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Research assignment: An historical analysis


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Title: Research assignment: An historical analysis

Research assignment An historical analysis
What is historical analysis?
  • It is a gathering of documents, records, and
    artifacts to provide a description and
    interpretation of past events or persons.
  • You will be conducting analytical research, a
    mode of inquiry in which events, ideas, concepts
    or artifacts are investigated by analyzing
    documents, records, recordings, and other media.
  • You will also be interviewing people who have
    experienced the events.

Step 1 Choosing your topic
  • This assignment involves analyzing the impact a
    decision or event had on someone significant to
  • In order to do this, you first need to find an
    adult over the age of 30 willing to be
  • Because you may be interviewing this person a
    number of times, be sure to choose someone who
    will be available between now and mid-March.

Whom can I interview?
  • Its best to ask someone you know well enough to
    ask a number of questions
  • Consider family grandparents, aunts, uncles,
    parents, cousins, great-aunts, great-uncles.
  • Consider neighbors, teachers, religious
    officials, your parents friends, coaches.
  • Make sure it is someone not planning on taking an
    extensive trip anywhere or someone that is
    difficult to communicate with regularly.

What are some good topics?
  • Remember it needs to be someone that has
    something to say about the impact of that
    historical event
  • Remember, you are NOT simply writing a biography
    or telling a story. Rather, you are explaining
    how living through that event impacted your
  • Think about historical events that have impacted
    your person the Cultural Revolution, WWII, the
    Korean or Vietnam Wars, protest movements, Title
    IX, Desert Storm, September 11, the War in Iraq,
    conflicts elsewhere in the world.

Important to Remember
  • If you choose to write about an event that
    impacted your person, there needs to be
    significant impact.
  • For example, the death of John Lennon would not
    be a good topic unless your person was a close
    friend or relative.
  • If your person was at Kent State when the
    National Guard opened fire on protesting
    students, that would be a good topic.

Also Important to Consider
  • Choose only one historical event even if your
    person was alive during several important events.
  • Select something that impacted family life,
    careers, religious beliefs, freedoms, futures.
  • Ex. Someone going South during the Civil Rights
    Movement to help register African American voters

More Personal Topics
  • Many other kinds of events shape peoples lives
    as well. Do you know anyone who
  • Immigrated to the United States?
  • Adopted a child?
  • Divorced someone?
  • Changed careers?
  • Started a business?
  • Had a child as a teenager?
  • Lived abroad?
  • Blended two families into one?

Be Careful!
  • Some topics are too personal or too difficult for
    people to talk about.
  • Choose something that happened enough years
    earlier that the person has experienced closure
    and some distance (death of a loved one or
    divorce, especially)

Most Important
  • Choose a person who likes to tell stories about
    the event
  • Go beyond the basic who, what, where, when, why,
  • Think about memoirsthey include emotion and
    opinion, not just facts

Topic Assignment
  • In groups brainstorm topics using the alphabet as
    your guide A-Z.
  • Be creative. Maybe a topic wont work for you,
    but it may work for another student.
  • This A-Z list is due Wednesday ?

Topic Ideas
  • Historical Analysis Topic Ideas
  • Adoption, accidents, addictions, alcoholism,
    abortion, alcoholic family, abusive
    relationshipBulimia, becoming a citizen, bridge
    collapse (35W), brain aneurismCultural
    Revolution, changing careers, culture clash (two
    cultures united through marriage), civil rights
    movement, changing religions, children, community
    service, cold war, car crashDivorce, drafted by
    military, death in the family, drug use,
    depression, diseaseEating disorders, education

Topic Ideas continued
  • Foster families, foreign exchange programGreat
    Depression, Gulf War, going back to school while
    having a family, graduate school, gangs, gang
    violence, gay marriageHaving a child later in
    life, having a child out of wedlock, homeless,
    handicapped child, heart attackImmigration,
    illness, infertilityJob changing, jailKent
    State, Korean War

Topic Ideas Continued
  • Living abroad, losing a job, losing a
    parentMiscarriage, missionary work, mission
    tripNine/11, near death experienceObesityPeace
    Corp, professional sports, paraplegics, protests
    Quitting a job, quitting smoking

Topic Ideas Continued
  • Refugee camp, rehabilitation, remarriage,
    reuniting with biological parentSurviving the
    Holocaust, starting a business, switching high
    schools, survival situationTeen parents, taking
    a year off, title IX, travel, twinsUgandaVietnam
    War, violence, volunteer workWW II, weight

Topic Ideas
  • From the topics mentioned in class, and the
    topics you wrote down on your alphabet sheet
  • Pick your top 5write these down in your topic
  • Narrow these 5 down to your top 3 Write these 3
    down in your packetthink of 3 people you could
    interview with these 3 topics.
  • Now, choose two topics that you will brainstorm

  • You will create 2 of 3 different brainstorms
  • Web
  • List
  • Free-write
  • Once you have completed both brainstorms, write a
    1 paragraph reflection as to which one you think
    you want to do your historical analysis paper on.
  • Turn in your alphabet list, two brainstorms, and
    your 1 paragraph reflection by the end of the
  • This will help you to decide on a topic which
    will be due on Friday ?

