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‘‘If the portion omitted is the end of a sentence, this is indicated by inserting four periods—three to indicate omission and the fourth to indicate the end of the original sentence. In this case, the closing quotation mark appears after the fourth period

.First note card on each source must contain full citation for use in bibliography and footnotes.

Library call number in case you need to locate the book again-




E.L. Woodward History of England N.Y.s Harper & Row, P. 3



1962 -Topic

HeadingNeeded for keeping several notes from same source -in order. (Do not write on both sides of card.)

Since material noted covers • more than one page, page change is indi­cated.

Note that—► quote is set in context by paraphrasing.

/After discussing the second Roman invasion in ^3 AD he says that they stopped their ad­vance just south of present-day Scotland and in 122 AD built what is now known as Hadrian's Wall. He contends that it was a major forti­fication, stating- that:/ "This work was more than a wall with a ditch in front of it.

There were fortresses and defended camps at intervals? behind the ramparts was another ditch, while a military road ran from Cum­berland coast to Wallsend."

Library Bert J. Loewenberg

Call No. "Darwinism Comes to

America, 1859-1900.” Missc Valley Hist. Rev, XXVII, No. 3, Dec., 19^1 Pp. 339-3^0

Intensity of influence

Concept of evolution penetrated all intellectual pursuits. Coincided with difficulties faced by society in adjusting to rapid urban and industrial change. (339)^ To this unsettling experience it added an attack on ways of thinking. (3^0)

Note that this disagrees with Newton's point in his article in the AmericanHistorical Review

.cases, their expertise will enable them to make their point clearly, and it is easy to get into the habit of using their words instead of your own. Don’t fall into this trap. First of all, your instructor is also a historian and can tell the difference between the language of someone who has spent years researching a topic and that of the average history student. Second, and more important, is the fact that thinking is learning. If you substitute the simple task of copy­ing for the more difficult but rewarding one of thinking about something and then putting it into your own words, then you are doing yourself a disservice.

To help you avoid plagiarism, here is a passage from J. Joseph Hutchmaker and Warren I. Sussman, eds., Wilsons Diplomacy: An International Symposium (Cambridge, Mass.: Schenckman,

1973), page 13, followed by two paraphrasings. Paraphrase a con­stitutes plagiarism, but b does not. The subject is the diplomacy of Woodrow Wilson. Here is the original text:

Wilson took personal responsibility for the conduct of the important diplomacy of the United States chiefly because he believed that it was wise, right, and neces­sary for him to do so. Believing as he did that the people had temporarily vested their sovereignty in for­eign affairs in him, he could not delegate responsibility in this field to any individual. His scholarly training and self-disciplined habits of work made him so much more efficient than his advisers that he must have thought that the most economical way of doing important diplo­matic business was for him to do it himself. Experience in dealing with subordinates who sometimes tried to defeat his purposes also led him to conclude that it was the safest method, for he, and not his subordinates, bore the responsibility to the American people and to history for the consequences of his policies.

Paraphrase a

Wilson took personal responsibility for conducting diplomacy because he believed it was right for him to do so. Believing that the people had vested their sover­eignty in foreign affairs in him, he couldn’t delegate this responsibility. His scholarly training and self-discipline made him more efficient than his advisers. He thought that the most economical way of doing important busi­ness was to do it himself. Experience in dealing with subordinates who sometimes tried to defeat his pur­poses led him to conclude that it was the safest method because he bore responsibility to the American people for the consequences.

Paraphrase b

Wilson felt personally responsible for major diplo­macy because he believed that the voters had entrusted him with such matters. He was more capable than his advisers in this area. He, and not his advisers, was responsible to the people.

Paraphrase a is too close to the original. Rather than recording the main points of the passage, it repeats many phrases word for word. Not only is it time consuming to take such lengthy notes, but the identical and almost identical phrases, if used as your own, would constitute plagiarism. The second paraphrase records only the prin­cipal point of the passage—that Wilson decided major foreign policy issues on his own because he felt personally responsible to the people in such matters. It does not copy the phraseology of the original. In this way, you save time, avoid plagiarism, and still are able to use the central idea of the passage. Paraphrasing that re­duces your readings to their essential points and utilizes your own words is not easy at first. But mastering this technique will prevent plagiarism and produce a finished paper that is truly yours.

Outlining and Organizing

When you have read all the sources on which you will base your own paper or presentation, you should have a series of index cards, each with a separate quotation, commentary, or summary of a point made, and each with the complete identification of the source from which it is taken.

