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Tutorium North American History

How to write a research paper

Formal Aspects:

Cover Sheet: Your paper should have a cover sheet including your name, Matrikelnummer, your semester and what subjects you are studying. It should also include the title of the seminar, the semester and, of course, the title of your paper.

Content: The following page should be the content. Your first chapter is usually the

  • Introduction (though you can give it a catchier title than that) and should be about 10% of your paper. The introduction should give the reader a pretty good idea of what your paper addresses, what sources/literature you use and how you plan to work through your topic.
  • The main part should likewise be organized in chapters and that organization should reflect your main points and ideas. The headings of each chapter should give the reader an immediate idea of what you are going to do in that chapter.
  • The very last part is the conclusion (also about 10%); it can also be an epilogue or an outlook, yet in any case should it sum up your key arguments and insights. The conclusion is followed by the bibliography that cites all the material you used, i.e. primary sources, secondary literature, websites, blogs, journal articles, etc.

Citation Style: Historians usually adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style and use footnotes in their texts. However, if you have mainly worked with MLA (guidelines by the Modern Language Association) and you use in-text citation, that’s fine, too. Whatever style you chose, make sure that it is consistent throughout your paper.

Length: You all study according to different POs, so please check back and see what the requirements are for you. For North American Studies your term paper should be 20-25 pages long (60.000-70.000 characters, 6.000-7.000 words). Essays should be 10 pages long (30.000 characters, 3.000 words).

Basic Guidelines:

When you have a rough idea of your topic, think about if it is feasible and if you can address the issue on a couple of pages. Sometimes students start with very big ideas – that’s fine, but think about how you can narrow it down to a more specific question/topic that you can deal with in your paper.

Then ask yourself:

  • Do I have a thesis, a problem, a research question?
  • Does my topic have a historical perspective, and does the paper provide a historical contextualization?
  • Does the table of content reflect the research question and my approach?
  • What kind of sources do I have? Have you been successful in finding additional material, i.e. appropriate monographs, anthologies, articles etc. through your research?
  • How are the sources connected/ related to my research question? Do they help me to address the question/ issue at hand?

    • Your sources are not limited to texts; photographs, advertisements/ commercials, music/song lyrics, movies etc. can also be great sources! Textual sources can vary from court decisions/law suits to letters, cookbooks, newspaper articles, surveys etc.

  • When you have finished a first draft, please proofread! Also, ask a friend to read your paper; are they convinced by the logic of your argument and by your selection of sources, literature, and other materials?
  • Make sure to pay attention to the formal aspects noted above.

Good luck!

1. Guidelines in Detail

1.1. Page Layout
- Line spacing: 1,5 pt / type size: 12pt- type size for foot-/endnotes: 10pt.
- Font: Times New Roman, Arial, Cambria
- Margins: left 2,5 cm; right 3,5 cm, top 2,5 cm; bottom 2,5 cm
- Justified text
- Insert page numbers
- Length: depends on your PO. Pages are counted for your text only, including footnotes, but excluding the table of contents, works cited list etc.

1.2. Cover page
Title of the seminar, teachers, term
Title of your paper
Your name, semester, and subject (minor/major)
Your Matrikelnummer
Your address
Date of submitting your paper

1.3. Table of Contents
The table of contents lists your chapters with the respective page numbers. Your chapters must include an introduction, a main part (with subchapters), a conclusion, and a works cited list. You may add a list of abbreviations or an appendix, if necessary. Table of contents and the cover page are not paginated!
Table of Content
1. Introduction...........................................................................1
2. The Patriarchal Society of Fin de Siècle New Orleans.....................3
3. The Creation of Storyville..........................................................6
4. Women in Fin de Siècle New Orleans..........................................11
4.1. Working Women in Fin de Siècle New Orleans...........................11
4.2. Social and Economic Mobility for Women in New Orleans.............19
5. Conclusion..............................................................................23
Bibliography................................................................................26
Anti-Plagiarism Statement.............................................................28
All chapter titles listed in the table of content must occur identically in your text. Next to subheadings, you may use paragraphs to structure your text. Please note that each paragraph should represent a coherent unit of thought.

1.3. Introduction
- introduce your topic
- give a short outline of the historical context
- state your question / thesis as clear as possible: Why is my question relevant? Why do I neglect other, likewise interesting aspects of the topic? You should develop your question and define it concretely towards the end of the introduction.
- give a short account of the sources you use: What sources are available for dealing with your topic? Why did you choose your body of sources? What type of source are you dealing with? Why and how do they serve to illuminate your question? Explain your research method and relate it to the question you want to address.
- mention the state of research and opinions of other authors.
- outline, how you are going to proceed in addressing the question with reference to the chapters you listed in the table of contents.

