In this project, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes:
- Develop questions about foundational historical events that inform personal assumptions, beliefs, and values using evidence from primary and secondary sources
- Determine fundamental approaches to studying history in addressing questions about how events are shaped by their larger historical context
- Investigate major developments in the progression of historical inquiry for informing critical questions related to historical narrative
- Articulate the value of examining historical events for their impact on contemporary issues
Study the past if you would define the future.
Many people argue that we are products of our past. However, as the Chinese philosopher Confucius suggested, because the contemporary events taking place around us have histories, we can examine them to understand how and why the events came to be. By developing the skills needed to investigate those histories, we can uncover the historical roots of current events and learn from them. Researching, examining narratives, uncovering personal biases, and finding credible resources are some of those skills. We might not want to be historians in the future, but we should all understand how to look at things from a historical standpoint to better understand contemporary issues.
For this project, you will choose a historical event to explore from the Library Research Guide. These events fit into the topic areas of:
- Inequality and human rights
- Political revolutions
- Climate change
Read these directions and the rubric criteria and reach out to your instructor if you have any questions before you begin working on this project. Many of the steps below will require you to reference and utilize the work you have done in previous modules of this course. You may use the provided template to complete this project or choose not to use the template and submit a Word document instead.
Part 1: Creating a Research Question: The quality of research often depends on the quality of the question driving it. It is important to understand how personal opinions, perspectives, and historical sources all play a part in developing and examining a research question. Complete the following steps to discuss how you developed a strong research question about your chosen historical event.
- Describe how your assumptions, beliefs, and values influenced your choice of topic.
- How might your own perspectives and opinions impact the topic you chose and how you may approach studying it?
- Discuss the significance of your historical research question in relation to your current event.
- State your historical research question and explain the connection between your current event and your question.
- Explain how you used sources to finalize your research question.
- Identify the specific primary and secondary sources you used.
- Discuss how evidence in these primary and secondary sources strengthened or challenged the focus of your question.
Part 2: Building Context to Address Questions: In this part of the project, you will examine the historical context related to your historical event. The context will be like snapshots that capture what was happening in history that affected the development of your current event.
- Describe the context of your historical event that influenced your current event.
- How does the context of your historical event help tell the story of what was happening at the time? How might this historical event connect or lead to your current event?
- Describe a historical figure or group’s participation in your historical event.
- This person or people must have directly participated in the event you identified as it was happening, not after it.
- Use specific details from your primary and secondary sources to demonstrate how the person or people participated in the event.
- Explain the historical figure or group’s motivation to participate in your historical event.
- Consider why the person or people were motivated to get involved in the event.
Part 3: Examining How Bias Impacts Narrative: Narrative is how people tell stories based on their own assumptions, beliefs, and values. From a historical perspective, narratives influence who we focus on, what we focus on, and how we discuss events and issues in the past and present. Complete the following steps to explore how the stories about your current event and the historical events leading to it have been told.
- Describe a narrative you identified while researching the history of your historical event.
- There can be multiple narratives depending on your sources. Pick one or two that you feel have been the most influential.
- Articulate how biased perspectives presented in primary and secondary sources influence what is known or unknown about history.
- How do potentially biased sources influence knowledge of your historical event and current event?
- Support your stance with examples from your primary and secondary sources.
- Identify the perspectives that you think are missing from your historical event’s narrative.
- Whose stories were not recorded? Whose voices were ignored or silenced?
Part 4: Connecting the Past With the Present: Consider how the work you have done to develop your research question and investigate it can be used to explain connections between the past and present. Complete the following steps to discuss the value of developing historical inquiry skills.
- Explain how researching its historical roots helped improve your understanding of your current event.
- How did examining your current event from a historical perspective help you better comprehend its origins?
- Articulate how questioning your assumptions, beliefs, and values may benefit you as an individual.
- Why is it valuable to be aware of your assumptions, beliefs, and values when encountering information in your personal, academic, and professional life?
- Discuss how being a more historically informed citizen may help you understand contemporary issues.
- Consider how having knowledge of history could influence how you approach current challenges or questions in the world.