In order to organize your notes, you need to make a tentative outline of your paper. If your topic is American blacks and the Depression, you may decide to deal with the topic chronologically and separate your paper into sections dealing with the period be­fore 1929, the Hoover years, the early New Deal, and the late New Deal. Or perhaps you want to cover the subject topically, setting up separate sections on black reactions to economic dis­crimination, the National Association for the Advancement of Col­ored People, the U.S. Communist Party, organized labor, and New Deal legislation. Or perhaps you will want to consider the ideas of important black leaders and writers of the day, setting up sections dealing with E. Franklin Frazier, Richard Wright, Ralph Bunche, W.E.B. Du Bois, A. Philip Randolph, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, and Claude McKay.

A chronological approach begins with events that predate those that are the main focus of the paper. It then moves, step by step, through stages that group together spans of time. These spans may be in years, decades, or—for a very broad topic—centuries. Each time span is later than the one preceding it, and they generally do not overlap.

Time spans do not have to be the same length. It is best to use larger time units when discussing events that occurred long before the main events covered in the paper and to use smaller units when covering the period closest to the main events. A different rule applies to the length of each section of the paper: those por­tions dealing with periods removed from central events should be briefer than those portions close in time to such events.

A common problem with chronological organization is determin­ing how far back in time to begin. Do you start ten or a hundred years before the time of the main events of the paper? A similar problem is determining where to stop. Do you stop with the main events themselves, or do you add sections covering later periods as well? There is no hard and fast rule, but it is wise not to cover too much ground. That is, don’t start too long before or end too long after the principal events of your topic. A paper covering several hundred years is very unwieldy, and is best not handled by the chronological form of organization.

A topical form of organization is usually best for more general themes—those that deal with ideas, social systems, or other com­plex phenomena that involve a mixture of political, social, eco­nomic, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. In this form of or­ganization, the task is not so much to build a historical sequence leading up to a particular event, but to weave a fabric composed of the many separate lines of historical development that form the background to the main topic. In many cases, the same topic can be organized by either method. If you have trouble choosing, or if you wish to explore other forms, your instructor should be able to help you.

To give you an idea of how a particular topic might be organized by each of the two methods, here are sample tables of contents of two papers called “The United States and the War in Vietnam.”

C hronologically:


  1. The United States and the French War in Vietnam, 1946-1954

  2. The Geneva Conference of 1954

  3. The Eisenhower Administration and the South Viet­namese Government of Ngo Dinh Diem, 1954-1960

IV. Military Involvement Under President Kennedy,


V. Escalation Under President Johnson, 1964-1968

VI. Negotiation and Troop Withdrawals Under President

Nixon, 1969-1973 VII. Conclusion—The United States and Vietnam Today



  1. United States Economic and Political Interests in Viet­


II. The History of Communism in Vietnam

  1. United States Foreign Policy and Vietnam

  2. Congress and the War

V. The Antiwar Movement in the United States

VI. The Politics of the Republic of South Vietnam

VII. The Vietnam War and International Relations


However you choose to organize your paper, you must organize your notes in the same manner. One of the best ways to do this is to read each of your note cards and mark it according to that part of the paper to which it applies. You may also want to describe briefly the contents of each card at the top. Then, when you pre­pare the final organization of your paper, you can arrange all your notes within each section according to the subjects to which they refer. (See section on organization, pages 86-87.)

Budgeting Research Time

If you are writing, say, a fifteen- to thirty-page paper, expect to read about a dozen sources. This is not a firm figure, however, and your teacher and the subject you choose are better guides to the proper amount of research. If you read too few sources, your work will be shallow and perhaps unsatisfactory. If you read too many, you will not complete your work in the allotted time. It is best to make a tentative bibliography early in your research and discuss its adequacy in terms of topicality, authoritativeness, and length with your instructor. In addition, discuss with your teacher the prelimi­nary outline for your paper.

If you have never before written a long research paper, you may

be unsure as to how much time to allow to each aspect of your research and writing. Only experience will tell you the best budget of time for your particular work habits, but here are some general rules.

For a paper of fifteen to thirty pages due at the end of a fifteen- week semester, you should allow approximately 10 percent of your time (one to two weeks) for choosing a topic, preparing a tentative bibliography, and familiarizing yourself with the general contours of your topic; about 60 percent (seven to eight weeks) for reading the available research materials and taking notes from them; about 10 percent (another week) for thinking and talking about what you have read and organizing your notes; and about 20 percent (two to four weeks) for writing and typing the preliminary and final drafts.

If your term is much shorter than fifteen weeks, or if your as­signment must be finished before the end of the semester, you will need to shorten your budget accordingly. (For a discussion of the preparation of papers of five to fifteen pages, see chapter three.) Remember that by the end of the term, exams will dominate your attention, and a paper due the final week of classes is best finished at least a week before that time so as not to conflict with studying for finals.

