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History 4296: Reading Philadelphia (Writing Seminar in American History): Home

A library guide in support of Dr. Lowe's final research paper assignment.

Chicago Manual of Style


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Manage your citations with RefWorks, a tool that allows researchers to easily import, export, search, and create automatically formatted bibliographies online. Citations found via searches in library databases such as JSTOR and many other databases can be imported directly into RefWorks. No manual typing required. Bibliographies generated within RefWorks can then be exported to Word in virtually any citation format, e.g. MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian and others.

Assignment Prompts

Final Research Paper (50% of grade):

"Each student will write a research paper about an historic building, a neighborhood block, or other such extant physical feature of Philadelphi'as historical environment" (Syllabus, p. 1). "You must complete a 20-25 page (before bibliography) original research paper on the topic of your choice in consultation with me. Your research topic is limited to an historical investigation of the built environment in Philadelphia since 1840. Papers will: 1) engage an important question about the history of Philadelphia; 2) consider and engage with significant historical work on Philadelphia (secondary sources); 3) use both a physical place and archival resources as primary sources that are key in your theses; and 4) be well-written (organized, clearly written, proof read, thoroughly documented [see Chicago Manual of Style and RefWorks], and well-argued. Your work on your research paper is broken down into four steps/assignments:

  • Research plan with annotated bibliography (10%), due March 10 [see box directly below this one for help with your bibliography]
  • Outline (5%), due April 2
  • Draft (10%), due in class on April 16
  • Final draft (30%), due in class on May 5" (Syllabus, p. 3).

Research Blog (20% of grade):

"In addition to your capstone research paper (and to facilitate it), you will blog about your research experiences, tracking  your research questions and findings in a blog.... This will be where you will document your visits to archives across the city and your original research (the primary sources you find). It will be the central place where you collect data about your places and their occupants, uses, and communities" (Syllabus, p. 2).

Note on the function and outcomes addressed by the above assignments from the perspective of the librarian: Both assignments, but especially the research blog, are extraordinarily useful in developing the research skills of history majors. According to one of the many ACRL standards on information literacy, "the student uses information effectively to accomplish a purpose when he or she revises the development process, logs research activities, reflects on what does and doesn't work" (Information Literacy Outcome #18, Temple University Libraries).

Bibliography Help

For help creating your annotated bibliography, check out Michael Engle's (Cornell University Libraries) online guide titled How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography. See also Cornell's How to Critically Analyze Information Sources. You might also wish to check out this book from the library:

Guide Author

Rebecca Lloyd
Paley Library
Room 319

Also see...

these related libguides created by Temple librarians: