I have posted a new page, “How to Write a Prospectus.”
A dissertation prospectus is an essay arguing that you have found a research problem whose solution merits thousands of hours of your time; hundreds of hours of the time of your various advisors and committee members as well as that of librarians, archivists, and other people of good will; and, if you are lucky, some public or foundation funds toward your research expenses. Though the dissertation you complete will likely differ significantly from the one you conceive, you should be able at least to sketch out a viable project before attempting to write one.
Comments appreciated as always.
I have posted a new page, “How to Write an Outline.”
An outline should organize a long work into smaller sections and highlight the major findings of a body of research.
Professor Caleb McDaniel of Rice University offers some excellent advice on developing gut reactions to a text into comments that will inform your own thinking and that of your classmates.
How to Discuss a Book for History | W. Caleb McDaniel.
A nice weighing of alternatives:
In the Road Runner cartoons, the Coyote’s real antagonist isn’t the Road Runner. It’s the desert landscape and, you know, the ACME Corporation, who are conspiring to make his life miserable.
Eric Molinsky, quoted in “Noble Effort,” 99% Invisible: A Tiny Radio Show about Design with Roman Mars, August 2013 (7:26).
See “A Thesis Statement Template.”
In preparation for my summer graduate seminar, I’ve posted a page on “How to Use Examples to Evaluate Scholarship.” Comments appreciated.
Thesis Statements: History
UCLA’s advice on thesis statements for history papers.
I have tweaked my Examples of Critical Reading, listing “the source is advancing an unstated agenda” in place of “the source is advancing an agenda.” I encourage students to look for messages not explicitly stated, but I fear that “hidden agenda” is too loaded a term.
My page on Examples of Critical Reading lists several techniques used by historians to read primary sources critically. I have posted a one-page list of those techniques, which I have found useful in the classroom.
[Update, 1 April 2013: I have changed the handout to read “unstated agenda,” not just agenda.]
I recently finished listening to the unabridged audiobook version of The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left by Landon R. Y. Storrs. Not only was the book informative and persuasive, but it may herald a new kind of audiobook offering.