Your Proposal

Here are the specific guidelines I promised you as one way to structure a good proposal.

You are required to hand in a proposal for your main project soon, of course.  But as noted, my advice would be to get into the habit of putting together one of these – however rough – for longer papers that you write in the future.
Good Luck!
  • Description
A very specific picture of the topic and what you are going to do with it.  This does not have to be a thesis statement, but the question you are addressing would be a minimum requirement.
  • Significance
This is where you state the argument with which you are going to be engaging.  As you are learning, argument is the vital dynamic for the historian. What “conventions” are you challenging?  How is your study going to counter or enhance existing arguments around the topic?
  • Context
Here you display your wider understanding ot your topic and how your argument fits into the wider view.  Where does it stand in the historical context? What have other historians written about this period that touches on your topic? How will your effort add to the wider picture?
  • Evidence
What kinds of evidence are you going to be engaging?  How extensive is your evidence?  Where have you found your evidence?  How accessible is it?  Be specific here.  You go nowhere without evidence.
  • Method
How are you going to engage the evidence?  Are you going to take samples?  Are you going to do a case study?  Are you using statistical analysis, for example?  Or oral history methods,etc etc?
  • Bibliography
Here you demonstrate that you are are aware of the previous writings in this area and that you are familiar with the secondary materials which will assist in your understanding and analysis of your findings.
  • Timeline
Here you give an estimate of your research plan and lay out a schedule of research and writing that will bring you in to complete your new contribution to history on time.

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