Prospectus (due February 5 at noon, workshop February 6)
This kind of document is an early step in the process of research-based, argument-driven historical writing. Written for historians outside the area of expertise (and often for grants or fellowships), the 1,200- to 1,500-word prospectus (roughly 5-6 pages, double-spaced) should elaborate on the topics covered in the shorter proposal. You can use the proposal you submitted as your starting point for the prospectus. Depending on the feedback you received on your proposal, you may need to substantially revise and/or reorganize elements of it, and you will definitely want to expand upon it.
This document should include:
- A working title for the research paper (you can change it later if you decide to)
- A clear statement of the problem or question, along with possible subordinate questions
- A description of the new contribution(s) this project will make
- Explanation of why the topic is relevant (“so what”)
- Relationship of the topic to existing historiography (what's your intervention)
- Brief description of sources
- Brief outline of how the work will be done
The prospectus should also include a preliminary bibliography of primary sources (one page) and secondary sources (two pages, and formatted to Chicago Manual of Style). Please format the bibliography with single spacing, but use a line break between each item. The bibliography is an addition to the prospectus itself, meaning that it does not count toward the 5-6 page requirement for the prospectus.
Here is an example of a prospectus. This is the expanded version of one of the sample proposals I provided two weeks ago and should give you a clearer idea of how to flesh your proposal out into a prospectus (but please note that it is longer than the 5-6 pages plus a bibliography that you will be submitting this week).
Be sure to submit your assignment no later than noon on Monday to ensure your peers have time to read and comment on your work before class on Tuesday. We will be working in two small groups for the rest of the seminar.
Group 1: Parul, Caylee, Sally, and Barshana
Group 2: Avery, Hannah, Johnathan
I have assigned each of you two prospectuses to read and comment on before class on Tuesday.
Preparing for the Workshop:
- Read and leave written comments on the prospectuses submitted by your peers before class on Tuesday (Peer Reviews should appear under the Assignments tab once the assignment has been submitted).
- Comments should be constructive and focus on the clarity of the answers to the questions posed above. Note what has been done well, as well as anything that might be missing or that requires clarification. You may also want to offer resources the author might want to consult, or framing they may want to consider.
- We will go over the prospectuses as a group in class on Tuesday and you will have an opportunity to respond to comments and ask clarifying questions.
Share the prospectus with your faculty advisor. While you will be receiving feedback from me as well as from your peers, you will also need your faculty advisor's expertise in your field. They can alert you to potential issues and direct you to resources you may need to consult.