Research History Paper 101

I would like to review some of the vital elements necessary for writing a successful research paper.

1. Thesis: A strong thesis statement is presented early in the paper and consists of one to three at the most sentences.

Theme Statements vs. Topics
Theme is a lesson the reader learns from the text; a universal truth; always written as a statement.

Life decisions can be hard.
Life has many roads
Regret can stifle a life.
Courage can be seen in unlikely people.
Topics is one or two broad words
Choices, regret, journeys, adventure, love, happiness, empathy, isolation, courage

Thematic Statements
The various theme topics from To Kill a Mockingbird (racism, hatred, family, choices, etc.)

Thematic statements on a chosen topic.

I chose the topic of courage, and I wrote this thematic statement: Courage can be seen in unlikely people.

Look at the two theme topics you highlighted for in your book and write 2 original thematic statements (one for each topic).

Everyone will compose one on social inequality. The 2nd one will come from your topic list: innocence, education, tolerance, courage, or family relationships.

Thesis Statement
A thesis statement clearly states the topic of a composition. It not only helps focus the main point of the essay by stating what you will PROVE in your paper, but it gives the reader an exact understanding of what will be covered.
*A thesis statement declares your OWN unique perspective, your “take”, on the subject.

Australia is the best country for a vacation.

Literary Thesis Statements
A literary thesis includes the author’s name and title of the work along with what you are going to prove (thematic statement).

Literary thesis statement examples:
1. In A Separate Peace, John Knowles portrays jealousy as an element of friendship.
2. In the novel A Separate Peace, John Knowles illustrates how a person creates his or her own peace.
3. A Separate Peace by John Knowles illustrates the destructive results caused by distrust.

Thesis Statement
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses characters’ actions to show that courage can be seen in unlikely people.

Characters’ actions show that courage can be found in unlikely people in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

1 Thematic Analysis Intro. Paragraph
2 You will now write your introductory paragraph of your essay.
3 Include relevant background info. on setting, specific characters, plot summary, etc.
4 The last sentence of this paragraph should be your thesis statement.

Example Intro. Paragraph for Thematic Analysis Essay
Empathy is a virtue that not all people have. To be able to understand other people’s feelings, motives, or situations takes a lot of effort since we live in such a judgmental society. Anne Frank, who was a young Jewish girl, went into hiding for three years trying to escape being killed by the Nazis during World War II. Under dire circumstances, Anne showed empathy in her many diary entries. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank shows that empathy can exist in horrific conditions. **(thesis statement including my thematic statement)

Assertions (topic sentences of body paragraphs)

War brings out the best and worst of people.

Empathy can be a struggle for teenagers.

Understanding yourself is important for understanding others.

These are your reasons that will prove your thesis statement to be true.

Each assertion will be developed into a well-written body paragraph using text evidence to support your claim.

Your Theme Analysis Outline
A. Intro. paragraph (catch interest & provide any relevant background info.)
B. State your thesis statement
A. Assertion #1
B. Prove your assertion with examples (text evidence) and explanation.
A. Assertion #2
B. Prove your assertion with examples (text evidence) and explanation.
A. Assertion #3
B. Prove your assertion with examples (text evidence) and explanation.
V. Conclusion (wrap up your essay by showing your theme in our society today & restate your thesis in a different way)

MLA Documentation
You need to place the lines that you use from the book in “quotation marks” and write the (author’s last name and pg. # ) in parenthesis with the period after.
My Example:
Atticus is the epitome of courage in this novel. “I wanted you to see what real courage is… it’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what” (Lee 112). He selflessly defends Tom even though he knows the whole town will hate him and his family. He knows that he would not win Tom’s case, but he has the moral integrity to do what is right.
2nd paragraph requirements: Assertion (topic sentence), relevant “text evidence”, and insightful explanation/ analysis.
Conclusion Example
As you can see, courage is a quality that is evident is many characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. This quality is not just important in a famous novel written in the 1930s, but is seen everyday in our world today. The soldiers who have fought for our country through all the wars in history have shown a great amount of courage. They choose to put their life in danger for all Americans who are total strangers to them. Courage is within everybody, and it can appear at the most unlikely time.

2. Research Sources: In a history paper the difference between primary and secondary sources must be defined because utilizing primary sources is a very important component. Primary & Secondary sources defined.

3. Proper citing of sources: Explained in detail here