Approved by Faculty Senate.  November 17, 2003

University Studies Course Approval

 

Department or Program:                         History

Course Number:                         495

Number of Credits:                         3

Course Title:                         Senior Research Seminar I

 

Catalog Description:

In-depth study and research on selected topics. This course is intended as a companion course for History 496: Senior Research Seminar II, in which students write a 50-page paper based on research done in 495. Prerequisite:  History, Law and Society, or Social Science/History major status, senior standing, History 298, and permission of the instructor.  Students must be carrying no Incompletes at time of registration.  Grade only.

 

Existing course that has previously been approved by A2C2:                         Yes

New course proposal:                         No

University Studies Requirement this course would satisfy:                         Critical Analysis Flag

 

Department Contact for this course:

Marianna Byman

Email: mbyman@winona.edu

 

 

This course merits the Critical Analysis Flag because students will be required to make essential use throughout the semester of proper techniques for analyzing the structure and validity of arguments. The course will, among other things build on the lessons taught in History 298: Historical Methods and Historiography, a course already approved for the University Studies Critical Analysis category, and a significant part of students’ grades will depend on the proper use of such techniques.

 

The course will enhance students’ ability to:

 

Recognize and evaluate appropriate evidence to advance a claim.

 

In this course, students will gather research materials related to a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor . Students will review the historical literature in their topic in order to clarify those claims that their research project will make and how their claims contribute to the already existing knowledge of the topic. Students will sift through research materials to decide whether or not each piece of evidence is relevant to the claims their research paper will advance. As they do so, they will receive instructor and peer feedback on their decisions.

 

Apply critical analytical skills in making decisions or in advancing a theoretical position.

 

The research project will require students to relate evidence to the position they wish to develop and defend in the research paper. As a part of this course, students will develop an outline of their overall project which shows not only how research materials relate to particular claims, but also how those particular claims relate to the overall theme of the paper and the existing scholarship on the topic.

 

Evaluate alternative arguments, decision strategies, or theories within a systematic framework.

 

Students will have an opportunity to consider whether the evidence their research develops sustains the claims they intended to make, or if it, in fact, supports alternative claims or explanations. Each student will be required to make a series of oral progress reports on her/his research, and in the process will need to consider whether or not the evidence actually supports those claims she/he expected to make and whether or not the anticipated claims need revision,

 

Course Description:

 

In this course, students prepare for their work in Senior Research Seminar II. Students will select their topic for the seminar paper, identify the appropriate secondary and primary sources, read in the relevant historical literature, prepare a written review of the historical literature on the topic, and receive peer and instructor feedback on a series of drafts of the written review.

 

Statement of Major Focus and Objectives:

 

Students will prepare the way for the writing of their senior research paper, which is required of students majoring in History and Law and Society and is optional for Social Science/History majors. The particular topics explored will, naturally, vary from student to student.  Students will prepare a research plan which they can execute in the following term when they take History 496: Senior Research Seminar II. The centerpiece of the course is review, collection and analysis of the historical literature for a research topic students will pursue in a subsequent course, Senior Research Seminar II. This is also a critical element of a historical research project at graduate and professional levels and is therefore central to the field of history. The assignment requires extensive reading and accurate summarization of the current state of understanding of a topic in order for students to locate their own research with the context of extant historical knowledge.

 

Course Outline of Major Topics and Subtopics:

 

There is no one single outline since the topics will vary from term to term and student to student. The course, however, will feature assignments that fulfill requirements of the University Studies Critical Analysis Flag consistently. Each offering of the course will require students to:

 

      I.     Identify topic for senior research paper

     ii.     Identify relevant secondary and primary sources

    iii.    Review secondary sources

    iv.    Prepare written review of the historical literature relevant to the topic

      v.     Prepare research plan

     vi.     Develop outline of overall project

 

Basic Instructional Plan

The bulk of the term will be devoted to class discussion, independent work, oral progress reports, and peer evaluation of research.

 

Course Requirements

Students will be graded according to their class participation, written review of the historical literature, and research plan.

 

Textbooks

Students will make use of the Chicago Manual of Style for guidance in documentation, but there is no one single or group of textbooks for the course since the topics will vary from term to term and student to student.

 

List of References and Bibliography

There is no single list of references since the topics will vary from term to term and student to student.

 


Sample Syllabus

 

History 495: Senior Research Seminar I

University Studies – Critical Analysis Flag

 

 

Students will execute a research plan  for their senior project. Students can expect to make regular oral progress reports on their research and serve as peer reviewers for the other students’ work. This course fulfills the requirements established for the University Studies Critical Analysis Flag.

 

There are no common readings because each student will be working on an individual project.

 

Final grades will be determined by the following:

20%             Regular Oral Progress Reports on Research

20%             Participation as Peer Reviewer for Other Students’ Research

30%             Quantity/Quality of Research

30%             Outline Showing What Evidence Relates to Claims the Paper Will Make

 

University Studies Program Note

 

This course fulfills the requirements for the University Studies Critical Analysis Flag. It address the those requirements as follows:

 

Recognize and evaluate appropriate evidence to advance a claim.

 

In this course, students will gather research materials related to a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor . Students will review the historical literature in their topic in order to clarify those claims that their research project will make and how their claims contribute to the already existing knowledge of the topic. Students will sift through research materials to decide whether or not each piece of evidence is relevant to the claims their research paper will advance. As they do so, they will receive instructor and peer feedback on their decisions.

 

Apply critical analytical skills in making decisions or in advancing a theoretical position.

 

The research project will require students to relate evidence to the position they wish to develop and defend in the research paper. As a part of this course, students will develop an outline of their overall project which shows not only how research materials relate to particular claims, but also how those particular claims relate to the overall theme of the paper and the existing scholarship on the topic.

 

Evaluate alternative arguments, decision strategies, or theories within a systematic framework.

 

Students will have an opportunity to consider whether the evidence their research develops sustains the claims they intended to make, or if it, in fact, supports alternative claims or explanations. Each student will be required to make a series of oral progress reports on her/his research, and in the process will need to consider whether or not the evidence actually supports those claims she/he expected to make and whether or not the anticipated claims need revision,

 

Course Schedule

 

Week 1                       Develop Research Plan

Weeks 2-6                       Weekly Progress Reports and Instructor Conferences

Week 7                       Revised Research Outline Due

Weeks 8-14                       Weekly Progress Reports

Week 15                       Final Project Due