HIS 100 Project 2 Historical Context and Introduction Guidelines and Rubric Overview “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” —Pearl Buck Your second project in this course is to complete a historical context and introduction project. The work you did on the Topic Exploration Worksheet in Modules One and Two will directly support your work on this project as well as your third longer term project—the multimedia presentation—due in Module Eight. One of the prime benefits of studying history is that it allows us to learn about who we are and where we came from. The people and events of the past can often shed light on the conditions and social norms of the present. Having historical awareness can inform various aspects of your life as well as future aspirations. Learning from past failures and successes can shape ideals and values for years to come. This is your second longer-term project designed to help you understand the fundamental processes and value of studying history. In the first project, you completed the Topic Exploration Worksheet on one of the topics or themes from the library guide. You investigated the types of research you might need to do to learn more about the topic and developed research questions. In Project 2, you will use your completed Topic Exploration Worksheet to explore the historical context and develop an introduction. You will choose one of your research questions and do some secondary source research, speculate on primary source needs, and use the information to write the introduction and thesis statement for a possible research paper. (You will not write the entire paper— only the introduction.) In the third project, you will create a multimedia presentation that explores both major developments in historical inquiry and the value of examining history. This research plan and introduction assignment will assess the following course outcome, which you focused on throughout Modules Three and Four: Determine fundamental approaches to studying history in addressing questions about how events are shaped by their larger historical context Prompt In this project, you will write the introductory paragraph of a history paper based on one of the questions you identified in your topic exploration worksheet. To do this, however, you must first find out a bit more information about your topic and draft a research plan. This will allow you to transform your question about your topic into a thesis statement, as well as give you the background information you will need to craft an interesting introductory paragraph. You will not write the entire paper, just the introduction to the paper that concludes with a thesis statement. The following critical elements will be assessed in a Word document that combines both your research plan (Critical Elements I and II) and your introduction (Critical Element III). Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed: I. Write your introduction. A. Write your introduction. Be sure to incorporate your background information and to conclude with your thesis statement. B. Based on your primary and secondary source research, turn your research question into a thesis statement that addresses your topic and how it has been influenced by its historical context. II. Use primary and secondary sources that address the historical context of your topics to respond to the following critical elements. Be sure to cite your information using the most recent version of APA guidelines. Based on the sources you have selected, address the following questions: A. Summarize the topic using primary and secondary sources. In other words, what was going on in the world/area/society around the event? B. Discuss how the historical context impacted the topic. For instance, what was happening in the world/area/society around the event that impacted how it occurred? Project 2 Rubric Guidelines for Submission: Your historical context and introduction should be 2 to 3 pages in length. Use double spacing, one-inch margins, and 12-point Times New Roman font. Use the most current version of APA style. You will use the Historical Context and Introduction Template to complete this assignment. Critical Elements Exemplary (100%) Proficient (85%) Needs Improvement (55%) Not Evident (0%) Value Introduction: Write Meets “Proficient” criteria and cohesion of expression demonstrates a mature grasp of the requirements of an introduction Writes an introduction that incorporates the background information and concludes with the thesis statement Writes an introduction that incorporates the background information and concludes with the thesis statement but is cursory or has inaccuracies Does not write an introduction that incorporates the background information and concludes with the thesis statement 24 Introduction: Thesis Statement Meets “Proficient” criteria and argument posited demonstrates insightful connections between the event and its historical context Crafts a thesis statement based on the research question that addresses the topic and how it has been influenced by its historical context Crafts a thesis statement based on the research question that addresses the topic, but thesis statement does not address historical context or has inaccuracies Does not craft a thesis statement based on the research question that addresses the topic 24 Historical Context: Summarize Meets “Proficient” criteria and information used from research communicates a strong grasp of the historical context Explains the historical context of the topic Explains the historical context of the topic but does not properly cite the secondary sources, or explanation is cursory or has inaccuracies Does not explain the historical context of the topic 24 Critical Elements Exemplary (100%) Proficient (85%) Needs Improvement (55%) Not Evident (0%) Value Historical Context: Impacted Meets “Proficient” criteria and information used from research communicates a strong grasp of the impact of the historical context Explains how the historical context impacted the topic Explains how the historical context impacted the topic, but does not properly cite the secondary sources, or the explanation is cursory or has inaccuracies Does not explain how the historical context impacted the topic 24 Articulation of Response Submission is free of errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, and organization and is presented in a professional and easy-to-read format Submission has no major errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization Submission has major errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization that negatively impact readability and articulation of main ideas Submission has critical errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization that prevent understanding of ideas 4 Total 100%
Topic: The influence of “Jax Cuts and Jobs Acts” for individuals
Length: 1500 words
Audience: A “public” audience
By now you should all be “experts” (at least as much as a semester allows) on your interdisciplinary topic. This project asks you to write about some aspect of the research you’ve done for popular/general public audience: for example, readers of newspapers, magazines, Web pages, or perhaps clients and consumers. You have presented a case for solving an interdisciplinary problem—now, take that research and pitch it to the public. Why should these readers care? How much context do they need? This assignment offers you a chance to be creative, but remember that you need to identify your audience as specifically as possible and determine what their needs might be. The style, voice, and genre should be significantly different from the last two projects.
