Research Journal

Demonstrate your research of a topic of your choice in Early American History

Broad Learning Community E Key Ideas

  • War
  • Citizenship
  • Equality, Liberty & Order
  • Revolution & Revolt
  • Power & Oppression

Since LC E's focus is on United States history before reconstruction, your research focus must fit this time period and location. A word to the wise: since this project will coincide with Exams 2 & 3, you'd be wise to consider a topic post-American Revolution. If you do so, your area of research will likely be included in one of the last two history exams.

Step 1: Explore Possible Topics (Habit of Mind: Curiosity)

Select one of the broad 5 key ideas listed above, and then narrow this topic to a specific research focus. Conversely, you may wish to identify a topic you're interested in and see how it "fits" into one of the above key ideas.
For example, if I chose "Power & Oppression," I might choose to research the removal of the Cherokee. If I chose the XYZ Affair, I would determine that this issue fits under the theme of "Equality, Liberty & Order." Your research topic must be approved by your LC E instructors.
Make sure you peruse Prof. Marquez's WP 2 Topics List! Many of these research ideas ask you to examine often marginalized voices in American History. Their stories are fascinating!
Explore several topics before you decide to commit. You're going to be researching and writing about this historical issue for the rest of the semester!

Step 2: Conduct scholarly research and create a Research Log (Habits of Mind: Openness, Persistence, and Engagement)

Use the LC E Library Guide. Keep track of all the articles you consider by maintaining a Research Log. How you keep track of your sources is up to you, but you'll need to provide evidence of this in your final Research Journal. You will also be asked to submit your research log periodically in order to receive feedback. As you conduct research, it is imperative that you locate sources that represent differing perspectives on your topic.

Step 3: Identify Multiple Perspectives and Analyze Salient Sources (Habits of Mind: Openness, Persistence, and Engagement)

Identify multiple critical perspectives on your topic, then choose articles that you think best represent each perspective. Additionally, you'll be required to locate primary source documents and research ways in which your historical topic connects to current events or issues. You'll be required to demonstrate an important piece of writing that "went out into the world and made something happen" as it relates to your topic.
Next, you'll write three Source Reviews in which your thoroughly analyze three specific sources. The three sources you review must include:

  • A Primary Source Document
  • A peer reviewed scholarly journal article
  • A credible source that discusses a modern day political or social issue that you think connects to your topic.

You will submit some Source Reviews for feedback from your instructors. All of the revised & polished Source Reviews will be due with your final Research Journal.

Step 4: Reflect on your Research Process (Habit of Mind: Metacognition)

Write a reflection in which you discuss your research process and evolution. Questions to consider as you compose this reflection:

  • What are the differing perspectives represented in your research? (For example: Federalists, Anti-Federalists, etc.)
  • What article, or part of an article, was the most interesting to you? What fascinating information did you learn?
  • What were the challenges you faced during this research process? How did you overcome these challenges?
  • What steps did you follow to find your information?
  • How has your view of American History changed as result of your research?

Follow MLA conventions in formatting your essay.

Last Step

Print out the following components and put them in a folder to submit your Research Journal

  • Final Research Log that lists ALL sources you considered during your research process
  • 3 Polished Source Reviews
  • Polished Research Reflection


Some important notes:

  • You will each compile a research journal individually.
  • Once you commit to a topic, you will form Presentation Teams based on the broad LC E Key Ideas. These are the folks with whom you will produce the Group Research Presentation.
  • Make sure your research is not duplicated within the group (in other words, focus on different aspects of the topics).
  • Source Reviews and Research Logs will be submitted periodically in class for assessment and will count as homework grades.

After the Research Logs and Source Reviews Are Completed...

Your group will present your research to the LC E community, and also have the option of submitting your proposal for acceptance into the First Year Research Conference. In order to do this, as a group, you will collate your various research interests and collaborate to write a Group Research Proposal that will outline a multi-modal research presentation on some aspect of your topics. You should be clear about how each of your topics connects to the broad theme you've identified (Equality, Liberty & Order, War, etc.) You will also use this research to compose Writing Project 3: Connect & Persuade - Writing for the Real World in which you take a stand on your topic.