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AP World History: Home

Your Assignment

Assignment: You will compose a 5-10 page research paper using MLA-style formatting.


Topic: Any topic. Any topic in the world - it does not have to be world history. It can be anything you find interesting - the Ottoman Empire, the Battle of Gettysburg, the 1985 Chicago Bears, the rise and fall of The Sex Pistols, etc. Anything. The focus will be on research and writing.

Research Sources:

Each paper must come from at least three sources, but more is acceptable. None of these sources may be:

A)      a standard general history textbook

B)      a dictionary

C)      an encyclopedia (this includes Wikipedia)

Recommended Sources (1 must be a book):

A)      Books with research specific areas of interest

B)      Articles in magazines and research journals

C)      Contemporary sources such as autobiographies, letters, essays written by the person you are studying

D)      Internet web pages from ACADEMIC SOURCES (not some idiot off the street).

* Anything you list as a source must be cited in the paper*

Five step process to completing the Research Paper:

  1. Choose a topic and get it approved

  2. Find good sources, research them and compose a Works Cited page

  3. Turn in paper outline

  4. Complete rough draft

  5. Revise draft & turn in final paper

Deadlines: see the Spring Semester assignment page for more details


  • Topic – Thursday, February 25
  • Initial Outline – Monday, February 29
  • 25 Flashcards - Monday, March 7
  • Final Draft – Monday, March 14

Final Advice:

  • Use MLA citation rules on your Works Cited page and within your paper (parenthetical citations)

  • Proofread, proofread, proofread

  • Proofread, proofread, proofread

  • Avoid 1st or 2nd person

  • Avoid contractions

  • Avoid passive voice

  • Avoid giving your paper a happy ending

Basic Steps in the Research Process

Basic Steps in the Research Process

This list of steps is a guideline for you to use. Not everyone will do these steps in the same order and you may go back and forth between them.

1. Select a general topic that interests you in some way.

2. List key words to help you look up information about the topic.

3. Go to an encyclopedia, or other reference source, to get an overview of the topic (you will not cite these sources in your paper).

4. Make source cards for whatever sources you will use for information.

5. Using the general overview, begin to focus the topic into something you can cover well.

6. Write a statement of purpose about the focused topic.

7. Brainstorm questions about the focused topic.

8. Group questions under similar headings.

9. Add any new questions you can think of under those headings.

10. Repeat step 2, listing more key words from your newly focused topic and questions.

11. Make a list of possible sources that can answer your questions. Identify the best sources to use.

12. Find the sources in the library, on the computer, etc. Make a source card for each one you use.

13. Begin making notecards. Use your brain stormed questions to guide your note taking.

14. Change your statement of purpose into a draft thesis statement.

15. Make an outline of your headings.

16. Refocus your thesis statement if necessary.

17. Write the body of your paper from your notes.

18. Cite any necessary information with parenthetical citations.

19. Write your introduction and conclusion.

20. Write your Works Cited (it is similar to a bibliography).

21. Evaluate your work.

22. Turn in your paper on time.


When you're finished, celebrate!