History 4930-002 (Senior thesis), Spring 2005, Haley Center 3353, 11:00-11:50 am MWF


Instructor: Dr. Kenneth Noe, 314A Thach Hall.  Telephone: 334.844.6626.  E-mail:

<noekenn@auburn.edu>.  Web address: www.auburn.edu/~noekenn.


Office Hours: 10:00-10:50 MWF, and also by appointment.


Goals: Senior Thesis is the capstone course for all undergraduate History majors.  Students will demonstrate the research, analytical,

oral, and writing skills gained as majors through an original, analytical, article length paper grounded in primary source research.  Papers are intended to be publishable as articles at the end of the semester.  Oral versions of those papers will be presented to members of the Auburn History faculty.  Either HIST 3800 or HIST 405 is the required prerequisite for this course.


Texts: Jordan, Tumult and Silence at Second Creek

            Marius and Page, A Short Guide to Writing About History, 5th ed.

            Strunk and White, The Elements of Style, 4th ed.

            Turabian, A Manual for Writers, 6th rev. ed.


Grading:  Research Proposal   (due Jan. 31)                           5%

            Documentation Quiz     (Feb. 2)                                    5%

            Book Review of Jordan (due Feb. 11)              10%

            First Interim Partial Draft (Feb. 14 or 16)                      5%

            Second Interim Partial Draft      (Feb. 28 or Mar. 2)      5%

            First Complete Rough Draft (due Mar. 14 or 16)          10%

            Second Complete Rough Draft (due  Apr. 4)                10%

            Oral Presentation (including written version)                  10%

            Final Research paper                                                    40%



            PLEASE NOTE: all grading is on a ten-point scale.

                        I do NOT give “extra credit” assignments.

                        I do NOT discuss grades on the day I return a quiz or assignment.

I do NOT give out or debate grades, including final grades, via e-mail or

the telephone.  That is a violation of federal law.  If you don’t like your grade, come see me in person.

I ONLY  “round up” final grades to the next round number.  An 88.9

rounds up to 89, not 90.


Standardized Test Exam: All History majors must take a general competency exam in History during this course.  The score is NOT

factored into the final grade, but taking it is a departmental requirement for completing the course.


Description of Assignments:


            General Rules for Written Assignments: All assignments must be typed, double spaced, and utilize a typeface no larger than that

in this syllabus (12 cpi). Margins are to be no larger than one inch.  Staple the assignment in the upper left-hand corner—no fancy binders please.  Turn off right justification.  You must keep a printed copy for your files.  Errors in fact. logic, or prose, as well as general messiness, will lower your grade.   The reports are due at the beginning of class on the due dates; you will lose five points if they come in later that day, and an additional ten points for every weekday the report is late.  Do NOT send papers as attachments unless given specific permission.  You must keep a copy for your files.  Start early! 

            Always turn in the immediately previous, corrected assignment with any new assignment. Assignments will not be graded otherwise.


            Book Review:  A book review is not a “book report.”  The latter is nothing more than a summary of a book’s contents.  A book

review, in contrast, contains five elements:


(a)    A Book’s Scholarly Citation, using the proper Turabian form

(b)   An Introduction that provides context, sets the book within the larger field, or states a question to be answered

(c)    The Author’s Thesis

(d)   A Brief Summary of the book’s contents

(e)    Your Evaluation of the Book, noting its strengths and weaknesses as well as its usefulness


Readers of book reviews essentially want to know what a book is about and whether it is worth reading.

Your review should be about 500 words in length.


            Research Proposal: Research Proposals are short essays of about two pages in

length. They are used typically to clarify one’s thoughts on a topic at an early point in the process, and to present those thoughts to peers and instructors.  Feedback from others identifies both strengths and flaws, improving the final paper greatly.

Research Proposals exist in various forms, from simple outlines to elaborate narratives.  In this course, the proposal will consist of a narrative discussion containing five elements:


(a)    A Working Title that clearly identifies the paper’s topic.

(b)   The Main Thesis, the main point of the paper, stated in no more than two or three sentences.

(c)    A Brief Outline of your proposed paper.  Completed papers almost always turn out differently than planned, but it is helpful to provide yourself with a road map of where you think you’re going.

(d)   A Brief Discussion of Sources you’ve used so far, noting which have been particularly useful.

(e)    Plans for Completing the Research, including sources you plan to examine and questions that need to be answered.


Interim Partial Drafts: These are short, five-pages drafts of two different sections

of your paper, designed to get you started writing.  Each should include endnotes, and be as perfect as possible.  Turn in the first, corrected draft with the second uncorrected draft.


            Complete Rough Drafts:  These are complete, final versions of your essay, of 30-

40 pages in length, including all endnotes and bibliography, and written as well as possible.  Turn in both corrected interim drafts with the first complete draft, and turn in the corrected first draft with the uncorrected second draft.


            Oral Presentation: Presentations days will be assigned by lot.  You will begin my

presenting the instructor an eight to ten page written summary of your paper before beginning.  You will then discuss (not read word-for-word) that summary orally, taking no longer than fifteen minutes (the instructor will stop presentations automatically at the fifteen minute mark).  Practice!  Students who miss class on the day of their presentation will not be allowed to make it up without a solid, written, university-approved excuse.  Students not presenting must attend all sessions, and ask useful questions.


