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HIST104: Historical Methodology - The Art and Craft of the Historian

Unit 2: Basic Historical Research Skills   Historians must employ basic research and writing skills in order to present information about the past to others.  Researchers should not start investigating a topic until they prepare a basic research agenda.  Developing a thesis and formulating research questions will help a historian stay focused on his or her topic.  Researchers must know how to locate primary and secondary sources on their subjects and conduct research using these sources.  Finally, researchers must be able to organize their information and produce a research essay, or informational document, that explains what they learned about the topic and the significance of their research.  In this unit, we will examine the preliminary steps that historians must take before they begin research, and we will learn how to obtain historical information using primary and secondary sources.  We will also examine how to organize historical data and write a formal history essay or research report.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours.

☐    Introduction: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.3: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 3 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Demonstrate an understanding of basic historical research methods. - Identify necessary research skills.

  • Reading: Dr. Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing: “Introduction: Why Write Research Projects?,” “Chapter One: Thinking Critically about Research,” and “Chapter Ten: The Research Essay” Link: Dr. Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing: “Introduction: Why Write Research Projects?;” (PDF) “Chapter One: Thinking Critically about Research;” (PDF) and “Chapter Ten: The Research Essay” (PDF)
     
    Also available in:

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    Instructions: Read the Introduction, Chapter One, and Chapter Ten of Dr. Steven D. Krause’s textbook.
     
    In his introduction and first chapter, Dr. Steven D. Krause offers a basic guide to college-level research and writing.  In the introduction, he introduces the concept of “academic research” and discusses the elements that make up an academic research paper.  He also talks about the basic starting points for academic research on any subject.  In Chapter One, Professor Krause goes into greater detail about different types of academic research and discusses some of the basic challenges that an academic researcher faces in the modern age.  Chapter Ten focuses on the challenges of writing a research essay.  We will address the specific elements of the essay in greater detail in subsequent subunits.
     
    Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.  It is attributed to Steven D. Krause and can be viewed in its original form here.

2.1 Developing a Research Topic   2.1.1 Selecting a Topic   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation's "Research Essay" Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Research Essay" (PDF).
 
Instructions: Read "Research Essay."
 
This text aims to help students begin the process of writing a research essay by first choosing a topic to write about.

2.1.2 Narrowing the Scope of the Research/Formulating Research Questions   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation's "Research Essay: 'Imaging Your Topic'" Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Research Essay: 'Imaging Your Topic'" (PDF).
 
Instructions: Read "Research Essay: 'Imaging Your Topic'" about narrowing the scope of a research paper.
 
This text reminds students to consider the scope of the topic they choose, including whether their topic needs to be narrowed down.

2.1.3 Formulating a Thesis   - Reading: Dr. Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing: “Chapter Five: The Working Thesis Exercise” Link: Dr. Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing:
Chapter Five: The Working Thesis Exercise” (PDF)

 Also available in:  

[EPUB](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST104-2.1.3-Chapter-Five-Steven-D.-Krause.epub)  
    
 <span>Instructions: Read “Chapter Five: The Working Thesis
Exercise.”</span>  
    
 <span>In Chapter Five, Steven D. Krause explains how to develop a
“working thesis” based on research ideas or questions.  As Krause
explains, “a thesis advocates a specific and debatable issue.”  The
working thesis is your first attempt at a thesis for the research
paper and may change as you learn more about your topic.</span>  
    
 <span>Terms of Use: </span>This <span
href="http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/Text" rel="dc:type"
dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/">work</span> is licensed under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Steven D. Krause and can be found it is original form
[here](http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw/chapter5.html). 

2.2 Locating Historical Sources   2.2.1 Secondary Sources   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: A Student’s Guide to the Study of History: “Section 4.4: The Research Essay—Off to the Library” and “Section 4.6: The Research Essay—How to Choose the Right Books” Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: A Student’s Guide to the Study of History:
Section 4.4: The Research Essay—Off to the Library” (HTML) and
Section 4.6: The Research Essay—How to Choose the Right Books” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Sections 4.4 and 4.6 of Dr. Kreis’s text about locating secondary sources at a reference library.
 
This text will help prepare you for the next steps in conducting your research at a library.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.2 Primary Sources   - Reading: Yale University Library: “Primary Sources” Yale University Library: “Primary Sources” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the webpage.
 
While this webpage is intended for Yale University students, the information it contains about locating primary sources in history is relevant for any researcher with access to a reference library. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3 Conducting Research and Organizing Information   2.3.1 Developing an Annotated Bibliography   - Reading: Dr. Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing: “Chapter 6: The Annotated Bibliography Exercise” Link: Dr. Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing:Chapter 6: The Annotated Bibliography Exercise” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read “Chapter 6: The Annotated Bibliography Exercise.”
 
