfranchisement resulted from new forms of racial thought rather than grew out of old ones. Examples demonstrating the ways disfranchisement reflected new ideas are required here. Comparing new and old ideas of race seems called for.

Discuss how economic downturn helped create a new situation in which new racial ideas could emerge. This is the first part of your thesis. It will require evidence of an economic downturn, and relate that downturn to new ideas of race.

Discuss how the coming of age of the first generation of southern African Americans born into freedom helped create a new situation in which new racial ideas could emerge. This is the second part of your thesis. It will require evidence of this new generation, and demonstrate how whites reacted to this development with new ideas of race.

Finally, you will have to link the new ideas of race to the rise of disfranchisement laws. You may be able to do this within the last two sections of the argument; if not, it will be necessary here.

Why is the thesis placed in the introduction? In a mystery novel, the puzzle is not solved until the end. But in history papers, your conclusion should appear first. Readers need to know what you are arguing from the beginning, so they can evaluate your argument as they read. This means that often you cannot write a good thesis statement before you have undertaken the arduous work of understanding your sources and argument. I cannot stress this enough: once you have written a draft of your paper, go back and refine your thesis statement.

What does a bad thesis look like? Here are some examples.

The evolution trial of 1925 was made a farce and a comedy by the circumstances surrounding the trial. Behind this facade lay issues that were deeply disturbing to the Americans of the 1920s. By an examination of the Scopes Trial, some of these issues can begin to be perceived and analyzed and perhaps they can reveal a better understanding of the decade. (There is no thesis here. The last sentence seems to be a thesis, but actually speaks to the way the paper will proceed rather than to its conclusion. It does not explain why or how something happened.)

Henry David Thoreau, the author of Walden, and Theodore Parker, the unitarian minister and abolitionist, were two of the greatest minds of the antebellum period. The purpose of this paper is to examine means of resistance through a comparison of the philosophies of Thoreau and Parker. (This is a statement of purpose and method, but does not begin to offer a thesis. What is the question or problem? Comparison is a method of inquiry that leads to a thesis, not a thesis itself.)

As slaves, African Americans were given little or no rights as families. Husbands and wives were parted, and children were separated from their mothers by masters who had no qualms about selling them. Even those families kept intact were by no means protected from the hardships of slavery. Through emancipation came new opportunities and problems for African American families. (This is a little closer, but still problematic. It does assert something [emancipation brought "new opportunities and problems"] about its subject [African American families]. Yet this assertion is vague; it lacks focus and direction. More questions need to be asked: What kind of opportunities and problems did emancipation present? Which [opportunities or problems] were more important to the shaping of post-emancipation life? In short, the assertion made here is neither sufficiently adventurous nor specific to qualify as a good thesis.)


5.c.

The Thesis


I. WHAT IS A THESIS?

What is a thesis? The thesis is the controlling idea around which you construct the rest of your paper. In a history paper, the thesis generally explains why or how something happened. Every word of your paper should support your thesis. Information you do not directly relate to your thesis will appear irrelevant. This means, of course, that in a paper with a weak or no thesis, much of the paper will appear to be irrelevant and unguided.

How do I present the thesis? The thesis should be contained in a single sentence that is concise and grammatically correct. This is usually the last sentence of the first paragraph. More than one sentence may be necessary to establish the thesis. The remainder of the introductory paragraph should draw the reader's attention to the problem the thesis confronts, and define key terms that appear in the thesis.

What about theses in essay exams? In an essay exam, the thesis is the one-sentence answer to the question posed; the remainder of the paper will prove the thesis.

The thesis is a scholarly argument. Most writing attempts to convince the reader of something. Even a poetic description of a rock is an attempt to convince the reader that the rock appears a certain way. A history paper takes a stand on a historical issue or problem, and attempts to develop a coherent and persuasive line of thought intended to convince the reader of the validity of that stand. Your thesis is the concise statement of your argument.


II. THE THESIS QUESTION

A good thesis derives from a good question. Since the thesis is your conclusion to a scholarly argument, there must be a clear question at stake. A thesis which does not answer a question, or answers a simple or obvious question, is not a thesis. You need to ask thoughtful questions of your topic and primary source material to develop a good thesis. The best theses are good precisely because the questions they answer are significant, complex, and original.

What does a good thesis question look like? There are many sources for questions which lead to good thesis, but all seem to pose a novel approach to their subject. A good thesis question may result from your curious observations of primary source material, as in "During World War II, why did American soldiers seem to treat Japanese prisoners-of-war more brutally than German prisoners-of-war?" Or, good thesis questions may challenge accepted wisdom, as in "Many people assume that
Jackson's Indian policy had nothing to do with his domestic politics; are they right?" Finally, a good thesis question may complicate a seemingly clear-cut topic, as in "Puritans expropriated Indians' land for wealth, but were psychological factors involved as well?"


III. CONSTRUCTING A THESIS

How do I develop a good thesis? Here is an example of how you might arrive at a strong thesis.

(1) Start with a topic, such as discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II. (Note that this is a very general area of interest. At this stage, it is utterly unguided. You cannot write a paper on this topic, because you have no path into the material.)

(2) Develop a question around it, as in "why did government officials allow discrimination against Japanese Americans?" (You now have a question that helps you probe your topic; your efforts have a direction, which is answering the question you have posed for yourself. Note that there are a great many questions which you might ask of your general topic. You should expect in the course of your research to consider many such possibilities. Which ones are the most interesting? Which ones are possible given the constraints of the assignment?)

(3) Develop a unique perspective on your question which answers it: Government officials allowed discrimination against Japanese Americans not because it was in the nation's interest, but because it provided a concrete enemy for people to focus on. (This is a thesis statement. You have answered the question you posed, and done so with a rather concrete and specific statement. Your answer offers a novel and thoughtful way of thinking about the material. Once the terms of the thesis are clarified [what was the "national interest"; what was the meaning and value of having "a concrete enemy for people to focus on"?], you are on your way to a solid paper.)

Constructing a tentative thesis (hypothesis): Here is a somewhat formulaic approach to constructing a tentative thesis. It is just one possibility among many.

(1) A concessive clause ("although such and such"). If you do not concede something, you will appear strident and unreasonable. By conceding something, your point will stand out, for you will have contrasted it with an opposing position.

(2) The main clause. This is the heart of your argument -- the thing you will prove. The subject of the main clause should be the subject of the paper. Do not present it in the form of "I will show" or "I hope to prove."

(3) A "because" clause. This will force you to summarize support for your thesis as concisely as possible.

Example: Although the Scopes Trial was a legal farce, it reflected deep ambivalence in American thinking, because so many conflicting attitudes met headlong in
Dayton, Tennessee. (Not a great thesis, but a good start. What were those conflicting attitudes? What was the key to their conflict? This thesis should be re-visited later with these questions in mind.)

Another approach to thesis construction: Here is another exercise that might help you develop your thesis. On a separate sheet of paper, complete the following sentences:

(1) Dear Reader: I want to convince you that. . . . [This is a hypothesis]

(2) The main reasons why you should believe me are that. . . . [This is a summary of your evidence and logic.]

(3) You should care about my thesis because. . . . [This provides the seeds of your conclusion, and checks the significance of your thesis.]

Refining the thesis: A good thesis does not spring to life from nothing. A good thesis is the product of a discussion you have about your source material and its meaning. Here is what that process might look like:

(1) Start with a question about your source material, as explained above.

How did African-American women fare after slavery ended?

(2) Create a hypothesis, that is, a tentative answer to the question. I suggest using the formula above.

Although freedom made life better in general for the slaves, African-American women fared worse than African-American men under freedom, because society sought to impose sexist notions of gender roles on emancipated black families.

(3) Then, considering the contents of your primary sources, ask these questions: Is my hypothesis really true? What evidence at my disposal makes it false? How can I modify my hypothesis to make it true?

For instance, you may have some source information that suggests black women were beaten by their husbands when free, but you might also have some that suggests their husbands protected them from whites and kept them from working long hard hours in the fields. Perhaps it was only in the realm of relative equality within the family that women lost out in freedom.

(4) Develop a new, more complex hypothesis by modifying the old one. There usually is no need to start from scratch; simply alter what you started with.

Although freedom made life better in general for African-American women, freedwomen may have lost some of the power they had held in the family under slavery, because freedom subjected them to the patriarchal domination of a sexist society.

More suggestions for developing a good thesis:

Developing a good thesis is usually the most difficult part of writing a paper; do not expect it to come easily.

After developing a hypothesis, read through it again, searching for vague words and phrases that "let you off the hook," or permit you to not make strong arguments. Underline such phrases, and re-word them to be more specific. In every un-refined thesis, there is a word or phrase which remains unclear or unexplained. Find it and "unpack" it in your introductory paragraph.

You should start thinking about possible theses from the very start of your paper preparation, but you need to examine your primary sources before you can develop a strong thesis. It is impossible to develop a good thesis without already having begun to analyze the primary sources which supply your evidence. How can you know what is even possible to argue if you haven't looked closely at your data?

In a history paper, you must state your conclusion (thesis) at the outset. But this does not mean you have to write it that way. Often, you will not know exactly how you will make that complex thesis until you have gotten deeply into the material. Start your draft with a tentative thesis paragraph (perhaps constructed using the formula above). Once you have written a draft of the paper, go back and re-write the thesis paragraph -- you'll have a much better sense of what you just argued, and you'll come up with a better thesis. Then go back over the body and see if it supports this complex thesis. Good writing is a process of continually evaluating your work this way -- of constantly asking yourself if your evidence and analysis supports your thesis. Remember, the thesis is not the starting point of your exploration, but the result of it.


IV. PRESENTING THE THESIS

The thesis paragraph (See also the handout entitled "The Three Parts of a History Paper."): The first paragraph of your paper should be your thesis paragraph. The function of this paragraph is to define the problem your paper addresses, define key words and concepts you will use, and present your argument in summary. A thesis paragraph is not an opportunity to meditate on the history of the world; you do not have enough space in a thesis paragraph to do anything more than fulfill the purposes stated above. The last sentence of this paragraph should be your thesis. Here is an exercise which may help you develop your thesis paragraph. Answer the following questions:

What is the thing that happened? Succinctly introduce the event which frames your paper.

Starting in the 1890s, the legislatures of the southern states began to pass a series of laws which by intent and in practice removed African Americans from the voting population. Despite the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, which guaranteed black men's right to vote, African Americans found themselves steadily disfranchised through legal chicaneries like grandfather clauses, literacy tests, and all-white primaries.

Why should we be interested in the thing that happened? Explain the significance of exploring this topic. What problems will you help us solve? What insights does your exploration promise?

Historians have long wondered why this new spate of legislation appeared so long after the failure of the Republican Party in 1877. If Reconstruction ended black Americans' dreams of meaningful political equality, why did southern whites delay for over a decade their efforts to disfranchise blacks? Perhaps the new measures signaled not the continuation of old forms of racial control, but the rise of a new, more hostile form of racial thought among white Southerners.

How and/or why did it happen? This is the thesis.

Legal disfranchisement did not begin until twelve years after the end of Reconstruction, for it took an economic downturn in the South and the coming of age of the first generation of southern African Americans born into freedom to trigger legal efforts to keep blacks away from the polls.

These sentences, when placed together, could constitute a thesis paragraph. Notice three things about this paragraph:

(1) The thesis, while it effectively encapsulates the argument, can not stand alone. It requires the sentences which precede it to "set it up."

(2) These sentences not only perform the functions described in the questions, they introduce and explain key dates and terms (disfranchisement, Reconstruction, economic crisis, 1890s, etc.)

(3) The paragraph presents an entire argument in brief. It therefore lays out a structure for the paper. The author of this paper knows what needs to be established in the body of the paper (and hence, has an outline), and the reader has a "road map" for following the argument.

This road map may be:

Establish that southern states started passing new disfranchisement laws in the 1890s. Historical examples would be nice.

Introduce the historical dilemma: why the gap between the end of Reconstruction and the start of disfranchisement. A brief summary of the historical debate would help here.

Introduce and develop the idea that disfranchisement resulted from new forms of racial thought rather than grew out of old ones. Examples demonstrating the ways disfranchisement reflected new ideas are required here. Comparing new and old ideas of race seems called for.

Discuss how economic downturn helped create a new situation in which new racial ideas could emerge. This is the first part of your thesis. It will require evidence of an economic downturn, and relate that downturn to new ideas of race.

Discuss how the coming of age of the first generation of southern African Americans born into freedom helped create a new situation in which new racial ideas could emerge. This is the second part of your thesis. It will require evidence of this new generation, and demonstrate how whites reacted to this development with new ideas of race.

Finally, you will have to link the new ideas of race to the rise of disfranchisement laws. You may be able to do this within the last two sections of the argument; if not, it will be necessary here.

Why is the thesis placed in the introduction? In a mystery novel, the puzzle is not solved until the end. But in history papers, your conclusion should appear first. Readers need to know what you are arguing from the beginning, so they can evaluate your argument as they read. This means that often you cannot write a good thesis statement before you have undertaken the arduous work of understanding your sources and argument. I cannot stress this enough: once you have written a draft of your paper, go back and refine your thesis statement.

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Admin المدير العام للمنتدى
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avatar


الابراج : الدلو
عدد المساهمات : 4049
تاريخ التسجيل : 15/06/2009
العمر : 28
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات   السبت 27 فبراير 2010, 9:44 pm

What does a bad thesis look like? Here are some examples.

The evolution trial of 1925 was made a farce and a comedy by the circumstances surrounding the trial. Behind this facade lay issues that were deeply disturbing to the Americans of the 1920s. By an examination of the Scopes Trial, some of these issues can begin to be perceived and analyzed and perhaps they can reveal a better understanding of the decade. (There is no thesis here. The last sentence seems to be a thesis, but actually speaks to the way the paper will proceed rather than to its conclusion. It does not explain why or how something happened.)

Henry David Thoreau, the author of Walden, and Theodore Parker, the unitarian minister and abolitionist, were two of the greatest minds of the antebellum period. The purpose of this paper is to examine means of resistance through a comparison of the philosophies of Thoreau and Parker. (This is a statement of purpose and method, but does not begin to offer a thesis. What is the question or problem? Comparison is a method of inquiry that leads to a thesis, not a thesis itself.)

As slaves, African Americans were given little or no rights as families. Husbands and wives were parted, and children were separated from their mothers by masters who had no qualms about selling them. Even those families kept intact were by no means protected from the hardships of slavery. Through emancipation came new opportunities and problems for African American families. (This is a little closer, but still problematic. It does assert something [emancipation brought "new opportunities and problems"] about its subject [African American families]. Yet this assertion is vague; it lacks focus and direction. More questions need to be asked: What kind of opportunities and problems did emancipation present? Which [opportunities or problems] were more important to the shaping of post-emancipation life? In short, the assertion made here is neither sufficiently adventurous nor specific to qualify as a good thesis.)


