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What is Imperial Germany?
Each student will research and write a twenty-page historical research paper examining some aspect of the history of the United States home front during World War II. Your citations will be in the form of footnotes or endnotes, following Turabian and the Chicago Manual of Style, and you must also include a complete bibliography of all sources cited in the paper. Your paper topic must be approved by the professor prior to the start of your research.
Your paper must be based on at least twelve primary sources of various types (the bare minimum) and preferably no more than five (footnoted and scholarly) secondary sources. The best papers will almost certainly use far more than this bare minimum of primary sources.
Elements of Genuine Research
- False research assumes that the task is merely to gather data and synthesize it. Thus the typical student “research” project involves amassing data, reading and absorbing it, then regurgitating it back onto a fresh piece of paper. (p. 17, Badke, Research Strategies)
- Genuine research injects an analytical question. All genuine research starts with a question which then can be turned into a thesis statement.
- As you read the articles that you find through the research process, keep in mind that you are developing a working knowledge of the topic. Your research should be directed by the literature and the conversation that has already begun between scholars.
- A common error among graduate students is to create research questions out of thin air, not grounding them in the literature. If you spend time at the beginning reading for working knowledge, you will find that the questions appear, and that they are rooted in real questions that are being researched by scholars.
Working Knowledge Defined
In my experience, many students do not have enough background information or working knowledge to generate a researchable question. William Badke, author of Research Strategies, defines "working knowledge" as knowledge about a topic that you can talk about for one minute without repeating yourself. One of the best places to find working knowledge is in traditional and online reference sources. Ask a reference librarian for specific examples to meet your research needs.
For more on working knowledge, check out this presentation by Badke.
List of Topics
- Stateside military training
- POW camps
- Manzanar internment camp
- Origins of the Truman Doctrine
- FDR's approval rating
- Supreme Court rulings on federalism (excluding Korematsu)
- Youth agricultural organizations, such as FFA
- Black women in the work force
- Women's professional baseball