In Chapter 6, Steven D. Krause presents a guide to writing an annotated bibliography.  An annotated bibliography is a way to organize and keep track of the sources that you will use for your research project.  Annotated bibliographies are also a useful way to begin thinking about the organization and format of your research project. Remember that each source used in your paper should be given credit with a proper citation.
 
Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.  It is attributed to Steven D. Krause and can be viewed in its original form here

2.3.2 Preparing an Outline   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Labs: Elyssa Tardiff’s and Allen Brizee’s “Developing an Outline”: “Four Main Components for Developing an Outline,” “Why and How to Create a Useful Outline,” and “Types of Outlines and Samples” Link: Purdue University’s Online Writing Labs: Elyssa Tardiff’s and Allen Brizee’s “Developing an Outline”:
Outline Components,” (HTML)
How to Outline,” (HTML) and
Types of Outlines” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read all three sections of the webpages.

 Purdue University’s website offers a detailed guide to developing
an outline for a research project.  An outline provides a useful
tool for preparing to conduct research on your topic by organizing
your research ideas.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.3 Reading Primary Sources   - Reading: University of North Carolina at Pembroke: Professor Robert W. Brown’s “Reading Primary Sources” Link: University of North Carolina at Pembroke: Professor Robert W. Brown’sReading Primary Sources” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the guide to investigating primary sources on the webpage.
 
UNC Pembroke’s webpage presents a guide to reading and analyzing primary sources in history.  The webpage suggests questions that a researcher should consider when looking at historical sources.  Answering these questions will help a researcher better understand the historical document and may provide insights about how to use the document in a historical research project.
 
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2.3.4 Taking Notes on Sources   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: A Student’s Guide to the Study of History: “Section 4.7: The Research Essay—Taking Notes” Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: A Student’s Guide to the Study of History: “Section 4.7: The Research Essay—Taking Notes” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Section 4.7 of Dr. Kreis’s text.
 
This section of Dr. Steven Kreis’s guide offers some general suggestions about taking notes and organizing your research.  Research notes are essential when developing a research project.  They contain the specific evidence that forms the basis of the project.
 
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  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation's “Taking Notes from Research Reading” Link: The Saylor Foundation's “Taking Notes from Research Reading” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read "Taking Notes from Research Reading."
     
    This reading offers a detailed guide for taking research notes on secondary and primary sources. 
     

2.3.5 Preparing to Write an Essay   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: A Student’s Guide to the Study of History: “Section 4.8: The Research Essay—Reading v. Writing” Link: Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: A Student’s Guide to the Study of History:Section 4.8: The Research Essay—Reading v. Writing” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read section 4.8 of Dr. Kreis’s guide.
 
In this section, Dr. Steven Kreis offers advice about knowing when to finish your research and start writing your essay.  Kreis notes that research and writing are part of the same process, not two discrete activities.  He encourages researchers to begin writing as soon as possible rather than waiting until their research is “complete.”
 
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  • Reading: Purdue University’s Online Writing Labs: Stacy Weida’s and Karl Stolley’s “Invention: Starting the Writing Process” Link: Purdue University’s Online Writing Labs: Stacy Weida’s and Karl Stolley’s “Invention: Starting the Writing Process” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the article on the webpage.
     
    The Purdue University webpage offers suggestions for beginning a writing project.  It encourages writers to think about their audience as they organize and frame their research.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.4 Producing a Finished Product   2.4.1 Different Types of Historical Research Projects   - Reading: Dr. Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing: “Chapter 11: Alternate Ways to Present Your Research” Link: Dr. Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing: “Chapter 11: Alternate Ways to Present Your Research” (PDF)

 Also available in:   

[EPUB](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST104-2.4.1-Chapter-Eleven-Steven-D.-Krause.epub)  
    
 Instructions: Read “Chapter 11: Alternate Ways to Present Your
Research.”  
    
 In Chapter 11, Dr. Steven Krause discusses alternatives to research
essays.  He notes that essays are the most traditional way to
present historical research, but new venues such as websites and
poster sessions offer an alternative way to present research
results.  
    
 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/).  It is
attributed to Steven D. Krause, and can be viewed in its original
form [here](http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw/chapter11.html). 

2.4.2 Historical Writing Practices   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: A Student’s Guide to the Study of History: “Section 4.9: The Research Essay—Budgeting Your Time” and “Section 4.10: The Research Essay—Writing the Essay” Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: A Student’s Guide to the Study of History: “Section 4.9: The Research Essay—Budgeting Your Time” (HTML) and “Section 4.10: The Research Essay—Writing the Essay” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Sections 4.9 and 4.10 of Kreis’s guide.
 
In sections 4.9 and 4.10, Dr. Steven Kreis discusses time management and essay-writing practices.  He offers suggestions about how much information to include in each section of the essay and stresses the importance of organization and clarity.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Bowdoin College: Dr. Patrick Rael’s Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students: “6.c. A Style Sheet for History Writers,” “The Scholarly Voice,” and “Paper-Writing Checklist” Link: Bowdoin College: Selections from Dr. Patrick Rael’s Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students: “6.c. A Style Sheet for History Writers,” “The Scholarly Voice,” and “Paper-Writing Checklist” (HTML or PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read sections “6.c. A Style Sheet for History Writers;” “6.d. The Scholarly Voice: Hints on Crafting Historical Prose;” and “8.a. Paper-Writing Checklist.” You may access these sections under the headings “Writing Your Paper” and “Editing and Evaluation” in the navigation bar on the left side of the page.
     
