Writing an essay the essay itself should provide a

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Writing an essay: The essay itself should provide a clear and comprehensive treatment of the topic, which indicates precisely what timeframe, geography, and events within the medieval period the stu- dent intends to discuss. Students should ask themselves the following questions in dealing with their chosen subjects. Of what does the event being described consist? What caused it? What happened? What was its significance at the time and in history? Why? Often, students find that there are differing interpretations of issues and events, and good essays will show an awareness of these. Students may argue whatever position they prefer, as long as they support their arguments with reasonable and credi- ble evidence. Try to avoid overly subjective commentary; remain objective and scholarly. It bears re- peating that the key to good research is to be as critical of potential sources as possible: think about where they get their information, whether obvious biases, or other factors affecting interpretation, can be detected. Selecting a few random titles off the shelf will not be productive. Good research requires skill, time, and effort to locate and read the best research possible. Be prepared to “waste time” in the library, following varied threads and leads. History is not “uncovered” but discovered . References and bibliographies: Essays must contain proper references, either in the form of foot- notes or endnotes, which include in the first citation the author, place, and date of publication of the work cited, as well as the correct page number . Citations must be given for direct quotations, summar- ies or paraphrases of other people’s work or points of view, and for material that is not widely known or accepted. When in doubt, it is better to provide a citation. A typical number of footnotes or endnotes for a research paper of this length would probably fall within the range of 25–35 citations. There are several acceptable citation formats (Chicago, MLA, etc.), but students must ensure that they use one, and use it consistently throughout. For example, here is an acceptable (and preferred) citation standard for a first citation from a work cited: Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A Short History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987), 20–23. After the first citation, a short citation can be used to save time: Riley-Smith, The Crusades , 25. Likewise, essays must provide bibliographies of all works consulted, regardless of whether they have been quoted from directly. An inadequate bibliography (for assignments as long as those above) is one which contains fewer than five (5) books or articles related to the topic , or books which are entirely general work or texts. Consulting general works, the course textbook, dictionaries, atlases and/or ency- clopaedias (including Wikipedia and similar sites) does not count towards this minimum number of sources, and their inclusion should not be considered as constituting good and thorough research.

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