Prof. G. DAMERON Academic Year 2006-2007

 Department of History

One of the goals of the course is to assist and improve critical and analytical skills in reading, writing, and speaking. The paper is one of the most important vehicles for the realization of that goal.

1. CRITERIA OF EVALUATION. The paper will be evaluated on the basis of the following factors: 1) presence of a thesis or argument, 2) organization and coherence, 3) quality of critical thinking, 4) clarity and quality of expression (includes proper footnoting and bibliographical forms, spelling, grammar, syntax, word choice), and 5) use of examples or evidence to support and develop your argument.

2.  CITATION. The paper must follow the required methods for the citation of primary and secondary sources, and it must include a formal bibliography or a Works Cited page. Students can use either footnotes or endnotes. All information borrowed from sources (quotations, facts that are not common knowledge, paraphrases, and so on) must be properly cited.  The library has a very useful link at its web site to “documenting and citing” (

In-text  citations (pages numbers cited in the body of the text instead in endnotes or as footnotes) are unacceptable.

a. Here are examples of an entry on a Bibliography or a Works Cited page, with the correct punctuation (last name first; all entries alphabetized):

Dameron, George.  Florence and Its Church in the Age of Dante (Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005).

Hollister, Warren. Medieval History: A Short History, 10th edition (New York: McGraw Hill, 2002).

For internet listings, include author, year available, title, type of medium, available protocol (electronic address), and access date. For citations from the internet, see “Citation Guides” at the Saint Michael’s College library web site:


Procopius. (1996). "De Aedificiis." Online. Available: [10-6-97].

I encourage students to use online databases to which the Saint Michael’s College library subscribes.  The link to the web site is the following:

Regarding web sites, however, I caution you to be careful about using web sites of dubious authenticity or value. Try to limit yourself to the web sites on my web page (which include a large number of documents and primary sources)(  In general, you should avoid using web sites unless they include primary sources that are necessary to your paper (original documents or visual images associated with the Middle Ages). The use of online databases (journal articles) is however encouraged.

b.  Footnotes and endnotes. Both footnotes and endnotes provide information about sources, either at the bottom of each page or on a separate sheet at the end of the paper. The citation can simply include the author’s last name, followed by a comma, the page number, and a period.  If the author wrote two works cited in the bibliography, include the title (or an abbreviation of it, in the note) along with the author and the page number.

Regarding endnotes, follow the same procedure, with the exception that the notes are on a separate page at the end of the paper. 

Word processing programs give you the option of using footnotes or endnotes.  WORD does so by clicking the “Insert” button on the top tool bar.

c.  When citing an author’s quoted words that appear in another person’s work, use "qtd. in".  For example: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet" (in footnote or endnote write:   Qtd in Hollister 73.)

3. PLAGIARISM.  The improper use of sources (plagiarism) is unacceptable. According to the Academic Integrity Policy of Saint Michael's College, plagiarism is "presenting another person's ideas as your own by directly quoting or indirectly paraphrasing, without properly citing the original source.  This includes inadvertent failure to properly acknowledge sources."

The penalty for plagiarism can range from the imposition of an "F" for the course to expulsion from the college. I routinely check papers for evidence of plagiarism on a random basis. If a student is in doubt whether to cite a source, (s)he should do so to play it safe.

Duplicate papers written for other courses are unacceptable.

4.  SUGGESTIONS regarding the preparation of the paper:

a. Proof-read the paper before handing it in;

b. Paginate each page;

c. Footnotes may be at the bottom of the page, and endnotes may be at the end on a separate page;

d. The Bibliography or Works Cited list should always be on a separate page from the text;

e. Avoid using lengthy quotations (try to paraphrase long quotes and work them into your text);

f. Indent quotations (10 spaces) that are more than four typed lines in length (you do not need to use quotation marks);

g. You must cite borrowed information (ideas, paraphrases, facts that are not common knowledge, summaries, or observations) you obtained from sources other than yourself;

h. Make an extra hard copy of the paper you turn in for your own protection;

i. Use a back-up disk, and always save what you have written every 30 (thirty) minutes;

j. When applicable, use illustrations, maps, and graphs (they add value to the paper);

k.  Before turning in your paper, read it out loud to yourself to catch errors.

l.  I am willing to review a draft of your paper, but I must see it a week before it is due.

5. DEVELOPING AND WRITING A PAPER.  Suggested guidelines to develop a research paper:

a. Choose a general topic and gather general information in primary and secondary sources about the topic;

b As you read, narrow your topic down to an issue that your sources will allow you to explore

c. After narrowing down your topic, formulate your paper around a question or historical problem (example: Under what circumstances did the papacy allow torture to be used?);

d. Thoroughly research your topic to answer the problem you pose relying on as many primary and secondary sources as possible;

e.  After completing your research, generate a thesis or argument from your research (the thesis is the answer to the question around which you are organizing your paper);

f. Outline your paper before writing the first draft; your thesis should be clearly stated on page one;

g.  Write your first draft, stating your thesis in the first paragraph, and using the rest of your paper to prove the validity of your thesis;

h.  Let your paper sit for 24 hours, read it over, and then write the second and final draft.

i.  Finally, proofread the text carefully before turning it in on time.

6.  There is no upper limit to the number of primary and secondary sources you can use for your paper.  As a secondary source, Wikipedia is unacceptable.  Your sources for the paper should come primarily from printed sources or from the online databases.  Please avoid relying on web sites for your research except when they include primary sources (original documents or visual materials associated with your research project).