One of the biggest challenges of this project is choosing a narrower topic, era,


One of the biggest challenges of this project is choosing a narrower topic, era, movement, or concept to analyze within one of these broader themes:
Democracy and diversity: How democratic is our democracy?
Identity: What does it mean to be an American?
Culture: How has culture unified or divided Americans?
Politics and Citizenship: What does it mean to be an American citizen? What is the role of the government?
For instance, you could address the broad theme of American democracy by focusing on the fight to protect voting rights during the 1960s. Or you could examine the issue of Culture by analyzing protest music of the Vietnam War era. Within the broad theme that you select from the options, it’s most helpful to narrow your focus to both a topic/concept AND a time period, i.e. voting rights/1960s, protest music/Vietnam era, women’s suffrage/Roaring Twenties, or labor wars/Age of Industrialization. This will help to keep the project a manageable size by honing in on a specific idea and limit the scope of your research to a time period. When you’re choosing a topic, think about the things in the course so far that have struck you – events, people, or movements. Go back to that material in the course and see what you’d like to investigate further.
Time Period Options (you aren’t restricted to the periods below, they are just general options to consider):
1865-1890
1890-1920
1920-1945
1945-1968
1968-present
Tasks:
Research and find two scholarly sources that will provide information and context for your project. Watch the How to Use GALILEO Discover Search video to learn more about searching in GALILEO. Annotate your two sources (see the Annotating Sources: Creating Your Annotated Bibliography video for help on how to do this) and include information from your sources in your outline below. Need help with this? Use the embedded librarians – they’re there to help!
Write out an organizational outline of your project. Even if you’re not writing an essay, treat this outline as if you were – bullet out topics you want to explore in your video or presentation, questions you’d like to ask in an interview, or annotations for songs you’re including in each “paragraph.” Shoot for outlining 5-6 “body paragraphs” at this stage, in addition to your introduction and conclusion (you may add more as you go along). The more detailed your outline, the more feedback and guidance your instructor will be able to provide to make sure you’re on the right track. Feel free to copy the format on the Creating an Outline page to get you started. Don’t be surprised, if, while writing your outline, you discover more about your topic and your thesis and/or other choices change as a result! This is the very nature of learning.
When you’re done, list the following at the top of your outline document: your broad theme, narrower topic/concept and time period, and the format or modality you’ve chosen. Underneath that, write your refined thesis – what you’re attempting to argue or show. Improving and refining your thesis is one of the key aspects of this project – don’t merely repeat what you submitted in the Unit 4 Brainstorm discussions. Check the following resources:
Building a Strong Thesis Statement and Writing Advice
the UNC Writing Center page on developing Thesis Statements
Finally, after your thesis, write an informal paragraph explaining your overall approach to your project: why your topic and format/modality go together well, and the progression of your argument or position – how do your different points/questions/songs connect and hang together? How do the two sources you found support your thesis? If you have specific questions for your instructor on how to do any of these, include them as well.


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