Assignment Proposal

Assignment Proposal

Question: How did WWI change the roles and status of women?

250-500 word proposal

Citations: bibliography (Chicago style)

Please read the paper guidelines

HIST 201: Fall 2018

WWI Paper Proposal and Working Bibliography

DUE: Thursday, November 1

5% of total grade

The paper proposal is your first attempt to provide a focused description of your topic and research question. Your topic and research question should emerge from one of the “Questions for Consideration” on page 165 of Susan Grayzel’s The First World War. You might decide to use one of her questions as the basis for your paper, or you might expand on or tweak a question in order to examine a topic or set of primary source materials that holds special interest for you.

You should be as specific as possible about your topic, and in order to do so, you should do preliminary research with secondary and primary sources. Spend time exploring what historical sources are available for you. In addition to the sources in the Grayzel collection, you might use, for example, published collections of primary sources, online databases, or sources in local archives and libraries. Also, look at the footnotes and bibliographies of other scholars who have written on your topic to find out what sources they have used and whether you can gain access to them.

Once you have done preliminary research, you will be ready to craft a strong research question. Again, you may use one of Grazyel’s questions (indeed, your research question should in some way connect to or emerge from one of those questions), but keep in mind that a good research question cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no” answer. It should be feasible (Are their sources available to undertake the study?), focused (Can the question be answered or explored in a 6 to 8 page paper?), and historically interesting (Will the answer to your question contribute to what other scholars have said about the topic?).

Your proposal should mention the types of primary sources you plan on using. You are required to use primary sources in the Grazyel collection, but you must also find primary sources outside her edited collection. The primary sources are important, because your historical argument or thesis—the answer to your research question—needs to be based on an analysis of those primary, historical sources.

For example, perhaps you are interested in exploring the experience of colonial troops during WWI. You might built on question 6, which asks: “How did the presence of colonial troops affect the relationship between men serving in the military?” You might combine primary sources in the Grazyel book with others that you have found, such as a collection of letters in the edited collection Indian Voices of the Great War: Soldiers’ letters, 1914-1918 (edited by David E Omissi, New York: Mamillan Press, 1999). You beginning research question might be: “How did fighting for the British Empire during World War I affect Indian soldiers’ attitudes towards colonialism?”

Your proposal must also include a preliminary bibliography of the secondary and primary sources that you plan to use for your paper. The bibliography should be on a separate page. Split the bibliography into two sections: Primary and Secondary Sources. Acceptable secondary sources include books published by university presses or reputable trade presses and scholarly articles in academic journals. Textbooks, websites, general overviews, and encyclopedias do not count. While there is no set number of sources required, you should probably include at least five total sources. DO NOT include sources that you have not spent some serious time with. At a minimum you should read the introductions and skim through the books and articles you include to get a sense of how exactly those sources will be valuable to you in your research. This preliminary bibliography will transform and grow as you do more research and write and rewrite your paper. Your bibliography must be in Chicago style as found in the Turabian style manual (see example bibliography in Turabian, A Manual for Writers, 402-403). We will go over Chicago style citations in Week 10.

On your bibliography, provide an asterisk (*) next to the scholarly article that you plan on reviewing for your critical article review, your next assignment.

Where to get started?

Reference librarians at ODU’s Library are a great resource for getting help with locating sources and crafting a viable research topic. See especially James Rhoades (, Social Sciences Reference Services Librarian at the ODU Library.

You might also explore the ODU Library’s website “Remembering World War I” (

Finally, re-read Grayzel’s introduction and skim the Selected Bibliography starting on page 167, especially as you built your own bibliography.

Paper Instructions

Length: 250-500 words (this should include background on your topic, your research question, and a discussion of the primary sources you will use).

Due date: Thursday, Nov. 1

Format: The proposal should be double-spaced, in 12-point font, with one-inch margins. Put your name, date, and word count at the top right corner of the page. The bibliography should be on a separate page and it should be single-spaced with a space between entries.

Citations: Your bibliography must be in Chicago style (see example bibliography in Turabian, A Manual for Writers, 402-403).

Submission: Submit in hard-copy format and electronically to SafeAssign on Blackboard.

Late Policy: If you turn in your assignment after class on the date it is due it is considered a day late. For every day late, your assignment will be lowered by a third of a letter grade. For example, if you turn in a B paper the day after it is due, you will receive a -B grade. This includes weekends.

Grading Rubric–I am looking for the following:

-A focused and clear description of your proposed topic.

-A feasible research question that emerges from one of Grayzel’s questions.

-A discussion of the primary sources you plan to use for your paper.

-A working bibliography of legitimate primary and second sources of at least 5 total sources.

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