Ow Aircraft and Aircraft Carriers helped the U.S in WWII
HIS 331-The Interwar Years
Thesis statement: Most good thesis statements answer a question that will provide you with an opportunity to argue a position, support your position with evidence, will allow you to write a reasonable conclusion. The statement should be accessible to a general audience. A thesis statement need not be complex; in fact, for this exercise, I would rather you focus your attention on articulating one main idea. By this point, all of you will have come up with a statement of some kind and a topic that statement/question addresses. Do not be afraid to change your thesis statement while writing your paper!
Bibliography: All of you have assembled bibliographies, which relate in some way to your chosen topic. Your final bibliography should consist of 4-5 books or articles, scholarly in nature. These books should be secondary sources. They should not be books from the period under study (that would make them primary source material). When possible, for practical purposes, you should always draw on the most current literature available. Not only does this allow you to examine new historical research, but, oftentimes newer works deal explicitly with the older body of literature. Choose your books carefully-they are the backbone of your paper. If they are not substantial enough you will have much difficulty addressing your topic in the depth that this paper requires. All of your bibliographies have substantial works listed; do not avoid them.
So, how do I write this damn paper?
This is not nearly as difficult as you might believe. However, it does require you to think, read, and pay attention to the details of the arguments your books make. Think of each of these authors as engaging in a conversation about the topic that you have chosen. As is the case with any serious conversation, people agree and disagree about points that relate to whatever the discussion concerns. You too, have taken a position on the topic-you have outlined it in your thesis statement. For this paper, your job is to identify those points of agreement and disagreement between yourself and the authors whose works you have chosen to focus upon and in detail, explain why you agree/disagree with their stated positions.
To do all of this requires you to do many of those tasks that were a part of the book review. You will need to know and be able to explain:
1) The authoras thesis or argument.
2) What are the strengths and weaknesses of the authoras argument?
3) Points of contention between you and the author.
4) Points of agreement between you and the author.
5) The authoras reasons for choosing the topic
6) What sources does the author use?
7) What a?typea? of history (social, political, cultural, intellectual, etc) does the author explore and why?
8) What type of style does the author use (analytical, narrative, descriptive, etc)?
9) Is the treatment of the topic extensive or superficial?
10) From what perspective (bottom up, top down) does the author approach the topic?
Answering these questions will allow you to have a meaningful, in-depth a?conversationa? with these authors. These questions should inform the way you think about their arguments.
Organizing your paper (and your thoughts)
For most of you, this will likely be the most difficult part of the assignment. The easiest way to go about this is to:
1) Think of the introduction as a roadmap. Tell your reader, me, exactly where your paper is going in as much detail as possible. It should not be general, vague or fuzzy, ie. a?The interwar period is a time of great change.a? A better statement would be, a?The interwar period was a time of great social and economic change brought about by the calamity of the Great Depression and the circumstances of the changing European political environment.a?
2) Although you will have one thesis statement you will have a cluster of points which will make your argument. Each point should have its own paragraph that contains details, explanation and examples, which support your overall point/argument. This will form the body of your paper.
3) Finally, wrap it all up in a nice tight conclusion that restates your case.
Keep in mind that doing this requires you to take careful notes while reading, to make your thoughts coherent and to think through your paper. History and SSED majors: this is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Reading scholarly material requires you to put forth a great deal of effort! If you do not read, it will show in your paper. Writing takes time! Writing is hard! If it takes you an hour or more to write a page–good. If it takes you ten minutes to write a page then you simply have not taken the proper amount of time needed to write a good paper. Put in the time!!!