Finalessay

Guidelines for the Final Essay

 

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that you have studied and mastered the methods of historical analysis discussed in this class. Take your time and think about the assignment in detail. I am happy to help in any way that I can - I will look over outlines, read drafts, and offer whatever advice you might need. Do your best - it's no more fun reading lousy papers than it is getting a lousy grade!

Formal Requirements
Reports are to be approximately 15 pages of text long. Illustrations, tables, and bibliographic material (list of sources) do not count towards the 15 page requirement.

You are to submit THREE copies. Remember to include a cover page as described below.

The essays may be handed in to either of us or at the reception at the Technical Information Center of Denmark.

If two or more students collaborate on a report, it must be clear which student wrote which section of the report. Failure to do so will result in the paper being rejected. The total length of the paper is to be c. 15 pages per student.

Students are free to select whatever topic they choose, subject to the approval of the instructor. If you are having trouble selecting a topic, feel free to consult with us for suggestions and advice.

You may write your paper in Danish, English or any other language approved by me.

Content and Structure
The presentation should follow a clear and logical structure, and may include the following sections:
 

Cover Page (compulsory)
  - Course Number and Title, Student Name and Student Number
  - Month and year
  - Title of the paper
Introduction
  - Statement of the paper's thesis
  - Overview of the main arguments and topics covered
Main Body
  - Methodological overview, identification of major sources (both primary and secondary), and review of existing literature in the field: What has been written so far?
  - Review of the empirical results of your research
  - Discussion of the research results in relationship to your thesis. This can be integrated with the empirical results section for clarity if you wish
  - Conclusion, with a summary of your results
Bibliography
  - A list of sources consulted

In writing the paper, assume that the reader is not a technical specialist in the area discussed. Define specialist terminology and explain how technology works in general terms. Do not go overboard, however - there is no need to go back to Adam and Eve in the course of explanations.

The primary objective of the paper should be to analyze your subject material, not just to describe it. You must have a clear theoretical point of view, and a thesis that can be proved or disproved by the evidence that you present. Be sure to present all relevant evidence, including things that might be seen to contradict your thesis. You have an obligation to be as balanced in your presentation as you can be - this is a work of history, not propaganda.

Footnotes
Endnotes or footnotes (preferred) can be used for supplementary comments that are relevant yet not essential to the main line of inquiry

Sources
Sources are the basis for the factual material you will use in your paper. You can use a variety of possible source materials, from written and printed material like books, magazines and letters to visual material like photographs, paintings and films, as well as objects, audio recordings and interviews with participants in historical events. You should make use of as broad a selection of relevant materials as you can find.

In general, sources can be divided into two sorts - primary and secondary. Primary sources are always contemporary - that is, they date from the historical period under examination. For example, a letter written by a car mechanic or a repair manual for a Model T automobile written in 1919 would be primary sources if you were talking about car repair in the decade after World War I. A secondary source is either written at a later time (a memoir written by an automobile engine designer or a history of Alfa Romeo, for example), or is something written at the time but by someone not directly involved in the event itself (a newspaper story about a garage opening for business, for example). However, just to confuse you, newspapers may also be a primary source if you are examining how the newspapers described the launch of the Model T.

When using sources, you need to use them critically. That is, you should always be aware of who created them, and what motive they had for creating them. In the case of secondary sources, you should keep in mind the background and academic discipline of the author, and how that might influence the way they present their evidence. For example, the son of an inventor would likely write a very different book about his father than a complete stranger. The basic rule of thumb is to treat sources skeptically until you are convinced otherwise. Trust but verify.

I emphasize these points, but don't overdo it. This is not to be essays on historiography, but I want you to have such considerations in mind and to use you critical sense.

Finding Sources
Primary sources are found primarily in archives, such as the rigsarkivet, landsarkiverne and various specialarkiver. You can access the collections of the state archives at www.sa.dk . However, although it is considered better, you are not obliged to use such sources.

Secondary sources can be found through ALIS or www.bibliotek.dk , which give access to the collections of all of Denmark's libraries. The Technical Information Center of Denmark alsohas an extensive collection of electronic databases at your disposal, such as DADS, Web of Science, EBSCO, and many others. As for journals that contain historical material about science and technology, the following are of high quality: Centaurus, The British Journal for the History of Science, The Economic History Review, Business History Review, History and Technology, ICON, History Today, Isis, Osiris, Polhem, Social Studies of Science, Science, Technology and Human Values, Technikgeschichte, Technology and Culture.

Contact Kasper Bøgh (kab@dtic.dtu.dk) or me if you have difficulties finding literature.

Citations and quotes
Quotes are to be clearly marked (see below). Quotes should only be used sparingly to emphasize important points.

The reason for including notes is so that other historians can go to your sources and see if the evidence you are using is correctly cited, and that you are not just making things up. Therefore, you should cite sources in a clear and consistent format that allows other to find the material that you have worked with.

There are several citation systems. The Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide ( http://www.lib.ohio-state.edu/guides/chicagogd.html ) gives you a clear and concise introduction to Scientific style of citation as well as the more traditional Humanities style. There are other systems some of which are describes in  http://www.db.dk/bib/tutorials/referencer/om.htm


It doesn't matter which system you use as long as you only use it consistently.


WARNING ON PLAGURISM
The rules for citations in written assignments at DTU stipulate that quotes are to be marked by a quotation mark at the beginning and the end of the quote, and that the source for the quote must be indicated by a reference in parenthesis or foot- or endnote. If you do not quote directly you must nevertheless refer to the source of the information, again in parenthesis or foot- or endnote (see above). It is considered plagiarism if you pass on another person's text as your own. We are obliged to report failures to comply with these rules to the exam office. If you do try to cheat in this way you may be given a warning or ALL of you exam results this term may be annulled or it may cause you to be expelled from DTU temporarily or permanently.


Tips towards a Better Paper
Write clearly and forcefully - don't use "scientific" or "technical" language, and avoid the passive voice (Verbs are either active (The executive committee approved the new policy) or passive (The new policy was approved by the executive committee)).

Avoid making lists or regurgitating chronology which you don't make use of. Argue and analyze!

Stay on focus - it is better to analyze a narrow topic in depth than cover a broad topic superficially

Be sure to proofread your work for accuracy - make sure you spell names and locations correctly and get dates right.

Consult the most recent literature you can find

It's a good idea to ask another person to read through the essay before you hand it in.
Talk to me if you have any questions - I am here to help. Indeed, ask if you're in doubt!

Finally I hope you will enjoy writing the essay and have enjoyed the course and have learned a lot.

Your teacher

http://www.historie.dtu.dk/formidling/course/finalessay
22 NOVEMBER 2017