Expectations for Graduate-Level Work

Papers submitted for credit in this class should meet these basic expectations:

  • A title page or clear header with your name, the paper’s title, the name & semester of the course, and the date
  • Body of the paper is double-spaced
  • Text of the paper has been thoroughly spellchecked & proofread
  • Avoid passive voice wherever possible
  • Use gender-neutral language when speaking in the generic
  • Pages are numbered
  • If a word count was specified, provide a word count at the end of the paper
  • Quotations and references are clearly and correctly cited, using standard citation formats (Chicago Style or MLA)

Papers which do not meet these basic expectations can be returned to the author, without grading, to revise and resubmit.

Short Paper Assignments

Document Analysis: In this assignment you’ll take a single primary source and give it a close reading. Your analysis could consider content, form, context, structure, language, meaning, aesthetics, or other relevant aspects. 3-5 pages. Due 2/13/12

Review: Choose one of the following three options. 3-5 pages, due 4/2/12

Download this assignment’s guidelines as a PDF

  • Monograph/ Book Review. You will select and read one scholarly monograph on a course-related topic, and write a 750-word book review of the work, addressing its contribution to the field of US Constitutional history. 3-5 pages
  • Film Review. You will select and analyze one film or documentary on a course-related topic, and write a 750-word book review of the work, addressing its utility in teaching secondary students about US Constitutional history. 3-5 pages
  • Archive Partner Review. Locate, investigate, and assess the quality of an archival partner (whether local, brick-and-mortar or digital) for 20th century Constitutional history. 3-5 pages

The Seminar Research Paper

Research Paper: 12-15 pages, due 4/23/12. Objective: investigate a Constitutional history topic by framing a substantive research question, engaging in graduate-level scholarly research, contributing to new historical knowledge and thoughtfully presenting your findings to peers, your students, and/or public audiences.

Download the full packet of guidelines here (PDF)

Due dates: Topic 2/27, Research Prospectus 3/12, Annotated Bibliography 3/26 (examples here), Final Draft 4/23, Abstract 4/30 (examples/advice here and here)


Diana Hacker, Writer’s Reference online to Research and Documentation in History
Worcester State Library Subject Guide for History (aimed at undergrads & very basic research, but might be helpful for getting started)
Using Chicago Style (PDF handout courtesy of Dave Mawson)
Template for Chicago-Style Papers (PDF handout courtesy of Dave Mawson)
Researching and Citing Supreme Court Cases (PDF handout – this is adapted from a different university; despite what the handout says, Worcester State does not actually have bound legal volumes on its shelves; also, we have Lexis Nexis Academic, not Lexis Nexis Legal…)