HISTORY A170: RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT – INSTRUCTIONS
Objective: Use the OCC Library’s online resources to locate and analyze a recent scholarly journal article
(secondary source) based on a document (primary source) in any of the Voices of Freedom or Who Is an American?
sections of the Foner textbook.
There are four primary steps:
1. Select a document from the above-mentioned parts of the textbook about whose author(s) you want
to research. For instance, in Chapter 12, you may have found the passage from Angelina Grimké’s Letter
in the Liberator (August 2, 1837) on page 470 (Sixth Seagull Edition) intriguing, so you want to see what
recent historical scholarship has been written about Grimké.
2. Locate ONE (1) scholarly article about your chosen historical figure(s) by doing an advanced search
on JSTOR or America: History and Life.
3. Carefully read the article.
4. Answer the questions (listed on page 2 of this prompt) for each article.
• You must work independently on this assignment.
• The scholarly article you locate must be published in the last twenty (20) years (i.e., no earlier than 2000)
and be at least ten (10) pages in length.
• Your answers must be typed.
• When you quote or draw information from the articles, use MLA citation format.
This assignment is worth 10% of the course grade. Your work will be scored based on the following criteria:
– Does the submitted work completely follow the instructions?
– Are the questions answered completely?
– Are the answers clearly explained and supported?
– Is the writing carefully proofread and free of mechanical errors?
DUE DATE: Submit your work as a .pdf or .docx file to Canvas by 11:59pm (Pacific Time) on Sunday,
• Let me know if you have questions as you work on the assignment.
• Here are some helpful links to pages which, with the exception of #3, are on the OCC Library website:
1. A-Z Databases: History (with links to JSTOR and America: History and Life)
2. Research Guides (includes an MLA Citation Guide; also, here is a handy MLA Style Guide in .pdf form)
3. Comparison of scholarly journal articles and popular magazines (from UC Davis)
4. Fall 2020 Library Workshops. (Although most of the workshops have concluded, you can also chat with a
Reference librarian using the pop-up window on this page or the library’s home page.)
HISTORY A170: RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT – QUESTIONS
(Page 2 of 2)
Please type responses to the following questions. Aside from #1, answer each question in at least a short
paragraph of 2-4 complete sentences.
When including ideas and/or exact words and phrases from the article in your answers, cite the original page
numbers in parentheses at the end of your sentences.
1. List the full bibliographic citation information about the scholarly article (author, title, et al) using MLA
documentation format. Be sure to provide the URL for the article.
2. How do you know that the article is from a scholarly journal?
3. What are the author’s credentials? Is s/he a credible source?
FINDING THE SECONDARY SOURCE:
4. Which historical figure/document from the textbook did you select? Why did you choose this topic to research?
5. Which online database did you use to find the article? Which keywords did you use?
EXPLICATING THE SECONDARY SOURCE:
6. What are the specific topic, as well as the general subject matter, of the scholarly article?
7. What is the author’s argument or thesis about the topic?
8. What types of evidence does the author use to support their argument? (For instance, do they use letters,
newspapers, visual sources, and/or other types primary documents as the evidence for their claims? Also, what
secondary sources, if any, do they refer to in the article?)
9. What is the author’s purpose in writing this article?
10. Who is the author’s intended audience?
ASSESSING THE SOURCE:
11. Does the historian make a persuasive historical argument about the topic? Why or why not?
12. How does this scholarly article add to your knowledge and understanding of this individual (or individuals), and
the topic as a whole?