After weeks of collaboration, you will complete this last major project on your own. The rhetorical challenge is two-fold, since not only are you responsible for appropriately translating your research to a general audience, but you are translating interdisciplinary research and need to make sure you take into account audience analysis and assumed knowledge in more than one discipline.
Please note the examples below are not exhaustive; if other genres or ideas are relevant to you, let me know. If none of these seem feasible, talk to me:
The “Explainer” Article: Many articles in newspapers, magazines, and web sites (such as Wikipedia) publish articles that don’t make a specific argument because they are intended to inform. For example, many in the weekly science or technology sections of many newspapers, they report on some recently published article announcing a discovery or finding, and usually relay this information in “layman’s terms,” meaning one does not need to be an expert in the field to understand a new development or its significance. Often, explainer articles take a smaller piece of a bigger social issue that readers may not understand and break it down. For example, the debate over vaccine safety is a big topic right now; an explainer on that might concern itself with how vaccines work. On your case, you can take part of your inquiry issue and “explain” it to the public, focusing on what they need to know most, but without bringing in opinion or evaluation. Here is an example of a real-world explainer:
An Opinion Piece: If you like taking a side and trying to persuade people, you might consider writing an op-ed. An op-ed (so-called because it appears on the page opposite the editorials, which represent the ideas/opinions of the paper’s editorial board and as such, is an argument developed for a general audience.) Op-Eds are often written by experts in a particular field who are tying their theoretical knowledge into current events. They present an argument about an issue, again in “laymen’s” terms. A typical formula for writing an Op-Ed is to identify the problem, identify your solution, and work through both sides of the issue, using the opposing view to strengthen your own. Here is an example of a real-world Op-Ed, one I wrote for the New York Times:
The Feature Article: Some of you may be interested in informative pieces that entail more design elements and creativity. The feature article—similar to cover stories in magazines, or longer form Web articles—explains trends or issues to a mainstream audience. Feature articles often employ several of the following elements: a narrative/anecdotal introduction/interview; sidebars and text boxes for statistics and addition factual information that may interrupt the narrative flow; pulled quotes, columns, and headings, as well as pictures/images.
The Web site/blog: Depending on your topic, you may want to establish a blog/website with several shorter posts and other informational/visual elements that target a public/lay audience and depend on many of the same style/content considerations as more traditional articles do. Short, concise paragraphs and judicious use of white space, appropriate visuals, effective hyperlinking of credible resources, etc. are all important for successful Web-based public writing on health topics. You may want to use free platforms like Wordpress, Wix, Weebly, Sway, etc.
The Reflective Note: As with the last two projects please include a note with both the draft and the final project; let us know which genre you’ve chosen, how it will be distributed or accessed, and how you’re citing your sources and such. Please be sure you discuss content and design choices, knowing that some of you will have a lot more to say about design than others, and vice versa. As always, the word count refers to the project and the reflective note, and I expect and understand variations in length of each since there are so many options available to you. Don’t forget the brief note on how this might fit into a professional portfolio.
IMAGES: Most of these projects include some sort of image or images; even Op-Ed pieces are sometimes accompanied by them. Try to have some sort of image or images involved, and be sure to cite the image, usually right underneath the image in such documents.
AUDIENCE: Even though you’re writing for a “public” audience, remember that there is no such thing as the “general” public, so as with project three, you must determine exactly where and how your document will be distributed to your public. WHO are you aiming for—what is their age range, education and literacy level, cultural background? If it’s a blog or Web-based publication, what will the meta-language be that will attract readers? How might you link it to other sites? If it’s an explainer or op-ed, WHICH magazine or newspaper exactly will you publish it in? The audience for The New York Times is quite different from the audience for USA Today.
Unlike academic articles where scholars are likely to read your article if it contributes something new, a public is not likely to even notice your document unless you attract their attention. You have to do more to lure them in.
CITATION FORMAT: Knowing exactly where and how you’ll be distributing this document will also help you determine how to cite your sources. Simply include a regular References page for any research you did with your project itself, understanding that it is for me to see your evidence, not a part of the project itself.
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