The European City in History

Guidelines for the Prospectus and Preliminary Bibliography


Choosing a good topic for your essay is hard but essential work.  A few preliminary suggestions are accordingly appropriate:

1. The topic should interest you and you should consider it important;

2. The topic must be limited; choose a broad topic and narrow it down;

3. The topic must be feasible within the time limits of this course and using local resources (libraries, computer networks, and so on);

4. Primary and secondary sources for your topic must be available and you must be able to read them.

5. The topic should respond to a significant question or questions you (and your potential readers) want answered.

6. After you have decided upon your topic, write a prospectus following the required format.

The Annotated Bibliography

1. After your research topic has been defined and before you begin serious reading, you should first prepare a Working Bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

2. A minimum of ten (10) items is required, three of which must be primary sources.  The others must be books, articles in scholarly journals (like The American Historical Review or The Journal of Modern History), or Internet resources.

Required Bibliography Format (use Rampolla or Turabian as your guide):

Twyman, Michael. Lithography 1800-1850. The Techniques of Drawing on Stone in England and France and Their Application in Works of Topography. London: Oxford University Press, 1970.  NE2425.T85

3. Locate each book or article and skim it, asking yourself:  does this source help me with my topic?  If not, write a note on the back of your card and save the card; if so, write a brief annotation on the card summarizing the content of the source and indicating how it will help.

4. When you have completed your search and have located the required ten sources, prepare an annotated bibliography to be turned in.  Use the required format.

The European City in History

 Format for the Prospectus and Annotated Bibliography on
 (Your Topic)

The Prospectus

1. A precise statement of the topic and preliminary thesis (about one paragraph).

2. The historical questions to be answered.

3. A statement of the topic’s importance.

4. The historical method.

The Annotated Bibliography

I. Primary Sources.

II.  Secondary Sources.

A. Books.

1. James, John. Chartres. The Masons Who Built a Legend. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.  BX 4629.C47.C374.

A careful analysis by an architect of how Chartres Cathedral was actually built.  By painstakingly studying the stones used to build the cathedral, James has identified the work of each separate team of masons and the sequence in which the parts of the building were erected.

B. Articles in Scholarly Journals.

1. Dow, Helen J. “The Rose Window,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 20 (July 1957): 248-297.

[Annotation following the format above]

III. Internet Resources.

IV. Indexes/Research Aids Consulted:

1. The Humanities Index, 1950-1984.  Topics researched: Chartres Cathedral; Gothic Cathedral; etc.

This Page is Maintained by Robert W. Brown
Last Update:  15 January 2004

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