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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Vladimir, May 9, 2009.
Your our resident College Proff aren't you? What do you teach? I got a question .
Vlad, I've taught many things over the years, but my two MA degrees are in History and Philosophy, respectively, and those are the subjects I most commonly teach. Due to the extra coursework I've acquired over the years, I'm also qualified to teach Anthropology, Geography, Political Science, and Humanities and usually teach at least one or two of those during an average school year. I've also taught English grammar courses a few times, but it has been some years since I did that. Perhaps interestingly, I will be teaching Latin during the fall term as one of my courses, the first time any Community College in Colorado has ever taught that subject. Surprisingly, the course already has enough students signed up for it to "make," which frankly shocked me.
What might I help you with? Just FYI, math and I do not get along very well, and I have never taught the sciences, so try to keep the questions within the social sciences or humanities.
I am writing a big history paper, and being a few weeks from getting my degree in history this shouldn't be daunting (besides it is only 12 pages, I've written twice that for poli-sci). However, this is the first time I have worked entirely from archival sources.
My biggest fear right now is probably the number of "records are incomplete," "it is impossible to rule out," and "what remains unclear," in this paper lol. I don't really have a choice I guess so shouldn't worry since the assignment was to work out of the archives and there isn't anything I can do about missing material. For example, in this case, one president chose to save all his records AND donate them to the school, so for 4 years I have excellent records, and then for 20 years I got nothing!
My second question is this (I will provide a short backstory), I am dealing with honorary degrees on the Whitworth campus (my school). The practice was always controlled by "a" committee, it isn't clear though how many committees there were. At times there were probably a faculty committee and board [of trustees] committee, but it isn't really clear (one board president referred to the committee by 3 different titles in 3 different letters in a SINGLE year). So instead of referring to "the committee(s)" throughout the whole paper, and since it doesn't really matter for my argument WHAT committee did what, I added this... "(henceforth “committee” refers to the committees, either the faculty committee, board committee, or any combination of the two. The actual committee will only be identified if it is significant, and possible)." Does this belong more as a footnote instead of being in-text?
Oh also as a teacher do you prefer papers with footnotes or endnotes .
And finally I guess the organization has me a little worried (though I could easily write it two ways and ask my teacher on monday and turn in the organization he recommends).
Currently I intend to write a REAL SHORT introduction, mention the thesis. Then provide a history of honorary degrees around the nation. THEN reintroduce the thesis with the history of honorary degrees at Whitworth, and then I will launch into the real meat of the argument (that the committee(s) basically had complete control over the process). And then of course conclude. What worries me is my primary argument introduction isn't really planned to be in the introduction... because it would be weird to introduce the argument, give the background of the practice at Whitworth, then launch into a nation-wide historical background, and then jump BACK into Whitworth...
Thanks, sorry it ended up being so many questions and so long .
Good luck James!!
Thanks! Though I'm not real worried since I think I could get like a D on this paper and still get the grade I need in the class . My other class that ends next week I could literally skip everything else (our final paper and final test) and get a C, I figure I show up without studying and pull off a minimum of 50% and end up with a B . More concerned about that Russian test on Monday, and my other class (both of which) won't end until June!
Steve, I'm from a generation that required a modern language as well as Latin. 4 years of each to graduate High School.
I was surprised a number of years ago when my youngest signed up for Latin in High School. I thought that they'd quit teaching it years ago. It actually is a very popular course again.
Have you actually been able to get completely threw D. Hume's 'A treatise of human nature'? 7 yrs. and i'm only three quarters.
Vlad, just throwing my two cents in here as a former English teacher. Putting in your explanation of "committees" probably should be within the paper itself, not as a footnote. Also, does your school require a certain method for written work? A lot of schools require what is called the APA method. I'd suggest you look at the syllabus and see if that's what's required. Usually. most profs. want an endnote page, not the traditional footnote. Hope this helps!
I believe this class is chicago style which allows for either footnotes or endnotes. Endnotes are cleaner and easier to do, but in anything source-driven I find footnotes much more enjoyable to read.
Good luck on your paper. It sounds to me like you have it down already. I turned in my senior design paper Monday. I think there were 32 pages in that report. That includes graphics so I dodn't have to write that much. The end of the semester crunch is always tough but you have it well in hand.
Hah I think my paper has gotten way simpler. Shouldn't have the organization issue anymore because I am already at 6 pages and have only addressed 2 of the original 7 topics (including introduction and conclusion), so I think I may strike out the background historical overview of the awards on a national level. Which is good because I didn't really want to write about that anyway! Not to mention I hadn't done any research on that yet lol.
Thanks for the pointers I've gotten so far . I should probably start looking into that paper I have to write for Core 150 (Western Civilization) on Monday... but then again I can get 50% on that paper AND the final, and pull off a B in that class- so I ain't too concerned . <- I think I already mentioned that class earlier heh.
EDIT: I bet you teachers hate my kind, at the end of the year I always calculate my grades to the absolute closest I can so that I can totally prioritize my last week lol. But yea right, I wish I had the time to "do my best" on everything!
Good luck, James & Flannelman.
Missing or incomplete records are the perennial banes of the historian, Vlad. My only caution to you in this situation is be honest in any inductive conclusions you draw. Available records, though incomplete, may be enough to draw a reasonable if extrapolated conclusion, but if there are weaknesses in your argument because of those missing records, it is better to point that out yourself in the paper rather than have some picky prof have an "ah ha!" moment at your expense.
Yes, that sort of thing should be a narrative footnote, and it is normally considered quite acceptable to make such a note for purposes of clarity. Even if you are using endnotes, I would still use a footnote for this purpose.
I'm a traditionalist and have always preferred footnotes to endnotes, but these days not many students will use the old methods. If your style sheet is Turabian or a similar format, I would go with footnotes. That usually says to a teacher that you are serious about the work. To me, endnotes seems to say "I'm too lazy to do it the old way."
If the paper is fairly lengthy, why not use subheadings within the paper, Vlad? I've personally done that many times. That way you could essentially state your primary thesis in the intro, transition into a general discussion of honorary degrees in general as background, then go on to reiterate your main thesis (i.e., Whitworth) and finally, present your support material and conclusion. That way the organization should remain clear.