History 104:Writing a Historical Thesis Lisa M Lane
A historical thesis is kind of like a thesis for an English paper. It is a statement or sentence that you need to prove. You prove a thesis by presenting a brief argument and some evidence.
That evidence comes from the resources we have for this class. We want to use primary sources (writings or artworks created at the time we’re studying) whenever possible to support our theses.
In this online class, we will be developing historical theses for our posts and essays. Youll write a lot in this class, but you wont write any research papers. All the writing is in discussion forums and in your exams.
Photo credit: acordova on FlickrThere is no research paper, because were doing research all the time, finding new sources or working together, instead of saving up for a big individual project.
In the Sources and Writing forums, youll post good primary sources that you find yourself. Then, later in the week, you will choose a few of these sources and pull them together to write about them. We’ll practice both gathering sources and writing about them every week.
Dont worry about how "good" your thesis and writing is at first. Its a bit unnerving to post your work, get to know each other, absorb the facts, get used to the online format. But this introduction should at least let you know what I have in mind for your work, and mine, in this class.
Good: The 17th century was a golden age for the Netherlands because they expanded their control of international trade. Bad: The 17th century was a golden age for the Netherlands because Martians controlled their trade.A good thesis takes the evidence into account, using the primary sources to prove a point. A "wrong" thesis is one that has no evidence - it can’t be proven.
A "bad" answer, one gets an F, is an answer that is plagiarized. It is copied from another source, without citing or referencing the original creator.
copyright Staples IncBy the end of the class, writing a thesis will be quick and easy, which will help you in all your classes, not just this one. At the same time, youll gain understanding of historical patterns over time, because youll be creating your own historical narrative as you work in this class. So lets get started!