HIST 261
Research & Methods
tentative Syllabus Spring 2012

 Course Schedule

Prof. Pavlac
U.S. Mail Address:
History Department
King's College
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711

e-mail: bapavlacATkings.edu
Tel: (570) 208-5900, ext. # 5748
Fax: (570) 208-5988 
Office: Hafey-Marian 307
Office hours:  by appointment

I. Description

This class should build the basic skills and methods needed for the study of history. Topics will include library and archival research, historical writing, historiography and interpretation, use of the computer and quantitative analysis in history, and the professional opportunities for the history major. Students will complete a supervised research project as the Sophomore-Junior Diagnostic Project.

II. Purpose

This is a required course for the History Major.

History is the basis of an enlightened, concerned, and self-critical citizenry. Its premise is that we cannot prepare for the future without accurately perceiving and reflecting upon the world our predecessors have made. In this pursuit, History provides better understanding of ourselves, practice in essential liberal academic skills, and knowledge about other peoples and practices. The historical methods and information taught at Kings College should provide students with a foundation for diverse personal and career goals, whether they choose graduate study, professional schools, public history, teaching, public and government service, amateur interest, or good citizenship.

The Kings College history department believes that its majors should be able to:

General Learning Outcomes for the student:

In addition to the more content related objectives described above, this course has some general liberal learning goals. Successful completion of this course is expected to help improve your ability

  1. To manage information, which involves sorting data, ranking data for significance, synthesizing facts, concepts and principles.
  2. To understand and use organizing principles or key concepts against which miscellaneous data can be evaluated.
  3. To differentiate between facts, opinions and inferences.
  4. To frame questions in order to more clearly clarify a problem, topic or issue.
  5. To compare and contrast the relative merits of opposing arguments and interpretations, moving between the main points of each position.
  6. To organize your thoughts and communicate them clearly and concisely in a written form.
  7. To obtain practice in selecting and presenting information and arguments within a restricted environment, especially the limitations of time in exams.

III. General Requirements

A. Academic Honesty

Be aware of the academic honesty policy concerning cheating and plagiarism, and your moral, ethical and legal obligation only to submit work completed by you yourself.

B. Textbooks:

Benjamin, Jules R. A Student's Guide to History. 11th ed. Boston and New York: Bedford/Saint Martin's, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-53502-5. [See <http://bedfordstmartins.com/benjamin>.]  Listed in schedule as JRB.

Davidson, James West and Mark H Lytle. After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection. Combined 6th Edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2010.  ISBN-13: 978-0-07-338548-8.  Listed in schedule as AtF.

Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. Revised ed. New York: Simon and Shuster/Touchstone, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-9628-1.  Listed in schedule as Lies.

These books are intended both to provide you with important factual and background information and to be used as review and reference work. Before class, according to your printed class schedule, you should read the chapters or pages assigned. You are responsible for the material in the books for classroom activity.

It is highly recommended that you use other textbooks as reference works.

In your texts, you should prudently make notes in the margins or a notebook, underline key statements, highlight important passages, and/or annotate essential details. After class, regularly though the semester, you should review your class notes and compare them with the texts' versions of the material.  

The instructor will give quizzes to test your textbook reading and comprehension.  

C. Class Participation & Attendance:

Participation and attendance are necessary because lecture and discussion provide the essentials for achieving class goals and objectives. Thus a portion of your grade (about 10%) will depend on your in-class performance and presence, aside from graded quizzes, exams and papers.  You are required to attend each class, arrive on time, remain attentive, maintain proper classroom decorum, respond to questions and participate in discussion and small-group activities. You are encouraged to take notes and ask questions.

Several minor written assignments (a paragraph to one page in length) will also be required as reflections and reactions to class discussion and projects (10 points each).  These assignments and quizzes cannot be made-up if you miss them. 

Any student who has a learning disability, physical handicap, and/or any other possible impediment to class participation and requirements should meet with the instructor within the first two weeks of classes to establish available accommodations.  Only with the instructor's permission may class be recorded, only to be used for your own study, and the recordings must be erased after the exams.

If at some point during the semester you must discontinue the course, whether due to poor performance, illness, or some other cause, be sure to follow proper procedures for withdrawal. 

If you miss an exam, contact the instructor as soon as possible. You may take a missed exam only at the discretion of the instructor.

