TOPIC: The War of 1812 in Champlain Valley. (It must relate to Champlain Valley, New York. Plz Put personal analysis not background information only)
Local History Research Paper/Project is 29% of your final grade.
You are going to complete a Research Paper/Project (help for writing a paper) on a local historical topic. You will select a topic which falls in the time period which we are covering in this course (the Pre-contact Period to April of 1865) in the area that you live (U.S. only). Your topic could be a person, an event, a social movement, a battle, anything historical in nature. Please select your topic ASAP! If you do not have a topic in mind a couple of good places to start will be your local historical association, your county, city, or town historian, your local museum or library. You must have your topic approved by me before you formerly start your research. You can use the internet for some of your research but you must visit local institutions and utilize some primary resources. You must have ten sources, and at least two must be primary. You are to cite your sources in the text of your paper, and list them at the end on a ‘Works Cited’ page. The minimum length for your paper is six pages of content (not counting your title page and the works cited page, Multiple 1.15 spacing /maximum font size 12). You will submit your papers to me by attaching a word-processing file to the assignment document. Instructions for submitting attachments are available in the Student Orientation and you will also practice attaching a document in Module 1. NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!
Using Historical Sources please note Wikipedia is not an acceptable source-see this link.
Historians get their information from two different kinds of sources: primary and secondary. Primary sources are first hand sources; secondary sources are second-hand sources. For example, suppose there had been a car accident. The description of the accident which a witness gives to the police is a primary source because it comes from someone actually there at the time. The story in the newspaper the next day is a secondary source because the reporter who wrote the story did not actually witness it. The reporter is presenting a way of understanding the accident or an interpretation..
Using Primary Sources
Primary sources are interesting to read for their own sake: they give us first hand, you-are-there insights into the past. They are also the most important tools an historian has for developing an understanding of an event. Primary sources serve as the evidence an historian uses in developing an interpretation and in building an argument to support that interpretation. You will be using primary sources not only to help you better understand what went on, but also as evidence as you answer questions and develop arguments about the past.
I. Reading a primary source.
Primary Sources do not speak for themselves, they have to be interpreted. That is, we can’t always immediately understand what a primary source means, especially if it is from a culture significantly different from our own. It is therefore necessary to try to understand what it means and to figure out what the source can tell us about the past.
To help you interpret primary sources, you should think about these questions as you examine the source:
A. Place the source in its historical context.
· 1. Who wrote it? What do you know about the author?
· 2. Where and when was it written?
· 3. Why was it written?
· 4. To what audience is it addressed? What do you know about this audience?
B. Classify the source.
· 1. What kind of work is it?
· 2. What was its purpose?
· 3. What are the important conventions and traditions governing this kind of source? Of what legal, political, religious or philosophical traditions is it a part?
C. Understand the source.
· 1. What are the key words in the source and what do they mean?
· 2. What point is the author trying to make? Summarize the thesis.
· 3. What evidence does the author give to support the thesis?
· 4. What assumptions underlay the argument?
· 5. What values does the source reflect?
· 6. What problems does it address? Can you relate these problems to the historical situation?
· 7. What action does the author expect as a result of this work? Who is to take this action? How does the source motivate that action?
D. Evaluate the source as a source of historical information.
· 1. How typical is this source for this period?
· 2. How widely was this source circulated?
· 3. What problems, assumptions, arguments, ideas and values, if any, does it share with other sources from this period?
· 4. What other evidence can you find to corroborate your conclusions?
II. Be Your Own Interpreter
It is very tempting in a course of this kind to use the textbook as a source of interpretations. If you encounter a primary source which you don’t entirely understand it seems easiest to look up the proper interpretation in the text, rather than trying to figure it out for your self. In this course I would like to encourage you to develop your interpretation. This process will take some patience, some imagination, some practice and a lot of hard work on your part. But you will be developing an important, transferable skill and also the tools and attitudes you need to develop to think on your own.
Using Secondary Sources
There is a strong temptation in a history class to believe that the answers to all the questions are found in the textbook and that the object of the course is to learn the textbook. While it is certainly possible to approach this course in that manner, you will not learn as much since you will be a passive recipient of knowledge, rather than an active participant in the learning process, and it will actually mean more work for you since you will be doing more than you need to. This section is designed to help you use the textbook more efficiently and effectively.
I. Three ways to use a secondary source.
A. As a collection of facts.
Use a secondary source if you need to find a particular piece of information quickly. You might need to know, for example, when Ghengis Khan lived, in what year the cotton gin was invented or the population of London in 1648.
B. As a source of background material.
If your interests are focused on one subject, but you need to know something about what else was going on at that time or what happened earlier, you can use a secondary source to find the background material you might need. For example, if you are writing about Luther’s 95 Theses, you should use a secondary source to help you understand the Catholic Church in the Renaissance.
C. As an interpretation.
Since the facts do not speak for themselves, it is necessary for the historian to make give them some shape and to put them in an order people can understand. This is called an interpretation. Many secondary sources provide not only information, but a way of making sense of that information. You should use a secondary source if you wish to understand how an historian makes sense of a particular event, person, or trend.
II. Using interpretations.
One of the most important tasks in reading a secondary source is find and understanding that particular author’s interpretation. How does that particular author put the facts together so that they make sense?
A. Finding the interpretation.
Good authors want to communicate their interpretation. Because the reason for writing a book or article is to communicate something to another person, a good author will make the interpretation easy to find.