Historical Materials Outside the Library

If you are fortunate, your topic will be one on which special historical materials are available at a nearby special collections library, a museum, a historical society, the archives of an institu­tion or corporation, or film and audio tape libraries of television and radio studios.

Older members of your community or your own family also can be sources of historical information. People who have been leaders in local and national affairs have personal knowledge of important historical events. Perhaps you could prepare a series of questions concerning past events in which they were participants. You can write to these individuals, or perhaps speak with them. They may also have personal papers they would permit you to see. This kind of historical research is exciting and satisfying, and it may enable you to use primary historical material that no other historian has uncovered.

Elderly people are very good sources of historical material. They can tell of their years in another country or describe the America

in which they grew up. They may not have been important histori­cal figures, but they reflect the experiences of countless others and are thus the stuff of which history is made. Their recollections of how they felt and of what they and others did and said when, for example, the Titanic sank, when women won the right to vote, when Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic, or when Babe Ruth hit a record-breaking home run are priceless pieces of the historical puzzle.

How to Research Your Family History

One of the most pleasurable kinds of historical research is the composition of your own family’s history. Moreover, to research it is to recreate a portion of the historical experience of our nation. Because most of our ancestors came from other nations, a family history also will connect us with the historical experience of other lands. By studying the history of your family, you become aware of your own place within these broader historical experiences. Per­haps most importantly, knowledge of your family’s history and its meaning can give you a strong sense of your cultural roots that will strengthen you throughout your lifetime.

The best sources—and in many cases the only sources—of infor­mation on the history of your family are the recollections, under­standings, and long-term possessions of your relatives. Researching a family history involves investigating these sources as thoroughly and creatively as possible. Rather than mastering the theme or weighing the evidence of a group of historical monographs or pri­mary documents, research in this instance takes three forms: (1) familiarizing yourself with the general history of the nations and regions, and of the specific times and places, in which your ances­tors lived; (2) studying all available family records, such as diaries, photographs, heirlooms; and finally, and most importantly, (3) in­terviewing all available family members.

The interview is the core of a family history because, in most instances, it is the only way of uncovering the nature of your family’s life. Without the recollections of your relations, you would not be able to discover more than a handful of names, dates, and places—only the barest outline of your family’s history.

In preparing for this crucial aspect of family research, you must familiarize yourself with the basic history of your family so that you can place in proper context the information you obtain from the

people you interview. You will need to prepare your questions beforehand, focusing on important aspects of family life and of the larger social and political life surrounding the family. Be sure that your questions establish the basics: the names, relationships, and principal home and workplace activities of each member of the family in each generation, going as far down the trunk and out on the limbs of the family tree as possible given the scope of your project and the memories of your relatives. Keep away from trivia (your great-uncle’s favorite dessert), and look for information that will enable you to make comparisons between generations of your family and between it and other families. Investigate such topics as the type of dwelling and neighborhood, parent-child and husband- wife relationships, authority and status patterns, income and social mobility. When you come across major family events—immigra­tion, military service, job and residence changes, involvement in political movements—probe the reasons for them as they will illu­minate the ties between your family and the nation’s history.

In actually conducting the interview, use your prepared ques­tions, taking care to make them as broad as possible; for example, “What was the neighborhood like when you lived there?” not “What was your address in 1936?” When you get an answer that seems to lead in the direction of important material, ignore your prepared questions temporarily and probe further. However, never interrupt an answer, even when the response seems unim­portant. Your informants are the experts on their lives, and their self-perceptions—even if illogical or factually incorrect—are es­sential ingredients of family history. Finally, because the intricate web of your relative’s feelings is as important as the milestones of his or her life, it is best to tape-record the interview if possible rather than rely on written notes. Record it all and then collect from your tapes the information which, on the one hand, best reflects your informants’ testimony about their lives and, on the other, enables you to say something of importance about those lives and the times in which they were lived

.chapter i/ How to Write a Research Paper41

The Theme

It is impossible to write a complete history of your subject, and you should not try. A good research paper will give the basic facts and interpretations concerning a subject, but it should not become a record of everything you have read. Your aim in writing a history research paper is to use your knowledge of the subject to develop a particular theme—a central point, assertion, or argument for the facts and interpretations of your paper. The goal of your writing should be to introduce the theme clearly, support it effectively, and then draw meaningful conclusions about it.

Instead of merely describing the life of someone, the course of a war, or the outcome of an election, your paper should take a stand and make assertions. For example, a paper on the siege of the

'This chapter contains generally accepted guides to writing style. Check to see if your instructor has any specific preferences which may vary from these.

