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History is not something that happens outside of Douglas. South Georgia also experienced the Civil War, the1920s, the Great Depression, and so on. Often, what happened in Douglas is similar to events elsewhere and a lot of that history still makes up the places we know and love today. This semester, you will research an event in local history and explain how this event connects within the larger context of US history.
Due: September 25, 2019
Purpose: The purpose of this project is for you to learn how to do primary and (scholarly) secondary research to demonstrate how local events are a part of larger historical patterns.
Skills: In completing this project, you will learn how to analyze sources carefully, draw conclusions based upon facts you have researched, and build an argument based on your findings. In doing so, you will also learn the steps to write an effective college-level research paper.
Knowledge: This assignment will let you have a deeper understanding of the importance of historical context, and a greater appreciation for the historian’s task of placing events in historical context. Most excitingly, you will see how even a tiny quiet place like Douglas or Waycross still connects to the events described in our textbook.
1. Pick an event that happened in Douglas or Waycross from 1865 to 2000.
Using the historic local newspapers available in Galileo is a great way to find a topic. You can do keyword searches or you can just flip through full pages until you find something. Not savvy with the computer? Fear not! The library has the local newspapers on microfilm—pick a decade that interests you and read through a few issues until you find something that interests you.
2. When you find an event that sounds interesting, read the story carefully and, noting the date, think about what was going on nationally when this event occurred.
3. Read the chapter in your textbook related to the local topic you are examining.
No, Douglas is not going to be mentioned in your textbook, but the textbook will give you the national context you need to understand what was going on in the US when your event happened. Example: perhaps your topic is about a soldier coming home to Douglas from Vietnam. Reading the chapter on the Vietnam War would be a good idea. If you’re researching when Elvis Presley came to Waycross, you would read the chapter on 1950s America.
4. Use Galileo, Google Scholar, or Google Books to locate TWO MORE reliable and scholarly sources about your topic.
These sources do not necessarily have to discuss your specific local event, but, like your textbook, should be related to the general subject and time period related to your local event.
5. Locate TWO MORE primary sources that are similar to your subject, time period, and theme.
These might also come from local newspapers, but can also come from other regions as long as they are the same subject matter and time period. For example, if you are researching when Coffee County schools became desegregated, you can research other school desegregation efforts that happened around the same period.
Our primary source packets, your textbook, the Library of Congress, the Digital History webpage, and Georgia Archives all have terrific collections of primary sources you can use.
6. Make a brainstorm list of the commonalities you see between your local event and what happened nationally.
This list shows you how your local event is similar to things that were going on elsewhere in the US at the same time. The things people experienced during your event here is similar to what other people in the US experienced at this same time.
7. Use your brainstorm list to come up with an answer to the following research question:
What does this event in Douglas/Waycross show about life in the US during the time period it occurred?
Remember, a thesis is always a direct answer to your research question, and your brainstorm list will help you identify the biggest similarities.
8. Create an outline.
Just like we do for practice essays, create clear categories based upon your thesis. Perhaps you want to create one category that proves your claim true for Douglas/Waycross and a second category that proves your thesis true for everywhere else in the US. Or perhaps you would rather create thematic categories based upon the similarities you list in your thesis. The choice is yours.
9. Follow your outline to prove your thesis.
Use all the sources you used to create the brainstorm list to prove your thesis true. Be sure to CITE where you found your information in both in-text citations and on the Works Cited Page (MLA, APA, or Chicago formats are welcome)
10. Double check to make sure you have followed all other guidelines listed below and check the RUBRIC available to you on GA View to see how I will be grading these papers to make sure you have done everything correctly.
Papers should be double spaced, Times New Roman, size 12 font with standard margins and an original title (no title page necessary). 3 pages of TEXT.
Subjects can be about any aspect of local history (within about an hour’s drive from Douglas/Waycross) that happened between 1865-2000.
Students should utilize at least THREE primary sources (can be from the supplemental readings or elsewhere) and at least THREE scholarly secondary sources (academic journal articles, books, etc.)—one of which must be your textbook. These sources must be used in the text to effectively prove your thesis.
Non-scholarly sources are acceptable to use for the paper, but they WILL NOT count as scholarly sources. Remember, you and only you are responsible for the information you put in the paper, so make sure your information is correct.
Interviews may only be used if the interview is at least 5 years old.
No more than THREE direct quotes should appear in the entire paper. Each quote should be LESS THAN three lines long.
Be sure to cite all of your sources in the text. MLA, APA, Chicago formats are acceptable as long as you are consistent. An MLA citation guide is posted in the “Study Guides and Other Resources” section on GA View to help with any citation question you can think of. They even have sample works cited pages!
All papers must have at least SIX (6) in-text citations (these citations do NOT have to come from six separate sources)
Papers should include a properly formatted (according to chosen citation style) works cited page containing the full information of all sources consulted.
Remember, writing is hard. Research takes a long time. Be sure to get started early, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I can help you get started and The Writing Center, Student Support Center, and SGSC librarians can help you with this process as well.
Useful places to find additional primary sources:
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/
Additional Library of Congress Links: https://www.loc.gov/collections/
Georgia Digital Archives: http://vault.georgiaarchives.org/
Digital Library of Georgia: http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/?Welcome
Georgia Historical Society Digital Archives: https://georgiahistory.com/research-the-collection/search-our-collection/
Digital History: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/
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