Governors State University College of Arts and Sciences
Division of Humanities and Social Sciences
BA Program in History
SENIOR CAPSTONE I: METHODS HIST4910, Fall, 2017, 3 Credits
Thursdays, 4:30-7:20, Rm. TBA
Instructor: Dr. David Hamilton Golland, Office C3370
Office Hours: click HERE
Online Course Guide
Course Description: First half of the senior capstone experience. Emphasis is on the principles of historical research, the organization of materials, and the discussion of various writing styles. Students work closely with the instructor throughout the semester. Restricted to history majors in the senior/final year of the degree or by permission of the instructor.
Prerequisites: HIST1110, 1120, 2700, 2710. Students will also need to have completed HIST3099, with a grade of C or better, before moving on to HIST4920.
Rationale: History seeks to understand and to explain the story of human experience since the past provides the only laboratory of human experience actually lived. Historical study complements and builds on the foundational courses in the core through its appreciation of the complexity of humankind, recognizing in the men and women who make history the spiritual and material, the intellectual and the emotional diversity of the human condition. History further advances the goals of the core curriculum through an interdisciplinary methodology that seeks to reconstruct our collective past. It is the story of individuals, the story of individuals in society, and the story of the political, religious, economic, and social ideologies and institutions they create in their search for identity, purpose, and value. History recognizes both the commonality of the human experience and the reality of cultural, class, racial, and gender distinctions that enrich that experience.
Intended Audience: Required of all History majors as the first part of the senior capstone experience.
Instructional Modality: Lecture/Discussion.
Student Learning Objectives: Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
Analyze primary and secondary source material and standards for judging historical writings
Discuss various historians, schools of thought, concepts, theories, and key issues in history
Critique the process of how historians do research, interpret sources, and present the past
Conduct original research and weave their findings into well-written creative interpretation of their subject. Use assigned citation style accurately and consistently for the writing assignments
Explain the objectives of historians, methods of historical research, and problems related to undertaking research
Required Texts:(Top) All three texts are available at the GSU bookstore as well as through various online services.
Arnold, John H., History: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).
Salevouris, Michael J., with Conal Furay, The Methods and Skills of History: A Practical Guide (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2015).
Galgano, Michael J., J. Chris Arndt, and Raymond M. Hyser, Doing History: Research and Writing in the Digital Age (Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013).
Course Components:(Top) There are five components to this course:
Thesis Topic and Outline
The mathematical scores will strictly translate into letter grades as follows:
90 or higher: A
80 or higher: B
70 or higher: C
60 or higher: D
Less than 60: F
Note: all students will receive the exact grade they have earned, and grades will NOT be rounded up. For example, a student with a mathematical score of 89.999 will receive a B; a student with a mathematical score of 59.999 will receive an F.
Explanation of Course Components:
Plagiarism Quiz. This brief quiz is based on "Avoiding Plagiarism," which can be found below. Students must take the quiz at the University of Indiana School of Education Plagiarism Test Site. Successful completion of the test will result in a certificate, which you should print, complete, sign, and deliver to Prof. Golland by the deadline. Note: No written assignments will be accepted from students who have not successfully completed the plagiarism quiz.
Discussion Questions and Participation. Upon completion of each reading assignment, each student will post (in the appropriate forum on the "Discussion" page at the course's BlackBoard site) three questions inspired by the reading. These should not be "yes/no" or simple factual questions but rather must represent an informed consideration of the topics covered by the reading and should be posed so as to lead to further discussion (in fact they will form the basis of class discussion). These questions are due 24 hours before each class when there is an assigned reading. When there are readings from multiple sources, at least one question must pertain to each source. Students are also expected to log in to the forum during the 24 hours before class to read the questions posted by other students. Each student is expected to arrive in class on time and actively engage in discussion and activities during every class session.
Library Activity. This is the equivalent of a midterm exam. There are two sections to this assignment.
Part One is about the historians whose work we are reading for this course. Write a minimum of 100 words each on the importance of each historian's work. You should not limit your discussion to the book we are reading by that historian but should move beyond to discuss the historian's overall importance to the field of history. For a sample component of Part One of the library activity, click HERE (requires Adobe Acrobat reader).
Part Two is about individuals in history. Select three real-life individuals whose stories you have come across during your studies in this or another history class. Answer the following questions in a single essay of 300 words:
1. Which individuals did you choose, where did you find out about them, and why did you choose them?
2. What new insights did each of these stories give you on life during the period in which s/he lived?
Unlike in Part One, you should not separate your response into three individual stories. You should answer these questions for all the individuals together in a single 300-word essay.
Presentation. During the second half of the semester, each student will deliver an oral report on their research.
Thesis Topic and Outline. Each student will develop a thesis topic in the form of a historical research question, draft an outline, and prepare a draft bibliography for a thesis which will be 30-50 pages in length. (The Final Thesis will be due at the completion of the Spring semester as part of HIST4920: "Capstone II, Thesis.")
