Final Instructions on History 300

Zuoyue Wang


As we get close to the end of the quarter, here are important instructions for several end-of-the-quarter matters: presentation, revision, and the submission of the historiographical essay.  Please read carefully and let me know if you have any question.




Presentation Format:

For presentations, please prepare a PowerPoint presentation with:


1. The title of your historiographical paper and your name

2. A table of contents indicating the structure of the paper (chronological or topical)

3. Major historians (with institutional background and title and year of publication) and their arguments

4. Your conclusion and reflections on the historiography on your topicí¬what were the major points of contention among historians on your topic?  How did the discussion on the topic evolve over the years?


Presentation Time:

Please plan on making the presentation in about 7 minutes, and then we will have 2-3 minutes of questions and discussion.  Please bring your PowerPoint on a USB drive or email it to yourself so you can download it onto the classroom computer.  Try to come to the classroom several minutes before class start time for your scheduled session and copy your PPT to the desktop.



Those students who are in the same review group as the presenter are expected to offer the first questions and comments following each presentation.


Tips on Presentation:

The purpose of the exercise is to help you gain experience in communicating your ideas to others, and to give each other constructive, helpful feedback to improve the papers.  You will be graded for both the quality of your presentation and your participation in the discussion of presentations by others.  If you are the assigned partner to the presenter, you will be expected to offer the first comment or question after the presentation.


In preparation of your presentation, you may want to read further tips on the web on making presentations, e.g., Kevin Boone's helpful "How to Give a Presentation" at:


It is expected that the preparation for the presentation will also lead you to rethink, revise, and improve your paper, in addition to benefiting from the feedback from the audience.


You will have a chance to revise your paper based on the feedback from your classmates and from me.  The evaluation of your paper will, to a certain extent, depend on how it has improved from the earlier drafts.  Again, the point is for us to learn not only to write a paper, but also to rewrite and revise it.


As you polish your final version, please pay special attention to footnote and bibliography formats--part of the grade for your paper will depend on how well and how consistent you are in following the Turabian style, as formulated in the handout I gave everyone and as we have discussed in class. The handout is also available at:



Revising the Historiographical Essay


1. I usually make corrections and changes only at the beginning of your paper and expect you to make similar corrections for the rest of the paper, including footnotes. 


2. You need to set your Word so you can see the í░Track Changeí▒ features and my corrections on screen more clearly.  You can make the version I am sending you into single-spaced by í░Selecting Allí▒ under í░Edití▒ and í░Control 1í▒ and then print it out to see the corrections.  Please do not use my version as the basis for your final paperí¬I want you to manually make (and therefore learn from) all the corrections on your own on your original version.


3. Common rules to follow in this regard include:

use past tense;

avoid incomplete sentences;

avoid passive sentences;

avoid slang, colloquialism, loose or sloppy proseí¬make the writing concise and to the point;

provide better transitions between paragraphs, usually by highlighting the differences between the author you have just analyzed in the last paragraph and the author(s) you are going to examine;

provide an introduction (perhaps just a couple of sentences) to each section with some general observations on historical writings in this period (if you follow chronological order) or on this sub-topic (if you follow a topical order);

make the authorsí¬historians and other scholarsí¬not their books or articles your main characters.  So doní»t start a paragraph with a statement that í░Loren Graham published a book titled The Ghost of the Executed Engineer in 1993.í▒  Try, instead, this topical sentence: í░With access to newly available archival sources, other historians began to see these events in a different light from [the last author you just discussed].  In his 1998 The Ghost of the Executed Engineer, Loren Graham, the MIT historian of Russian science, argued thatíşí▒

follow a chronological order within each section if you are following an overall topical order for the paper;

keep the paper focused on the main arguments of the historians and writers, and cite specific events or incidents only to illustrate how that particular author made his or her case. 

Use footnotes (not endnotes) and provide a bibliography using the format specified in Turabian.

Avoid mid-sentence footnotes.

Footnote marks go outside the quotation marks.

Insert page numbers at bottom center.

Insert section headings in bold, centered format.

There should be two spaces between sentences.

Doní»t feel constrained by the length requirement; remember that 10 pages is the minimum length, not the maximum.  On the other hand, do not pat your paper with wordy, repetitive, or unnecessary sentencesí¬ití»s the worst sin of writing.

Commonly confused words: effect vs. affect;

Make sure that sentences and paragraphs flow from one to the next.

Topical sentence: Make sure that your first sentence of each paragraph connect the previous and present paragraphs and also serve as a thesis statement of the present paragraph.

Phrase your thesis statement as answers to questions.


Turning in the Final Historiographical Essay


1. After the presentations, please make one last round of revisions of your paper based on the feedback at the presentation.


2. You need to turn in both a print copy and a Word file attached to an email to me.  Please learn to put both the body of the paper and bibliography together as one single file.  No need for cover page.


3. The final paper is due in my office by the date and time specified in the syllabus in both print and electronic format.  If I am not in my office, turn the print copy in a box inside my office through an opening in the window.