DrMinorSurvivalGuide - Dr. Minors Class: A Survival Guide...

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Dr. Minor’s Class: A Survival Guide This was originally constructed for an American History class, but the principles are the same for any course! In this packet are several guides to help you navigate the waters of this class. Add it to your syllabus, and keep it handy . . . just in case! RA Tips: How to Commune with the Past Note-taking Tips: How to Get it All Down Exam Tips: How to Prepare, Not Panic Sample Exam Questions: What to Expect Writing Guide: How Not to Write a Lousy Paper Disclaimer: All the information contained in this packet is valid as of 9/5/2008. However, the author bears no responsibility for the user’s ability or willingness to use the provided information. Nor does the author offer any guarantees that following all the provided information to the letter will result in an A for the course. Furthermore, the author does not claim that the provided information is comprehensive, final, or without flaw. No animals were harmed in the making of this packet.
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Gasp and Duh: Advice for Aspiring Historians Writing RAs Here are some general comments and tips about this and future RAs that might help you: 1. Aim for the “gasp!” factor . When you write an essay based on primary sources, it is best to let the sources do much of the talking. It is fine to paraphrase some, but if your paper is nothing but summary and paraphrase, the effect is a dull repetition of you repeating what someone else said about something said earlier. Think of it this way: you are in a courtroom among 100 other people for the trial of the century. The defendant is accused of murdering his wife and then burying her in the backyard. The basic outline of this crime is pretty sensational on its own, and when the prosecution says, “The defendant, in cold blood, planned and then executed the vicious murder of his wife. He stabbed her, dismembered her, and then buried the pieces under his very feet”—well, that’s pretty dramatic, and the jury grimaces. But then the prosecution pulls out a tape, puts it in the player, and the courtroom listens as THE DEFENDANT himself describes to a friend how we killed his wife. In his own words, “I waited in the hall, behind some curtains. When she came home from work, she started to go up the stairs and I leapt on her from behind. She screamed, but I slit her throat with a butcher knife from our kitchen . . .” You get the idea. When the audience and jury hears THAT testimony in the defendant’s own words, in his voice, an audible “gasp!” echoes through the courtroom. Same story, but the evidence is more direct, and far more powerful. Quotes don’t always have to be something shocking, but they are meatier than mere summary. 2.
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DrMinorSurvivalGuide - Dr. Minors Class: A Survival Guide...

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