Skip to main content

PS 0859 Making of American Society - Section 07 - Fall 2012: Getting Started / Finishing

Links to library sources for essay assignment

Library Links

Getting Started

Each approved topic has much research done by scholars. You might want to find a focus within that topic rather than try to comprehend or describe the entire topic.

  • Subject reference books can give you the big picture and suggest specific areas where research has been done. Credo Reference, Oxford Reference, Gale Virtual Reference Library and Sage Knowledge are likely starting points. See each topic for specific suggestions.
  • Browse areas of the Paley Stacks in likely call number ranges for books on a topic -- books give the most detail on a topic and you need focus only on the parts of a book that relate to what you are doing rather than reading the whole work.
  • CQ Researcher often has articles on aspects of these topics along with a useful history and chronology.
  • Scholarly articles from what are called academic journals and peer reviewed journals are what you want to reference in your papers.  These can often be a challenge to understand, so use all kinds of media to comprehend what you are doing (including documentaries such as the ones in Films on Demand), but find scholarly articles that support your position to use as a reference.The research database Academic Search Premier is generally excellent for all levels of writing, magazine and newspaper for understanding, and also for articles from scholarly publications. America: History and Life is excellent for finding scholarly articles and book reviews that explain books and their strengths.
  • See the library guide Find Pro/Con Issues and Arguements for positions on different topics, for example, the ebook Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices

Approved Topics and Guidelines

The general topic for the essay is democratic progress in American society; the specific topic is up to you. You may choose any of the issue areas that we have discussed in class or that we will discuss in class, such as race or gender. You may also choose a topic not on the syllabus that you believe is relevant to the course, but you must approve it with me first.

Approved topics include:

Foundation of US government
Foundation of US ideology
US racial issues and equality
The American Dream
The US economy
The “Good Life”
The Family
Gender in the US
The US Media

The goal of the paper is to evaluate how (your issue) has evolved in American society over time. You should identify major ideas and events that have affected your issue, and discuss their impact on today’s society. This is not an opinion paper. You will need to present a clear thesis statement, defend yourself with evidence, and respond to potential rival arguments.

Reference Librarian

Rick Lezenby

phone: 215-204-4571

Paley Library (017-00)

Room: 315 (Third Floor - West side near stairs)

1210 W. Berks Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122
Website / Blog Page