The Crusades

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TOPIC – The Crusades- What were the reasons for the crusdaes

Research Paper

A core writing assignment for this course is a Research Paper (1200-1500 words). The essay should support a thesis statement with information gained from research or investigation. The paper will not be just a report presenting information but will be a paper that carefully examines and presents your own historical interpretation of the topic you have chosen and your interpretation of the information you have gathered. It may include consideration of problems and solutions. It may define key terms.

It will be important to choose a topic of interest to you and to an academic audience. Approach this assignment with an open and skeptical mind, a willingness to look at all sides of an issue and then form an opinion based on what you have discovered. You must suspend belief while you are investigating and let the discoveries shape your opinion. (This is a thesis-finding approach.) Once you have found your thesis, write the paper to support it.

You will use some of the following critical thinking skills in this process:

1. Choosing an appropriate topic, limiting the topic – a common mistake is to choose a topic that is too large for this length of paper. For example, if you wanted to choose “religion” as a topic, it would then be necessary to narrow that topic down by isolating a specific religion, period of time, an issue associated with it, or some key aspect that could serve as a focused topic for this length of paper.

2. Gathering information, summarizing sources

3. Analyzing and evaluating sources

4. Defining key terms

5. Synthesizing information

6. Amassing support for a position

7. Documenting sources

Because this may be a longer essay than you have written before and a complex process is involved, do this paper in the following steps:

1. Choose a topic related to Western Civilization to approx. 1500 words that you would truly like to explore and that you are willing to spend some time on. This should be a focused topic. Pose a question that you really want to answer. You may want to begin with more than one topic in mind.

2. Do some preliminary reading on the topic(s). Explore the information available. Refine your topic. Summarize your topic, your interest in the topic, the questions you want to answer, and a hypothesis you want to test.

3. Gather information from both primary and secondary sources (personal testimonies, interviews, official documents, books, articles, film, websites).

Use a minimum of four sources for your paper, and at least one must be a primary source (a source contemporary to the topic—primary sources are embedded throughout our textbook).

4. Outline the results of your research and the plan for your essay.

5. Write the final draft, with a Works Cited List, using correct MLA documentation style.


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