Welcome to the Research Assignment for HIST 305: 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. In these four research assignments, you will use WSU Libraries’ resources to:
- Identify a case study of contemporary significance of which you intend to explore the historical roots – at least before 1990 – 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) and revise it in light of new sources and analysis.
- Critically analyze the sources that you gather and identify useful passages and information within.
- Connect newly found sources to those you’ve previously located.
- Learn how to cite sources correctly according to historical disciplinary standards.
Research Assignment #1 – Defining Your Topic & Analyzing Contemporary Newspapers
In Research Assignment #1 you will explore contemporary newspaper 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, have historical dimensions – at least before 1990 – you can analyze, and should also connect to one or more of the broader themes of this course (globalization, humans and the environment, inequality, diverse ways of thinking, and/or the roots of contemporary conflicts). You will conclude part one by developing 1-2 preliminary research questions based on the initial source that you gather. After you’ve completed part one, you will receive feedback on the viability of your chosen topic, your selection of contemporary newspaper sources, and your research questions.