“How History is Created by Historians” Paper
This paper assignment is worth 200 points (20%) of your overall course grade.
Due: Week 5
In a well constructed essay paper (see the instructions below for specific requirements) answer the following questions based on what you have learned from the Week 1 to 5 discussions:
Question: Explain how History is created by historians; in that explanation discuss the key aspects of that creation such as: what is History, why do historians use different historical approaches as intellectual frameworks, what types of sources historians use in their research and where they find them and how they interrogate their sources, and how the historian’s view about causal factors and their own personal biases shape their production of historical explanations about the past.
Length and Content: Your paper should be four (full) to six pages long. Use an essay format with organized paragraphs with topic sentences, no bullets or outline forms. This is a formal essay so you will need a thesis paragraph with a thesis sentence as well as a conclusion paragraph and supporting points that address the paper question and key aspects of that question.
Format: It should be double spaced with 1″ to 1.25″ margins all around. Font size should be 10 or 12 with an easily readable font. Papers should be submitted as a .doc or .docx file.
Thesis: You should have a thesis sentence in the first paragraph that tells the reader what you will argue. A thesis is a statement that provides an overarching answer to the question and introduces your main points of argument. If you do not have a strong thesis statement, then you do not have a strong paper. Generally, no paper without a clear and effective thesis earns an A in this class. Your thesis needs to address the point that History is created by historians, it does not exist on its own.
Supporting Points: Your paper needs supporting points which both prove your thesis sentence and address the key aspects of the paper topic. Make sure that your supporting points are presented in full paragraphs (4-8 sentences long) with a topic sentence for each paragraph. Also make sure that you present your supporting points in an organized manner.
Quotes: Do not quote anything from the readings. Instead paraphrase and cite the source. The reason for that is this paper should be your own ideas rather than just a parroting of the ideas of our sources. You can and should use facts and concepts from the readings with a citation, but the aim is for you to put those facts and concepts into your own words so that this paper is your argument and thoughts as one of the key points of a university education is the ability to create your own ideas and have original thoughts.
Citations and Sources: For this paper you can use short parenthetical citations with the author(s) last name and page number. For example if you cited something from the Hayden White, “The Burden of History” article, and that fact/concept was found on page 123 your citation would look like this (White, 123). Just use the author(s) last names. Use only the course materials. Do not use outside sources as this paper is designed to measure your understanding of the course materials. You must cite any idea you found in one of the course readings. Because of that, your paper will need several citations, probably at least one per supporting point paragraph.
Grading: Refer to the UMGC History Department Grading Standards found in the course syllabus. Note that the first paragraph states that “proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling” are counted in grading.
Helpful Notes: This paper is about the historians role in creating History. It is not a discussion about the specifics of the historical approaches (like Empiricism, Materialism, Historical Sociology, or the New Social and Cultural History); we will examine the specific contents of the different historical approaches on the final exam. Instead, this paper is drawn from both of the academic discussions in Week 1 and the first discussions (Discussion One) in Weeks 1 to 5. So the discussion 1 discussions are the best places to review before writing your paper (along with the applicable readings).
Also this paper is designed to show your knowledge of professional historians understand what is History and how they approach their task of creating History; it is not about your personal views regarding that. We will cover your views of the material you have learned and your personal reactions to that material in the Second Reflective Paper assignment.
Key Items in Grading (see the rubric below for specifics):
1. Thesis: does it answer the paper question?
2. Supporting Points: do your supporting points prove your thesis?
3. Coverage of Key Points: does your paper cover in some depth all of the key points defined by the paper question?
4. Use of Course Materials: does the paper include supporting citations from the applicable course readings? Are the facts from the course materials correctly cited with parenthetical citations? Are key points paraphrased and cited rather than directly quoted?
5. Conclusion: does the conclusion sum up the paperâ€™s thesis and key supporting points rather than a vague philosophical point?
6. Presentation: does the paper use fully formed paragraphs, have correct spelling and correct grammar, and is the paper clearly written?
7. Submitted by Due Date: was the assignment submitted by the due date?
8. Overall, your paper’s grade will reflect your ability to reflect your understanding of the course material in Weeks 1 to 5.
How to Submit your Paper: Submit your paper via this assignment. If you are having trouble in anyway, contact me directly via my email before the due date rather than after.
The grading rubric for this assignment is attached to these assignment instructions.
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