History 143 - 20th Century World

Spring 2016

Dr. Florence M. Baker


 Short Research Assignment: In the News


This assignment requires you to select a significant story in the news concerning primarily a nation other than the U.S. and to follow its development over the next couple of months. Your paper should be about 7 pages in length (typewritten, double-spaced) not counting title page, notes and bibliography.

It is due on Thursday, April 21



1. Select a significant story that has recently appeared in the news and concerns primarily a nation other than the United States.

2. Write down the story, where the story has appeared and how you plan to follow the story (for example, give the names of the newspapers, magazines, or web sites you will be consulting). In addition to U.S. sources you will want to consult appropriate foreign publications. For a list of foreign newspapers and magazines available online in English go to: www.thebigproject.co.uk/news . For stories related to the Middle East Al Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/) is recommended. Turn this in to me by Thursday, February 18. 

3. Writing the paper

    - Your paper should be about seven pages in length (typed and double-spaced) and include:

            > an introductory paragraph describing the story you followed and your sources;

            > several paragraphs describing the historical context and background of the story (for this you will need to consult appropriate books and articles found in  the ECC library and databases, such as EbscoHost);

            > several paragraphs describing the developments related to the story that have occurred over the last two months;

            > a concluding paragraph or two describing the outcome of the story or what you think will be the outcome and why, and discuss what you think will be the long term consequences of  the story and why.


    - Your paper should also include another three pages (in addition to the above):

            > a Title page

            > an Endnote page

            > a Bibliography page


    - Use the attached guide to the University of Chicago style format for your Endnotes and  Bibliography.


4) When to cite your sources

- You will not be using direct quotes, but you will need to cite your sources for:

> any factual information that you use

> any examples that you present

> any ideas you obtained from the work of others



Online books are not permitted unless the works have been approved by the Professor. Wikipedia and about.com are not valid sources. Unacknowledged use of Wikipedia or any other source is plagiarism and will result in an F and suspension from class. The validity of any internet source you use must be established in your bibliography using the attached guide.



- Cheating and plagiarism (using the words or ideas of others as if they were your own) will not be tolerated.

- You are responsible to keep a copy of all work submitted to the instructor.



- be sure to see me if you need help in selecting your news story or narrowing down your focus, if you would like to discuss your research, or if you need help in organizing your paper

- the librarians can help you with your research

- the Writing Center (Humanities 122) can help you with the writing of your paper


Grading Criteria:

Assignment Requirements

> Have the assignment instructions been followed and all assignment requirements met? Are your endnotes and bibliography properly formatted using the University of Chicago style?


> Are your statements supported with evidence and your sources cited using endnotes? Are your sources appropriate for your news story and of good quality? Are your research materials well used in writing your paper?


> To what extent does your paper demonstrate your use of critical thinking? Is there depth to your analysis? Is your argument presented logically and convincingly? Does it show your ability to synthesize diverse material and concepts?


> Is your paper coherent, well-organized and written with clarity? Is your use of grammar and spelling correct?


Grades are based on the letter system and indicate the following:

A - Excellent > assignment requirements have been met and a mastery of assignment objectives

B - Good > assignment requirements have been met and an above average proficiency of assignment objectives

C - Satisfactory > assignment requirements have been met and an average proficiency of assignment objectives

D - Less than satisfactory > indicates that not all assignment requirements have been met and only a partial proficiency of assignment objectives

F - Fail > indicates that few assignment requirements have been met and little or no proficiency of assignment objectives.


The following symbols are used in evaluating your paper:

? placed in the margin - indicates an incorrect or questionable statement or answer

? placed over a word - incorrect choice of word

Circled  word - incorrect spelling

Double lines placed under two or more words - indicates incorrect noun/pronoun agreement noun/verb agreement

A word or words placed in parenthesis can be eliminated.




Evaluating Web Sites

There are five basic criteria that we can use to evaluate Internet sites: accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency, & coverage. They are very similar to the criteria used for evaluating other resources.



Almost anyone can publish a web site, and there are currently no standards governing content. Here are some questions to ask when checking for the accuracy of a site.

Does the author cite sources used to develop the site?

Is it possible to verify the legitimacy of these sources?

Does the background of the author point to knowledge of the subject matter?

If the site is research-based, does the author clearly identify the method of research and the data gathered?



Because publishing on the Web is so easy, determining the authorís expertise is essential. Ask yourself the following questions to determine the authorís credibility.

Do you recognize the author's name? If you don't recognize the name, what type of information is given

about the author? Position? Organizational affiliation? E-mail address? Biographical information?

Was the site referenced in a document that you trust?



Any published source, print or non-print, is rarely 100% objective. Determining the authorís point of view or bias is very important when evaluating a web site. Remember, the Internet has become a highly popular arena for all types of publishing.

What is the aim of the author or organization publishing the site?

What is the purpose of the web site:

Is it an advertisement for a product or service?

Is it making a political statement?

Is it trying to sway public opinion on a social or religious issue?

Do you trust the author or organization providing the information?



The currency of the information posted on a web site is extremely important to its overall value. With certain topics, the subject matter may affect the need for highly current information. Ask the following:

Is a date clearly displayed? Can you determine what the date refers to?

When the page was first written? When the page was first posted on the Internet?

When the page was last revised or updated?

The copyright date?

Are the resources used by the author current?

Does the content demand routine or continual updating or revision?

Do the links on the page point to the correct Internet site addresses?



The last criteria to consider is coverage. This may be difficult to determine, because the nature of a site's coverage may differ from that of a print resource. However, you should examine these points.

Are the topics covered on the site explored in depth?

Are the links on the site comprehensive or used as examples?

On the site, are the links relevant and appropriate?

How valuable is the information provided?



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