If you arrive at class late, after attendance is taken, you must personally request that the absence be turned into a tardy mark; otherwise an absence will be assigned.  Students who need to leave a class early, except for medical emergency, should notify the instructor before class begins.

Excused absences due to college activities or extended illness must be authorized by the appropriate college official. You should consult with the professor about making up/turning in missed work in advance or as soon as possible after your return.  After any absence, you are responsible for requesting hand-outs and already returned assignments from the professor or borrowing notes from other students.  Whether absences are excused or not, you may not get a higher grade than the percentage of classes attended.

Other absences are unexcused and will significantly lower the class participation portions of your grade.  Remember, though, your health is your first priority.  If you are sick, stay home and recover.  A few unexcused absences will not significantly affect your grade.

D. Absentee Assignment:

If you do miss a class, whether you have an official excuse or not, you must complete an Absentee Assignment.  You are to write a one-and-a-half-to-two page essay (in proper presentation format) on a chapter from AtF or Lies not used for class discussion, analyzing the controversy presented and what they have to say about methodology.  
Deadlines: The assignment(s) should be turned in to the instructor at the beginning of the next class after you return.

E. Deadlines

Meeting due dates are an important aspect of school work.  You must turn in the assignment on the date required, in person, at the beginning of class.   The only exceptions are extended illness or medical emergency attested to by a physician's written note or the written statement by an appropriate college official.  Without an acceptable excuse, late papers/projects will receive zero points for that assignment.  
You must turn in every assignment, even if late, before the last day of classes or receive an F for the course. Since this class is necessary for graduation with a history major, please be aware of possible consequences for failing to meet class requirements.

F. Exams and Quizzes

Throughout the semester you will have to take one major final exam and many quizzes. Testing will require knowledge from classwork, readings, general knowledge about current events, material you have learned as a history major, or the material of social studies. 
To study for these quizzes, you should read any assignments, pay attention in class, attend to daily news reports, but also review material learned over the years.
The final exam will be made up of questions related to methodology, major projects, minor projects, and general knowledge of history and the social sciences acquired from your studies in the Core. 

Much of this is meant to help secondary education double majors with the Social Studies PRAXIS exams.  For more on these exams, check the following web page: <http://www.ets.org/praxis/>.

For other information about the understanding of US history see:  The National Report Card <http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/ushistory/>.

H. Written Assignments

Throughout the semester you will participate in various projects in class (to be announced) and have brief written assignments due as assigned, each worth from 10-20 points.  More information on common writing errors is at <http://departments.kings.edu/history/grading.html#error>.  
For presentation guidelines of the assignments and the major project, see presentation guidelines (URL: <http://staff.kings.edu/bapavlac/presentation.html>). Every assignment (regular, absentee, whatever) needs a cover page with your name, no name on the other pages, is double-spaced and stapled. 

Unless otherwise instructed, Citations/Bibliography must be in Turabian/Chicago Manual of Style format, as listed in Library Study Guide #11 (do NOT use the "PARENTHETICAL CITATIONS with a REFERENCE LIST" version on the last page); Prof. Pavlac's citation page <http://staff.kings.edu/bapavlac/citation.html>; or the JRB text.  If you use some automated program make sure it does not use the parenthetical format, but the traditional Chicago style with a date at the end of the citation. 

I. Minor Projects:

See relevant addition to the printed syllabus.  

J. Major Project (Sophomore/Junior Diagnostic):

Learning is a cumulative process in which knowledge and skills are developed and enhanced from course to course. At Kings College the Sophomore/Junior Diagnostic Project This project should determine your ability to transfer learned skill to a significant work of history. It should build strengths for you to be a successful history major, which will be communicated to the faculty of the department and your major advisor. 
You will have great deal of responsibility to do this assignment. The expectations are laid out for you--it is up to you to meet them. If at any time you are having any difficulties or questions, see the instructor, or another full-time faculty member as soon as possible. 
For details, see the relevant addition to the printed syllabus.  For suggestions about research, click here.  

IV. Grades:

You earn your grade through work done for this course.  It is your responsibility to understand why you have achieved a certain grade, and what steps you can take to maintain or improve your grade.  You are encouraged to consult with the instructor about all assignments in person (during office hours or by appointment) or through e-mail. 

