|Paper details||Important Instructions Governing the Preparation of Your Research Paper
Please submit your work as an MS Word or an RTF attachment file via your assignment folder. I cannot process PDF files and do not want to bother with the text boxes. Do not forget to include your name, the course number, the name of the assignment and a title preceding the actual text of your paper – to avoid that your file gets misplaced or lost. I expect you to use at the very least, six recent scholarly books or articles, (books published according to academic standards – written by historians with the proper body of citations – and/or shorter pieces from peer reviewed academic journals with footnotes). Papers using web sites exclusively will be downgraded. Publications should be from the last forty to fifty years (if you are using older material you have to make sure that it does not contradict the current state of research – particularly with topics dealing with the Ancient Orient this may be a serious problem, because new discoveries force specialist to rewrite their textbooks every couple of years).I realize that some among you will not have access to a real library. That does not give you any cause for dispensing with the requirement for academically valid material: you can access journal articles via UMUC’s library pages, using searchable data bases and journal collections such as JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, Historical Abstracts and might also use e-books, if they are available for your topic. If you have not used these resources before, it is high time. The college pays for these anyway, so you should use them to get your money’s worth. Please contact the librarians if you run into trouble. Non-compliance will result in deduction of points.I would like you to do your footnotes for our only major written assignment (roughly) according to the Chicago Manual of Style. (if you are not familiar with this method, go to the link posted here, then download or print the MS Word or PDF file you find under ‘Documentary Note Style’). In addition/variation to the instructions given in the document, I want you to provide full bibliographic details in any first citation for each item (author’s first and last names, full title, publisher, place of publishing and year, along with pagination details). Subsequent citations take the author’s last name, short titel and pagination only. For consecutive citations of the same source (with no other citation interspersed) the entire information can be replaced with Ibid. (i.e. taken from the same place) plus pagination. Do not list items in your bibliography that you are not mentioning in a citation (contrary to some instructions floating around).I am not a terrible stickler for bibliographic and citation details, but I will deduct half a grade for serious deviations – so do not give me any authors’ names in brackets. You also better make sure you do not write a bibliographical tract instead of a research paper. Authors’ names and book titles only go into the main text, if you are trying to construct a historiographical argument (pointing to a seminal work by one historian or drawing attention to a dispute between scholars). Do not tell me what "renown author X has said about the topic". In a research paper I primarily want to know what you found out, and what your considerate opinion is – and you back it up with the sources in your notes.The information about the sources goes into the citations – that is the very purpose of foot- or end-notes.
Refrain from the use of the first and second persons singular and plural. Let your work speak for you, remain in the background, try to establish a sober distance from the piece (no emotional confessions of previous ignorance etc.). Do not hide behind lengthy quotes – make the source material your own by rephrasing it (you still have to put the source into the citations, but you have transformed it in a meaningful way).
I also want to take the opportunity to encourage you to familiarize yourselves with the footnote/citation function of MS Word (the word processing program I would like you to use to prepare the papers), which makes citations extremely easy to manage. As a rule: footnotes (much preferred) or end-notes have to be numbered consecutively, using Arabic numerals (please no letters, symbols or Roman numerals). They have to contain detailed author/publication information and pagination details.
Furthermore, do not make your own pagination ‘by hand’. Otherwise the page number will migrate through your text, when I am adding my comments, during the grading process. There is a function that manages the page numbers for you in all word processing programs that I have ever used. Usually there will be a heading called ‘citations’ in one of the pull-down menus. Use it, it will save us all time and it will be good for your grade, because I will not be irritated, when I am reading your work.
I will give a bonus for the pertinent use of relevant primary source material (accessible in electronic form via copyright-free Internet source sites – in case your camp does not have a research library, where you can get hard copy publications) and of relevant non-English sources. You are encouraged to use web sites that credible scholars maintain (should you be in doubt, you can always ask your instructor for an opinion). If you are using online sources, there must be an author going with each piece: no author – no valid source. The site must be quoted in full. Please also indicate the date of access.
In case of full text scholarly articles from the data bases (JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, Historical Abstracts etc.), you do not need to provide the Website details of the data base or the item. These items, once you downloaded them for printing or viewing are just like photocopies (and one would not cite the serial number of the copy machine and the library floor, where it stands, either) or facsimile reproductions, so treat them like hard copies.
Please refrain from using online or other encyclopedias (Wikipedia, Encarta Encyclopedia Britannica etc.). These are adequate for high-school level assignments and may work as background information for our conferences and online quizzes, but are far too sketchy for research papers!
Optional: I would encourage you to pick a topic and write a brief preliminary summary on a single page, outlining your general idea about the content you envision. I will get back to you, should I think you are not on the right track (this should prevent you from writing about Greeks when your topic is about Celts!).
Your paper is supposed to be about 5 to 6 pages (double spaced) in length, totaling a minimum of 1250 words (shorter texts will be downgraded proportionally). That does not include the foot- or end-notes and the bibliography!