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issues in research papers
things to avoid in research papers
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topic selection questions
For your world history 1789-today, research paper topic things to consider:
Please answer these questions for any possible topics you are considering:
o Is this a history paper topic? Does it deal with some aspect of what we have learned in class together or something that we will explore in the future?
o Does your topic interest you, do you care about it? (If the answer is "no" keep on searching, surely something on Earth interests you.)
o Can you find primary source documents related to your topic? (In a language you can read.)
o Is your topic too large or small to be a 10 pg research paper? (then refine it, we will help you with this.)
o Is your topic an argument? If it is a question that can be answered yes/no, then keep working. You may not do a biography.
If you answered “No” to any of these, keep looking...
Things to keep in mind:
o The topic must be focused somewhere other than the United States, the US/USA/etc. can be mentioned a maximum of three times in your paper.
o Avoid biography; ijust turns into regurgitation (this happened and then that happened), more desirable is a question about an era or turning point within which an individual could have been really important. The paper is easier to research, write, etc.
o Your assignment is to gather data and analyze it, not to summarize.
o Make a “map” of your topic, listing possible themes/ideas/individuals who will be important to your topic. This might help you realize that you are more into an aspect of the topic rather than a broad general area.
o If your topic is a question that could be answered "yes" or "no," refocus.
o Above all, this is a historical research paper, you need to select a topic that emerges from traditions, social, political, and/or economic forces that you are going to identify and analyze. Think about what these forces are for each topic.
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