University of Louisville
American History 1, 211
Dr. Carol Ely

Research Project Guidelines

This is a one-paragraph summary of the topic you propose to investigate and a brief statement of how you intend to go about it; I will return it to you with comments. You may need to resubmit it with changes.

This is a one-page outline of your research and the proposed structure of your paper, and a list of the books, articles, and primary sources that you have or will be consulting for your research. I will return it to you with comments.

Your paper needs to examine the subject in some depth, with critical thinking applied to your source material, and documentation (in the text or notes) for any statements of opinion or controversial statements. You need to consider your subject within the themes and ideas we have looked at in class - how does this topic fit in and relate to other topics in the context of the period?

  • The paper is 8-10 double-spaced typed pages (font size 10-12 with normal margins), with appropriate footnotes (or endnotes) - I will review the appropriate format for notes (Chicago Manual of Style format - I will provide handouts)
  • You should consult at least 4 different sources, at least 1 of them must be a primary source - the more primary sources, the better. Some topics will require more sources than this. You may use web sources when appropriate (check with me to make sure); but you must use at least three sources that are NOT websites (books, articles, public records, etc.). TO REPEAT: web sources alone are NOT acceptable for this paper.
  • Include a bibliography in proper format
  • To get full credit, you must have turned in a proposal and an outline and had them approved.

Grading: The research paper will be 30% of your grade.

You are the historian. This paper must be your own work - it must reflect your own thinking on the topic, and your own research and investigation. You will consult and cite your sources, but you must also apply your own interpretations. Plagiarism in any form - intentional or even unintentional copying of the words of another will not be permitted in this paper. You will get no credit for a paper with substantial plagiarism - if in doubt, ask me. Be particularly careful about cut-and-paste jobs from the web - we will talk about guidelines for web-based research later.

I will review, at different points during the semester, how to do research, what sources to use, how to write a research paper, and how to cite (footnote) your sources. If you want to do well, make sure you come to these classes.

I am available to consult on this after class, or other times by arrangement, or by email at