1.4. Main part
- analyze the sources you choose by following up on your question
- avoid a full description of the sources in favor of your main points
- include (divergent) opinions of other authors, and assess them critically

1.5. Conclusion
- summarize your findings
- relate your findings to your question / introduction
- assess the significance of your results and the sources you chose
- you may include an outlook of prospective developments and historical contexts

1.6. Works cited
- separate your works cited list into “sources” and “secondary literature”
- list all entries alphabetically
- do not list any other materials except from those you actually used in your text (i.e. in footnotes, or annotations)

1.7. Style
At least historical works must be written in past tense. You should avoid personal statements, for example “I feel that...” Make sure that you use complete sentences (subject, predicate, object), and that your grammar and spelling are correct and consistent (use British or American English). Foreign terms and technical terms should be italicized (e.g. hostis humanis generis).

1.8. References
1.8.1. Quotations
- In general, quotations should be used for expressing something you cannot say better in your own words. Pick concise and meaningful quotes. It should become clear to the reader, why the quote makes sense or is relevant in the respective context.
- Quotations longer than 3 lines must be indented (1cm, type size 10pt, line spacing 1pt). In this case, you do not need quotation marks.
- Quotations always have to be exact and accurate: never translate foreign quotes, and never repeat the contents of the quote in own words.
- For inserting letters or words into a quotation use “[…],” for leaving out parts of the quotation use “[…].” Misspellings in the original must not be corrected, but may be marked with “[sic!].”
1.8.2. Annotations, Footnotes or Endnotes
- Footnotes give reference of where your quotes, information or concepts come from. Moreover you can use foot-/endnotes to explain aspects not directly relating to your argument. All ideas, thoughts and arguments taken from other authors, although you may just paraphrase them, must be proven with footnotes. Be aware that missing references are plagiarism!
What must be referenced?
- Quotations
- Own paraphrasing of other authors’ works, arguments, or concepts/theories
- Additional information given in endnotes/annotations
How do I give references?
- If you mention a source / book for the first time, give the full bibliographic information according to the examples below. For further references of the same source/book you may use a short version, for example: Foucault, “Of Other Spaces,” p. 2.
- If you quote primary source material used by another author, write: “as cited in”
- If you have several references from the same book in a row, use: Ibid. (the same) and give the page number, or Idem (the same author) and give the new title and page number.
- Page numbers can be replaced with “f,” for the following page (for example instead of p. 11-12, p.11f.), or “ff” for the following 2 pages (for example instead of p. 10-12, p.10ff.)
- cf. (= compare) should be used only if there is something to compare.
- All footnotes need to end with correct punctuation.

IMOPRTANT: Detection of plagiarism automatically leads to a “fail” of the examination (resp. Hausarbeit) and can also lead to other sanctions, even expulsion from the university. In case of Erasmus students, the home university is informed. Please attach an anti-plagiarism statement to your term paper:
“This is to certify that I, [your name] wrote the present paper about [title of your term paper] by myself, that I did not use any other sources except the ones listed below and that my paper does not contain any longer passages from other works – including electronic media – in addition to the ones I cited.
Place, date and signature”

Plagiarism Statement
This project was written by me and in my own words, except for quotations from published and unpublished sources which are clearly indicated and acknowledged as such. I am conscious that the incorporation of material from other works or a paraphrase of such material without acknowledgement will be treated as plagiarism, subject to the custom and usage of the subject, according to the University Regulations on Conduct of Examinations. The source of any picture, map or other illustration is also indicated, as is the source, published or unpublished, of any material not resulting from my own experimentation, observation or specimen-collecting.

(Name)                                                                (Signature)

(taken from: the University of Liverpool https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/~maryrees/homepagemath302/PlagiarismStatement.pdf)

Eigenständigkeitserklärung
Hiermit versichere ich, dass ich diese Hausarbeit selbständig verfasst und keine anderen als die angegebenen Quellen und Hilfsmittel benutzt habe. Die Stellen meiner Arbeit, die dem Wortlaut oder dem Sinn nach anderen Werken und Quellen, einschließlich der Quellen aus dem Internet, entnommen sind, habe ich in jedem Fall unter Angabe der Quelle als Entlehnung kenntlich gemacht. Dasselbe gilt sinngemäß für Tabellen, Karten und Abbildungen.
.........................................................................................................
(Datum, Unterschrift)