Step 2 Writing the Research and Interview
  • Once you have chosen your topic, your next step
    is to decide the information you need to know.
    This will come from both primary and secondary
  • A primary source is the person who actually
    experienced the event.
  • Examples of primary sources Interviews, letters,
    journals, autobiographies, memoirs, videos,
    personal websites, photo albums
  • A secondary source is someone elses
    interpretation of the persons experience.
  • Examples of secondary sources Articles,
    biographies, websites created by someone else,
    documentaries, reference books

Five Ws and the H
  • Keep in mind you will be conducting both primary
    and secondary research as you work on this
    project. Before finding sources, however, you
    need to determine WHAT you need to research.
    This involves creating both primary and secondary
    questions. Keep in mind that all questions must
    begin with the 5 Ws (who, what, where, when, why)
    and the H (how).

Keep the Questions Separate!
  • The primary questions are ones you will ask in
    interviews and will pertain to the narrative
    aspect of your paper.
  • Just like in fiction, nonfiction includes
    setting, characters, conflicts, resolution.
  • Make sure your interview questions help you piece
    together the story of the event or decision (i.e.
    Where did this happen? When did it happen? Who
    was involved? How did you feel?).
    INTERVIEWS (2 primary source 1 other interview

What are Research Questions?
  • Answers to secondary research questions will come
    from secondary sources.
  • Perhaps there are some terms you dont know,
    historical details, procedures, rules, laws,
    statistics, or geographical information.
  • Secondary research questions will help you
    determine what you need to research.
  • Keep in mind that some answers from your
    interviews may lead to some good secondary
    research questions, and some secondary research
    will help you with primary questions.
  • You will most likely have to conduct both
    follow-up interviews and follow-up research.

Constructing Good Questions
  • Think about the answers you want. Do you want
    one-word answers?
  • No? Then dont start a question with a verb!
  • Poor question Did you lose your job?
  • Better question What were some financial impacts
    during the Great Depression?
  • Poor question Did you feel nauseous?
  • Better question What were physical effects of
    the chemotherapy?

Organizing the Interview
  • Start with basic questions (who, what, where,
  • Have the tougher questions in the middle (Why did
    you decide to or How did you feel when)
  • Ask brief questions
  • Dont let silence fluster you. Give them time to
  • Dont interrupt a good story because you have a
  • If your narrator strays, try to pull her back as
    quickly as possible
  • End with easier questions and a thank you

Interview continued
  • Have as much background as possible going into
  • Be considerate arrange for privacy, dont
    interrupt or annoy
  • Get quotes that are interesting and important
  • Be interested and empathetic in what is being
  • Be polite and appropriate

Interview continued
  • Ask precise questions as interview continues
    these are the ones that ask for specific memories
  • Listen and be non-judgmental
  • Be sure to get clarification on important points
    and things you dont understand
  • Give them a chance to tell their story or their
    side of the story, to inform others, influence
  • Dont be afraid to ask them to repeat or clarify
  • Finish by saying is there anything you could like
    to add or is there anything you think I would
    need to know

Keep in mind
  • The interview may head in a direction you hadnt
    planned, so some of your questions may not work.
  • Listen carefully to answers, and ask clarifying
    questions (What did you mean when you said or
    Why was that important)
  • Try to record oral interviews if you can.
  • If you are doing interviews via email, ask for
    answers at least four days before you need them
    and send reminder emails. Get your parents
    involved if you need help.
  • Interview information goes on the note cards.

Step 3 Creating the Preliminary Thesis and
  • The preliminary thesis is basically a hypothesis
    an educated guess of what you hope to prove.
  • Keep in mind that this may change a number of
    times as you conduct your research.
  • You will finalize the preliminary thesis and
    outline as you begin to write the first draft.
  • A thesis should include the persons name and
  • The outline consists of three consequences of
    this event/decision.

Example of a Preliminary Thesis and Outline
  • Thesis Serving in the Navy during World War II
    changed Bob Conants life.
  • Outline (points or proofs)
  • He became more responsible
  • He became more independent
  • He became more appreciative of the U.S.

