Welcome to the Research Assignment for HIST 105: Roots of Contemporary Issues. This set of assignments includes 4 research/analysis components completed over the course of the semester that will culminate in a minimum 1250-word (five page) research essay in which you examine the historical roots of a contemporary issue of interest to you. Your instructor will designate specific deadlines and grade percentages and may adjust the schedule as s/he sees fit. In these four library research assignments, you will use WSU Librariesâ€™ resources to:
Identify an issue of contemporary global significance of which you intend to explore the historical roots and global dimensions.
Gather appropriate sources for your chosen topic and learn how to differentiate kinds of sources.
Develop an initial thesis statement for your research essay: a hypothesis about the potential historical roots of your contemporary issue â€“ and revise it in light of new sources.
Critically analyze the sources that you gather and identify useful passages and information within.
Connect newly found sources to those you previously located.
Learn how to cite sources correctly according to historical disciplinary standards.
In Part I you will explore current newspaper and encyclopedia sources in order to identify a contemporary issue and its historical roots for study throughout the semester. Your contemporary issue should be of interest and importance to you, centrally international (global) in scope, have historical dimensions you can analyze, and should also connect to one or more of the broader themes of this course (humans and the environment, globalization, inequality, diverse ways of thinking, and/or the roots of contemporary conflicts). You will conclude part one by developing two preliminary research questions based on the initial sources that you gather. After youâ€™ve completed part one, your instructor and/or your teaching assistant will assess your choice of topic, your selection of sources, and your research questions. They will make comments and suggestions as necessary.
Each database search in the assignment (e.g., Lexis-Nexis) is demonstrated for you in a short video tutorial on the Roots of Contemporary Issues Libguide. Review the tutorials before trying your search. If you have still have questions, or need help, contact a librarian.
Contact information: WSU Pullman | WSU Global and NPS Everett | WSU Vancouver | WSU Tri-Cities
Part I â€“ Contemporary Newspapers and Encyclopedias
Question 1 = State Your Topic and How it Connects to Course Themes
In a Word document you will upload to this assignment space, state your research topic. Be sure to clearly label each part of this assignment "Question 1," "Question 2," etc. Think through your ideas carefully before writing, and remember you must be able to explore the historical roots of this topic at least over the last 100 years. Also, your project cannot be narrowly focused on the United States, but may seek to understand the role of the United States in the world.
Donâ€™t be vague and say that you want to write about the â€œhistory of inequality.â€ Thatâ€™s an impossible task. Rather, you might propose to make an argument about a very specific historical example of inequality, like the role of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre in creating an South African movement against racial apartheid and inequality.
This course employs five broad themes common to all who live in contemporary global society and those who have lived in centuries past. They are: humans and the environment, "our shrinking world", inequality, diverse ways of thinking, and conflict. Below your stated research topic, explain how at least 2 of these themes can help you frame and contextualize your chosen topic.
Clearly distinguish the two parts of this question by specifying "1A- Research Topic:" and "1B- Connection to Course Themes:" and be sure to provide around ten sentences total to illustrate full reflection upon the "course themes" part of the question.
Question 2 = Locate a Contemporary Documentary Source (Newspaper Article)
Since this course uses contemporary examples as starting points for understanding historical origins, you will also do this for your research paper. Contemporary newspapers are one gateway into a wide variety of contemporary issues. WSU Libraries provide access to a wide range of newspapers from around the world, both current and historical. Newspapers are a type of primary source and part of a larger category of sources called documentary sources that also includes popular magazines. Whether they are historical or contemporary, they are written at the time of an event or process and, when critically assessed, can provide insight into the goals or views of the author, the publication, or its readership. Many of these resources are available in electronic format, and much of the historical collection is in microfilm.