Thesis Committee. Each student will secure the written agreement (email is acceptable) of a member of the university faculty (or tenured historian at another institution), who has engaged in scholarship related to the student's thesis topic, to serve as the student's thesis advisor. Working with the thesis advisor, the student will secure the written agreement of at least two other faculty members to serve as thesis readers. The advisor and readers will constitute the student's thesis committee (also known as capstone committee). At least one member of the committee must hold an appointment in history with faculty rank (Assistant/Associate/Professor of History). The thesis advisor must agree to work closely with the student during the intersession and spring semester to help the student acquire the tools necessary to complete the thesis. The readers must agree, at a minimum, to read and provide comments on the first full rough draft.
The Annotated bibliography is the equivalent of a final exam. The annotated bibliography must include a paragraph on each of the course's books. Each paragraph must begin with standard bibliographical information (author or editor's name, title, location of publication, publisher name, year published, and number of pages) as well as a brief synopsis of the item. In other words, write a citation and a brief explanation for each book. For sample entries from an annotated bibliography, click HERE (requires Adobe Acrobat reader).
Terminology: Academic advisor: advises the student on which courses to take in order to graduate.
Thesis advisor: students who write a thesis to complete the senior capstone experience will have a thesis advisor who will work closely with the student to develop the thesis paper. This can be anyone on the faculty with a scholarly interest coinciding with the intended thesis topic.
Capstone course professor: teaches capstone courses, including themes related to historical research and writing, and assists the student in identifying a thesis topic and finding a thesis advisor.
Academic Honesty(Top) Students are expected to fulfill academic requirements in an ethical and honest manner. This expectation pertains to the following: use and acknowledgement of the ideas and work of others, submission of work to fulfill course requirements, sharing of work with other students, and appropriate behavior during examinations. These ethical considerations are not intended to discourage people from studying together or from engaging in group projects.
Avoiding Plagiarism by Good Paraphrasing, Quoting and Documentation, By Prof. Timothy C. Gsell Give credit to your sources, because they deserve it. Many students inadvertently plagiarize the intellectual work of others, and run the risk of receiving an F. It is easy to plagiarize, especially with all the information on the web! Simply fail to give credit where credit is due, and you are a plagiarist. That is all there is to it. But how can one know when credit is due, you ask? Read this carefully:
Document your source if you paraphrase or quote. Failure to do so is an act of plagiarism, even if it is innocent. It is easy to plagiarize even though one does not intend to steal another?s work. Therefore, it is very important to understand the essentials of paraphrasing and quoting discussed below.
If in doubt, consult a handbook on good writing or contact me. I strongly recommend this if your are not sure about documenting written material. The following quotes are from the Prentice-Hall Handbook for Writers, 10th edition. Chapter 45 (The Research Paper). But there are other good handbooks with similar words of wisdom:
A paraphrase is a restatement of the source material in your own words, syntax, and style but preserving the tone of the original?. and of approximately the same length (not as summary). A paraphrase uses the original author?s idea and presents it in your own language. Since in paraphrasing you borrowing someone?s thoughts, you must document the source when you use the paraphrase in your paper (page 470).
A direct quotation records exactly the words of the original source (as well as the exact punctuation and even any spelling errors). Like summaries and paraphrases, direct quotations require citations in your paper crediting the source from which you copied them. In general, use direct quotations only for particularly telling phrases or for information that must be rendered exactly as you found it (page 470).
Plagiarism consists of passing off ideas, opinions, conclusions, facts, words (intellectual property) of another as your own. Plagiarism is dishonest and carries penalties not only in academic environments but in all professions, as well as copyright law (page 470).
Long word-for-word quotations are rarely appropriate to a paper or particularly to a lab report. Use of all or most of a single sentence or an apt figure of speech without acknowledgment from another source is also dishonest and considered plagiarism (page 470).
Even if you acknowledge the source in a citation, you are still plagiarizing when you incorporate in your work faultily paraphrased or summarized material from another author in which you follow almost exactly the original?s sentence patterns and phrasing. Paraphrasing and summarizing require that you fully digest an author?s ideas and interpretations and restate them in your own words. It is not enough simply to modify the original author?s sentences slightly, to change a word here and there (page 472).
A research report or paper loaded with quotations or consisting of long quotations stitched loosely together with brief comments will almost always be an unsatisfactory paper (page 474).
Make use of paraphrases and summaries instead of quotations in most cases where sources are cited. Frequently, the point can be made better in your own words, with proper citations, than in the words of the original (page 474)
Wikipedia Research Policy, by Prof. Alan Liu Click HERE for the article.
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Contact Information:(Top) David Hamilton Golland
Associate Professor and Coordinator of History and Social Sciences
Division of Humanities and Social Sciences
Governors State University
Office Location: C3370
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