In the final paper, at least three primary sources and three secondary sources are required. Note: Wikipedia is not an academic source. You can use Chinese or other language primary sources that have not been translated. Under these conditions, please provide the original text and your own translation in your final paper.
I recommend that you follow three steps to conduct your research project before writing.
1. Identify a topic that you are interested in and what questions you want to know further. You can list several possible questions at this step.
2. Go to the library website or google scholar page, search the keywords to look for some academic sources (secondary literature) on the topic. Do not just google the topic or keywords/key phrases; you need to use academic materials to finish this academic training. Reading secondary literature (especially the recent ones) helps you know what other scholars have done and what primary sources might be accessible to you. After reading secondary sources, go back to your questions, evaluate which question is the most realistic one that research and writing could be done in several weeks and then focus on the question. Always make notes when reading academic materials.
3. Analyze primary sources that you identify. You can use the 3As skill to analyze sources with a particular focus on the author’s agenda. Ask yourself questions when analyzing the primary sources, especially whether they support or oppose the secondary sources, what you could conclude from the sources, etc.
Narrowing down the scope of your question is extremely important. You are not expected to provide general coverage of Chinese historical topics in this project. You can ask a question on the second topic, such as “How Kublai was perceived in Chinese eyes? A Mongol Khan or a legitimate ruler of China?” No research question is too small. Generally speaking, you can focus on a person, event, object, etc. A question too big for this small project would be like this, “How the Mongols influenced Chinese history?”
Another issue is the format. Academic format is not limited to the citation style, such as footnote or bibliography. Please try to convince your reader with a clear argument at the introduction of your paper. You should not merely summarize the sources you found; we hope to read your original critical thinking supported by relevant evidence. Also, keep quotes at a minimum; use a paraphrase.
Prepare a proposal for your final paper. The proposal does not need to be formal. You should include an introduction to the topic, the specific question you want to analyze, and the primary sources and secondary sources related to the topic in the proposal. Give a short description of each source. For the secondary source, you need to explain the argument of the author. For the primary source, you should explain the author, time period, and what the source is mainly about, etc.
The proposal (300-500 words) will be judged on three aspects: topic introduction, research question, and sources. Your TA will give you feedback on whether your proposal for the research project is feasible and guide you for some improvement.
The final paper (1,200-1,500 words, no more than 1,800 words) will be judged on five aspects: research, effort, analysis, academic format, and the quality of the final product.