Document Review Paper

The purpose of these document reviews is to use textbook (and other reading) information to explain the significance of a document, to give you some depth of understanding, and to help you study the text for the exams. Turn in TWO reviews of documents--the first is due before the first midterm, and the second before the last midterm (see our schedule). Please use ONLY ASSIGNED CLASS READINGS--Documents, Book Excepts on Moodle, and especially the text. Please, no other sources, no random websites or wiki.

Again, students must address the document significance by using the text, so papers should be focused on the document while also including many references from the text along with additional reading--for example, a student can choose any combination of documents from colonization to Revolution, for the first paper, and the 1790s up through the Civil War for the second.

It is important that you cite your chosen document/s at the top of your paper, underneath your title. Some of these "documents" are databases, and you can choose among many documents, pictures, posters, etc. Please put your particular chosen document at the top of your paper so I know which documents you are analyzing, and if you are using pictures or posters, include a cut/paste copy at the end of your paper.

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Here is a TWO-STEP GUIDE to developing your paper thesis, and then organizing your thoughts into a coherent essay. History papers should be logically developed, well supported arguments.

FIRST, DEVELOP YOUR THESIS. Study your chosen document, then answer each of the following, writing out your explanations in paragraph form, in your own words, as if you were explaining the basics of the document to a classmate.

1. DOCUMENT CITATION

Information about document: Author (s), Title, place and date of publication/ production, website citation (Reference Information: who, when, where, & how was this document produced?--also, include website where document was accessed). Use the following as a rough guide for citation--information you should always try to identify when using a document:

AUTHOR(S)/ ORGANIZATION OR ASSOCIATION/ EDITOR

you should always look for a specific author, even if the general "author" is an association oorganization.

TITLE OF PUBLICATION OR PROGRAM

Titles of books are usually underlined or italicized, articles are put in "quotation marks" and the journal or book titles in which they are found are underlined or italicized.

PLACE OF PUBLICATION/ PROGRAM ORIGIN

PUBLISHER OR PRODUCER--who produced this book, journal, or program (in its physical form).

DATE OF FIRST PUBLICATION OR PRODUCTION

WEBSITE INFO: Who has put this document on the website & why? Include URL last.

2. BASIC DOCUMENT IDENTIFICATION

The BASICS about the document--and be both thorough and concise in your identification--include the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY (the apparent why), & WHERE basics of the document. Simply tell us, in your own words, what the document is about, its main purpose or representation.

3. HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

First of all, what do YOU find most interesting and important about this document? Write some of your thoughts down, then expand on them using your textbook. Explain the significance of the document--given the context of time. How do you explain the importance of the document (representing a particular issue, person, or event)? What other events take place at the same time which might help explain its significance?

Think of this as a PUZZLE, an enigma to unravel using the basic survey tools of ideas, issues, people, and events contemporary to the document being considered. Use these specifics and your historical imagination.

BASED ON EVIDENCE FOUND IN YOUR TEXT, or on the work of other historians/writers, CONSTRUCT a well-supported argument to explain the significance and meaning of the document.

4. WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO OR OPINION OF THE DOCUMENT?

Write down your overall opinion about the document, having developed an argument about it. What is compelling about it? In what ways do you like it? Not like it?

5. Pull together your argument and opinion into an overall evaluation expressed in ONE careful, clear, and comprehensive sentence. This is your THESIS.

SECOND, ORGANIZE YOUR IDEAS AROUND YOUR THESIS, and use the following as a guide--include the following in your final draft. After you develop your thesis, you will then need to put it at the top of your paper, and to organize your paper around it.

1. INTRODUCTION

Include an introductory opening to interest the reader--this might be its own paragraph, or you might combine it with your thesis paragraph below. Make the reader want to go further.

2. THESIS PARAGRAPH

Include in this paragraph 1) your thesis; 2) a brief explanation of it; and end with 3) your points of evidence in the order you will be discussing them (i.e. points A, B, & C). This last part should help you to clarify your points, and also, sets up your paper for the reader.

3. ESSAY BODY

Point A

Point B

Point C

Note: Each section should begin with a topic sentence that sums up the significance of the evidence you will be presenting, and that also ties it to your overall thesis.

4. CONCLUSIONS

Sum up your overall points into a persuasive conclusion.

5. Reference Notes and Citations

Please include FOOTNOTES or ENDNOTES in the text of your paper citing sources for quotes and for significant points. You should also include a BIBLIOGRAPHY which would include our textbook and any sources used to understand your document. You won't have to include the citation for your document because you will include this at the top of your paper.

For both REFRENCE and BIBLIOGRAPHIC citations, historians use the Chicago Style. Please go to the Chicago Manual of Style Quick Guide at: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html . Although you need to subscribe to the site for more information, this "Quick Guide" page is free. All you need to do is to follow this guide--remembering that B is for Bibliography and N is for Note, or the reference notes that you include either at the foot of the page of your final paper, or at the very end (end note)