Posted: February 3rd, 2015
Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements
Research Paper: You should select a topic of research that reflects one or more of the larger themes of
the course and your interests. You may choose a particular question at one institution (e.g. the
evolution of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock from Little Rock Junior College to the
University of Little Rock to its present status), a group of institutions (e. g. the community college
movement in New York City or some other locality), or a more national theme (e.g. the struggle to
include Sociology in the curriculum). You may also choose to research the contributions of a significant individual in the history of higher education. There are numerous possibilities.
There are three restrictions: 1) Your topic must be an event; contribution; issue; court decision; piece of legislation; or some combination of the foregoing; a biography; a critique of higher education; an institutional history; or an evaluation of a trend in the purpose, curriculum, or access to higher education during a specific era. But it must begin prior to 1990. 2) Your research sources must include appropriate primary documents (at least one or two). 3) You must include a discussion of the era in which the focus of your paper occurs and the philosophy or philosophies that influenced it.
You are encouraged to choose a research site where access to libraries and archives is feasible. The expected length of the paper is 18-20 pages exclusive of bibliography and appendices in 12 point Times font with standard margins (top and bottom = 1”, sides = 1”). You should cite a minimum of 20 references at least half of which come from historical scholarship outside the course readings.
In addition to the three points above, your research paper will be evaluated using the following standards: a) formulation of a sharply focused and limited topic; b) evaluation of the events, contributions, or issues which preceded the topic; c) evaluation of the significance of the focal topic to higher education, the larger society, and the era in which it was produced – aristocratic, meritocratic, or egalitarian; d) analysis of the text of the primary document(s) included in the study including an evaluation of the salient characteristics of the author or authors and what biases (philosophical or societal) may be reflected in the document(s); e) assessment of the efficacy of the secondary documentary evidence included in the study including an evaluation of the gaps in the available information; f) synthesis of the evidence to create a clearly stated argument; g) analysis of the philosophy or philosophies that influenced the focal issue addressed in the essay; h) discrimination of gaps and inconsistencies that remain in the argument you develop; i) documentation of the minimum of 20 references, at least half of which are from scholarship outside the course readings, using the Chicago Manual of Style/Documentation II—Author-Date References; j) creation of the written interpretation of the topic that employs the common conventions of English.
I chose the topic Brown vs. Board of Education. But if you feel you have another topic that fits the criteria that would provide more information, please feel free to change it.
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