            Final Paper: The final version, turned in with the corrected second draft.  It will

be graded for originality, style, and quality of research, analysis, interpretation, and overall impression.  This is your “masterpiece,” regard it as such.


Makeup Policy:  Make-up work will be allowed only with a University-approved excuse.  You will not receive the same test as that

given to the rest of the class, but the format will be the same. 


Students with Disabilities:  I will be happy to work with you as needed after you have obtained appropriate documentation from the

Students Disabilities Office.


Attendance and Classroom Behavior: Students are expected to attend class every day, to be on time, to have read all assigned

readings, and to participate in class discussions.  Students who end the semester with two or fewer absences will receive an extra point on their final grade.  Students exhibiting class behavior I deem inappropriate will be counted “absent” that day.  That includes poor cell phone manners—turn them off when you’re in class.  The Auburn Classroom behavior Policy is in effect; please review it at: www.auburn.edu/administartion/governance/senate/behavior_policy.htm.


Use of E-mail:  Feel free to e-mail me in regard to anything related to the course, history in general, or something in the nature of letters

of recommendations.  Please do not e-mail me in regard to your personal life unless it pertains directly to the course, as in the case of an absence.  I will not respond to anything I deem inappropriate, and I retain the right to forward any e-mails to university authorities.


Plagiarism and Cheating: Cheating or plagiarism (claiming that someone else’s work is yours) will result in your failing the course and

will lead to formal university disciplinary action.


A syllabus is a legal contract:  Your remaining in the course indicates that you have read the syllabus and understand all course



Tentative Class Schedule:

1.      Jan. 12:      Introduction.

2.      Jan. 14:      Review of HIST 3800.  Marius and Page, chs. 1, 2.

3.      Jan. 17:      NO CLASS (Martin Luther King Holiday).

4.      Jan. 19:      Review of Book Reviews.  Marius and Page, Appendix C.

5.      Jan. 21:      Topics and Research Proposals.  Marius and Page, chs. 3, 4.

6.      Jan. 24:      Topics and Research Proposals: Trip to AU Archives.

7.      Jan. 26:      Documentation, part 1.  Marius and Page, ch. 8.  Bring Turabian to


8.      Jan. 28:      Documentation, part 2.  Bring Turabian to Class.

9.      Jan. 31:      Documentation, part 3.  Bring Turabian to Class.  Research

 Proposal Due.

10.  Feb. 2        Documentation Quiz.

11.  Feb. 4:       Style.  Bring Strunk and White to class.  Marius and Page, ch. 7.

12.  Feb. 7:       Group A Writing Workshop.  Bring the rough draft of your first

interim draft.  Marius and Page, chs. 5, 6.

13.  Feb. 9:       Group B Writing Workshop.  Bring the rough draft of your first

interim draft.  Marius and Page, chs. 5, 6.

14.  Feb. 11:     Jordan Discussion.  Book Review Due.

15.  Feb. 14:     Group A, Discussion.    First Interim Draft Due.

16.  Feb. 16:     Group B, Discussion.    First Interim Draft Due.

17.  Feb. 18:     Individual conferences with students as needed.

18.  Feb. 21:     Group A, Informal Oral Progress Reports.

19.  Feb. 23:     Group A, Informal Oral Progress Reports. 

20.  Feb. 25:     NO CLASS

21.  Feb. 28:     Group A, Writing Workshop. Second Interim Draft


22.  Mar. 2:       Group B, Writing Workshop. Second Interim Draft


23.  Mar. 4:       Individual conferences.

24.  Mar. 7:       Individual conferences.

25.  Mar. 9:       NO CLASS.

26.  Mar. 11:     Individual conferences.

27.  Mar. 14:     Group A, Formal Oral Progress Reports. First Complete Rough

 Draft Due.

28.  Mar. 16:     Group B, Formal Oral Progress Reports.  First Complete Rough

Draft Due.

29.  Mar. 18:     Standardized Testing.

30.  Mar. 21:     Group A, Preparing Oral Presentations. 

31.  Mar. 23:     Group B, Preparing Oral Presentations. 

32.  Mar. 25:        NO CLASS.

Mar. 28-Apr. 1: SPRING BREAK

33.  Apr. 4:       Oral Presentations. Second Complete Rough Drafts Due

34.  Apr. 6:       Oral Presentations.

35.  Apr. 8:       Oral Presentations.

36.  Apr. 11:     Oral Presentations.

37.  Apr. 13:     Oral Presentations.

38.  Apr. 15:     Oral Presentations.

39.  Apr. 18:     Oral Presentations.

40.  Apr. 20:     Oral Presentations.

41.  Apr. 22:     Oral Presentations.

42.  Apr. 25:     Oral Presentations.      

43.  Apr. 27:     Oral Presentations.

44.  Apr. 29:     Oral Presentations.

45.  May 2:       Oral Presentations. Final Draft Due.