Learning how to research history topics is not only an important skill for this course but also for future history and college courses you will take. This assignment focuses on developing essentially a bibliography. You are practicing acquiring information, breaking sources of information into parts, using library sources, demonstrating understanding of primary and secondary sources, and using technology.
It is essentially a list of sources on a topic. Because there is a wealth of sources on the internet, some good and some bad, this assignment asks you to go a step further by explaining why you chose certain sources.
Do not use encyclopedias or textbooks in this assignment.
Use your topic for your final research paper.
Search the internet and library for resources on this topic, but do not use encyclopedias or dictionaries.
Select the best 5 web and book sources. (How do you determine the best sources? Visit http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Evaluate.html or http://www.usg.edu/galileo/skills/unit09/index.phtml (links open to new window).
Create a grammatically correct bibliography that lists the web sources, and includes a brief paragraph describing the web source and why you choose it as a reliable, informative source on your topic. Answer this question in your explanation: Does it include primary and secondary sources?
It is important that you are able to analyze sources that are both Primary and Secondary for this course and future courses. This assignment focuses on that skill.
Find a primary source that relates to the topic of your final research paper.
Find a secondary source (book, article, essay, etc) which discusses, explains, or comments on the issue or event in the primary source you chose. For example, if your primary source is Darwin’s writing on the origin of the species, you would look for a secondary source which comments on Darwin’s ideas (either positively or negatively).
Compare the secondary source’s interpretation of the historical event or topic to the way that event or topic is presented in the primary source you chose.
Here are three questions you should answer while evaluating the primary source and secondary source documents you chose:
Who was the author and who was their audience?
What was the purpose of the document or motive for writing it? Does the writer have an obvious bias?
When was this document written, and what was the effect of the document on history, or (if it is the secondary source) how did the secondary source affect your view of this topic or event??
Summarize what you learned about the event from both the primary and secondary sources you chose.
In this part you will investigate some controversial aspects of the topic of your research paper. Research the facts and then review some theories about what happened and why. Determine which theory is most plausible and why. Here is a website to help get you started http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/detective/index.html
1. Describe the event with the facts of what we know happened. (Who, what, where, when)
2. Briefly describe and cite two or more theories of what may have happened.
3. Select which theory you think is most likely and explain why based on your research.
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