Draft Guidelines

Draft Guidelines

Spring 2019


After all these weeks digging up sources and following historiography, the day has come. Finally, it’s time to write your first draft of your research project! This essay will require you to put forth an argument that stems from the research you have completed on your bomb-related topic. This thesis is the most important element of your project; no fence-sitting here! To support and contextualize your thesis, this guide will lay out how to organize your paper to maximize its effectiveness. Although ungraded, this draft is absolutely necessary for passing the course, and submitting a final project. Please pay particular attention to the following elements:

The articulation of a coherent and well-developed thesis

Include the historiography on your topic as noted in outline

The adequate incorporation of primary and secondary sources

Well-written prose, with no grammatical errors

Third-person voice

Presentation of a solid counterargument

Correct formatting and essay organization, including a TITLE!

Adherence to the ideas laid out in your original proposal (unless directed otherwise)

Chicago footnotes and bibliography


Follow this outline by filling in the relevant information specific to your project. Be sure to be as complete as possible in each section to best support your thesis. This is also the time to flex your writing muscle. If you found an interesting hook that you think your reader would find engaging, this is the time to place it in the appropriate outline section.

-Section I: Intro- Think about the movies you’ve seen with the best beginnings that grab your attention effectively. Movie people specifically chose that beginning to hook your attention, and writing is really no different. Start with an interesting anecdote or moment that would grab the reader and introduce them to your topic. Then summarize your subject and research question, and make clear why your topic matters. What are the larger implications of your question? Identify the key secondary sources you used, and insert sections from your historiography that detail the connections/trends/patterns identified from your historiography essay.

THESIS: last sentences of your intro should present your argument, a clear

statement that starts with, “This essay argues…” Make sure that your thesis is an

actual argument, and not a summary of what others have said. I care about YOU in here, so I want to see you in the thesis first and foremost. I would expect a 1-3 sentence thesis on a project of this length.

-Section II: Context- Discuss in-depth the historical context in which your project emerges. Create a setting so the reader knows what the historical environment is like leading to your main story. This includes introducing main characters in your story and other important background.

-Section III: Dig In- Here is where you start focusing in on your specific narrative for your project. Discuss the process of leading to the event or moment of importance in your project. Lay out, paragraph by paragraph, the supporting material that backs your thesis. Show what evidence matters most, and be as detailed as you can for each piece of evidence. Make sure you stay on point- don’t lose sight of the topic or your thesis in particular. This section will be where you spend most of your time and effort, so lay into it!

-Section IV: Argument- Now that you have laid out evidence in detail, describe the argument in full with all this in mind. How do those pieces of evidence back your stance? Are there any relevant new questions that emerged in the process of supporting this project? How does your argument change the story already written in the historiography? Include and debunk the counter-argument(s). Don’t back off until you feel you’ve left it all on the page!

-Section V: Conclusion- Sum up the essay point by point, without presenting new information. Restate thesis in another form, and tie it all together.

Take pride in this- you have come a long way, so make this look good.