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Look at the two bibliographies you completed earlier in the semester, Bibliographies #3 and #4
Pick your favorite of the two. Which research subject did you find most interesting?
Research that individual and write a 3-5 page biography of him or her using primary and secondary sources. You do not have to use every source from your original bibliography.
Pick your favorite of the primary sources from that bibliography. Analyze that primary source in writing, about 3-5 pages. This section may turn out shorter if you are analyzing a very short document, a photograph, or an illustration. Be sure to include in-text parenthetical citations and a bibliography of all sources used, formatted in CMS.
Steps to a Successful Final
***** You are not allowed to analyze any primary sources we used in class ******
Review the “Plagiarism Module” in D2L for information on in-text citations and academic integrity. It is under the “Student Support” tab at the top of the D2L Homepage
Review all instructions that I have given you. Check the “Announcements” to see if I have given you any additional information.
Read the “Final Example” paper. It is under Content =>“Course Information” tab on the left hand side of the D2L screen on our course page.
Email me any questions that you might have. Please do steps 1-3 before emailing me!
Choose who you will research. Use approximately 3-4 academically appropriate secondary sources to research the biographical information about your individual and about US history during the time that your sources were created. You may use your textbook as a source. What was going on in your individual’s life and in US history that impacted this primary source?
Write the biography and historical context section of your assignment. Don’t forget to include in-text parenthetical citations for all researched material, not just quotations. Read or closely review your primary source. Take some time with this. Read it more than once.
Begin writing the analysis. Give me the ABCs for this source (analysis). How do you know what they are? (support)
Moving through the document, emphasize the important features. What do we learn from them? (analysis). How do you know? (support). Include quotes where appropriate.
Complete a bibliography in CMS for the primary and secondary sources consulted.
Frequently Asked Questions
I didn’t do the Bibliographies. What do I do now?
You will need to find an individual from US history up to 1800 that you want to research. You will also need to find at least one good primary source to analyze. Email me so that I can help you get started.
I’ve developed an interest in someone else from US history. Do I have to pick my research subject just from Bibliography #1 or #2? You do not have to choose only from Bib #1 or #2. If you want to change it up, that’s fine. The Midterm is focused on the period before 1800, so your research subject has to date to that time. You also must have a good primary source to analyze, so if you are unsure about primary sources make sure to email me.
You told me that my Bibliographies did not have primary sources. Is that a big deal?
Yes, that is a big deal. Half of this Midterm is the primary source analysis. You can’t write a primary source analysis if you aren’t working with a primary source. Review the Week 1 Content page so that you can understand what a primary source is, then email me to confirm that you are working with a good primary source.
My research subject lived mostly in the mid/late 19th century, but their early life or later life was outside that time. Can I use a primary source from outside of the 1800-1870 period?
Yes. People are rarely so accommodating as to live only in one century and you can use primary sources from any point during the lifetime of your early-American individual.
What types of primary sources work well for analysis?
You can choose any primary sources for the analysis, but it is a good idea to choose something manageable. You can’t effectively analyze an entire book or multiple years worth of correspondence in just 3-5 pages. Keep it simple. Many students choose speeches, essays, political cartoons, illustrations, newspaper articles, or letters. You can excerpt something that is very long– a chapter of a book, a certain set of dates in a diary, etc.
Do I have to use all of the primary sources that I put on my Bibliography? Should I use some secondary sources, too?
You will need secondary sources in order to write the biography. No wikipedias or encyclopedias. Look for .edu, .gov, and .mus cites. Other educationally-focused websites like history.com are also good. You don’t have to use every source from your original bibliography.
I usually research by cut/pasting into my document, then go back and change the wording so that I’m not plagiarizing. What do you think?
Awful idea. Don’t ever do it. You have to paraphrase right off the bat or it is likely you will slip up and find you have accidentally plagiarized a portion of your paper. If you want to copy/paste for research, do so in a separate document clearly labeled for research and notes. I take plagiarism very seriously.

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