What does this mean? You will pick your own topic, subject to my approval.

Your final paper for this class will be to write a 5-6 page research paper that critically evaluates a Wikipedia page on a topic related to our class content.


What does this mean? You will pick your own topic, subject to my approval. You may choose to write on anything weve studied so far, or another topic on working people in the U.S. that falls before the Civil War. My suggestion is that you choose a person or event, though other types of topics may work as well. Your starting point is the Wikipedia page for that topic. You will analyze the Wikipedia page in a couple of different ways: first, youll use the librarys “Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages” to evaluate the page. Second, youll do your own research on that topic and compare and contrast the way that various other kinds of sources cover the material compared to Wikipedia.


What kind of research do I have to do?


You need to do research in the library databases. One of the goals of the assignment is to get you thinking about how different types of information resources can be helpful to you in different ways. You need to use 5-6 different sources of information that you have accessed via the library – articles, books, ebooks, etc. – including:


At least one academic journal article.

One specialized encyclopedia article. (No more than one reference source will count toward your total of five sources. Reference sources are encyclopedias, and anything you find in the Gale Virtual Reference Library is a reference source.)

At least three different types of sources (books, academic journals, encyclopedias, newspaper articles, etc.)

Timeline: You will be developing this essay over several weeks, and there will be a variety of assignments that should prepare you for submitting the final essay. Details for each of these assignments will be posted separately in Etudes. The deadlines for the project follow:


Why are we doing this?


I hope this assignment will help you to improve your skills in:


Finding information using library research tools.

Reading and analyzing different kinds of written information sources.

Writing clear and persuasive arguments supported by research.

These skills connect to skills that employers demand (to connect to our theme of “working people.” :)) See #s 3, 4, and 5 on the list on the following page: http://www.aacu.org/leap/students/employers-top-ten


I also hope that this will be an interesting assignment. It will give you an opportunity to explore a topic youve found interesting so far. Im also really interested to hear what you find: Ive read and thought a lot about Wikipedia as a teacher, and so Im excited to hear your findings.



The Details:


Length: 5-6 full pages. If your essay is less than 5 pages, you will be penalized: 7 points per half page too short, rounded to the nearest half page.

Formatting: Essays should be typed in double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font, with max margins of 1.25” on sides and 1” top and bottom. If you mess with the margins or spacing or font sizing, you will get penalized for page length. Im kind of a stickler on this, because writing more takes more time, and I want you to take time to write!

Cover page: Please include a cover page with this assignment, with your name, a title for the essay, the date, and the section number. The cover page is page “0” and does not count in your page count for the assignment. Because you have a cover page, you do not need to have a new header on page 1, except for whatever header is appropriate for the type of fake document you are creating.

Citations: You need a bibliography and footnotes for your essay, formatted in Chicago Style. If I dont mention it in the next week, remind me to do an in-class workshop on this!