5.c.

The Thesis


I. WHAT IS A THESIS?

What is a thesis? The thesis is the controlling idea around which you construct the rest of your paper. In a history paper, the thesis generally explains why or how something happened. Every word of your paper should support your thesis. Information you do not directly relate to your thesis will appear irrelevant. This means, of course, that in a paper with a weak or no thesis, much of the paper will appear to be irrelevant and unguided.

How do I present the thesis? The thesis should be contained in a single sentence that is concise and grammatically correct. This is usually the last sentence of the first paragraph. More than one sentence may be necessary to establish the thesis. The remainder of the introductory paragraph should draw the reader's attention to the problem the thesis confronts, and define key terms that appear in the thesis.

What about theses in essay exams? In an essay exam, the thesis is the one-sentence answer to the question posed; the remainder of the paper will prove the thesis.

The thesis is a scholarly argument. Most writing attempts to convince the reader of something. Even a poetic description of a rock is an attempt to convince the reader that the rock appears a certain way. A history paper takes a stand on a historical issue or problem, and attempts to develop a coherent and persuasive line of thought intended to convince the reader of the validity of that stand. Your thesis is the concise statement of your argument.


II. THE THESIS QUESTION

A good thesis derives from a good question. Since the thesis is your conclusion to a scholarly argument, there must be a clear question at stake. A thesis which does not answer a question, or answers a simple or obvious question, is not a thesis. You need to ask thoughtful questions of your topic and primary source material to develop a good thesis. The best theses are good precisely because the questions they answer are significant, complex, and original.

What does a good thesis question look like? There are many sources for questions which lead to good thesis, but all seem to pose a novel approach to their subject. A good thesis question may result from your curious observations of primary source material, as in "During World War II, why did American soldiers seem to treat Japanese prisoners-of-war more brutally than German prisoners-of-war?" Or, good thesis questions may challenge accepted wisdom, as in "Many people assume that
Jackson's Indian policy had nothing to do with his domestic politics; are they right?" Finally, a good thesis question may complicate a seemingly clear-cut topic, as in "Puritans expropriated Indians' land for wealth, but were psychological factors involved as well?"


III. CONSTRUCTING A THESIS

How do I develop a good thesis? Here is an example of how you might arrive at a strong thesis.

(1) Start with a topic, such as discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II. (Note that this is a very general area of interest. At this stage, it is utterly unguided. You cannot write a paper on this topic, because you have no path into the material.)

(2) Develop a question around it, as in "why did government officials allow discrimination against Japanese Americans?" (You now have a question that helps you probe your topic; your efforts have a direction, which is answering the question you have posed for yourself. Note that there are a great many questions which you might ask of your general topic. You should expect in the course of your research to consider many such possibilities. Which ones are the most interesting? Which ones are possible given the constraints of the assignment?)

(3) Develop a unique perspective on your question which answers it: Government officials allowed discrimination against Japanese Americans not because it was in the nation's interest, but because it provided a concrete enemy for people to focus on. (This is a thesis statement. You have answered the question you posed, and done so with a rather concrete and specific statement. Your answer offers a novel and thoughtful way of thinking about the material. Once the terms of the thesis are clarified [what was the "national interest"; what was the meaning and value of having "a concrete enemy for people to focus on"?], you are on your way to a solid paper.)

Constructing a tentative thesis (hypothesis): Here is a somewhat formulaic approach to constructing a tentative thesis. It is just one possibility among many.

(1) A concessive clause ("although such and such"). If you do not concede something, you will appear strident and unreasonable. By conceding something, your point will stand out, for you will have contrasted it with an opposing position.

(2) The main clause. This is the heart of your argument -- the thing you will prove. The subject of the main clause should be the subject of the paper. Do not present it in the form of "I will show" or "I hope to prove."

(3) A "because" clause. This will force you to summarize support for your thesis as concisely as possible.

Example: Although the Scopes Trial was a legal farce, it reflected deep ambivalence in American thinking, because so many conflicting attitudes met headlong in
Dayton, Tennessee. (Not a great thesis, but a good start. What were those conflicting attitudes? What was the key to their conflict? This thesis should be re-visited later with these questions in mind.)

Another approach to thesis construction: Here is another exercise that might help you develop your thesis. On a separate sheet of paper, complete the following sentences:

(1) Dear Reader: I want to convince you that. . . . [This is a hypothesis]

(2) The main reasons why you should believe me are that. . . . [This is a summary of your evidence and logic.]

(3) You should care about my thesis because. . . . [This provides the seeds of your conclusion, and checks the significance of your thesis.]

Refining the thesis: A good thesis does not spring to life from nothing. A good thesis is the product of a discussion you have about your source material and its meaning. Here is what that process might look like:

(1) Start with a question about your source material, as explained above.

How did African-American women fare after slavery ended?

(2) Create a hypothesis, that is, a tentative answer to the question. I suggest using the formula above.

Although freedom made life better in general for the slaves, African-American women fared worse than African-American men under freedom, because society sought to impose sexist notions of gender roles on emancipated black families.

(3) Then, considering the contents of your primary sources, ask these questions: Is my hypothesis really true? What evidence at my disposal makes it false? How can I modify my hypothesis to make it true?

For instance, you may have some source information that suggests black women were beaten by their husbands when free, but you might also have some that suggests their husbands protected them from whites and kept them from working long hard hours in the fields. Perhaps it was only in the realm of relative equality within the family that women lost out in freedom.

(4) Develop a new, more complex hypothesis by modifying the old one. There usually is no need to start from scratch; simply alter what you started with.

Although freedom made life better in general for African-American women, freedwomen may have lost some of the power they had held in the family under slavery, because freedom subjected them to the patriarchal domination of a sexist society.

More suggestions for developing a good thesis:

Developing a good thesis is usually the most difficult part of writing a paper; do not expect it to come easily.

After developing a hypothesis, read through it again, searching for vague words and phrases that "let you off the hook," or permit you to not make strong arguments. Underline such phrases, and re-word them to be more specific. In every un-refined thesis, there is a word or phrase which remains unclear or unexplained. Find it and "unpack" it in your introductory paragraph.

You should start thinking about possible theses from the very start of your paper preparation, but you need to examine your primary sources before you can develop a strong thesis. It is impossible to develop a good thesis without already having begun to analyze the primary sources which supply your evidence. How can you know what is even possible to argue if you haven't looked closely at your data?

In a history paper, you must state your conclusion (thesis) at the outset. But this does not mean you have to write it that way. Often, you will not know exactly how you will make that complex thesis until you have gotten deeply into the material. Start your draft with a tentative thesis paragraph (perhaps constructed using the formula above). Once you have written a draft of the paper, go back and re-write the thesis paragraph -- you'll have a much better sense of what you just argued, and you'll come up with a better thesis. Then go back over the body and see if it supports this complex thesis. Good writing is a process of continually evaluating your work this way -- of constantly asking yourself if your evidence and analysis supports your thesis. Remember, the thesis is not the starting point of your exploration, but the result of it.


IV. PRESENTING THE THESIS

The thesis paragraph (See also the handout entitled "The Three Parts of a History Paper."): The first paragraph of your paper should be your thesis paragraph. The function of this paragraph is to define the problem your paper addresses, define key words and concepts you will use, and present your argument in summary. A thesis paragraph is not an opportunity to meditate on the history of the world; you do not have enough space in a thesis paragraph to do anything more than fulfill the purposes stated above. The last sentence of this paragraph should be your thesis. Here is an exercise which may help you develop your thesis paragraph. Answer the following questions:

What is the thing that happened? Succinctly introduce the event which frames your paper.

Starting in the 1890s, the legislatures of the southern states began to pass a series of laws which by intent and in practice removed African Americans from the voting population. Despite the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, which guaranteed black men's right to vote, African Americans found themselves steadily disfranchised through legal chicaneries like grandfather clauses, literacy tests, and all-white primaries.

Why should we be interested in the thing that happened? Explain the significance of exploring this topic. What problems will you help us solve? What insights does your exploration promise?

Historians have long wondered why this new spate of legislation appeared so long after the failure of the Republican Party in 1877. If Reconstruction ended black Americans' dreams of meaningful political equality, why did southern whites delay for over a decade their efforts to disfranchise blacks? Perhaps the new measures signaled not the continuation of old forms of racial control, but the rise of a new, more hostile form of racial thought among white Southerners.

How and/or why did it happen? This is the thesis.

Legal disfranchisement did not begin until twelve years after the end of Reconstruction, for it took an economic downturn in the South and the coming of age of the first generation of southern African Americans born into freedom to trigger legal efforts to keep blacks away from the polls.

These sentences, when placed together, could constitute a thesis paragraph. Notice three things about this paragraph:

(1) The thesis, while it effectively encapsulates the argument, can not stand alone. It requires the sentences which precede it to "set it up."

(2) These sentences not only perform the functions described in the questions, they introduce and explain key dates and terms (disfranchisement, Reconstruction, economic crisis, 1890s, etc.)

(3) The paragraph presents an entire argument in brief. It therefore lays out a structure for the paper. The author of this paper knows what needs to be established in the body of the paper (and hence, has an outline), and the reader has a "road map" for following the argument.

This road map may be:

Establish that southern states started passing new disfranchisement laws in the 1890s. Historical examples would be nice.

Introduce the historical dilemma: why the gap between the end of Reconstruction and the start of disfranchisement. A brief summary of the historical debate would help here.

Introduce and develop the idea that disfranchisement resulted from new forms of racial thought rather than grew out of old ones. Examples demonstrating the ways disfranchisement reflected new ideas are required here. Comparing new and old ideas of race seems called for.

Discuss how economic downturn helped create a new situation in which new racial ideas could emerge. This is the first part of your thesis. It will require evidence of an economic downturn, and relate that downturn to new ideas of race.

Discuss how the coming of age of the first generation of southern African Americans born into freedom helped create a new situation in which new racial ideas could emerge. This is the second part of your thesis. It will require evidence of this new generation, and demonstrate how whites reacted to this development with new ideas of race.

Finally, you will have to link the new ideas of race to the rise of disfranchisement laws. You may be able to do this within the last two sections of the argument; if not, it will be necessary here.

Why is the thesis placed in the introduction? In a mystery novel, the puzzle is not solved until the end. But in history papers, your conclusion should appear first. Readers need to know what you are arguing from the beginning, so they can evaluate your argument as they read. This means that often you cannot write a good thesis statement before you have undertaken the arduous work of understanding your sources and argument. I cannot stress this enough: once you have written a draft of your paper, go back and refine your thesis statement.

What does a bad thesis look like? Here are some examples.

The evolution trial of 1925 was made a farce and a comedy by the circumstances surrounding the trial. Behind this facade lay issues that were deeply disturbing to the Americans of the 1920s. By an examination of the Scopes Trial, some of these issues can begin to be perceived and analyzed and perhaps they can reveal a better understanding of the decade. (There is no thesis here. The last sentence seems to be a thesis, but actually speaks to the way the paper will proceed rather than to its conclusion. It does not explain why or how something happened.)

Henry David Thoreau, the author of Walden, and Theodore Parker, the unitarian minister and abolitionist, were two of the greatest minds of the antebellum period. The purpose of this paper is to examine means of resistance through a comparison of the philosophies of Thoreau and Parker. (This is a statement of purpose and method, but does not begin to offer a thesis. What is the question or problem? Comparison is a method of inquiry that leads to a thesis, not a thesis itself.)

As slaves, African Americans were given little or no rights as families. Husbands and wives were parted, and children were separated from their mothers by masters who had no qualms about selling them. Even those families kept intact were by no means protected from the hardships of slavery. Through emancipation came new opportunities and problems for African American families. (This is a little closer, but still problematic. It does assert something [emancipation brought "new opportunities and problems"] about its subject [African American families]. Yet this assertion is vague; it lacks focus and direction. More questions need to be asked: What kind of opportunities and problems did emancipation present? Which [opportunities or problems] were more important to the shaping of post-emancipation life? In short, the assertion made here is neither sufficiently
adventurous nor specific to qualify as a good thesis.)


5.d.

History and Rhetoric




rhetoric: The art of discourse; skill in the use of language.
discourse: Continuous expression or exchange of ideas; formal and connected expression of thought.

Rhetoric is the art of argument. How does rhetoric operate in history papers? Here are some principles:


  • Good historical writing is always argumentative. Many historical narratives of Civil War battles published in popular magazines often do little more than relate the facts of a given action. As fascinating as such narratives may be, they neglect the basic enterprise of scholarship, for they fail to participate in discussion and debate. Instead, they merely relate (albeit perhaps with interest and verve) what they see to be a given set of facts.
  • Good historical writing is always interpretive. While historians strive to approach their subjects with objectivity, they do not strive to be without concern for a topic. The principles of truth-finding demand that we not allow our concerns to influence the conclusions we derive from our investigations. But that does not forbid us from having concerns in the first place. Such concerns provide the energy for scholarly investigation, and mean that any scholarship, no matter how "objective" it purports to be, will reflect a set of underlying concerns. Many scholars thus believe that there is no such thing as "Just the facts, ma'am."
  • Good historical writing is always about creating something new. There is little point in re-hashing the work of other scholars. Historians constantly seek to add to the body of knowledge, even if in only some small way. Their enterprise is about asking questions which demand answers which have not been offered before. Sometimes they ask old questions and find new answers, or they may ask questions which never have been asked.
  • Good historical writing almost always responds to debates in the field. Sometimes, this happens explicitly, as when a historian clearly challenges the interpretations of other historians. At other times, a historian's dialogue with others in the field is far less evident. In every case, though, good history is written with historical debates in mind.


Understanding the ways historians construct their arguments is essential to writing good history papers. Students often find it difficult to determine what their papers are really about, not because they don't know what their subject is, but because they don't know what their argument is trying to do. Draw examples from other scholars: when reading secondary sources, constantly ask yourself, what does this article or chapter do with respect to the existing scholarship on this topic?
Here are some rhetorical strategies for approaching your project. They are common to many historical arguments. All address the question of what your paper will do. Once you know what you want your paper to do (with respect to the existing scholarship), you will have a much clearer sense of what you have to do; you will know how you will conduct your research and write up the results.


