Advanced Historical Research – HIST 601

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

Application of advanced historical methodology to a specific topic or research interest.


A minimum GPA of 3.75


This course provides advanced History students the opportunity to conduct supervised historical research. Students will produce a research design, review historiography of the subject, conduct primary source research, and produce a substantial final paper. The course will become the expected bridge for online students seeking to write a thesis, and the final project is designed to serve as the introductory chapter(s) of the thesis. Online MA History students may take HIST 689/690 as part of the 36 hour online program.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify a historical topic for further evidentiary research.
  2. Develop a research thesis and design suitable to advanced, historical research.
  3. Identify gaps in existing historical research and interpretations related to the chosen research topic.
  4. Produce a graduate level, annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources related to the chosen research topic.
  5. Produce the first chapter of a MA History thesis.
  6. Demonstrate graduate-level competency in historical research and analysis in writing.

Course Assignment

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Research Topic Selection

The student will devise a research topic suitable for a graduate-level history course. The topic must relate to American history, modern European history, or world history. The research topic must answer a specific question of historical interest. The student will write a 1-paragraph statement of the research topic and explain the key historical questions to be answered or resolved.

Research Design

The research proposal is a detailed explanation of the topic to be studied, the process by which the student answers a question of historical significance, and the principal sources for research. It must include a: 1) thesis statement 2) explanation of historical significance 3) preliminary bibliography 4) a research plan that explains the location of the major primary sources needed to complete the project (archives, digital libraries, museums, etc.) and 5) A list of 3 potential directors of this thesis. The director must be a graduate faculty or graduate adjunct faculty member with the LU Department of History. The student will write a 1-page Research Design in current Turabian format.

Scholars Crossing Review

For this assignment, the student must review at least 3 Master’s Theses from graduates of the History Department in Jerry Falwell Library’s Scholars Crossing (also known as Digital Commons). After reviewing each thesis, the student must create an annotated bibliography entry for each one in current Turabian format, offering a general overview of the thesis. Each annotation must not exceed 50 words.

Annotated Bibliography

The student will form a basic list of the key documents, historical objects, works of art, books, and articles related to the research topic. The sources will be divided into primary and secondary sources. At least 40 entries, divided between primary and secondary sources, and all must be annotated. The student must use proper Turabian formatting for the bibliography. Of the 40 entries: (a) 20 must be primary sources, (b) 10 must be books, (c) 15 must be articles, and (d) 10 must be an archived or edited primary source.

Historiographical Essay

The student will produce a historiographical essay pertaining to their chosen research topic. The submitted assignment should be 1500-1750 words, use proper Turabian citation, and focus on why and how historians change their interpretations about the specific topic over time. Historiographical essays are available in scholarly journals and even on scholarly websites and discussion boards. In some instances, there may not be an essay directly applicable to the chosen research topic. In this case, students should consult with the instructor for further guidance.

Research Journals (2)

Students will produce 2 Research Journals. Each journal has its own specific prompt, related to the work being done in the module/week in which it is due.

Final Research Paper

The student will compile information from the historiographical essay and research journal into an 20–25-page final research essay related to the scholarship of his or her chosen research topic.