HSTRY 491 A Au 22: Honors Historical Method

HSTRY 491 A Au 22: Honors Historical Method

UW students studying in library, early 1960s, UW Special Collections



Tuesday 1:30-3:30 PM | Smith 109

Instructor: Professor Margaret O’Mara



HSTRY 491 is the first of a two-quarter research seminar for History honors students; it will be followed by HSTRY 492 in Winter 2023. The main objective of the 491-492 sequence is to give you an opportunity to develop an historical research project on a topic of your choosing, producing a thesis paper of 30-50 pages at the end of Winter term.

In HSTRY 491, you will confirm your topic, create a bibliography of primary and secondary sources, begin your research, identify and begin working with a History faculty co-advisor, and produce a prospectus of roughly 10 pages that presents the evidence-driven argument your final paper will develop, the historiographical contributions you hope to make and the sources and methods you intend to use.

In HSTRY 492, you will continue your research and consultation with your faculty co-advisor toward completion of your thesis. At the end of Winter term, each of you will present your findings to History faculty and peers at a final research symposium.

Required Reading

Zachary M. Schrag, The Princeton Guide to Historical Research (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021)

This comprehensive but succinct research guide is available for purchase at the University Bookstore (retail price $25; in paperback) and as a free e-book at the UW Libraries. We will be consulting this book extensively this term and you will find it a helpful reference in the next. Please use a format that allows easy access and regular use.

The Chicago Manual of Style Online (17th edition)

You have full electronic access to this resource through your UW Libraries account. Please consult closely. With the exception of the weekly writing journals, all written work submitted in 491/492 should follow Chicago Style.

Assignments & Grading

You will receive a single grade for your cumulative work in HSTRY 491 and HSTRY 492 at the end of Winter 2023. If you have completed all assignments and made satisfactory progress on your research project, you will receive a grade of "N" (In Progress) for HSTRY 491 at the end of Autumn 2022.

The grade you receive at the conclusion of the two quarter 491-492 sequence will be determined as follows:

Participation: 20% (10% HSTRY 491, 10% HSTRY 492) 

Scaffolded Research and Writing Assignments: 35%

Weekly Research & Writing Journal: 5% (HSTRY 491)

Historiographical essay: 5% (HSTRY 491)

Annotated bibliography of primary sources: 5% (HSTRY 491)

Prospectus (draft & final): 10% (HSTRY 491)

Rough draft of thesis: 10% (HSTRY 492)

Final Research Paper: 45% (HSTRY 492)

Key Due Dates

Fri Sept 30: Weekly journal entry (cont’d every Friday of term except 11/25)

Thu Nov 10: Historiographical essay

Mo Nov 21: Annotated bibliography

Mo Nov 28: Draft prospectus       

We Dec 14: Final prospectus

Student Hours

My Autumn 2022 office hours are from 12-1 on both Monday and Tuesday (except holidays) in Smith 312A. You can drop in if my door is open, or sign up in advance for an in-person or virtual appointment here.


Course Summary:

Date Details Due