Due October 12
This proposal is to be a 500 word (plus or minus 25 as counted by Microsoft Word) description of your paper. It should say what you are going to do in enough detail that the reader (me) knows what you intend your main points to be. Imagine that you need to convince someone like a publisher or a granting agency that this is a worthwhile project. People making these decisions need enough information to get a good idea of how interesting and how competent your plan seems to be, but don’t have the time to read much. That’s why I say 500 words. That’s more than a couple of paragraphs, but far short of a whole project. You will not, of course, write a book; but if I ask you for a proposal, it’s clear that I’m not asking for a full blown paper.
Include a full set of references. You’ll probably have more, even some important ones, in later drafts, but the first list should be as complete as possible. This means you have to do enough work to know what sources you are using, but will not have to master them all by October 12. This also gives us a chance to make sure that you are using acceptable APA style in listing the references.
The Reference List does NOT count in the word count. Your proposal is supposed to be 500 words without the references. That can be as long as you like, although it must be real. That is, you to include ONLY references that you will use. Do not make a long list of items that you’ll never use.
This is a good place to describe what I’ll expect of your paper drafts. Your goal is to narrow down your topic enough so that you can cover it very well in about 20 pages. Your paper should identify a major question, or a set of questions that your historical research is meant to help answer.
After receiving comments on your first draft, your second draft should be better. Grading of your second draft will presume some improvement. If you were to hand in a second draft that was identical to your first one, your grade on the second will go down because you didn’t do the expected revising. If you get a B on the first draft, you can’t guarantee yourself a B on subsequent drafts by turning in the same thing. In most cases, turning in about the same thing later will result in a much lower grade because the second draft is expected to be better. If you write a magnificent paper that cannot be improved with later drafts, I’ll take that into consideration — and look for a publisher.