4.1: Writing the Research Essay -- Introduction
You will eventually enroll in a history class in which the instructor requires that you submit a research essay as part of your course requirement. Since the research essay requires some skills that differ from those of the short essay it is best if we spend some time talking about what those different skills might entail. By assigning a research essay, your instructor is asking you to commit yourself to some extended research culminating in a long essay on the order of 20-30 pages. (In advanced undergraduate seminars, you may be asked to write an even longer essay.) The essay must utilize either footnotes or endnotes and must also contain a bibliography.
Confronted with such an immense task, the student must do a number of things. First, a suitable subject must be arrived at quickly. With the semester only 15 weeks long, the student does not have that much time. And since the first several weeks are spent getting a feel for the subject of the class in general, it often happens that students have no idea what to write about until the semester is half over. How do we proceed? How do we make the best of such a short time? Hopefully this section will answer some of the basic questions in order to get you going. There are twelve parts to this section!
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Copyright � 2000 Steven Kreis