For your protection, in case of errors in recording, you should keep copies of all assignments until you have received notice of your grade. Check your printed syllabus for more information and see grading policy. Any and all materials done for this course may become the property of the instructor, who may use them for assessment, evaluative, informative, scholarly, research, or other purposes.  Although the syllabus presents the basic content and requirements of the course, the professor may change anything (e.g. assignments, and topics, due dates) at his discretion.

VI. Topics and Schedule:

All topics and assignments on the schedule are tentative; the instructor may change them at his discretion.    




Links to Websources

M, Jan 17

Orientation: How and why to study History

  History Careers 

W, Jan 19

How to think Historically

JRB v-24

What is History?  The Historical MethodSources used for History

F, Jan 21

DISCUSSION #1 AtF intro, Prologue; Lies intro, Ch. 1  

M, Jan 24

How to interpret History;  MjrP GROUP Topic Choice due JRB 1-50 Historiography vs. Historiography; Revisionist History; John Singer Sargent's Gassed; 1964 Tokyo Olympics; Duck and Cover

W, Jan26

Library Visit;  How to choose Research Topics JRB 88-94  

F, Jan 28

Library Visit; How to begin Research JRB 94-116 Research Plan; Refining a Thesis

M, Jan 31

How to interpret History;  MjrP Group glossary list due JRB 1-50 Historiography vs. Historiography; Revisionist History

W, Feb 2

How to deal with Sources JRB 51-87 JRB Source Assignment;  Internet SourcesHistory Sources; Spanish Armada speech; Reporting to Mao; "New Religion"

F, Feb 4

DISCUSSION #2 AtF Ch. 17; Lies Ch. 9  

M, Feb 7

How to deal with Sources; MjrP Group Preliminary Bibliography Source    

W, Feb 9

How to Evaluate Sources and take Notes JRB 116-127 JRB Source Assignment;  Internet SourcesHistory Sources 

F, Feb 11

DISCUSSION #3 AtF Ch. 7; Lies Ch. 6  

M, Feb  14

How to Avoid Plagiarism; MjrP Individual Topic Choice due JRB 61-62; 116-127  Academic Honesty; "Help Stop Plagiarism!";  Plagiarism and the Professionals

W, Feb 16

How to use Notes and Begin Writing JRB 128-172 Outlines; [Form for Outline assignment, click here]

F, Feb 18

DISCUSSION #4;  AtF Ch. 9; Lies Ch. 7  

M, Feb 21

How to do citations; Minor Project Journal Evaluation due JRB 173-200 Citations, Footnotes, Endnotes, Notes, and Bibliographies ; Turabian vs. Chicago vs. itself

W, Feb  23

How to do citations;     

F, Feb 25

DISCUSSION #5 AtF Ch. 8; Lies Ch. 5  

M, Feb 28

MjrP Individual Annotated Pre-Bibliography and Footnoting Exercise due    

W, Mar 2

How to revise and rewrite JRB 128-172 How to Write EssaysAdvice on Revising

F, Mar 4

DISCUSSION #6 AtF Ch. 1; Lies Ch. 4  



M, Mar 14

MjrP Thesis, Outline, and Notes due this week    Outline Form 

W, Mar 16


F, Mar  18

DISCUSSION #7 AtF Ch. 14  

M, Mar 21

How to Peer Review;  MjrP Reviewable Draft copies for GROUP due JRB 158-184 Peer Editing

W, Mar 23

How to Peer Review;MjrP Peer Evaluations in class    

F, Mar 25

DISCUSSION #8 AtF Ch. 13  

M, Mar 28


W, Mar 30


F, Apr 1

DISCUSSION #9 Lies Ch. 8  

M, Apr 4

How to Deliver Oral Presentations; JRB 78-79  

W, Apr 6


F, Apr 8

DISCUSSION #10 Lies Chs. 11, 12, Afterword  

M, Apr 11

MjrP Polished Draft and Research Materials Due     

W, Apr 13

Minor Project Textbook Evaluation due   Loewen's tips for evaluating textbooks

F, Apr  15

How to Plan for a Career   History Careers 

M, Apr 18

MjrP Presentations    

W, Apr 20

MjrP Presentations  




W, Apr 27

MjrP Presentations    

F, Apr 29

MjrP Presentations    

M, May 2

MjrP Presentations    

W, May 4

How to Finish the Course Well;  MjrP Final Draft Due    



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