Hi 213: Ancient Rome
Guidelines for Research Papers
Why Research Papers?
In this course you are becoming
an historian of Roman antiquity. Part of that process is to master a great deal
of information -- "facts" -- about the Romans that you have to know
to make some sense of their culture. But facts are not history; they are merely
its basis. History is the interpretation of facts through logic and imagination.
When you argue a case about Roman culture to others, you are a Roman historian.
The value of this exercise isn't just academic.
It is hard to escape historical questions. You will find your research experience
useful if, for example, you become an attorney and need to argue a case about
who did what and under which circumstances, or if you enter the business world
and have to advocate a particular course of action for your enterprise. In
addition, students have commented especially on how their writing skills were
improved by preparing research papers.
Some things to remember.
- You are completely in charge here.
Pick a topic that matters to you; learn everything you can about it; and
discuss it in persuasive, graceful English.
- Some sample
topics are linked here for you to consider. If you aren't feeling inspired,
hopefully these will jump start your imagination.
- Your paper should have a thesis.
Inevitably, you will review information and summarize material in the paper,
but if that is all you do, your grade won't be higher than C.
- Be sure to consult primary sources
as well as secondary sources. Read the works of ancient writers that bear
on your paper. Look at the Pantheon or thebaths of Caracala if they are
relevant to your topic. Whether the sources are primary or secondary, be
sure to consult the requisite number.
- Ask for help along the way. I am
glad to read drafts (but not at the last minute, just before the deadline);
the Writing Center tutors stand ready to help with your English; and the
Reference Librarians in Reeves will be pleased to assist you in your research.
- Manage your time carefully. Set
a schedule for yourself and keep to it. Finish a draft of the paper in time
to have it considered in the Writing Center and by me.
- Follow the rules: observe the formatting requirements
below, and take note of the characteristics of an outstanding paper.
- The paper should be 5-7 pages
long (not including title page or bibliography)
- It should be typed & double-spaced.
- Left margin: 1.5 in. Other margins:
- Type should be 12 pt. font.
- Indent the first line of each paragraph
- Use footnotes, not endnotes or in-line
citation. Observe University of Chicago (= Turabian) footnote format:
- The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential
Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers . Fourteenth
edition. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. 1993.
- Kate L. Turabian. A Manual
for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations . Sixth edition.
Revised by John Grossman and Alice Bennett. Chicago and London: University
of Chicago Press. 1993.
- Include at least 5 secondary sources
in addition to two primary sources. These should not include encyclopedias
except in specific cases that I have approved.
- At the end, add a list of works consulted.
This should be formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style.
- Tutors in the Writing Center (Zinzendorf
1) offers assistance in all phases of the writing process. Call to make an
appointment. Do not wait till the last moment. You are not alone in wanting
help with your paper, and as deadlines in courses approach you will find it
increasingly difficult to get an appointment.
Some Characteristics of an Outstanding
- Its thesis is clearly stated
and skillfully supported.
- It is readily understandable.
- Transitions are clear.
- It contains ample illustrative material.
- It maintains a high level of interest.
- Its opening is fresh and provokes
- Points are supported by good examples.
- It is technically proficient:
- It demonstrates mastery of its subject,
- Familiarity with the most
important primary and secondary sources
- Appreciation of the historical
problems that the subject entails.
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