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USA400/HIS495: Taking Shots at the Man: Assassination and the American Presidency

Supports the course taught by Benjamin Pottruff.

Your assignment

Research proposal and annotated bibliography

The purpose of this assignment is to frame a research question and list appropriate primary and secondary source documents to support your argument (your bibliography must be annotated).  This research proposal and annotated bibliography will form the basis for your research paper. 

 Research Essay

You will be required to narrow your interests to a researchable topic, conduct library research, formulate a defensible interpretation of the material, and present a 20 page, fully documented research paper.  Your argument must review secondary sources and analyse primary sources that you will have identified as part of research proposal and annotated bibliography.

Search strategies

  • Preliminary exploration of your topic is an important phase of the process, including exploratory searches that may help you flesh out or narrow your topic, or introduce you to aspects you hadn't thought about. As your research question becomes more focused, you searching will become more focused.
    • You may want to use a graphic organizer.
    • You may want to keep some kind of search log.
  • Think about the kinds of sources you need to answer your research question.
  • Think about where to search: you may need to use both a large interdisciplinary database (the Library All search or Google Scholar) and a subject specific database (find them under Subjects A-Z).
  • Think about search terms: synonyms, other related terms, broader or narrower terms. In a database, check out the controlled (or standardized) vocabulary in the thesaurus or attached to records you're finding.
  • Use citation searching. Use Google Scholar to check out who has cited a particular article.
  • If you're not already using a reference manager, consider checking one out.

How can I troubleshoot problems getting the full text?

  • Make sure you've chosen a journal article - only journal articles link to the full-text:Doublecheck that you're not trying to link to an article in a book.
  • WORKAROUND if the link to a journal article doesn't work or if the search for your specific article doesn't bring up the article:
    • Search the journal title in the library catalogue. Find the online version of the journal - it has [Electronic resource] beside the title.
    • Often, more than one subscription is listed. Choose the one with the right date to cover your article.
    • Then find the volume and issue that holds your article.
  • If you're not finding the journal in the Library, it's possible that it's an Open Acess journal (i.e. scholarly but freely available on the web). Google the journal name.
  • You can always check with a librarian. Email Eveline or contact the Library through chat, email or in-person.