Special Topics – HIUS 797

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 02/08/2022

Course Description

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

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog


This course provides advanced History students the opportunity to conduct supervised historical research. The course serves as a preliminary step toward producing a dissertation or secondary area of research expertise.  Students are encouraged to use this course to produce a publishable article or dissertation chapter.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify a historical topic for doctoral-level research.
  2. Develop a research thesis and design suitable for doctoral-level research.
  3. Identify gaps in existing historical research and interpretations related to the chosen research topic.
  4. Produce a doctoral level, annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources related to the chosen research topic.
  5. Produce a publishable article or chapter of a dissertation.
  6. Demonstrate graduate-level competency in historical research and analysis in writing.

Course Assignment

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

The student will devise a research topic suitable for doctoral-level historical research. The topic must relate to the subject of the course. The research topic must answer a specific question or questions 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.

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) revised research question(s)  2) explanation of historical significance 3) annotated bibliography 4) a research plan that explains the location of the major primary sources needed to complete the project (archives, digital libraries, museums, etc.). The research question(s) and explanation should not exceed 1 typed page using a standard font.  The annotated bibliography is preliminary and should include a minimum of 12 primary sources as well as ten secondary sources.  Of the ten secondary sources, five should be books and five should be scholarly articles. The student will write in current Turabian format.

Produce a brief but detailed analysis of five (5) primary source collections/archive (digital or physical) or databases (including statistical datasets) used for researching the chosen topic.  Use proper Turabian bibliographic citations for the collection title.  For each one, also add bibliographic citations for individual documents or sources of information located within the collection or archive.  There is no predetermined number of individual sources to be added.  It is possible that in the case of datasets or some collections, there may only be one source within the collection pertinent to the research topic.

Write a lengthy footnote covering the principle historiographical interpretations on the topic. The footnote should be in proper Turabian format.  It is estimated that the footnote will address at least 8 secondary sources and a mixture of books and articles.  There is no precise measure of what constitutes the correct mixture.

Students will produce 4 Research Journals. Each journal has its own specific discussion board prompt, related to the work being done in the module in which it is due.  It is expected that students will respond to each others postings and offer collaborative support, research guidance, and suggestions for improvement.  Encouragement requires suggestions.

Provide a standard outline of the research paper.  The outline should include the introductory information, standard (un-annotated) bibliography, and the revised historiographical footnote.  Care should be taken to properly document key primary sources and locate them in the outline where they will be analyzed.  This outline is strictly a draft document, but feedback will be based on how much information is provided.

The student will compile information and analysis gained from the course into a 20–25-page final research essay. All formatting should follow standard Turabian style based first on the Department of History Quick Guide to Turabian.  Anything not addressed in that Quick Guide may follow “Note and Bibliography” guidelines currently used by the University of Chicago Press for “Chicago Style” and “Turabian.”  The Liberty University Department of History does not use the Turabian “Author-Date” style.

The student is required to provide a video “mini-defense” of the research paper and will be modeled on the standard dissertation defense required in the Ph.D in History program.  The video should be 3.5 - 5 minutes in video format and demonstrate course-related knowledge. Maximum length is 6 minutes. The video should be posted to an unlisted YouTube account linked to the Discussion Board forum along with a 250 word abstract of the article or chapter produced in the course.