    In these sections, Patrick Rael offers suggestions for improving the grammar and writing style of a history paper.  He emphasizes the importance of quality writing as a means for conveying information and analysis to others.  In Section 8.a., he presents a checklist that the researcher should complete before writing an essay.
     
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  • Reading: University of St. Thomas: Professor Theron F. Schlabach’s “Ten Commandments of Good Historical Writing” Link: University of St. Thomas: Professor Theron F. Schlabach’s “Ten Commandments of Good Historical Writing” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the article on the webpage.
     
    Note on the text: In “Ten Commandments of Good Historical Writing,” Professor Theron F. Schlabach presents basic strategies for organizing and writing a historical research paper.  He identifies important content and style issues that writers should consider as they write their papers, and he warns against bad writing practices that can diminish the quality of a paper. 
     
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2.4.3 Citing Your Sources—Avoiding Plagiarism   - Reading: Dr. Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing: “Chapter Three: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism” and “Chapter Twelve: Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style” Link: Dr. Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing:
Chapter Three: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism” (PDF) and
Chapter Twelve: Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style” (PDF)

 Also available in:   

[EPUB](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST104-2.4.3-Chapter-Three-Steven-D.-Krause.epub)
(Chapter Three)  

[EPUB](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST104-2.4.3-Chapter-12-Steven-D.-Krause.epub)
(Chapter Twelve)  
    
 <span>Instructions: Read Chapter Three and Chapter Twelve.</span>  
    
 <span>In Chapter Three, Dr. Steven Krause offers suggestions about
how to quote and paraphrase from original sources without committing
plagiarism.  In Chapter Twelve, he presents a style guide for citing
references using either MLA or APA format.</span>  
    
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class="Apple-style-span">This <span
href="http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/Text" rel="dc:type"
dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/">work</span> is licensed under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/).  It is
attributed to Steven D. Krause, and can be viewed in its original
form
[here](http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw/index.html). </span></span>
  • Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: A Student’s Guide to the Study of History: “Section 4.11: The Research Essay—Footnotes” Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: A Student’s Guide to the Study of History: “Section 4.11: The Research Essay—Footnotes” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read Section 4.11 of Dr. Kreis’s guide.
     
    In this section, Dr. Steven Kreis discusses the practice of using footnotes to cite sources in a research paper.  Citing sources is absolutely essential when writing a history paper; it will ensure that you avoid accidental or deliberate plagiarism, which can have serious academic and real-world consequences.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab: Karl Stolley’s and Allen Brizee’s “Avoiding Plagiarism”: “Overview and Contradictions,” “Is It Plagiarism Yet?,” and “Safe Practices” Links: Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab: Karl Stolley’s and Allen Brizee’s “Avoiding Plagiarism”: “Overview and Contradictions,” (HTML)
    Is It Plagiarism Yet?” (HTML) and
    Safe Practices” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the first three subsections of the webpage.
     
    The Purdue University website offers useful reference information about avoiding plagiarism in research papers. 
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.4.4 Proofreading and Final Edits   - Reading: Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab: Jaclyn M. Wells’s, Morgan Sousa’s, Mia Martini’s, and Allen Brizee’s “Proofreading”: “Where Do I Begin?,” “Finding Common Errors,” “Suggestions for Proofreading Your Paper,” “Revising for Cohesion,” and “Steps for Revising Your Paper” Links: Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab: Jaclyn M. Wells’s, Morgan Sousa’s, Mia Martini’s, and Allen Brizee’s “Proofreading”:
"Where do I Begin?" (HTML)
"Finding Common Errors," (HTML)
"Suggestions for Proofreading," (HTML)
"Revising for Cohesion," (HTML)
"Steps for Revising Your Paper" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read all five subsections of the “Proofreading” section of the webpage.
 
The Purdue University website offers helpful suggestions about how to revise an essay in order to correct grammar problems and improve cohesion and clarity.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab: “Exercise: Paraphrasing Exercise” Link: Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab: “Exercise:Paraphrasing Exercise” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Complete the paraphrasing exercise on the webpage.
     
    Paraphrase each passage on the webpage and check your answers by following the link at the bottom of the page.  Learning how to paraphrase information from a source will help you avoid plagiarism in your writing.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.
     

End of Unit Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “HIST104: Unit 2 Quiz” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “HIST104: Unit 2 Quiz” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Complete the linked quiz above.  When you are done, check your work against The Saylor Foundation’s “HIST104: Unit 2 Quiz Answer Key.” (PDF)