Another Example
  • This version combines the preliminary thesis and
  • While immigrating to the United States was
    difficult for Andreas Johannson, it taught him
    the importance of education and family.
  • Notice the three points
  • Immigrating was difficult.
  • Immigrating taught him the importance of
    education. Immigrating taught
    him the importance of family.

  • You are not writing about anything that does not
    support your three points in the outline.
  • Try to come up with your points as you write your
    interview questions, or you will have to do more
    research and interviewing than you think.
  • This is NOT a biography project.
  • You are NOT simply telling a story.
  • You are SHOWING how an event or experience
    impacted your person.

Writing Secondary Research Questions
  • Must conduct interview to truly guide your
    secondary research questions
  • Do not research aspects of the topic that do not
    pertain to your persons experience- even if it
    is interesting

Writing Secondary Research Questions continued
  • When did the event or phenomenon that youre
    researching occur, long ago or recently? Does the
    research about this event need to be recent or
    contemporary to the event? (with topics such as
    diseases, addictions, etcwhat new things have
    been studied or discovered about it)
  • Why is this issue/event important?
  • Why/how do people develop the disease/addiction?

Writing Secondary Research Questions continued
  • Where did the event/phenomenon that youre
    researching take place?
  • What years/ What years did important findings
    about treatment/symptoms, etc occur?
  • How did the event start? What led up to this
    historical event?
  • How have people reacted since then?
  • How has treatment changed?

Writing Secondary Research Questions continued
  • What have been the after affects of this event?
  • How did it change/influence a country or our
  • How did it change peoples lives?
  • Ask the 5 Ws and H concerning the topic (who,
    what, when, where, why and how)
  • Find/research others experiences about your
    topic. Is your persons experience/response to
    this event common?

Writing Secondary Research Questions continued
  • What are common after effects/side effects
    /results to_____?
  • How does/did _______ start?
  • What is the process for ______?
  • What are typical options for ______?
  • How does one typically find him/herself in this
  • How long does ______ last/affect a person, etc?

Step 4 Conducting the Secondary Research
  • Once youve begun thinking about what you need to
    research, you need to find sources. The library
    and the Internet are two good places to start
    your search. There are five questions you should
    consider before using a resource
  • Question 1 Is the information current?
  • Reason Some sources can be out of date, both
    books and online sources.
  • Question 2 Is the information complete?
  • Reason Try to see all sides of an issue.

Step 4 Conducting the Secondary Research
  • Question 3 Is the information accurate?
  • Reason Check your source--it should be a
    reliable one (no Wikipedia).
  • Question 4 Is the source an expert?
  • Reason Avoid most sources ending in .com--use
    .edu, .gov or DATA BASES.
  • Question 5 Is your source biased?
  • Reason Some sources "spin" or slant facts. Who
    or what is your source?

More about Sources
  • Which types of information packages would be good
    for your topic?
  • --Personal sources, books, reference works,
    periodicals. AV resources, government
    publications, business publications, electronic
  • Which information places would be good for your
  • --Libraries, computer resources, mass media,
    learning sites (museums), workplace
  • Which reference works would be good for your
  • --Encyclopedias, handbooks, yearbooks, almanacs,
    atlases, yearbooks
  • Besides Google, what are some other good search
    engines for your topic?
  • --Look at the databases in the library and answer
    this question.

Conducting Research
  • Use in your search tells many of the search
    engines that your results must contain a word or
    phrase. The - tells the search engine that your
    results must not contain a word or phrase
  • Use quotation marks to search for phrases.
    Quotation marks tell most search engines that the
    words you specify must appear consecutively,
    such as used cars

Conducting Research
  • Avoid common terms such as a, an, if, of, the
  • Look at end of articles for descriptors as
    other search terms
  • World War I- too common
  • Effects posttraumatic stress disorder
  • World War I(1939-1945) Campaigns

Finding Good Sources
  • Determine the sites purpose Is it to inform? To
    present opinions? To report research? Or to sell
    a product?
  • Identify the sites author Are qualifications,
    experience, and/or institutional affiliation
    given? Determine who supports the site.
  • .org, .edu may provide a different viewpoint on
    the information presented than a sit labeled .com
  • May use cites ending in .gov, .org, and .edu

Finding Good Sources
  • Consider the sites authority Does the website
    contain documented facts or personal opinions?
    Are the sources of information cited? Does the
    site look as if its been created by a
    professional (no typos, spelling errors or
  • Check the sites timeliness Is the content up to
    date? Is the date of creation or most recent
    revision clearly shown?
  • Consider the sites content What aspects of your
    topic does the site not cover? Can you use this
    cite to support a position you plan to take in
    your paper?