  • No one has even begun to address this issue, and I will begin the process by developing the first interpretation of it.
  • There are gaps or deficiencies in the scholarship on this topic, and I will (help) close them.
  • There is a "traditional," popular, or commonplace interpretation of this issue that I wish to debunk; I will offer a more accurate interpretation in its place.
  • The existing interpretation of this topic is far too simple. I will add complexity to it by examining details.
  • There is a debate on this topic, and my work will demonstrate that one side is right and the other wrong.
  • There is a debate on this topic, and my work will demonstrate that the debate must be recast, because those participating in it are asking the wrong questions, or viewing the issue in an inappropriate way.
  • Scholars have set forth a general historical argument or principle about this topic. I will use a "case study" approach (a detailed study of one "case") to see what it says about the general principle. My results may reinforce the general principle, negate it entirely, or require its modification.
  • Scholars have set forth a broad interpretation of a large and complex topic. I will use a "test case" approach (a detailed study of one portion of the larger argument) to see what it says about the broad interpretation. My results may reinforce the broad interpretation, negate it entirely, or require its modification.


Note: These are general categories, and the lines between them often are fuzzy. Most often, historical arguments combine two or more of these elements. Finally, this list is limited. What other rhetorical approaches are possible?







6.a.

Grammar for Historians


Here are some common grammatical problems that arise in history papers, listed with the correction mark for each, and the solution to the problem.

Mixed verb tenses ("tense"):
"Bernal Diaz presented a positive view of the Spanish because he wants to protect himself from recrimination." (Put "wants" in the same tense (preterit): "wanted.")

Passive voice ("passive"):
"The Aztecs were destroyed in droves, and finally defeated." (Identify the proper subject of this sentence and re-work, as in "The Spanish destroyed the Aztecs and droves, and finally defeated them.")

Run-on sentence ("run-on"):
"Coffee contains caffeine furthermore, chocolate, tea, and cola also contain significant amounts of caffeine." (Add a semi-colon after "caffeine" to properly conjoin two independent clauses.)

Comma splice ("splice"):
"Many industrialists thought workers lazy, as a result they paid their employees poorly." (Replace comma after "lazy" with a semi-colon to properly conjoin two independent clauses.)

Sentence fragment ("frag"):
"The little town of
Dayton, Tennessee, in the tumultuous 1920s, caught in the international limelight." (The sentence needs a verb for its subject, Dayton.)

Faulty pronoun reference ("ref"):
"The Spaniard hated the Aztec because of their religious beliefs." (The referent for "their" ("Aztec") is singular; change "their" to "his.")

Subject-verb agreement ("s-v"):
"The army required each one of the soldiers to carry their own entrenching tool." ("Their" is plural, yet refers to the singular "one," not "soldiers." "The army required each soldier to carry his own entrenching tool.")

Faulty predication ("pred"):
"The belief in Manifest Destiny cannot conceive of Indians having rights." ("Conceiving" is a verb that "belief" is incapable of carrying out. Identify proper subject for the verb: "People who believe in Manifest Destiny cannot conceive. . . .")

Misplaced modifier ("mod"):
"The slaves burned the farmhouse, furious at their masters." (The participial phrase "furious at their masters" cannot modify "farmhouse"; it must be placed immediately after "slaves.")

Dangling modifier ("mod"):
"Arriving by boat in the
New World, the weather was brutal." (The weather cannot arrive by boat in the New World; identify the proper subject for the first clause, as in "Arriving by boat in the New World, the Puritans found the weather brutal.")

Faulty parallel structure ("parallel"):
"Ways of preventing blacks from voting included the Grandfather Clause and holding all-white primaries." (A noun, "Grandfather Clause," is listed in series with a verb, "holding." Re-work so both are the same, as in ". . . included the Grandfather Clause and the all-white primary.")

Colloquial ("colloq"):
"Some critics try to straddle the fence between standard and revisionist interpretations of history." (Substitute non-colloquial phrase for "straddle the fence," as in "Some critics endorse elements of both standard and revisions interpretations of history.")

Word choice ("w.c."):
"One slave tells of how he was able to get a job after the war and earn enough money to travel to
North Carolina to find his long separated mother." (His mother had probably remained in once piece; substitute "lost" for "separated.")


OTHER CORRECTION COMMENTS YOU MAY SEE

source? What is your source for saying this? Add a citation telling your readers where this came from.

evidence? What is the evidence that supports this argument? You need to incorporate primary or secondary source evidence.

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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات   السبت 27 فبراير 2010, 9:45 pm

What does a bad thesis look like? Here are some examples.

The evolution trial of 1925 was made a farce and a comedy by the circumstances surrounding the trial. Behind this facade lay issues that were deeply disturbing to the Americans of the 1920s. By an examination of the Scopes Trial, some of these issues can begin to be perceived and analyzed and perhaps they can reveal a better understanding of the decade. (There is no thesis here. The last sentence seems to be a thesis, but actually speaks to the way the paper will proceed rather than to its conclusion. It does not explain why or how something happened.)

Henry David Thoreau, the author of Walden, and Theodore Parker, the unitarian minister and abolitionist, were two of the greatest minds of the antebellum period. The purpose of this paper is to examine means of resistance through a comparison of the philosophies of Thoreau and Parker. (This is a statement of purpose and method, but does not begin to offer a thesis. What is the question or problem? Comparison is a method of inquiry that leads to a thesis, not a thesis itself.)

As slaves, African Americans were given little or no rights as families. Husbands and wives were parted, and children were separated from their mothers by masters who had no qualms about selling them. Even those families kept intact were by no means protected from the hardships of slavery. Through emancipation came new opportunities and problems for African American families. (This is a little closer, but still problematic. It does assert something [emancipation brought "new opportunities and problems"] about its subject [African American families]. Yet this assertion is vague; it lacks focus and direction. More questions need to be asked: What kind of opportunities and problems did emancipation present? Which [opportunities or problems] were more important to the shaping of post-emancipation life? In short, the assertion made here is neither sufficiently adventurous nor specific to qualify as a good thesis.)


5.c.

The Thesis


I. WHAT IS A THESIS?

What is a thesis? The thesis is the controlling idea around which you construct the rest of your paper. In a history paper, the thesis generally explains why or how something happened. Every word of your paper should support your thesis. Information you do not directly relate to your thesis will appear irrelevant. This means, of course, that in a paper with a weak or no thesis, much of the paper will appear to be irrelevant and unguided.

How do I present the thesis? The thesis should be contained in a single sentence that is concise and grammatically correct. This is usually the last sentence of the first paragraph. More than one sentence may be necessary to establish the thesis. The remainder of the introductory paragraph should draw the reader's attention to the problem the thesis confronts, and define key terms that appear in the thesis.

What about theses in essay exams? In an essay exam, the thesis is the one-sentence answer to the question posed; the remainder of the paper will prove the thesis.

The thesis is a scholarly argument. Most writing attempts to convince the reader of something. Even a poetic description of a rock is an attempt to convince the reader that the rock appears a certain way. A history paper takes a stand on a historical issue or problem, and attempts to develop a coherent and persuasive line of thought intended to convince the reader of the validity of that stand. Your thesis is the concise statement of your argument.


II. THE THESIS QUESTION

A good thesis derives from a good question. Since the thesis is your conclusion to a scholarly argument, there must be a clear question at stake. A thesis which does not answer a question, or answers a simple or obvious question, is not a thesis. You need to ask thoughtful questions of your topic and primary source material to develop a good thesis. The best theses are good precisely because the questions they answer are significant, complex, and original.

What does a good thesis question look like? There are many sources for questions which lead to good thesis, but all seem to pose a novel approach to their subject. A good thesis question may result from your curious observations of primary source material, as in "During World War II, why did American soldiers seem to treat Japanese prisoners-of-war more brutally than German prisoners-of-war?" Or, good thesis questions may challenge accepted wisdom, as in "Many people assume that
Jackson's Indian policy had nothing to do with his domestic politics; are they right?" Finally, a good thesis question may complicate a seemingly clear-cut topic, as in "Puritans expropriated Indians' land for wealth, but were psychological factors involved as well?"


III. CONSTRUCTING A THESIS

How do I develop a good thesis? Here is an example of how you might arrive at a strong thesis.

(1) Start with a topic, such as discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II. (Note that this is a very general area of interest. At this stage, it is utterly unguided. You cannot write a paper on this topic, because you have no path into the material.)

(2) Develop a question around it, as in "why did government officials allow discrimination against Japanese Americans?" (You now have a question that helps you probe your topic; your efforts have a direction, which is answering the question you have posed for yourself. Note that there are a great many questions which you might ask of your general topic. You should expect in the course of your research to consider many such possibilities. Which ones are the most interesting? Which ones are possible given the constraints of the assignment?)

(3) Develop a unique perspective on your question which answers it: Government officials allowed discrimination against Japanese Americans not because it was in the nation's interest, but because it provided a concrete enemy for people to focus on. (This is a thesis statement. You have answered the question you posed, and done so with a rather concrete and specific statement. Your answer offers a novel and thoughtful way of thinking about the material. Once the terms of the thesis are clarified [what was the "national interest"; what was the meaning and value of having "a concrete enemy for people to focus on"?], you are on your way to a solid paper.)

Constructing a tentative thesis (hypothesis): Here is a somewhat formulaic approach to constructing a tentative thesis. It is just one possibility among many.

(1) A concessive clause ("although such and such"). If you do not concede something, you will appear strident and unreasonable. By conceding something, your point will stand out, for you will have contrasted it with an opposing position.

(2) The main clause. This is the heart of your argument -- the thing you will prove. The subject of the main clause should be the subject of the paper. Do not present it in the form of "I will show" or "I hope to prove."

(3) A "because" clause. This will force you to summarize support for your thesis as concisely as possible.

Example: Although the Scopes Trial was a legal farce, it reflected deep ambivalence in American thinking, because so many conflicting attitudes met headlong in
Dayton, Tennessee. (Not a great thesis, but a good start. What were those conflicting attitudes? What was the key to their conflict? This thesis should be re-visited later with these questions in mind.)

Another approach to thesis construction: Here is another exercise that might help you develop your thesis. On a separate sheet of paper, complete the following sentences:

(1) Dear Reader: I want to convince you that. . . . [This is a hypothesis]

(2) The main reasons why you should believe me are that. . . . [This is a summary of your evidence and logic.]

(3) You should care about my thesis because. . . . [This provides the seeds of your conclusion, and checks the significance of your thesis.]

Refining the thesis: A good thesis does not spring to life from nothing. A good thesis is the product of a discussion you have about your source material and its meaning. Here is what that process might look like:

(1) Start with a question about your source material, as explained above.

How did African-American women fare after slavery ended?

(2) Create a hypothesis, that is, a tentative answer to the question. I suggest using the formula above.

Although freedom made life better in general for the slaves, African-American women fared worse than African-American men under freedom, because society sought to impose sexist notions of gender roles on emancipated black families.

(3) Then, considering the contents of your primary sources, ask these questions: Is my hypothesis really true? What evidence at my disposal makes it false? How can I modify my hypothesis to make it true?

For instance, you may have some source information that suggests black women were beaten by their husbands when free, but you might also have some that suggests their husbands protected them from whites and kept them from working long hard hours in the fields. Perhaps it was only in the realm of relative equality within the family that women lost out in freedom.

(4) Develop a new, more complex hypothesis by modifying the old one. There usually is no need to start from scratch; simply alter what you started with.

Although freedom made life better in general for African-American women, freedwomen may have lost some of the power they had held in the family under slavery, because freedom subjected them to the patriarchal domination of a sexist society.

More suggestions for developing a good thesis:

Developing a good thesis is usually the most difficult part of writing a paper; do not expect it to come easily.

After developing a hypothesis, read through it again, searching for vague words and phrases that "let you off the hook," or permit you to not make strong arguments. Underline such phrases, and re-word them to be more specific. In every un-refined thesis, there is a word or phrase which remains unclear or unexplained. Find it and "unpack" it in your introductory paragraph.

You should start thinking about possible theses from the very start of your paper preparation, but you need to examine your primary sources before you can develop a strong thesis. It is impossible to develop a good thesis without already having begun to analyze the primary sources which supply your evidence. How can you know what is even possible to argue if you haven't looked closely at your data?

In a history paper, you must state your conclusion (thesis) at the outset. But this does not mean you have to write it that way. Often, you will not know exactly how you will make that complex thesis until you have gotten deeply into the material. Start your draft with a tentative thesis paragraph (perhaps constructed using the formula above). Once you have written a draft of the paper, go back and re-write the thesis paragraph -- you'll have a much better sense of what you just argued, and you'll come up with a better thesis. Then go back over the body and see if it supports this complex thesis. Good writing is a process of continually evaluating your work this way -- of constantly asking yourself if your evidence and analysis supports your thesis. Remember, the thesis is not the starting point of your exploration, but the result of it.


IV. PRESENTING THE THESIS

The thesis paragraph (See also the handout entitled "The Three Parts of a History Paper."): The first paragraph of your paper should be your thesis paragraph. The function of this paragraph is to define the problem your paper addresses, define key words and concepts you will use, and present your argument in summary. A thesis paragraph is not an opportunity to meditate on the history of the world; you do not have enough space in a thesis paragraph to do anything more than fulfill the purposes stated above. The last sentence of this paragraph should be your thesis. Here is an exercise which may help you develop your thesis paragraph. Answer the following questions:

What is the thing that happened? Succinctly introduce the event which frames your paper.

Starting in the 1890s, the legislatures of the southern states began to pass a series of laws which by intent and in practice removed African Americans from the voting population. Despite the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, which guaranteed black men's right to vote, African Americans found themselves steadily disfranchised through legal chicaneries like grandfather clauses, literacy tests, and all-white primaries.

Why should we be interested in the thing that happened? Explain the significance of exploring this topic. What problems will you help us solve? What insights does your exploration promise?

Historians have long wondered why this new spate of legislation appeared so long after the failure of the Republican Party in 1877. If Reconstruction ended black Americans' dreams of meaningful political equality, why did southern whites delay for over a decade their efforts to disfranchise blacks? Perhaps the new measures signaled not the continuation of old forms of racial control, but the rise of a new, more hostile form of racial thought among white Southerners.

How and/or why did it happen? This is the thesis.

Legal disfranchisement did not begin until twelve years after the end of Reconstruction, for it took an economic downturn in the South and the coming of age of the first generation of southern African Americans born into freedom to trigger legal efforts to keep blacks away from the polls.

These sentences, when placed together, could constitute a thesis paragraph. Notice three things about this paragraph:

(1) The thesis, while it effectively encapsulates the argument, can not stand alone. It requires the sentences which precede it to "set it up."

(2) These sentences not only perform the functions described in the questions, they introduce and explain key dates and terms (disfranchisement, Reconstruction, economic crisis, 1890s, etc.)

(3) The paragraph presents an entire argument in brief. It therefore lays out a structure for the paper. The author of this paper knows what needs to be established in the body of the paper (and hence, has an outline), and the reader has a "road map" for following the argument.

This road map may be:

Establish that southern states started passing new disfranchisement laws in the 1890s. Historical examples would be nice.

Introduce the historical dilemma: why the gap between the end of Reconstruction and the start of disfranchisement. A brief summary of the historical debate would help here.

