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HIST 117 - Cheney  

Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 URL: Print Guide

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During the library session, students will begin using historical research methods to learn how to locate, assess, and understand the relevance of primary and secondary sources. Topics may include:

1. Do a brief biography of George Washington. What do we know about this man and why was he apparently so important to the revolution?

2. Who was Benedict Arnold? What are some of the different interpretations possible in explaining his actions? Can his story help explain the complexities of the revolution?

3. What happened at Yorktown? Was the battle decisive in ending the war and giving the American colonists their independence?

4. What was Shay’s Rebellion about? What significance do you think it might have had on the writing of a new Constitution?

5. What was the “Trail of Tears”? Give a background to the policies and people behind this event (or events) and why it might have significance in U.S. history.


Extra Credit

Extra Credit Assignment. 

Choose a topic, but NOT your presentation topic!

  • 1 -2 pages
  • Bullet points or essay style
  • Here are at least 3 primary sources I found
  • For each one, describe it.
  • For each one, explain what you learned from it?
  • You could do it source by source, or you could do a more comparative discussion
  • Be sure to evaluate the sources.
  • Be sure that you connect what you say about your topic to your sources. It should be very clear where each fact you use came from.

Terms You May Need to Know

Terms You May Need to Know


Primary Source

Material from, or directly related to, the past. In History, primary sources are usually letters, records or other documents created during the period that is being studied, such as diaries, legal notices or accounts. However, primary sources can include photographs, jewelry and other items.


Secondary Source

Material created by somebody removed from the event being studied - who was either not at the event, or was working later. For instance, all historical textbooks are secondary sources.



A section of a piece of writing, speech, or music, or a section of a painting or piece of artwork.



A book or set of books giving information on many subjects or on many aspects of one subject.  Topics are typically arranged alphabetically.



Provides students with free access to information from encyclopedias, books, articles, and more.  Database content is evaluated for authority and accuracy.  Information is stable, meaning it doesn't disappear after a period of time.  Unlike Google, databases offer options to quickly limit or expand your search results to find the best information for your topic.  



A statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.



In-Text Citations

If you quote, paraphrase, or summarize another's work, then you need to cite the source of that work in your research paper.  This is known as an in-text citation. An in-text citation is an annotation which allows your reader to easily identify the source of your information.



A list of the resources used or referred to in your paper. This organized list, which is placed at the end of the research paper, offers greater details of your in-text citations.  Also known as a reference list or works cited page.

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