Newspapers LibGuide = Scan the tabs to see how information about newspapers is divided in this guide, look at the Newspaper Databases box in the middle of the screen, click on Lexis Nexis Academic (the Librariesâ€™ most comprehensive newspaper source). Next, search for newspaper articles by opening the "Search the News" search box (and limiting by source type to newspapers). [see Part I:Database Specific Video Tutorials]
All researchers must cite their sources so that their readership has the opportunity to check their analysis if desired. Using Chicago Style, type the bibliographic (not footnotes) citation of one newspaper article (must be less than three months old) under a Question 2 heading. Bookmark this RCI Chicago-style page for quick reference. Unless otherwise directed, use only this page and the Purdue OWL site (introduced later) for this series of research assignments. If you go elsewhere, you may get information that is not from the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual or in other ways is inaccurate.
Since youâ€™re accessing your newspaper article online (and not in print), the citation should include a URL and "date accessed" (see the Chicago-style reference page). Note that you CANNOT simply cut and paste the URL from the browserâ€™s address bar. From the record for the article, click on the Copy Document icon in the upper right (looks like a clipboard with a chain). Follow the instructions to get your URL.
Question 3 = Locate a Specialized Encyclopedia Entry
Now that youâ€™ve identified a global topic of contemporary relevance, it is time to begin uncovering the historical roots of your issue. There are many ways to begin a research project, but if you know little or nothing about the history of an issue, often the best place to begin is with an overview article of the topic. Encyclopedias are excellent places to locate such articles. Encyclopedia articles contain an overview of important facts and often a list of recommended readings. In other words, they are a window into a research topic, but because they are not based on the authorâ€™s original research, they are not appropriate as a main source.
A common assumption about academic encyclopedias is that they are freely available in electronic form on the Internet. They are not. For example, Wikipedia is not an academic encyclopedia. Though the folks at Wikipedia do attempt to implement standards of credibility, anyone can freely create or edit a Wikipedia entry. So for academic research like the kind you are doing here, Wikipedia will not stand. The WSU Libraries have access to several electronic encyclopedia databases and many, many more encyclopedias in print.
You have a number of options for locating an encyclopedia entry; see the Part I: Finding Specialized Encyclopedia Entries Instructions library research guide for instruction.
After you have located the entry that you will use, add the correct bibliographic Chicago-style reference to your Word doc for Question 3. Sage Knowledge and Oxford Reference will provide you with a preview of the bibliographic Chicago style citation. Do not use these citations however, as they are missing key components.
Question 4 = Write Two Preliminary Research Questions
Typically, once researchers have read and analyzed several sources (like youâ€™ve just done), they formulate a set of preliminary research questions that they hope to answer by the end of their research. Often research questions change, and almost always new questions arise. As the last part of your Word document for LRA1, formulate two clear and concise research questions (label them as QA and QB) based on your analysis of your contemporary newspaper article, your encyclopedia entry, and the theme(s) of the course that you identified earlier. Do not be vague by saying something like: "What are the historical roots of my contemporary issue?" But, be sure your questions address the historical roots of your topic.
Read the Part I: Writing Research Questions and Part I: Roots Research Question Example research guides to aid you in the process of writing your research questions.
Upload your completed Word document for LRA 1 (do NOT cut and paste your assignment into the text box). Also, you need to be sure you labeled each question clearly.
Oxford Reference Resources
Global Water Crisis Response Paper
Using historical evidence that draws on class lectures, class discussions, and all assigned readings, answer the following discussion questions.
How does water use of the past compare/contrast with water use today and how does our water use over time relate to the global water crisis?
What role does the Industrial Revolution play in the history of our water use/misuse?
Your answers should incorporate evidence and examples from assigned readings and information from your lecture and discussion notes.
Each answer should ne 350-500 words in length, employ correct grammar and sentence structure, and be free of typographical errors.
You need to cite your sources using footnotes and provide a bibliography. You will use Chicago Manual of Style.
Attach your essay. Do not cut and paste it into the box. The essay should be 12pt Times New Roman with 1-inch margins.
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