Introduce and develop the idea that disfranchisement resulted from new forms of racial thought rather than grew out of old ones. Examples demonstrating the ways disfranchisement reflected new ideas are required here. Comparing new and old ideas of race seems called for.

Discuss how economic downturn helped create a new situation in which new racial ideas could emerge. This is the first part of your thesis. It will require evidence of an economic downturn, and relate that downturn to new ideas of race.

Discuss how the coming of age of the first generation of southern African Americans born into freedom helped create a new situation in which new racial ideas could emerge. This is the second part of your thesis. It will require evidence of this new generation, and demonstrate how whites reacted to this development with new ideas of race.

Finally, you will have to link the new ideas of race to the rise of disfranchisement laws. You may be able to do this within the last two sections of the argument; if not, it will be necessary here.

Why is the thesis placed in the introduction? In a mystery novel, the puzzle is not solved until the end. But in history papers, your conclusion should appear first. Readers need to know what you are arguing from the beginning, so they can evaluate your argument as they read. This means that often you cannot write a good thesis statement before you have undertaken the arduous work of understanding your sources and argument. I cannot stress this enough: once you have written a draft of your paper, go back and refine your thesis statement.

What does a bad thesis look like? Here are some examples.

The evolution trial of 1925 was made a farce and a comedy by the circumstances surrounding the trial. Behind this facade lay issues that were deeply disturbing to the Americans of the 1920s. By an examination of the Scopes Trial, some of these issues can begin to be perceived and analyzed and perhaps they can reveal a better understanding of the decade. (There is no thesis here. The last sentence seems to be a thesis, but actually speaks to the way the paper will proceed rather than to its conclusion. It does not explain why or how something happened.)

Henry David Thoreau, the author of Walden, and Theodore Parker, the unitarian minister and abolitionist, were two of the greatest minds of the antebellum period. The purpose of this paper is to examine means of resistance through a comparison of the philosophies of Thoreau and Parker. (This is a statement of purpose and method, but does not begin to offer a thesis. What is the question or problem? Comparison is a method of inquiry that leads to a thesis, not a thesis itself.)

As slaves, African Americans were given little or no rights as families. Husbands and wives were parted, and children were separated from their mothers by masters who had no qualms about selling them. Even those families kept intact were by no means protected from the hardships of slavery. Through emancipation came new opportunities and problems for African American families. (This is a little closer, but still problematic. It does assert something [emancipation brought "new opportunities and problems"] about its subject [African American families]. Yet this assertion is vague; it lacks focus and direction. More questions need to be asked: What kind of opportunities and problems did emancipation present? Which [opportunities or problems] were more important to the shaping of post-emancipation life? In short, the assertion made here is neither sufficiently
adventurous nor specific to qualify as a good thesis.)


5.d.

History and Rhetoric




rhetoric: The art of discourse; skill in the use of language.
discourse: Continuous expression or exchange of ideas; formal and connected expression of thought.

Rhetoric is the art of argument. How does rhetoric operate in history papers? Here are some principles:


  • Good historical writing is always argumentative. Many historical narratives of Civil War battles published in popular magazines often do little more than relate the facts of a given action. As fascinating as such narratives may be, they neglect the basic enterprise of scholarship, for they fail to participate in discussion and debate. Instead, they merely relate (albeit perhaps with interest and verve) what they see to be a given set of facts.
  • Good historical writing is always interpretive. While historians strive to approach their subjects with objectivity, they do not strive to be without concern for a topic. The principles of truth-finding demand that we not allow our concerns to influence the conclusions we derive from our investigations. But that does not forbid us from having concerns in the first place. Such concerns provide the energy for scholarly investigation, and mean that any scholarship, no matter how "objective" it purports to be, will reflect a set of underlying concerns. Many scholars thus believe that there is no such thing as "Just the facts, ma'am."
  • Good historical writing is always about creating something new. There is little point in re-hashing the work of other scholars. Historians constantly seek to add to the body of knowledge, even if in only some small way. Their enterprise is about asking questions which demand answers which have not been offered before. Sometimes they ask old questions and find new answers, or they may ask questions which never have been asked.
  • Good historical writing almost always responds to debates in the field. Sometimes, this happens explicitly, as when a historian clearly challenges the interpretations of other historians. At other times, a historian's dialogue with others in the field is far less evident. In every case, though, good history is written with historical debates in mind.


Understanding the ways historians construct their arguments is essential to writing good history papers. Students often find it difficult to determine what their papers are really about, not because they don't know what their subject is, but because they don't know what their argument is trying to do. Draw examples from other scholars: when reading secondary sources, constantly ask yourself, what does this article or chapter do with respect to the existing scholarship on this topic?
Here are some rhetorical strategies for approaching your project. They are common to many historical arguments. All address the question of what your paper will do. Once you know what you want your paper to do (with respect to the existing scholarship), you will have a much clearer sense of what you have to do; you will know how you will conduct your research and write up the results.


  • No one has even begun to address this issue, and I will begin the process by developing the first interpretation of it.
  • There are gaps or deficiencies in the scholarship on this topic, and I will (help) close them.
  • There is a "traditional," popular, or commonplace interpretation of this issue that I wish to debunk; I will offer a more accurate interpretation in its place.
  • The existing interpretation of this topic is far too simple. I will add complexity to it by examining details.
  • There is a debate on this topic, and my work will demonstrate that one side is right and the other wrong.
  • There is a debate on this topic, and my work will demonstrate that the debate must be recast, because those participating in it are asking the wrong questions, or viewing the issue in an inappropriate way.
  • Scholars have set forth a general historical argument or principle about this topic. I will use a "case study" approach (a detailed study of one "case") to see what it says about the general principle. My results may reinforce the general principle, negate it entirely, or require its modification.
  • Scholars have set forth a broad interpretation of a large and complex topic. I will use a "test case" approach (a detailed study of one portion of the larger argument) to see what it says about the broad interpretation. My results may reinforce the broad interpretation, negate it entirely, or require its modification.


Note: These are general categories, and the lines between them often are fuzzy. Most often, historical arguments combine two or more of these elements. Finally, this list is limited. What other rhetorical approaches are possible?







6.a.

Grammar for Historians


Here are some common grammatical problems that arise in history papers, listed with the correction mark for each, and the solution to the problem.

Mixed verb tenses ("tense"):
"Bernal Diaz presented a positive view of the Spanish because he wants to protect himself from recrimination." (Put "wants" in the same tense (preterit): "wanted.")

Passive voice ("passive"):
"The Aztecs were destroyed in droves, and finally defeated." (Identify the proper subject of this sentence and re-work, as in "The Spanish destroyed the Aztecs and droves, and finally defeated them.")

Run-on sentence ("run-on"):
"Coffee contains caffeine furthermore, chocolate, tea, and cola also contain significant amounts of caffeine." (Add a semi-colon after "caffeine" to properly conjoin two independent clauses.)

Comma splice ("splice"):
"Many industrialists thought workers lazy, as a result they paid their employees poorly." (Replace comma after "lazy" with a semi-colon to properly conjoin two independent clauses.)

Sentence fragment ("frag"):
"The little town of
Dayton, Tennessee, in the tumultuous 1920s, caught in the international limelight." (The sentence needs a verb for its subject, Dayton.)

Faulty pronoun reference ("ref"):
"The Spaniard hated the Aztec because of their religious beliefs." (The referent for "their" ("Aztec") is singular; change "their" to "his.")

Subject-verb agreement ("s-v"):
"The army required each one of the soldiers to carry their own entrenching tool." ("Their" is plural, yet refers to the singular "one," not "soldiers." "The army required each soldier to carry his own entrenching tool.")

Faulty predication ("pred"):
"The belief in Manifest Destiny cannot conceive of Indians having rights." ("Conceiving" is a verb that "belief" is incapable of carrying out. Identify proper subject for the verb: "People who believe in Manifest Destiny cannot conceive. . . .")

Misplaced modifier ("mod"):
"The slaves burned the farmhouse, furious at their masters." (The participial phrase "furious at their masters" cannot modify "farmhouse"; it must be placed immediately after "slaves.")

Dangling modifier ("mod"):
"Arriving by boat in the
New World, the weather was brutal." (The weather cannot arrive by boat in the New World; identify the proper subject for the first clause, as in "Arriving by boat in the New World, the Puritans found the weather brutal.")

Faulty parallel structure ("parallel"):
"Ways of preventing blacks from voting included the Grandfather Clause and holding all-white primaries." (A noun, "Grandfather Clause," is listed in series with a verb, "holding." Re-work so both are the same, as in ". . . included the Grandfather Clause and the all-white primary.")

Colloquial ("colloq"):
"Some critics try to straddle the fence between standard and revisionist interpretations of history." (Substitute non-colloquial phrase for "straddle the fence," as in "Some critics endorse elements of both standard and revisions interpretations of history.")

Word choice ("w.c."):
"One slave tells of how he was able to get a job after the war and earn enough money to travel to
North Carolina to find his long separated mother." (His mother had probably remained in once piece; substitute "lost" for "separated.")


OTHER CORRECTION COMMENTS YOU MAY SEE

source? What is your source for saying this? Add a citation telling your readers where this came from.

evidence? What is the evidence that supports this argument? You need to incorporate primary or secondary source evidence.

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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات   السبت 27 فبراير 2010, 9:47 pm

6.b.

Formatting Your Paper


Title page: Your paper should have a title page, on which appears the title of the paper, your name, my name, the course number, and the date.

Bibliography: Your paper should end with a bibliography, which is started on a new page, and labeled "Bibliography" at top. (The first page of the bibliography generally is left un-numbered.) Bibliographic citations should conform to the style outlined in the handout entitled "Working with Sources" and in Turabian. The bibliography includes all works consulted, not merely those works cited in your paper. Entries in a bibliography are begun with a "back tab."

Line spacing: The text of your paper should be double-spaced. You will not be using "block" quotations, so you need not worry about how to space these (they are double-spaced as well). The footnotes or endnotes should be single-spaced. Often, footnotes are prepared in ten-point type.

Margins: Use one-inch margins for the sides, top, and bottom of your paper.

Typeface: For the typeface, use a simple font, like TimesRoman, or Courier. Use a twelve-point font size. Clarity and ease of reading are the goals; avoid fancy but difficult-to-read fonts.

A note on page length: If you lack room, simply allow the paper to exceed the length requirements rather than expanding margins, reducing typefaces, etc. On the other hand, if the paper is too short, avoid tricks like increasing the point size of the typeface, or increasing the margins.

Page numbers: Each page should be numbered. On the first page, the page number goes on the bottom-center of the page. On subsequent pages, page numbers are placed on the upper-right corner of the page. For the first page of the bibliography and the first page of the endnote page, the page number is placed on the bottom center of the page, or omitted.

Extra formats: Some word processing programs permit special formatting options. Widow/orphan protection, block protection, and other options can be great aids. Take advantage of such capabilities according to your judgement, but keep in mind the overall objective of presenting your work clearly and simply. A small header or footer with your name in it is a good idea.

Computerized spelling and grammar checkers: These are wonderful advances in computer technology, but do not rely on them too much. Especially when using your spell checker, beware of homonyms. You are expected to edit and correct your paper yourself.


6.c.

A Style Sheet for History Writers




Contractions: Standard English does not permit words like "don't."

"Its" and "it's": "It's" is a contraction for "it is," and should not appear in a history paper. "Its" is the possessive form of "it," as in "The corporation gave its assent to proceed."

"However" is tremendously over-used. Avoid it if possible. It is only properly used to contrast one point with another. It seldom belongs at the beginning of a sentence.

If you must use a word like "however," "for example," or "nevertheless," place it in the middle of the sentence, and use a comma both before and after the word.

"Hopefully" is another heavily mis-used term. It does not mean "it is hoped"; it is an adverb which modifies a verb or adjective. "Hopefully, the truck will make it on time" is incorrect. "Hopefully, I await the truck's arrival" is correct. "Hopefully" should rarely if ever appear in your papers.

Students often use "therefore" to demonstrate a logical connection between two points. If the connection is clear, "therefore" is unnecessary; if it is not clear, "therefore" will not make it so. The same also applies with "thus."

To "beg" the question does not mean to raise it, or demand that it be asked, current improper usage notwithstanding. Begging the question is a form of logical fallacy, wherein a conclusion is assumed without proof. How do we know
Darwin's theory of genesis was wrong and the Bible's is right? Because God created the world in seven days.

Avoid splitting infinitives and compound verbs, as in "The general ordered them to frequently march" ("to march frequently"). Also applies to compound verbs: "has often wondered" becomes "has wondered often."

Lead and led: Lead is only present tense. Led is the only correct past tense.

The word "unique" does not take modifiers. Either something is one or a kind, or it is NOT! You can not be more or less unique than someone else.

"Very" is overused. Many words cannot be qualified, so "very" is inappropriate ("very unique" is an error; something cannot be only somewhat unique.) A better word exists; it is your job to find it. As in: very tired (exhausted), very happy (elated), very unhappy (miserable).

Learn the difference between "fewer" and "less." Fewer refers to numbers, less to amounts, degree, or value. Try and convince your local grocers that their signs should read "ten items or fewer!"

The present tense of "lay" and "lie" are different words. You lay something down. You lie yourself down.

Things can only be different from one another, NOT different than each other.

Use "between" with two items or people and "among" with three or more.

A comma separates phrases; a semi-colon separates two otherwise complete sentences. A colon is used only for a list of items and illustrative quotations.

When referring back to a person, use "who," not "that." "Mary, who wanted to buy a new dress, went shopping." "People who shower, do not smell." Not, "people that shower, do not smell."

Be careful about noun-verb agreement. If the subject is plural, the other references, the adjectives, the verb must be in plural form. Students prepare themselves, not himself or herself.

Be aware of incorrect capitalizations--some writers capitalize unnecessarily, others do not capitalize when it is necessary. If in doubt, look it up in a dictionary or style manual.

If you need to hyphenate a word, be sure to divide it at a syllable break.

Use exclamation marks and italics only for emphasis, and then, very sparingly.

Do not abbreviate the names of states or the
United States. Never end sentences with abbreviations.

Never use "etc." and "and so forth." These terms are vague.

Never use a slash ("/") to separate words. Instead of "
Britain clearly dominated in terms of military/economic might," use "Britain clearly dominated in terms of military and economic might."

Numbers: Spell out numbers which are less than three digits. If you use numbers, use Arabic numbers consistently.

