History 333: Research paper standards
Standards for an A paper--final draft, in order from most basic to most complex.
1. Well written. The paper is virtually free of errors and the prose is clear and easy to read. The introduction makes the reader want to continue.
2. Well organized. It has paragraphs that are well focused and have topic sentences that relate a part of the argument back to the thesis. It has transitions from one part of the argument to the next. Chronology is clear.
3. Properly documented. References to significant information are footnoted in the proper style. A bibliography of works consulted for the project is included at the end, also in the proper style.
4. Thoroughly researched. You've used, or at least considered, all the important, relevant sources available.
5. Analytical. The argument is well grounded in both facts and intelligible interpretation of those facts. It is not simply a narrative of events, but contextualizes and supports a thesis about those events.
6. Convincing. The thesis is well supported by evidence. This means also taking into account evidence which seems to contradict the thesis.
7. Original. It borrows ideas from many different sources, primary and secondary, to arrive at an original interpretation. A significant part of the argument should be derived from original analysis of primary documents. You should be able to say something unique.