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HI-362 The Cold War in East Asia Dr. Yin: HI-362 Dr. Yin

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LTC Elizabeth Kocevar-Weidinger's picture
LTC Elizabeth Kocevar-Weidinger

Your Assignment!

Research Paper Guidelines

This assignment offers you the opportunity to conduct original research on a topic about the Cold War in East Asia of your choice and draw your own conclusions on the basis of that investigation. As such, your paper should present an original and thoughtful analysis based on your interrogation of relevant primary and secondary sources. You should also place that argument in the larger historiographical context by explaining how your paper challenges/modifies/extends/supports the way that other historians have written about your specific topic or related topics. You will complete this project in a step-by-step manner:

1. Choose a research topic and locate secondary sources

You will submit at least three possible research questions on the topic and a preliminary bibliography of at least 10 of the most recent and relevant secondary sources on the topic by the end of the day 6 February on Canvas. The instructor will provide feedback on your research questions and bibliography. You must receive my approval on your research question and bibliography before you begin the next steps of the project. You are strongly encouraged to meet with the instructor to discuss your project as early as possible in the semester.

2. Read the most important related secondary literature and complete a historiographic essay

Please see the “Historiographic Essay Guidelines” for more instructions on the assignment. The essay is due on Canvas by the beginning of the class on 10 March.

3. Complete thorough and relevant primary source research

You need enough of the right type of sources to answer your research question. Appropriate primary sources include but are not limited to:

1) multiple folders or collections from an archive or online repository of archival sources

2) contemporary media coverage

3) published collections of primary documents (letters, diaries, etc.).

Please see “Online and Nearby Resources for Finding Primary Source Materials” in the syllabus for more information. The instructor will also explain how to use online archival databases in a workshop on 20 February. You are strongly encouraged to meet with the instructor to discuss how to locate primary sources as soon as you decide the research topic.

4. Write a polished draft of your paper

In your paper, you need to 1) clearly articulate a strong and clear thesis that responds directly to your research question, 2) present supporting arguments that ground and flesh out that thesis 3) ground your thesis and arguments on your analysis and interpretation of evidence from relevant primary sources and secondary sources, and 4) place your argument and analysis in the larger historiographical context. You will turn in a hardcopy of your polished draft at the beginning of the class on 21 April and upload an electronic copy to Canvas by the same deadline. See the next part for instructions on format.  

5. Attend a peer review workshop and revise the draft

A peer draft review workshop will be held in class on 21 April. You will be put in pairs to read and comment on each other’s work. The instructor will also provide feedback on your draft. You will revise the draft based on these comments and upload the final draft to Canvas by the beginning of the class on 30 April. The late penalty is ten percent of the total points the assignment is worth, per day, including weekends and holidays. Per Institute policy, no late submission will be accepted after 4 May.

Your paper should be between 2,800-3,000 words in length. One percent of the overall grade will be deducted from the score for every 50 words under or over the word limit. Your paper should be double-spaced with a 12-point Times New Roman font, and 1-inch margins. Please include the standard Institute title page including your name, class and section number, word count, and Help Received statement with your essay. Citations should be footnoted and formatted in Chicago Manual style.  Please include a bibliography with all the primary and secondary sources you use in the paper, also formatted in the Chicago Style. Violation of any of the formatting guidelines will result in penalty of at least 5 points. Format and late penalties will be applied to both the polished and final drafts.

6. Present your research

You will give a 10-12 minutes work-in-progress presentation in class on one of the following dates: 26 March, 2 April, 16 April, 23 April, 28 April, and 30 April. The date of presentation will be assigned based on your research topic. Please also be prepared for taking questions from your classmates.

Research Advice from LTC K-W


Books: Use the Find Books tab on the left-hand side of this page.

  • Expand your search to the Libraries Worldwide option at the top-left side of your results. You may not find all of the books you need at VMI
  • Borrow the books you need from other libraries, but remember they take a week or so to get here!!!!
  • How current do your books need to be? Use the Publication Year option at the bottom-left side of your results.

Articles: Go to the Find Articles tab on the left-hand side of this page.

  • Combine databases:
    • Select Historical Abstracts
    • Click on Choose Databases right above the search box.
    • Choose Political Science Complete, Academic Search Complete, etc. to search multiple databases.

Base Search Results for China and Civil War: 

  1. NOTE: Look at the keywords beneath each citation. You can use those words to refine your search and/or inform you about the citation.
  2. NOTE: If there isn't a PDF of full text, click on Ful Text Finder to see if we own it in another database. 
  3. NOTE: JSTOR is accessed through your main databases, Political Science Complete and Historical Abstracts!