Centuries: Spell out centuries, and do not capitalize them. Hyphenate centuries only when they are adjectives:
twentieth-century technology
the twentieth century
the mid-nineteenth century

Black people may be termed "African Americans." Note that this is not hyphenated unless used as an adjective, as in "African-American culture." "Black" may be capitalized, but I prefer that "white" not be (there is debate over these matters). In all cases, be consistent with capitalization. "Negro" is also capitalized. Like "colored," it is considered outdated and sometimes offensive; use these terms only in meaningful historical context and never as generic terms of reference. "Afro-American" may also be used, though its popularity has declined in recent years. To call someone "a black" is to objectify that person on the basis of skin color; I prefer "black person," which retains skin color as an adjective rather than a noun.

"Prejudice" is a noun, not an adjective. "Prejudiced" is the adjective. The following sentence is therefore incorrect: "Southern whites lynched blacks because they were prejudice."

Decades:

When referring to decades, there is no need for apostrophes between the date and the "s" which makes the decade plural. (There is no need, because in this case the apostrophe denotes neither possession nor a contraction. The 1940's saw massive use of bombers in warfare might just as easily be: The 1940s saw massive use of bombers in warfare.

Apostrophes are used in dates under only two conditions:


  • Before the date, they denote that you have omitted the first two digits of the date, as in: Inflation and the legacy of Watergate hovered over the decade of the '70s.
  • To denote possession: 1997's worst political scandal centered around the Democrats alleged improprieties in campaign fund-raising.


References to decades may be made using Arabic numbers ("the 1940s") or spelled out ("the forties") depending on the context:

  • The 1940s saw massive use of bombers in warfare.
  • During the 'forties, grain prices plummeted.


Possessives:
Singular noun: President Chamberlain's Bowdoin.
Singular noun ending in "s": President Sills's Bowdoin.
Plural noun: The women's salaries.
Plural noun ending in "s": The deans' luncheon.
Special case of singular noun ending in "s": Moses' laws; Jesus' parables. [religious figures only]
Note that only in the last two cases does the apostrophe appear without a concluding "s."


6.d.

The Scholarly Voice:

Hints on Crafting Historical Prose


Clarity of language demonstrates clarity of thought. Your prose should be precise. Never assume that the reader will know what you're talking about; she or he never will unless you avoid all possible ambiguity. The meanings of every word and phrase must be crystal clear; if they are not, you have not explained sufficiently.

Avoid referring to yourself explicitly ("in this paper I will examine") or implicitly ("it is interesting to examine").

Your paper is about the people in your sources, not the sources themselves. Do not bring attention in your prose to your sources or the problems they present (this is what notes are for). Avoid phrases like, "In the collection edited by Ira Berlin, there is the story of a slave man who escaped to freedom." Instead, just tell me the story of the man; if you've cited properly, I'll be able to find your source. Avoid also phrases like, "This document shows that planters abandoned their land with great reluctance." Just say "Some planters abandoned their land with great reluctance."

It is important to keep your "voice" distinct from the "voice" of your subjects. When working closely with the writings of a historical subject, it is easy to forget to identify the author of a thought. Often, you wind up looking like the author.

For instance, in explaining William Lloyd Garrison's views on African colonization, your sentence should not read "Those who favored colonization were really hostile to the interests of all black people." This looks like your thought when it is really Garrison's. Identify it as such by adding, "According to Garrison," immediately before.

Here is another example of incorrect use of voice causing confusion about the author of an idea: "Black parents have complained about books containing the word 'n_____' being read aloud in class, therefore Huck Finn and other novels which use the pejorative term should be excluded from the classroom as racist." The implication here is that black parents think the book should be banned, but the sentence technically reads that the author of the paper thinks this. This re-write clarifies things: "Black parents have complained about books containing the word 'n_____' being read aloud in class, therefore they think that Huck Finn and other novels which use the pejorative term should be excluded from the classroom as racist."

History takes place in the past. Use the past tense and avoid the present tense. Keep tenses consistent.

A great scholar once told me that good writing is in the verbs. Use active verbs rather than the verb "to be" (and its conjugations), and minimize your use of adjectives.

Make sure you define important concepts. If you argue that
Jefferson was neurotic, make sure you define that term.

When introducing a person, identify her or him completely. Only after first using "James Biddle, the president of the first national bank," should you refer to him simply as "Biddle."

Avoid using rhetorical questions to introduce your subject, or for any other reason. Instead, provide the answer to the rhetorical question you wish to pose.

Gendered language: Pay attention to gender-specific language. "The plague killed half of
Europe's mankind"? Well, womankind suffered as well. On the other hand, there are times when it is not appropriate to use gender-neutral language. In this sentence - "Catholic law declared that the priest was required to keep his or her vow of celibacy, despite frequent lapses in practice" - gender-neutral language makes no sense, as Catholic priests are by definition men. Thinking about gendered language invites more analysis: "All men are created equal." You might ask yourself if this meant all men and women, all men except slaves, etc. Avoid overuse of male-gender pronouns when their referents are not necessarily male. You may wish to alternate use of "he" and "she" in your paper. Avoid "s/he" or "he/she." It is often possible to make the noun to which a pronoun refers plural, thus obviating the need for a gender-specific pronoun ("their" is gender neutral; "his" is not).

Vague terms and over-generalizations: Terms like "now," "then," "later," "before," "in this period" should refer to clearly-defined dates. "The people," "the masses," and phrases like "white power structure" are vague and generalized, as are "blacks" and "industrialists." Rarely can one generalization capture the nuances of history. Work for specificity; it is more accurate, and much more convincing. Avoid the article "the" that many writers us, for example: "the whites" or "the blacks." This may seem to objectify your subjects and introduce a distasteful tone.

Strive for conciseness. In general, use as few words as possible, but as many as necessary. "His reasons for whipping her included such things as letting her husband enter the army." Why not: "He whipped her for letting her husband enter the army." Wordiness often results from overuse of adjectives, as in "Former slaves were happiest and most content when living with their fraternal and related families." This is redundant and wordy. "Former slaves were happiest when living with their families."

Avoid the passive voice, as in "The bill was passed by Congress." Make active by identifying the subject of the sentence and placing it before the verb, as in "Congress passed the bill."

Choose active verbs: Good writing springs from lively verbs rather than superfluous adjectives. Choose active verbs, and avoid whenever possible dull verbs, like "was." Ask yourself, what was the subject of the sentence doing?

When writing on topics in American History, avoid personalizing your analysis by using words such as "we," "our country," and "in our culture." American history, like all others, varies enormously over time and place, and it is best to respect that variety in formal prose.

Avoid parentheses. Instead, set off parenthetical phrases in commas. If this does not work, rewrite the sentence.

There is almost no place for the verb "to feel" in a history paper. The phrase "I feel" is most often used when you are unsure of your evidence and argumentation. Any insight you believe worthy of inclusion in a paper should be stated with confidence.

Do not refer to people in the paper by using their first names alone. In the first reference to a person, use the full name and clearly identify, as in "Joe Smith, Senator from
Wisconsin, argued the Republican position."

Avoid personal intrusions, such as "as stated earlier" or "as aforementioned" from your writing.


A final note:

It cannot be stressed enough that writing is the product of dialogues, both with yourself and between you, your professor, and your colleagues. Good writers constantly play with language and ideas, and constantly explore options and alternatives in their heads. Do not expect to write well without engaging in this process.
Writing is re-writing. Good writers have simply internalized many of the rules and idioms that young writers have yet to learn. Yet nobody in the world -- not even the best writers -- can write well without editing. The editing process in the best writers occurs before pen is even put to paper. Allow yourself the time to rewrite, and edit your own work.
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Studentsالقراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكليات   السبت 27 فبراير 2010, 9:49 pm

القراءة والكتابة ، والبحث عن التاريخ : دليل لطلاب الكلية






1.A.
مقدمة


لجميع الذين يتخذون من دروس التاريخ في الجامعة ، تجربة كتابة ورقة البحث هو محفورا في الذاكرة لا يمحى : وقت متأخر من الليل قبل ان يعود ورقة ، ويجلس في ضوء شاحب أمام شاشة الكمبيوتر أو الآلة الكاتبة ، وهي كومة ضخمة من الكتب) معظمهم من كل غاية حصلت مؤخرا) مسنود بجوار مكتبي ، التي لا نهاية لها شرب كوب من القهوة أو زجاجة من الكولا الهزة. الأهم من ذلك كله ، علينا أن نتذكر أن لا نهاية لها ، بالذعر متسائلا : كيف كان على الأرض شيء متماسك سوف يختتم في صفحة -- ناهيك عن ملء ثمانية أو عشرة أو اثني عشر منهم؟ بعد صراع مع المادة لعدة أيام ، والضغط من الموعد المحدد ومستوى ارتفاع مادة الكافيين في الجسم بما فيه الكفاية ، وأخيرا وضع القلم على الورق. ساعات كثيرة في وقت لاحق ، ورقة ولدت -- جميع الطلاب في كثير من الأحيان لا شيء نفخر في اليد ، وشيء من الرهبة أساتذة الدرجات. واضاف "مهما لا يقتلنا يجعلنا أقوى." في حين أن نيتشه في بعض الأحيان قد يكونون على حق ، وقال انه من المرجح لم يكن لديهم أوراق كتابة التاريخ في الاعتبار. على العكس من ذلك ، وأنا أحيانا أتساءل عما إذا كان الطلاب التجارب السيئة كتابة ورقات لا تدفع البعض منهم بعيدا عن التاريخ. كيف نستطيع أن نجعل هذه العملية أقل من صدمة وأكثر التعليمية ، وفي نهاية المطاف أكثر مجزية لجميع الأطراف المعنية؟

احالة إعداد ورقة بحثية للكلية على مستوى التاريخ بالطبع هو واحد الهامة التي لا ينبغي إهمالها. في أي مسعى غيرها الكثير من التاريخ ذات الصلة المهارات اللازمة للطلاب. مجرد التفكير في الخطوات المطلوبة :

أولا ، يجب أن يجد الطلاب مشكلة تاريخية تستحق معالجة. هذا يتم في معظم الأحيان عن طريق القراءة والمقارنة بين مصادر التاريخ الثانوية ، مثل الدراسات والمقالات الصحفية. ببساطة الحقائق ذات الصلة المواد الثانوية يتطلب الخاصة به مجموعة معينة من المهارات في استخدام المكتبة : كتالوجات البحث ، والوصول إلى قواعد البيانات الالكترونية ، وذلك باستخدام الإعارة بين المكتبات ، وحتى معرفة كيفية طرح الأسئلة لأمناء المكتبات المرجعية. قراءة هذه المصادر ، وتحديد حججهم ، ووضعها في محادثة مع بعضها البعض وتشكل مجموعة أخرى واسعة من المهارات التي تعتبر صعبة للغاية لسيده.

الثانية ، بعد أن وضعت مشكلة تاريخية ، يجب أن يكون الطلاب في العثور على مجموعة من المصادر التاريخية الرئيسية التي يمكن في الواقع أن معالجة هذه المسألة التي وضعت. مرة أخرى ، هذه ليست مهمة سهلة. ويحتاج ذلك إلى مجموعة من المهارات في استخدام المكتبة. الطلاب يجب ان نعرف كيف رسالة على الخط في المكتبة ، بل وربما (في اللحظات!) استخدام بطاقة التسويقي. ويجب أن تكون على استعداد لاستكشاف مداخن ، تعلم استخدام المجموعات الخاصة ، والسفر خارج الحرم الجامعي لمكتبات جديدة ، أو مقابلة المخبرين. هذا النوع من البحوث الأولية مصدر يتطلب الاجتهاد والمثابرة نادرة في هذه الأيام التي يسهل الوصول إليها شبكة الإنترنت.

أخيرا ، يجب على الطلاب وضع كل هذه المعلومات معا ، وفعلا إنتاج المعرفة. ويجب صياغة الورقة حيث أنها تمثل مشكلة تاريخية واضحة ومن ثم تقترح أطروحة التصدي لها. في موقع جيد التنظيم ، مقال نحويا صحيحا ، يجب عليهم العمل في طريقهم من خلال حجة من دون الوقوع في مغالطات تاريخية مشتركة. أنها يجب أن تطابق الأدلة على وسيطة ، وإخضاع الأفكار القليل من الشركات الكبرى ، وتوقع واستباق التحديات لهذه الحجة.

أوففف! فليس من المستغرب أن طلبة كلية التاريخ ، وخاصة السنوات الأولى وغير الكبرى ، يمكن العثور على ورقة بحثية مهمة حتى للصدمات. انه لا يساعد على أن أساتذة التاريخ في كثير من الأحيان صعوبة في التدريس في مقال عملية التحضير. هذا أمر مفهوم. أساتذة التاريخ في كثير من الأحيان تمثل ذلك الجزء من السكان الجامعية التي "حصلت عليه" ، ونحن الطلاب الذين بطريقة أو بأخرى ، في كثير من الأحيان على الرغم من اساتذتنا ، تعلمت كيف "لا التاريخ". وقد تلقت هذه المعلومات عن طريق التناضح تقريبا ، ونحن في كثير من الأحيان لا نفهم كيف نفكر في عملية كتابة التاريخ ، ناهيك عن كيفية تدريس ذلك. وعلى العموم ، نحن اتباع نصيحة من شركات الأحذية و "مجرد القيام بذلك".

معظم الطلاب ليس لديهم أنه من السهل جدا. لم يكن لديك الكثير من العاطفة الفطرية للالماضية والتي دفعت المعلمين على مدى التاريخ وحاد منحنى التعلم. لم يكن لديك العديد من أنماط التعلم مما يجعلها مرشحة للتناضح "تقنية" كثير منا يستخدم. هؤلاء الطلاب يستحقون كل فرصة للنجاح ، وأنه من المهم أن يفعلوا. حتى الذين لديهم مصلحة واضحة قليلا في الماضي على الحاجة إلى نهج ما يقرأون مع حاسمة ، العين التحليلية. في هذا العصر ، عصر المعلومات الزائد ، وهم بحاجة إلى معرفة كيفية طرح الأسئلة الحرجة ، والكشف عن البيانات التي يمكن الإجابة عن الاستفسارات ، وتقديم نتائجها إلى أنفسهم ، وأرباب العمل ، وإلى العالم بأسره.

هذه مجموعة من المرشدين وأعدت مع هذه الأفكار في الاعتبار. في ذلك ، لقد وضعت مجموعة واسعة من المواد وأشارك مع زملائي الطلبة في بودوين. ليست كل الأفكار هنا هي بلدي : بعض الى حد ما بت القياسية للحكمة ، والبعض الآخر عرضت من قبل مجموعة موهوب جدا وسخي من الزملاء ، بما في ذلك
Dessants بيتي ، نيكولا Denzey ، ليز هاتشيسون ، وسوزان Tananbaum. لقد قسمت المادة إلى عدة فئات : هناك فصول في القراءة الأولية والثانوية المصادر التاريخية ، وطبيعة الحجج التاريخية والعملية البحثية ، وتنظيم ورقات التاريخ ، وكتابة ورقات ، والعمل مع مصادر ، والتحرير ، وتقييم منطقتنا الكتابة التاريخية. ويتضمن الفصل الأخير الصدقات لمرافقة عرضا أعطي على عملية الكتابة. ستجد العديد من الأفكار التي تتكرر في عدة أقسام -- مثل ما يجعل اطروحة جيدة. وأنا أدرس أكثر ، كلما يبدو أن القراءة الجيدة ، والكتابة ، وتقييم وترتبط بشكل عميق. آمل أن يكون هذا يأتي من خلال نهج شمولي.

يرجى إدراج هذه الأدلة إلى حسابك في التدريس الخاصة بها أو الكتابة على النحو الذي تراه مناسبا. كنت قد بحرية استنساخ أي جزء من هذا الموقع لطلابك -- أنا نطلب منكم فقط أن الاستشهاد على النحو الصحيح من المصدر. بالنسبة لأولئك الذين يرغبون في المشاركة أجزاء من هذا الدليل مع الطلاب ، ولقد قدمت وصلات ل. الإصدارات قوات الدفاع الشعبي في كل صدقة ، والتي يمكن طباعتها و
xeroxed مجانا. لقد قدمت أيضا نسخة. الشعبي للمرشدين ككل. ( "قوات الدفاع الشعبي" لتقف على "صيغة الوثيقة المحمولة" ؛. ملفات الشعبي يمكن بسهولة قراءة باستخدام أدوبي أكروبات ريدر ، التي يمكن تحميلها مجانا بالضغط هنا.) واسمحوا لي أن أعرف كيف يمكن أن يكون أكثر وأدلة مفيدة. وسأكون سعيدا لمعرفة ما يصلح لك.

1.
b.
إعداد ورقات التاريخ
النص القصير


كنت بحاجة إلى معرفة الكثير من الأمور عند إعداد ورقة لمسار التاريخ. لقد أعدت أدلة واسعة على الانترنت بالنسبة لك ، وهناك عدد كبير نشرت العديد من الكتب والمواقع التي تقدم المساعدة. ولكن من السهل أن يشعر سادها الكثير من المعلومات. هذا دليل القصير هو أفضل مقدمة لكتابة ورقة استطيع تزويدكم. أنها ليست شاملة ، ولكنها سوف تساعدك على تجنب ورقة كتابة افدح الاخطاء ، وتشير إلى الطريق نحو مزيد من الموارد.

أساسيات التنسيق :
• استخدام الورق وينبغي أن يكون عنوان الصفحة ، والذي يظهر في عنوان الورقة واسمك ورقم بطبيعة الحال ، فإن أستاذ اسم وتاريخ.
• انقر نقرا مزدوجا فضاء النص ، واستخدام خط بسيطة مثل تايمز رومان 12
pt.
• عدد من الصفحات.
• التيلة صفحات معا (لا تستخدم مقاطع أو يتوهم اللاصقة).
الاستشهادات الحاشية : في كل مرة كنت أقتبس من العمل من قبل كاتب آخر ، أو استخدام أفكار كاتب آخر ، يجب أن تشير إلى مصدر في حاشية. حاشية هو مبين في النص الخاص بك عن طريق ورقة صغيرة كتبت الأرقام العربية في مرتفع ، مباشرة بعد المادة المقترضة. كل حاشية جديدة تحصل على العدد الجديد (الزيادة من جانب واحد) ؛ عدم تكرار عدد الحاشية كنت قد استخدمت بالفعل ، حتى إذا كانت الإشارة في وقت سابق هو نفس العمل. عدد يشير إلى عدد الملاحظة في أسفل الصفحة (أو يلي نص ورقة ، وإذا كنت تستخدم الحواشي). تتضمن هذه المذكرة معلومات الاقتباس عن المواد التي يتم الرجوع. لا تستخدم تنسيقات قوسين أو غيرها من الاقتباس. شكل الاقتباس الذي تستخدمه للأوراق التاريخ يسمى نمط شيكاغو. أدلة الكتابة المذكورة لاحقا في هذا الدليل سوف تظهر لك كيفية الاستشهاد بمصادر باستخدام نمط شيكاغو.

الاقتباس تنسيقات : في حين أن هناك مبادئ موحدة لنقلا عن أنواع مختلفة من المصادر ، يتطلب كل منها الفريد الخاص به شكل الاقتباس. وبالتالي ، سوف أورد الكتاب سوف تكون مختلفة عن مجلة المقالة. لديك أدلة على غرار (
Rampolla وTurabian) شرح الفروق في هذه الأشكال. أيضا ، على غرار شيكاغو يتطلب وسيلة للنقلا عن مصادر في الهوامش ، وطريقة أخرى للنقلا عن مصادر في مراجع الخاص بك. (ببليوغرافيا هي قائمة المصادر التي استشارتها في البحث الخاص بك ، الذي يظهر في نهاية مقالتك.) استشر أدلة على غرار (Rampolla وTurabian) للاختلافات في الأشكال الاستشهاد ، وإيلاء اهتمام وثيق الطريقة التي شكل حواش والببليوغرافيات في ورقتكم.

نقلا عن مصادر في ورقتكم : في أغلب الأحيان ، يجب إعادة صياغة مواد من الكتاب الآخرين ، والتأكد من أن أذكر لكم وقالت مصادر في حاشية. أحيانا ، عندما الأصلي بعبارة أخرى يبدو مؤثرا بشكل خاص أو المهم ، هل تريد أن تقدم تلك الكلمات مباشرة للقارئ. هناك قواعد نقلا عن العديد من المواد ، التي يمكن العثور عليها في الموارد المدرجة في نهاية هذه الورقة. وهنا بعض القواعد الأساسية لتبدأ بها :
• عندما نقلا عن الآخرين ، أي بعبارة أخرى كاتب توضع بين علامتي اقتباس ، تماما كما تظهر في النص الأصلي. لا تضع أي بين علامتي اقتباس الكلمات التي لا تظهر في النص الأصلي.
• لا مجرد قطرة في الاقتباس في ورقتكم. الاقتباسات يجب أن تدمج في النثر الخاصة بك. إدخال اللغة الخاصة بك إلى القراء ، حتى انهم سوف أعرف من أنت نقلا.
• إيلاء اهتمام وثيق لقواعد اللغة وتركيب الجمل مع الاستشهاد بها. فقط لأنك نقلا عن شخص لا يعني أن القواعد القياسية للكتابة يتوقف تطبيق. من أجل التحقق من هذا ، تخيل الجملة بدون علامات اقتباس ؛ إذا لم تكن صحيحة نحويا بدون علامتي الاقتباس ، لن يكون من الصحيح نحويا معهم.
• إيلاء اهتمام وثيق لديك أدلة على غرار ما يتعين علي أن أقول فيما يتعلق الترقيم الخاصة بك في الاسعار. الفواصل والنقاط عموما تذهب داخل علامات التنصيص.
الحواشي • انتقل بعد الاقتباس ، وعادة ما تكون متبوعة ولا غيرها من علامات الترقيم.
• تجنب في جميع تكاليف استخدام الأقواس لادخال المواد الى توضيح بك الاقتباسات. بدلا من ذلك ، ببساطة بناء على ذلك أن الجملة بين قوسين ليست ضرورية ، أو أن تنظر في مقتبسا المادية بدلا من أن أخرجه.
تجنب الانتحال : إن أفضل طريقة لتجنب الانتحال غير مقصود هو اتخاذ تلاحظ كاملة ودقيقة ، وتستشهد المصادر الخاصة بك بشكل صحيح. عند تدوين الملاحظات ، تشير بوضوح إلى ما إذا كنت مقتبسا أو نقلا عن مصدر عليها بصورة مباشرة. تأكد من تضمين الاقتباس الكامل الببليوغرافية للمصدر ، لذا يمكنك إنشاء الحاشية دقيقة في وقت لاحق. عند كتابة هذا التقرير ، وتشمل الاقتباس الحاشية لكل فكرة أو يمكنك استخدام اقتباس من كاتب آخر.

أخطاء الكتابة المشتركة لدراسة وتجنب (التشاور ديانا هاكر ، قواعد للكتاب) :
التوصيلات فاصلة • والصرف على الحكم
يتوتر • : استعمال فعل الماضي ، عندما تحدثت عن الماضي
• صوت السلبي : شيء يتم القيام بشيء لشيء ليس من شيء
• خلل مرجع الضمير : عندما الضمائر مثل "مرجعيات انهم" نقص واضح
• الاسناد الخاطئ : عندما الأسماء تفعل الأشياء التي لا تستطيع أن تفعل
• بنية موازية : عندما الجمل ليست متوازنة
أساسيات البحث :
• دليل المكتبة على شبكة الإنترنت (كلمة البحث)
• المجلات عبر الإنترنت :
Jstor المشروع وموسى
• أمريكا : التاريخ والحياة
• مكتبة دليل على تاريخ الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية
• رائيل دليل للبحث التاريخي في بودوين
ثلاثة كتب يجب الخاصة :
• ماري لين
Rampolla ، ودليل الجيب إلى الكتابة في التاريخ ، 3rd أد. (بوسطن : بيدفورد كتب / سانت مارتن برس ، 2001). يتضمن الكثير من موجزة ، وتقديم المشورة المفيدة ، بما في ذلك دليل على شيكاغو الاستشهادات النمط.
• كيت
Turabian ، دليل لمؤلفي أبحاث نهاية الفصل الدراسي ، الرسائل العلمية ، وأطروحات ، 6th أد. (شيكاغو : مطبعة جامعة شيكاغو ، 1996). المصدر القياسية لكتاب تاريخ الكلية. عرض شامل لشيكاغو تنسيقات أسلوب الاقتباس (فضلا عن أساليب أخرى).
• ديانا هاكر ، قواعد للكتاب ، 3
rd أد. (بوسطن : بيدفورد كتب مطبعة سانت مارتن ، 1996). والنحوي القياسية ، مفيدة لتحديد وتصحيح الأخطاء.
أدلة على الانترنت نقلا عن مصادر ل:
• البحوث والوثائق عبر الإنترنت (دليل على الانترنت من بيدفورد / سانت مارتن برس) <
[ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذا الرابط]>
• نبذة الإقتباس دليل للإنترنت وقالت مصادر في التاريخ والعلوم الإنسانية <
[ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذا الرابط]/>
• على الانترنت! من بدفورد في / شارع مارتن الصحافة (على المصادر الإلكترونية فقط) <
[ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذا الرابط]>
• نقلا عن مصادر إلكترونية (من مكتبة الكونغرس)
• <
[ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذا الرابط]>

1.
c.
تجنب الأخطاء الشائعة في تاريخكم ورقة


الكتابة الجيدة يتطلب الانتباه إلى الكثير من القواعد والاتفاقيات الدولية. قد لا يكون متعة للتعلم ، لكنها ذات أهمية حيوية إذا كنت على التواصل مع أفكارك مصداقية.

عدد الصفحات والتيلة لهم معا. ما السبب في ذلك من الصعب أن تفعل؟ عدد منهم باليد إذا لم تتمكن من جعل الكمبيوتر القيام بذلك.

عند الحديث عن تلك التي في الماضي ، ونادرا ما يكون هناك مبرر للتحدث عن ما "شعر". توماس جيفرسون لم "يشعر" بأن أسلوب الحياة الزراعية هو أفضل ضمان ضد الطغيان ، وقال انه "انه" ، أو "يعتقد" ، أو "القول" انها -- أي شيء ولكنه يرى. لماذا الطلاب حتى من الافتتان "شعر"؟ ربما ليس من وظيفة لدينا للمساعدة الذاتية في السن. ربما تشعر أنها أكثر أمنا لتأكيد "مشاعر" بدلا من المعتقدات. في أي حال ، فمن غير تاريخية. ونادرا ما نستطيع أن نعرف ما هي تلك في الماضي شعرت فعلا ، وأنها أكثر دقة لوصف ما يقولون والمعتقدات بدلا من مشاعر.

التاريخ يجب أن تكون مكتوبة بصيغة الفعل الماضي. استخدام الفعل الماضي البسيط (أو "
preterite") كلما كان ذلك ممكنا. استخدام المضارع فقط عندما نتكلم عن غيره من المؤرخين ، أو (نادرا) عندما يكون الموضوع هو النص نفسه. تجنب التوتر شرطي ، كما هو الحال في "بعد ان شغل منصب وزير في فرنسا ، من شأنه أن جيفرسون على الذهاب ليصبح رئيسا للولايات المتحدة". بدلا من ذلك ، أقول ببساطة : "بعد ان شغل منصب وزير لفرنسا ، وجيفرسون وأصبح رئيسا للولايات المتحدة". وغالبا ما يكشف عن شرطي متوترة المؤلف الذي يرغب في أن نتوقع شيئا ما سيأتي لاحقا في هذه الورقة ؛ تجنب هذا.

توضح الأرقام ما يصل الى 100. التشاور
Turabian لقواعد بشأن استخدام الأرقام في أوراقك.

لا تستخدم تقلصات ، من قبيل "لا" ، بدلا من ذلك ، ويقول "لا".

المراجع الضمير معيب لا يمكن تبريرها على المستوى الجامعي. في اشارة الى مرجعيات الضمائر الجمع يجب أن تكون بصيغة الجمع. في كثير من الأحيان ، فإن المشكلة يحدث عندما الكتاب محاولة لجعل لغة محايدة بين الجنسين. تجد الاشارة الخاطئة في هذه الجملة : "إن مرشح سياسي لا يمكن نشر رسالتهم لأنها تفتقر إلى الموارد اللازمة للسيطرة على وسائل الاعلام".

لا كتابة واحدة على مستوى الكليات يجب أن يكون شظايا الجملة ، التوصيلات فاصلة ، أو الصرف على الحكم في أوراقهم. تعلم ما هي هذه الشروط وتفاديها! (انظر هاكر ، قواعد للحصول على مزيد من الكتاب.)

الجملة شظية : جزء الجملة هي الجملة التي ليست حكما بالسجن لانها تفتقر الى هذا الموضوع ، الفعل ، أو تعديل شرط. "جيفرسون ، الذي شغل منصب وزير لفرنسا خلال الفترة الحرجة".

فاصلة لصق : للصق فاصلة يحدث عندما بندين بصورة غير لائقة مع انضم مجرد فاصلة ، كما في : "توماس جيفرسون اصبح وزيرا لفرنسا ، وقال انه ذهب الى ان يصبح رئيسا للولايات المتحدة".