Research Terms
  • Bias an inclination/tendency to a certain
    perspective prejudice concerning an issue
    (conservative or liberal)
  • Opinion A belief or idea held with confidence
    but not proven by direct knowledge or proof
  • Fact information that can be proven real or
    accurate with other verifiable information
  • Source one that supplies information

Research Terms
  • Credibility Deserves confidence the quality of
    being believable
  • Reliability dependability (studies)
  • Evidence data on which a conclusion or
    judgment may be based furnishes proof or
    supporting details

Research Terms
  • Authors intent/authorial intent an individuals
    purpose for a piece of writing or communication
  • - inform, persuade, educate
  • Copy right sole legal right to reproduce
  • Works Consulted MLA formatted list of all
    sources concerned or examined in the process of

Research Terms
  • Works Cited MLA format list of sources that you
    actually mention/cite from in your research paper

Step 5 Taking Notes
  • For this project you will be writing bibliography
    and note cards. This is a sample bibliography

Note Cards
  • This is a sample note card

Secondary Resource Card
  • Thesis point- living with phobias Source
  • Dr. Smith, Medical Association
  • If the person were to be exposed to the
    non-dangerous stimulus time after time without
    any harm being experienced, the phobic response
    would gradually extinguish itself. Thus, life
    would eventually return to normal for that
    person (Treating Phobias).

Suggestions for Taking Notes
  • Keep notes on cards of the same size and style.
  • Include the thesis point in the upper-left corner
    and the source number in the upper-right one.
  • Place quotation marks around anything word for
    word and include citation for quotes from
    secondary resources
  • Use an ellipsis () if you leave anything out
  • Look up unfamiliar words.
  • Write only on the front side of a card.

Suggestions for Taking Notes
  • Put only one main idea/quotation on each card.
  • Use abbreviations and phrases when possible
  • Leave space at the bottom of each card for notes
    on how and where you might use the information in
    your paper
  • Be selective
  • Dont look at the passage while paraphrasing so
    you dont accidently plagiarize
  • Read entire source first- dont just start taking

Suggestions for Taking Notes
  • Dont photocopy to substitute for taking notes
  • Dont write notes on a sheet of paper

Taking Notes
  • SUMMARIZE make note of a few important points in
    your own words
  • PARAPHRASE Restate what you have read, in your
  • QUOTE DIRECTLY Use the exact words from the
    source (put in quotation marks and source or else
    it is plagariasm)

  • Important quotes only
  • The quote is a true expression of what your
    person is saying
  • The quote is not taken out of context and makes

  • Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone
    elses words and ideas as your own.
  • Avoid plagiarism by using quotation marks around
    any words, phrases, or sentences taken from a
  • Avoid plagiarism by using parenthetical
    references ( ) after the two ways of sharing
    information from another source PARAPHRASES and

Plagiarism example
  • Original source Critical care nurses function
    in a hierarchy of roles. In this open heart
    surgery unit, the nurse manager hires and fires
    the nursing personnel (Chase 3).
  • Plagiarism Critical care nurses have a hierarchy
    of roles. The nurse manager hires and fires
  • Patchwork plagiarism Chase describes how nurses
    in a critical care unit function in a hierarchy.
  • Legitimate paraphrase In her stud of roles of
    nurses in a critical care unit, Chase also found
    a hierarchy that distinguishes the roles of
    experts (3)

When paraphrasing, you should
  • Skim the material first to get the overall
    meaning, paying attention to key words.
  • Write the authors ideas in your OWN words.
  • Use quotation marks around any words or phrases
    you could cut and paste from the original text.
  • Check your paraphrase against the original source.

Questions Regarding Accuracy
  • Have I kept the authors ideas clear and true?
  • Have I cut out enough of the original so that the
    words are my own?
  • Could another person understand the authors main
    ideas by reading my paraphrase?

Accuracy in Quotes
  • A quote can be a single word or an entire
    paragraph (but dont do this in your paper).
  • Keep the following in mind regarding quotes
  • Choose quotes carefully.
  • Keep them as brief as possible (four typed lines
    or fewer).
  • Be accurate with words, spelling, and
  • With partial quotes, use an ellipsis to show

Note Card Assignment
  • Read the article and create the following cards
  • A source card
  • A paraphrase
  • A paraphrase with a partial quote
  • A quote with an ellipsis
  • Pretend that is your first source card.
  • Imagine this to be the thesis Trying out for
    American Idol was good for Larry Platt. It
    brought him fame, it allowed people to know his
    past, and it will probably increase his finances.

Step 6 Finalizing the Thesis and Creating the
  • Now that you have conducted your research, you
    need to finalize the thesis. Look at your
    preliminary thesis on page 6.
  • Based on your research, can you prove that
    statement in your paper?
  • Do the points seem to be in the best order, most
    likely weakest to strongest?
  • If either of these answers is no, you need to
    change your thesis and points.