Analyzing and evaluating sources

Analyzing and evaluating sources

Choosing an appropriate topic, limiting the topic
Gathering information, summarizing sources
Analyzing and evaluating sources
Defining key terms
Synthesizing information, comparing and contrasting sources
Testing a thesis, making a historical argument, using refutation
Amassing support for a position
Documenting sources
Because this may be a longer paper than you have written before and a complex process is involved, it is recommended that you complete this paper using the following steps:

Choose a topic related to U.S. History up to 1877 (Chapters 1-15) that you would truly like to explore and that you are willing to spend some time on. Your chosen topic should be focused. Pose a question that you really want to answer. You may want to begin with more than one topic in mind.
Do some preliminary reading on the topic(s). You may begin with the textbook, then further explore the information available. Refine your topic. Summarize your topic, your interest in the topic, the questions you want to answer, and a hypothesis you want to test.
Gather information from a variety of sources. Use a minimum of four sources for your paper, and at least one must be a primary source.
Examples of primary sources are ones that are used in our discussion forums 2 – 8.
They are sources that are contemporary to the times under investigation.
An example of a secondary source is our textbook, though the textbook also contains excerpts of primary sources, which you may use as a source in your paper.
Outline the results of your research and the plan for your paper (you are not required to submit the outline).
Write the final draft and be sure to include a Works Cited List, and use the correct MLA documentation style.
Grade Rubric

INTRODUCTION & THESIS: The paper makes a clear and effective statement (the thesis) about the chosen topic. /15

FOCUS AND DEVELOPMENT: Body of the paper focuses on this thesis and develops it fully, recognizing the complexity of issues. /30

SUPPORT AND SYNTHESIS: Uses sufficient and relevant evidence to support the thesis (and primary points), including facts, inferences, and judgments. Quotes, summarizes, and paraphrases accurately and effectively–appropriately introducing and explaining each quote. /30

CONVENTIONS: Uses MLA format correctly; includes a Works Cited list; is free of errors. /10

CORRECTNESS AND STYLE: Shows critical thinking and depth of understanding; uses appropriate tone; shows sophistication in language usage and sentence structure. /15
Analyzing and evaluating sources

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