التشغيل على الجملة : والتشغيل على الجملة هي الجملة التي ليست صحيحة نحويا لأن تشغيل إضافات يمكن أن يكون سببا من قبل مجموعة متنوعة من المشاكل. عادة ما يكون الجاني هو الجملة التي تحاول أن تفعل الكثير. إذا كنت غير متأكد من الاحكام الخاصة بك طويلا ، تفريقهم في أقصر وأبسط منها. هنا عينة : "جيفرسون ، الذي كان في دراستهم وليام وماري ، وعاش حياة أحد المزارعين المستقلين وشيء من إنسان عصر النهضة الذين قرأوا بشوق وحصل على أفضل مكتبة خاصة في أمريكا."
الاقتباسات ، والهوامش ، والببليوغرافيات : المسائل الصغيرة في الأسلوب ، ومثل فيها عدد الحاشية يتم وضعها ، واستعمال الفواصل ، أو كيف يعمل الطعج ، هو أمر هام. هل سيكون باستخدام أساليب التعلم والاقتباس لبقية حياتك ، من الأهمية بمكان أن تقوم يبرعوا في أعقاب لهم عن كثب. الأمثلة التالية من شأنه أن يساعد.

عينات من الاقتباسات مع الحواشي.

في كلمات
J. تيودور هولي ، على الانتماء الوطني كان قويا "جميع القوى في التدريع وحماية كل فرد من السباق." 12

في أوقات مختلفة ، وهذه الاخلاق شاكس الشرب ، 7 المسرح الجارية ، 8 وحتى
dancing.9

"حرروا العبيد" ، وحثت ديلاني ، "وأنا كنت أمر ، فهي لن تقصر في المقارنة." 34

نموذج مذكرة لكتاب :

19
Cyril E. غريفيث ، والحلم الأفريقي : مارتن R. ديلاني وظهور الفكر عموم افريقيا (جامعة بارك : مطبعة جامعة بنسلفانيا ، 1975) ، 129-32.

نموذج مذكرة لمقال في دورية :

23
Chris ديكسون ، "حدث ذو حدين الأسود القومية : هايتي ، وافريقيا ، وقبل الحرب الأميركيين الأفارقة Emigrationism" الاسترالية مجلة الدراسات الأمريكية ، مج. 10 ، لا. 2 (ديسمبر 1991) ، 13-14.

عينة ببليوغرافيا دخول لكتاب :

جريفث ، سيريل إ الحلم الأفريقي : مارتن
R. ديلاني وظهور الفكر عموم افريقيا. حديقة الجامعة : مطبعة جامعة بنسلفانيا ، 1975.

عينة ببليوغرافيا دخول لمقال في دورية :

ديكسون ، كريس. "حدث ذو حدين الأسود القومية : هايتي ، وافريقيا ، وقبل الحرب الأميركيين الأفارقة
Emigrationism". الاسترالي مجلة الدراسات الأمريكية ، المجلد. 10 ، لا. 2 (ديسمبر 1991) : 10-25.

مرة أخرى ، وهناك الكثير من القواعد لتعلم الكتابة الجيدة. هذا هو مجرد دليل سريع. والأمر متروك لكم لمعرفة كيفية إصلاح أخطاء بك. الكتاب جيد اتباع نماذج جيدة. دراسة واستخدام دليل كتابة المخصصة لهذه الفئة : ماري لين
Rampolla ، ودليل الجيب إلى الكتابة في التاريخ

2.
a.
كيفية قراءة مصدر ثانوي


القراءة الثانوية المصادر التاريخية هو المهارة التي يمكن الحصول عليها ، ويجب أن تمارس. قراءة المواد الدراسية بشكل جيد هو عملية نشطة ويمكن أن تكون بعيدة كل البعد عن هذا النوع من متعة القراءة معظمنا تستخدم ل. بالتأكيد ، فإن التاريخ ربما في بعض الأحيان أن تكون جافة ، ولكن ستجد النجاح القراءة حتى المواد أصعب إذا كنت تستطيع سيد هذه المهارات. والمفتاح هنا هو أخذ الوقت والطاقة لإشراك المادية -- لانه من خلال التفكير وتوصيله إلى مواد أخرى لديك تغطيتها.

الأول : كيف تقرأ كتابا
1. قراءة في العنوان. تعريف كل كلمة في العنوان ؛ البحث عن أي كلمات غير معروفة. نفكر في ما عنوان وعود للكتاب. نظرة على جدول المحتويات. هذه هي "قائمة" للكتاب. ماذا يمكن أن أقول لك عن محتوياته وهيكل من جدول المحتويات؟
2. قراءة كتاب من خارج اقرأ تصدير ومقدمة (إذا كان مقال ، قراءة الفقرة الأولى أو اثنين). قرأت هذا الاستنتاج أو خاتمة اذا كان هناك احد (إذا كان مقال ، وقراءة فقرات واحد أو اثنين من الماضي). بعد كل هذا ، واسأل نفسك ما وصفه صاحب أطروحة قد يكون. كيف كانت لديه حجة منظم؟
3. قراءة فصول من خارج فيها بسرعة قراءة الفقرة الأولى والأخيرة من كل فصل. بعد القيام بذلك واتخاذ الخطوة المبينة أعلاه ، ينبغي أن لديك فكرة جيدة في الكتاب مواضيع رئيسية والحجج.
4. أنت الآن في نهاية المطاف على استعداد لقراءة جادة. لا قراءة كتاب التاريخ كما لو كنت قراءة رواية لمتعة القراءة الخفيفة. من خلال قراءة فصول بنشاط ، مع أخذ العظة كما أن الفقرات التي هي أهم من عقوبتهم الموضوع. (موضوع العقوبات جيد اقول لكم ما هو حول الفقرة.) وليس كل الجملة والفقرة لا يقل أهمية عن كل الآخرين. والأمر متروك لكم الحكم ، استنادا إلى ما تعرفه حتى الآن عن الكتاب والمواضيع والحجج. إذا كنت تستطيع ، تسليط الضوء على المقاطع التي تبدو ذات أهمية خاصة.
5. تدوين الملاحظات : كثير من الطلاب محاولة لتدوين ملاحظات شاملة عن مضمون الكتاب أو المادة. أنا ضد هذا النصح. أقترح عليك سجل أفكارك حول القراءة بدلا من مجرد تفاصيل ومحتويات القارئ. ما فاجأك؟ ما بدا متعمقة بشكل خاص؟ ما يبدو المشتبه فيه؟ ما يعزز أو عدادات النقاط التي وردت في قراءات أخرى؟ هذا النوع من تدوين الملاحظات سوف ابق على القراءة النشطة ، وفعلا سوف تساعدك على تذكر محتويات قطعة أفضل من ذلك.
ثانيا. "ختم" ما يلي : أسلوب لقراءة كتاب الذي يكمل الخطوات المذكورة أعلاه هي للرد على سلسلة من الأسئلة حول القراءة الخاصة بك.

هيكل : كيف قام كاتب هيكلة عملها؟ كيف يمكنك بإيجاز ذلك؟ لماذا قد قالت انها قد استخدمت هذا الهيكل؟ ما هي حجة تاريخية ولا هيكل توظيف؟ بعد التعرف على الأطروحة ، واسأل نفسك ما هي الطرق في هيكل العمل يعزز أو ينتقص من الأطروحة. كيف يمكن للكاتب مجموعة على وشك أن يقدم لها أو قضيته؟ ماذا عن هيكل العمل يجعلها مقنعة؟

الأطروحة : أطروحة هي الحجة من السيطرة على أعمال التاريخ.
Toqueville القول ، مثلا ، أن المجتمع الأميركي في النصف الأول من القرن التاسع عشر نفسه عن اعتقاده أن يكون جذريا الموجهة نحو التحرر والحرية ، بينما في واقع الأمر عن المحافظة المتأصلة اختبأ تحت ثقافة متجانسة والايديولوجية. في كثير من الأحيان ، ومهمة صعبة للغاية عند قراءة الثانوية للتعرف على صاحب الرسالة. في مقال مكتوب جيدا ، وعادة ما يكون أطروحة بوضوح قرب بداية قطعة. في مقال طويل أو كتاب ، الأطروحة هو عادة منتشر. هناك قد تكون في الواقع أكثر من واحد. كما تقرأ ، دائما اسأل نفسك ، "كيف يمكنني أن ألخص ما هذا الكاتب هو قوله في واحدة أو جملتين؟" هذه هي مهمة صعبة ، وحتى إذا كنت لا تشعر بأنك قد نجحت ، وذلك ببساطة باستمرار تحاول الإجابة على هذا السؤال سوف سلفا تفهمكم للعمل.

وسيطة : أطروحة ليست مجرد بيان الرأي ، أو المعتقد ، أو الفكر. هي حجة. لأنه هو حجة ، لأنه يخضع لتقييم وتحليل. هل هو حجة جيدة؟ كيف هي الحجة الكبرى (الأطروحة) مهيكلة إلى الحجج قليلا؟ وتذكر هذه الحجج التي شيدت بشكل جيد؟ هو المنطق صحيح؟ لا أدلة على دعم الاستنتاجات؟ وقد استعمل مقدم البلاغ غير صالحة أو غير صحيح المنطق؟ هو انها تعتمد على الأماكن غير صحيحة؟ ما هي واسعة ، غير مفحوص افتراضات ويبدو أن الأساس الذي تقوم عليه حجة الكاتب؟ هذه هي الصحيحة؟
نلاحظ هنا أن أيا من هذه الأسئلة تسأل إذا كنت مثل حجة أو نهايته. هذا جزء من عملية التقييم لا يسألك عن رأيك ، ولكن لتقييم منطق الحجة. هناك نوعان من المنطق يجب عليك أن تنظر : منطق داخلي هو من الكتاب طريقة تقديم قضاياهم ، في ضوء الافتراضات الأولية ، والمخاوف ، والتعاريف الواردة في مقالة أو كتاب. وبعبارة أخرى ، على افتراض أن قلقهم هو صوت واحد ، لا حجة له معنى؟ منطق شمولي يتعلق قطعة ككل. هي الافتراضات الأولية الصحيح؟ وهو مؤلف كتاب طرح الأسئلة المناسبة؟ وقد صاحب البلاغ مؤطرة المشكلة بشكل صحيح؟

الدوافع : لماذا يمكن للكاتب أن يكتب هذا العمل؟ هذا هو السؤال الصعب ، وغالبا ما يتطلب الحصول على معلومات في الخارج ، مثل معلومات عن كيفية مؤرخين آخرين في الكتابة عن هذا الموضوع. لا تدع لعدم وجود تلك المعلومات التي قد تمنعك من استخدام خيالك التاريخية. حتى لو كنت لا تملك معلومات تتمنى ان تكون ، لا يزال بإمكانك أن تسأل نفسك ، "لماذا يقول هذا الكاتب؟" وفي كثير من الأحيان ، والحجج في الأعمال القديمة من التاريخ تبدو مضحكة أو سخيفة لنا اليوم. عندما نتعلم المزيد عن السياق الذي أدلى تلك الحجج ، بيد أنها بداية لبذل المزيد من معنى. أشياء مثل الأحداث والحركات السياسية ، وهو مؤلف من الميول الأيديولوجية أو التحيز ، أو صاحب العلاقة للمؤسسات القائمة والسياسية والثقافية وغالبا ما يكون لها تأثير على الطريقة التي يتم بها التاريخ المكتوب. من ناحية أخرى ، والنضال من أجل تحقيق بموضوعية كاملة أيضا آثار طرق الناس قد كتب التاريخ. فمن المناسب ، إذن ، أن هذه الاعتبارات ينبغي أن تبلغ القراءة الخاصة بك.

الانتخابات التمهيدية : طلاب التاريخ في كثير من الأحيان لا يقرأ الهوامش. منحت والحواشي ليست بالضبط مسلية ، بل هي الصواميل والمسامير من كتابة التاريخ. وهلة أحيانا في الهوامش ، وخاصة عندما تأتي عبر ممر خاص للاهتمام أو مثيرة للجدل. ما هي المصادر الأساسية للمؤرخ قد تستخدم لدعم حجتها؟ وقد اعتادت عليها جيدا؟ مطبات ما قد يصيب المؤرخين الذي يستخدم هذه المصادر؟ كيف يمكن لها استخدام هذه الأنواع من مصادر التأثير على أنواع الحجج أنها يمكن أن تجعل؟ ما هي مصادر أخرى قد قالت انها قد تستخدم؟

ثالثا. ثلاثة أسئلة مهمة ليطلب من مصادر ثانوية

ماذا يقول الكاتب؟ وهذا هو ، ما هو ادعاء صاحب البلاغ المركزية أو أطروحة ، والحجة التي تدعم الامر؟ أطروحة ورقة التاريخ وعادة ما يفسر كيف أو لماذا حدث شيء ما. وهذا يعني أن صاحب البلاغ وسيتعين على (1) أقول ما حدث (والذين وأين ومتى ، وماذا في هذا الموضوع) ، (2) شرح كيف أو لماذا حدث ما حدث.

لماذا يقولون انه كاتب؟ المؤرخون هي دائما تقريبا تشارك في أكبر ، وأحيانا تحجب الحوارات مع غيرهم من المهنيين. هو كاتب تتجادل مع التفسير المنافس؟ ما قد يكون ذلك؟ ما قبلت الحكمة هو صاحب تحاول تحدي أو تعقيد؟ فما قد يكون أعمق من جدول الأعمال يمثله هذا الجهد؟ (محاولة لاسقاط الرأسمالية؟ ولتبرير اليورو الأميركيين هلاك السكان الأميركيين الأصليين؟ وتعزيزا يدعي انه يتعين على الحكومة اتباع سياسات معينة؟)

أين هو صاحب البلاغ حجة ضعيفة أو عرضة للخطر؟ المؤرخون جيد في محاولة لجعل القضية أن إبرامها أو التفسير هو الصحيح. ولكن الحالات نادرا ما محكم -- وبخاصة الرواية ، وتحديا ، أو تلك التي تجتاح. في نقطة ما هو كاتب الضعيفة؟ أين هي الأدلة رقيقة؟ ما هي التفسيرات الأخرى لصاحب البلاغ الأدلة هو ممكن؟ في نقطة ما هو مقدم البلاغ مشتبه المنطق؟ إذا كانت قضية صاحب البلاغ ضعيفة ، ما هو مغزى هذا من أجل الوسيطة ككل؟

2.
b.
كيفية قراءة مصدرا رئيسيا

القراءة جيد وحول طرح أسئلة من المصادر الخاصة بك. إبقاء التالية في الاعتبار عند قراءة المصادر الأولية. حتى اذا كنت تعتقد انك لا تستطيع الوصول إلى إجابات ، وتخيل الأجوبة المحتملة الخاصة بك وسوف تساعد على الفهم. قراءة المصادر الأولية يتطلب استخدام خيالك التاريخية. هذه العملية هو كل شيء لديك الاستعداد والقدرة على طرح أسئلة من المواد ، تخيل الإجابات المحتملة ، وشرح المنطق الخاص بك.