Alamo should do more than tell the story of the battle. It should make some central point about the siege and argue its importance. Your instructor Will not be satisfied with a paper that describes the nature of the fortifications, relates how many died, and concludes that the defenders were very brave. You must find some theme that explains the causes of the battle or that relates the event to larger issues. Perhaps you will want to discuss the morale of both forces and relate the course and outcome of the battle to the fighting ability of the Mexican army or to the cause of Texas inde­pendence. If your subject is the early career of Chiang Kai-shek, instead of merely relating the major events of his life, choose a theme such as the effect of the Bolshevik Revolution on his think­ing or how his ideas on land reform influenced his relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. With your thematic focus, your facts and arguments become relevant, and your paper devel­ops them logically and clearly.


You are now prepared to outline your paper. Break down your subject into those elements that best illustrate your theme. From your reading, you should be familiar with those aspects of it that were given prominence, or that you yourself have concluded are important. The outline of your paper should include sections that deal with these important areas in a way that relates them to your theme. For example, if your subject is the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors, your research may have determined that two basic elements of the subject are Zionism and Arab national­ism, and that two important events were the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947. If most or all of your sources mention these as important, then you must find a place for them in your outline so that you will not fail to cover them in your paper.

When a point is not stressed by your sources but you have con­cluded that it is of significance to your theme, it should, of course, be included. For example, if your theme is Nasser’s commitment to Arab nationalism and, after researching the Arab-Israeli dispute, you conclude that Nasser’s reaction to his experiences in the war of 1948 was an important factor in his later conduct, then, even if your sources treated this matter very lightly, you will want it to appear in your outline.

When constructing an outline, be sure that you have enough

facts to support each separate item. You cannot deal effectively with the issue of Nasser’s experience in 1948 unless your notes contain evidence to support your point of view. Although you are free to draw your own conclusions from what you have read, your paper should not emphasize unsupported views you may have. If you feel very strongly about a particular point but don’t find it supported by your research, then you must try to find some cor­roboration for your views. Even without support from other sources, however, you can still state your own opinions in your paper, but they should be clearly labeled as such.

In addition to pursuing your theme and covering the important points made in your reading, your outline should include an intro­duction and conclusion. The introduction should state the central theme and explain why you think the topic is important or inter­esting. The conclusion should sum up the major points, explain how they sustain your central theme, and discuss the importance of your theme for other subjects.

When constructing an outline, be sure that the sections are in a logical order. If you are treating your subject chronologically, each part of the outline must be in date order. If you are dividing your subject topically, each topic must raise a separate issue. Always keep in mind that the purpose of your outline is to develop your theme. If your subject is the role of the peasantry in the Mexican Revolution, and your theme is that the peasants’ military role was crucial to the outcome of the Revolution, then the political philoso­phy of the liberal landowner Francisco Madero, regardless of its importance, should not be a part of your outline. Each part of the outline must pass two tests: does it relate to the theme, and does it deal with a different aspect of the theme from the other parts of the outline? (For sample outlines, see pages 80-81.)

Writing the Text

Once you have prepared your outline and separated your notes according to the parts of the outline to which they correspond, you will need to judge how long each section of the paper should be. The length and number of sections will vary according to the sub­ject matter and the type of assignment, but here is a general guide: if your paper is to be about twenty-five pages long, it is best not to have more than six or seven sections. You will need at least three or four pages to treat adequately each of the points you want to cover. As you write each section, keep in mind th6 information

you wish to include and the principal points you wish to develop. Form that section around the corresponding notes, making sure that you explain the relationships among the facts you present.

Your paper as a whole should contain an introduction, a central development (the body), and a conclusion. Likewise, each section should set out its particular point, move through the development of that point, and close with material that relates that point to those that follow. If your topic is German aid to the forces of General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War, then the section that deals with the reasons behind the German support might begin by briefly describing the circumstances surrounding Franco’s appeal to Hitler in 1936. The main body of the section would explain in some detail Hitler’s reasons for giving aid (for example, strategic and economic considerations, ideological and diplomatic factors) and would conclude by relating these reasons to the subject of later sections such as the actual aid given and its effect on the course of the war. Your principal concerns as you construct each section of your paper should be: does this section follow logically from the one preceding it; does it adequately support and develop the central theme; and does it establish the necessary background for the sec­tion that follows?