· 1. In an essay.
In an essay, particularly a short one, an author will often state the interpretation as part of the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the summary of what the author is going say in the essay. The thesis statement is usually found at the end of the introductory section or in the conclusion.
· 2. In a book.
In a longer work, such as a book, the author will very likely have many thesis statements, one or more for each section or chapter of the book. The thesis for the book as a whole will often be found either in the introduction or in the conclusion. The thesis for individual chapters are often found in the first or last paragraph. Topic sentences of paragraphs will also often have important clues as to the author’s interpretation.
N.B. It is often helpful, particularly if you are interested in the author’s interpretation to “gut” a book: Read only the first and last chapters in their entirety; for all of the other chapters, read only the first and last paragraphs. If this is a well written book, this should give you a fairly good idea of the author’s point of view.
B. The importance of the interpretation.
An interpretation is the how an historian makes sense of some part of the past. Like a good story, well done history reveals not only the past, but something about the present as well. Great historians help us to see aspects of the past and about the human condition which we would not be able to find on our own.
C. Historians often disagree on interpretations.
Some facts are ambiguous. Historians ask different questions about the past. Historians have different values and come to the material with different beliefs about the world. For these and other reasons, historians often arrive at different interpretations of the same event. For example, many historians see the French Revolution as the result of beliefs in liberty and equality; other historians see the French Revolution as the result of the economic demands of a rising middle class. It is, therefore, important to be able to critically evaluate an historian’s interpretation.
III. Evaluating an interpretation.
A. The Argument
· 1. What historical problem is the author addressing?
· 2. What is the thesis?
· 3. How is the thesis arrived at?
· a. What type of history book is it?
· b. What historical methods or techniques does the author use?
· c. What evidence is presented?
· d. Can you identify a school of interpretation?
· 4. What sources are used?
· 1. Did the author present a convincing argument?
· a. Does the evidence support the thesis?
· b. Does the evidence in fact prove what the author claims it proves?
· c. Has the author made any errors of fact?
· 2. Does the author use questionable methods or techniques?
· 3. What questions remain unanswered?
· 4. Does the author have a polemical purpose?
· a. If so, does it interfere with the argument?
· b. If not, might there be a hidden agenda?
C. The Debate
· 1. How does this book compare to others written on this or similar topics?
· 2. How do the theses differ?
· 3. Why do the theses differ?
· a. Do they use the same or different sources?
· b. Do they use these sources in the same way?
· c. Do they use the same methods or techniques?
· d. Do they begin from the same or similar points of view?
· e. Are these works directed at the same or similar audience?
· 4. When were the works written?
· 5. Do the authors have different backgrounds?
· 6. Do they differ in their political, philosophical, ethical, cultural, or religious assumptions?
ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY
All students are expected to behave with academic honesty. It is not academically honest, for example, to misrepresent another person’s work as one’s own, to take credit for someone else’s words or ideas, to accept help on a test or to obtain advanced information on confidential test materials, or to act in a way that might harm another student’s chance for academic success. When an instructor believes that a student has failed to maintain academic honesty, he or she may give the student an F, either for the assignment or for the course, depending on the severity of the offense. In the case of such an offense, the instructor will notify, in writing, the student and the Academic Dean ( I have a zero tolerance policy and offenders will receive an F for a final grade). For a second offense, a student may be dismissed from the college with an appeal for re-admission not permitted for one year. Proof of guilt must be based on evidence and established by the instructor to the satisfaction of the Academic Dean. In the event of a dispute as to authorship, a student is expected to show the sources used for the assignment in question. A student may appeal a decision on the charge of failing to maintain academic honesty according to the procedure prescribed by the Student Code of Conduct in the college catalog.
Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s words or ideas as your own. It’s clear that having someone write a paper for you and turning it in as your own is plagiarism. It also goes without saying that it’s wrong to buy a research paper to turn in with your name on it. But there are other less obvious ways to plagiarize, and you need to be aware of them.
Using someone’s exact words without using quotation marks and without giving that person credit is plagiarism.
Using someone’s words, but changing a few of them by using synonyms without giving the person credit is plagiarism.
Using someone’s original idea, even if you don’t use the exact words, without giving credit is also plagiarism.
When you turn in a writing assignment, it is assumed that everything in it is your own work and your own ideas, unless you give credit to the originator of the words and ideas. This includes the ideas you post in online class discussions.
Why? Plagiarism is against the law (stealing) and it’s also unethical (lying). Recently in the news you might have read about journalists, politicians, and even college presidents who have gone down because they passed off someone else’s ideas as their own. Their jobs, reputations, and their ability to find work in their professions are now ruined. In college the penalties are not quite as harsh (failure for the assignment, failure for the course, dismissal from the college), but it’s still not worth it.
On a brighter note, you should know that it is completely acceptable to read what other people have said about your essay topic. And it’s perfectly acceptable to use what other people have said, as long as you give them credit for it.
Here are some sources to help you avoid plagiarism by acknowledging and citing your sources correctly:
The Academic Assistance Center at CCC
The Learning Resource Center at CCC
The handbook you used in Freshman Composition
Guide to Grammar and Writing: http://www.csubak.edu/ssric/Modules/Other/plagiarism.htm
Purdue’s Online Writing Lab: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
The LRC’s online library resources: http://clinton.edu/Academics/Library/INDEX.HTM