أولا تقييم النصوص المصدر الرئيسي : لقد وضعت لفظة التي قد تساعد في توجيه تقييمكم للنصوص المصدر الأساسي : ورق.
• الغرض من كاتب في إعداد وثيقة
• استراتيجية وسيطة ، وانه أو انها تستخدم لتحقيق تلك الأهداف
• الافتراضات والقيم (في النص ، وحدنا)
• نظرية المعرفة (تقييم محتوى الحقيقة)

• تتصل نصوص أخرى (قارن والعكس)
غرض
• من هو كاتب وما هو لها أو مكانه في المجتمع (ويشرح لماذا كنت تفكر في ما يبرره ذلك)؟ ما الذي يمكن أو قد يكون ، على أساس النص ، ولماذا؟
• لماذا كاتب إعداد هذه الوثيقة؟ ما هي المناسبة لإنشائها؟
• ما هو على المحك بالنسبة للكاتب في هذا النص؟ لماذا تعتقد انه أو انها كتب عليها؟ ما هي الأدلة الواردة في النص يقول لك هذا؟
• هل لديك كاتب الأطروحة؟ ما -- في جملة واحدة -- هو أن أطروحة؟
حجة
• ما هو النص يحاول أن يفعل؟ كيف يمكن جعل النص قضيته؟ ما هي استراتيجيته لتحقيق هدفها؟ كيف تنفذ هذه الاستراتيجية؟
• ما هو الجمهور المقصود من النص؟ كيف يمكن هذا النفوذ استراتيجيتها الخطابية؟ أذكر أمثلة محددة.
• ما هي الحجج أو مخاوف لا تستجيب لصاحب البلاغ أن تكون غير معلنة بوضوح؟ توفير ما لا يقل عن مثال واحد من النقطة التي يبدو أن كاتب دحض موقف أبدا بوضوح. شرح ما كنت تعتقد أن هذا الموقف قد يكون في التفاصيل ، ولماذا كنت تعتقد ذلك.
• هل تعتقد أن مقدم البلاغ هو الصادقة والموثوق بها؟ استخدام واحد على الأقل مثال محدد ليشرح لماذا. تأكد من أن يشرح مبدأ الخطاب أو المنطق الذي يجعل من هذا الممر ذات مصداقية.
الإفتراضات
• كيف يمكن للأفكار والقيم في مصدر تختلف عن الأفكار والقيم في عصرنا؟ نقدم مثالين محددة.
• ما هي الافتراضات والمفاهيم الخاطئة ، كما نفعل نحن القراء أن تمارسه على هذا النص؟ على سبيل المثال ، ما هي أجزاء من النص قد نجد للاعتراض ، ولكن معاصريه الذي قد يكون مقبولا. دولة القيم التي نعتنقها حول هذا الموضوع ، والقيم المعبر عنها في النص. أذكر مثالا واحدا على الأقل محددة.
• كيف يمكن أن الفرق بين قيمنا وقيم تأثير كاتب طريقة فهمنا للنص؟ شرح كيفية عمل هذه الفرق في القيم قد يؤدي بنا إلى سوء تفسير النص ، أو فهمه المعاصرون في الطريق لن يكون. عرض واحد على الأقل مثال محدد.
نظرية المعرفة
• كيف يمكن دعم هذا النص واحدة من الحجج وجدت في المصادر الثانوية لدينا قراءة؟ اختيار فقرة في أي مكان من مصدر ثانوي لدينا قراءة ، الدولة التي يوجد فيها هذا النص قد يكون مناسبا الحاشية (الاستشهاد الصفحة والفقرة) ، ويشرح لماذا.
• ما هي أنواع المعلومات التي تكشف عن أن هذا النص فإنه لا يبدو أن المعنيين كاشفة؟ (وبعبارة أخرى ، ماذا تقول لنا دون أن يعرفوا ذلك يقول لنا؟)
• تقديم مطالبة واحدة من النص الذي هو صاحب التفسير. نقدم الآن مثالا واحدا من تاريخية "الحقيقة" (وهو أمر لا جدال فيه على الإطلاق) أن علينا أن نتعلم من هذا النص (وهذا لا يلزم أن يكون كلام المؤلف).
وتتصل : الآن اختيار آخر من القراءات ، والمقارنة بين البلدين ، والإجابة على هذه الأسئلة :
• ما هي أنماط أو الأفكار تتكرر في جميع أنحاء القراءات؟
• ما هي اختلافات كبيرة تظهر فيها؟
• ما تجد أكثر موثوقية ومصداقية؟
ثانيا. وهنا بعض المفاهيم الإضافية التي ستساعدك على تقييم النصوص المصدر الرئيسي :
1. نصوص ووثائق والمؤلفين والمبدعين : سترى هذه العبارات كثيرا. أنا استخدم الأولين والأخيرين باعتبارهما مترادفين. النصوص هي وثائق تاريخية ، من الكتاب والمبدعين ، والعكس بالعكس. "نصوص" و "الكتاب" وغالبا ما تستخدم عند الحديث عن الأدب ، في حين أن "وثائق" و "المبدعين" هي أكثر ألفة للمؤرخين.
2. تقييم مدى صحة (الصدق) من النصوص : وبالنسبة لبقية هذه المناقشة ، والنظر في سبيل المثال احد الجنود الذين ارتكبوا أعمالا وحشية ضد غير المقاتلين أثناء الحرب. في وقت لاحق في حياته ، فهو يكتب مذكراته أن يهمل الاشارة الى دوره في هذه الأعمال الوحشية ، ويمكن في الواقع أن يلومهم على شخص آخر. مع العلم الجندي الدوافع المحتملة ، وسنكون الحق في التشكيك في صحة روايته.
3. وذات مصداقية يمكن الاعتماد عليها في مقابل النص :
1. الموثوقية يشير إلى قدرتنا على الثقة اتساق صاحب البلاغ حساب الحقيقة. ويعرض نص موثوق بها وجود نمط من قول الحقيقة يمكن التحقق منها يميل إلى أن يجعل أجزاء يمكن التحقق منه من النص صحيحا. على سبيل المثال ، الجندي أعلاه قد تكون موثوقة تماما في تفاصيل الحملات شارك في أثناء الحرب ، والأدلة المؤيدة من قبل المحاضر. الثغرة الوحيدة في تقريره موثوقية يمكن إغفال التفاصيل حول الفظائع التي ارتكبها.

2. مصداقية تشير إلى قدرتنا على ثقة صاحب البلاغ في الاعتبار الحقيقة على أساس لها أو لهجته والموثوقية. المؤلف الذي هو غير متجانس الصادقين -- مثل جندي في المثال أعلاه -- يفقد مصداقيته. هناك من الكتاب العديد من الطرق الأخرى تقوض مصداقيتها. في معظم الأحيان ، فإنها تنقل في لهجتها أنها ليست محايدة (أنظر أدناه). على سبيل المثال ، ان الجندي المذكور أعلاه قد نثر طوال حياته رواية موثوقة عن تفاصيل الحملة الشديدة والهجمات العنصرية ضد عدوه القديم. ومثل هذه الهجمات إشارة القراء انه قد تكون لها مصلحة في عدم تصوير الماضية بدقة ، وبالتالي قد يقوض مصداقيته ، بغض النظر عن موثوقية.
3. المؤلف الذي يبدو تماما قد تكون ذات مصداقية يمكن الاعتماد عليها تماما. الكاتب الذي يأخذ على قياسه ، مسبب لهجة ، وتتوقع الحجج المضادة التي قد تبدو موثوقة جدا ، في الحقيقة انه عندما يقدم لنا اللغو كاملة. وبالمثل يمكن لكاتب لا يمكن الاعتماد عليها دائما تبدو ذات مصداقية. وينبغي أيضا أن يكون واضحا أن النصوص الفردية نفسها قد تكون الأجزاء التي تكون أكثر موثوقية ومصداقية من غيرها.

4. هدف مقابل نص محايد : نحن كثيرا ما أتساءل عما إذا كان لصاحب النص قد بلطة "لطحن" الذي قد يجعل لها أو كلماته غير موثوق بها.
1. الحياد يشير إلى المحك وهو مقدم البلاغ في النص. في المثال الجندي الذين ارتكبوا الفظائع في زمن الحرب ، والكاتب على ما يبدو كان لها حصة كبيرة في مذكراته ، والتي كان محو ذنبه الخاصة. في وثيقة محايدة تماما ، والخالق ليست على علم بأن رجلا كان أم امرأة لديها أي مصلحة خاصة في البناء ومحتوى الوثيقة. النصوص القليلة جدا من أي وقت مضى محايدة تماما. الناس عموما لا تكلف نفسها عناء لتسجيل أفكارهم ما لم يكن هناك غرض من الأغراض أو تصميم الأمر الذي يجعل منها استثمرت في عملية خلق النص. بعض النصوص التاريخية ، مثل شهادات الميلاد ، قد يبدو أكثر حيادا من غيرها ، لأن المبدعين قد يبدو أن لديها أقل من حصة في خلق لهم. (على سبيل المثال ، كاتب المحافظة الذين وقعوا عدة آلاف من شهادات الميلاد المرجح أن أقل من حصة في تهيئة الفرد من شهادة الميلاد لم المشاهير تسجيل حياتها في اليوميات لنشرها في المستقبل في شكل مذكرات.)
2. الموضوعية يشير إلى قدرة الكاتب أن ينقل الحقيقة خالية من القيم الأساسية ، والافتراضات الثقافية ، والتحيزات. كثير من العلماء القول بأن أي نص من أي وقت مضى ، أو يمكن أن تكون موضوعية تماما ، لجميع النصوص هي نتاج للثقافة التي يعيش أصحابها. كثير من الكتاب يدعون إلى الموضوعية في حين أنها قد تسعى لتحسين الحياد. وينبغي للكاتب الذي يدعي أن تكون خالية من التحيز وافتراض أن يعامل بتشكك : لا أحد خالية من قيمها. ويعترف كاتب موثوق بها ، ويعرب عن تلك القيم بحيث أنها قد تمثل في النص حيث تظهر.
5. نظرية المعرفة : كلمة يتوهم لمفهوم مستقيم الى الامام. "نظرية المعرفة" هي فرع من فروع الفلسفة التي تتعامل مع طبيعة المعرفة. كيف يمكنك أن تعرف ما تعرفه؟ ما هي الحقيقة ، وكيف يتم تحديدها؟ للمؤرخين الذين قرأوا المصادر الأولية ، يصبح السؤال : ماذا أستطيع أن أعرف من الماضي استنادا الى هذا النص ، وكيف يمكن أن أكون متأكدا حول هذا الموضوع ، وكيف لي أن أعرف هذه الأشياء؟
1. هذا يمكن أن يكون مسألة صعبة للغاية. في نهاية المطاف ، لا يمكننا أن نعرف أي شيء مع التأكد التام ، لأنه حتى حواسنا قد تفشل لنا. ومع ذلك يمكننا أن نستنتج ، بدرجة معقولة من الدقة ، أن بعض الأشياء من المرجح أن يكون صحيحا من غيرها (على سبيل المثال ، فمن المرجح أن تشرق الشمس غدا من أن الإنسان سوف يتعلم الطيران بدون أجنحة أو غيرها من أشكال الدعم). مهمتك كمؤرخ هو جعل وتبرير القرارات حول صحة نسبة النصوص التاريخية ، وأجزاء منها. للقيام بذلك ، تحتاج إلى قيادة قوية لمبادئ المنطق السليم.

2.
c.
"اللصوصية" في القراءة

قراءة المواد الأكاديمية يتطلب مجموعة جديدة من المهارات. كنت ببساطة لا يمكن قراءة المواد الأكاديمية كما لو كانت متعة القراءة ، ونتوقع أن فهمه على نحو مرض. حتى الآن ليست لديكم الوقت الكافي لقراءة كل الجملة مرارا وتكرارا. بدلا من ذلك ، يجب أن تصبح واحدة كاتب ما تسميه "اعمال اللصوصية" القارئ. وهذا هو ، يجب أن تتعلم بسرعة لتحديد أجزاء مهمة من المواد الأكاديمية تقرأ. أهم شيء أن نفهم حول قطعة من الكتابة من أقوال أهل العلم به وسيطة. الحجج على ثلاث مكونات هي : المشكلة والحل ، والأدلة. فهم بنية مقال هو المفتاح لفهم هذه الأمور. وهنا بعض النصائح حول كيفية تحديد هيكل عند قراءة المواد الأكاديمية :
1. التفكير بشكل عملي. كل جزء من حجة مدبرة جيدا يخدم غرضا من أجل الوسيطة أكبر. عند القراءة ، في محاولة لتحديد سبب مقدم البلاغ قد قضى وقتا في كتابة كل فقرة. ما معنى "لا" للكاتب حجة؟
2. تحديد "معالم الطريق". معالم هي العظة الهيكلية الأساسية في قطعة من الكتابة. هو القراءة مقسمة إلى فصول أو أجزاء؟ هناك العناوين الفرعية في القراءة؟ العناوين الفرعية تحت العناوين الفرعية؟ هي عناوين واضحة وصفي للمحتويات ، أو أنها لا تحتاج إلى أن تكون حظيت بها (كما هو الحال في العناوين وضعت من الاقتباسات)؟ هناك كلمات أو المفاهيم في العناوين (للقطعة ، والعناوين الفرعية) التي تحتاج إلى حظيت بها (مثل عبارة رواية ، أو الاستعارات)؟
3. موضوع العقوبات. المواضيع الجمل (عادة ما تكون الجملتين الأولى من كل فقرة) هي الحجج مصغرة. موضوع العقوبات وظيفة هامة و
subpoints في الوسيطة أكبر. كما اقول لكم ما في الفقرة التي تلي ذلك ستكون حوالى. عند القراءة ، في محاولة لتحديد كيفية موضوع العقوبات دعم حجة أكبر. يمكنك أيضا استخدامها لتقرير ما إذا كانت الفقرة يبدو من المهم يكفي ان نقرأ عن كثب.
4. الأدلة. قطعة من الأدلة -- في شكل من المصادر الأولية والثانوية -- هي لبنات البناء من الحجج التاريخية. عندما ترى الأدلة التي تستخدم ، في محاولة للتعرف على جزء من حجة أنه يجري استخدامها لدعم.
5. تحديد الهياكل الداخلية. ضمن فقرات من الكتاب إنشاء هياكل لمساعدة القارئ على فهم نقاط. تحديد أزواج أو مجموعات من النقاط ، والكيفية التي يتم بها ابرق. أين هم في التسلسل الهرمي للحجة؟ التسلسل الهرمي للنقاط الرئيسية مهم جدا ، وأكثر من الصعب تحديد. هو نقطة رئيسية أو ثانوية واحدة؟ كيف يمكنك أن تقول؟
6. دراسة التحولات.












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