As each section mirrors the overall structure of the paper by containing an introduction, development, and conclusion, so each paragraph of which the section is composed contains a similar structure. A well-constructed paragraph begins with a sentence that introduces the information to be developed and concludes with a sentence that summarizes that information. If each para­graph is developed in this way, and if sentences explaining the relationship between paragraphs are included where necessary, then the paper as a whole becomes a tightly knit series of related statements rather than a random group of facts that do not seem to move in any clear direction. The key to tight construction is for each sentence to have two components: it must be related to the one preceding it, and it must continue the development of the theme to which it is related.

Here are two groups of sentences. The first is tightly con­structed; the second is not.

In 1919, most Germans felt that the terms of the Ver­sailles Treaty were harsh. In particular, they believed that the reparations and war-guilt clauses of the Treaty

were unjust. When Hitler rose to power fourteen years later, he appealed to this sense of injustice in order to gain support for his program of denouncing the Treaty.

In 1919, most Germans felt that the terms of the Ver­sailles Treaty were harsh. The French hoped to weaken German war-making capacity by forcing her to pay heavy war reparations. Hitler appealed to the German people to support his program to denounce the Treaty.

Despite the fact that each sentence in the second version is true, the paragraph does not hang together because the sentences are not clearly related. The first sentence refers to German feelings about the treaty, and then the second jumps to a discussion of French attitudes and drops the reference to the Versailles Treaty, which is the common theme that ties together the sentences of the first version. The third sentence further confuses the situation by jumping back to Germany and forward in time without any proper transition. On the other hand, the first version is tightly con­structed because the second sentence, rather than breaking the line of development by bringing in a new element, expands and accentuates the point made in the first. The third sentence ex­plains the forward jump in time and relates the events of the later period (Hitler’s denunciation of the Treaty) to the German people’s sense of injustice established in the first two sentences.

The best way to insure that there are no logical gaps between your sentences is to construct each paragraph from the viewpoint of the average person who might read your paper. Very often, a disconnected set of sentences may seem clear to you because as you write them you unconsciously fill in the gaps with your own knowledge. Your reader most likely does not have this knowledge and has to depend entirely on the words you write. If these are not enough to make your point clearly, you must be more explicit.2

It is often helpful to put your paper aside for a day or two and then reread it. By doing so, you can often gain a fresh perspective and can detect weaknesses that you hadn’t noticed before.

^The other basic component of clarity is a well-constructed sentence. No matter how well sentences are linked to one another, if the sentences themselves have faulty grammatical construction, the result will be unsatisfactory. If your sentence writing ability is weak, you should study one of the grammar and style manuals listed in Appendix B.

Example of a Research Paper

The following is an example of a very well written research paper. It appears here without a title page, footnotes, or bibliogra­phy in order to focus your full attention on matters of organization and writing style. Rules and examples concerning footnotes and bibliography—both essentials of a good research paper—are dis­cussed on subsequent pages.

To enable you to see the structure of this paper more clearly, the specific function of each group of sentences is indicated in the margin. Note that most sentences fall into one of three categories:

  1. developing the basic themeset forth in the introduction, (2) giving evidencefor or an interpretationof a particular development of the theme, or (3) serving as a transitionbetween two theme developments. The paper concludes with a summary of the theme’s development and with the writer’s own conclusions. Note that the subheadings serve both as statements of theme develop­ment and as transitions.

The Impact of the Scientific Revolutionon Moral Philosophy


“ This paper shows how changes in knowledge lead to changes in social thought. It investi­gates the Scientific Revolution in Europe in the | seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the



^ impact of that revolution on religious and moral


1 thinking. The paper will try to show that the



” Scientific Revolution stimulated great changes in people's thinking about man, nature, and religion. However, scientific thought did not replace the older moral and religious teaching. Instead it combined with them to form new ideas.- The scientific discoveries of the seven­teenth and eighteenth centuries in Europe were many, and they were fundamental to later scien­tific developments and to changes in social thought. These discoveries included the circu­lation of the blood by William Harvey, the properties of gases by Robert Boyle, the exist­ence of microscopic organisms by Anton van Leeuwenhoek, and the nature of combustion by Antoine Lavoisier. While the origins of these discoveries can be found in the work of Greek thinkers, Arab mathematicians, and medieval and Renaissance philosophers, they were more than a continuation of earlier work. These discoveries not only added new knowledge, they were the products of innovative ways of thinking, such as new theories of the nature of matter and of the universe. The effects of these new ways of thinking were strongest in the fields of astronomy and mechanics, where earlier conceptions of the structure of the universe underwent a revolution.

The principal developments in these fields were found in the work of Galileo Galilei in the seventeenth century and Isaac Newton in the eighteenth,

Early in the seventeenth century, Galileo used the newly developed telescope to explore the skies and make observations which proved that the Copernican conception of the solar system was

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