A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing Historical Research [without getting hysterical!]
In addition to being a scholarly investigation, research is a social activity intended to create new knowledge. Historical research is your informed response to the questions that you ask while examining the record of human experience. These questions may concern such elements as looking at an event or topic, examining events that lead to the event in question, social influences, key players, and other contextual information.
This step-by-step guide progresses from an introduction to historical resources to information about how to identify a topic, craft a thesis and develop a research paper. Table of contents:
- The Range and Richness of Historical Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Primary Sources
- Historical Analysis
- What is it?
- Who, When, Where, What and Why: The Five "W"s
- Topic, Thesis, Sources
- Definition of Terms
- Choose a Topic
- Craft a Thesis
- Evaluate Thesis and Sources
- A Variety of Information Sources
- Take Efficient Notes
- Note Cards
- Thinking, Organizing, Researching
- Parenthetical Documentation
- Prepare a Works Cited Page
- Drafting, Revising, Rewriting, Rethinking
- For Further Reading: Works Cited
- So you want to study history?! Tons of help and links
- Slatta Home Page Use the Writing and other links on the lefhand menu
I. The Range and Richness of Historical Sources Back to Top
Every period leaves traces, what historians call "sources" or evidence. Some are more credible or carry more weight than others; judging the differences is a vital skill developed by good historians. Sources vary in perspective, so knowing who created the information you are examining is vital. Anonymous doesn't make for a very compelling source. For example, an FBI report on the antiwar movement, prepared for U.S. President Richard Nixon, probably contained secrets that at the time were thought to have affected national security. It would not be usual, however, for a journalist's article about a campus riot, featured in a local newspaper, to leak top secret information. Which source would you read? It depends on your research topic. If you're studying how government officials portrayed student activists, you'll want to read the FBI report and many more documents from other government agencies such as the CIA and the National Security Council. If you're investigating contemporary opinion of pro-war and anti-war activists, local newspaper accounts provide a rich resource. You'd want to read a variety of newspapers to ensure you're covering a wide range of opinions (rural/urban, left/right, North/South, Soldier/Draft-dodger, etc).
Historians classify sources into two major categories: primary and secondary sources.
- Secondary Sources Back to Top
Secondary sources are created by someone who was either not present when the event occurred or removed from it in time. We use secondary sources for overview information, to familiarize ourselves with a topic, and compare that topic with other events in history. In refining a research topic, we often begin with secondary sources. This helps us identify gaps or conflicts in the existing scholarly literature that might prove promsing topics.
History books, encyclopedias, historical dictionaries, and academic (scholarly) articles are secondary sources. To help you determine the status of a given secondary source, see How to identify and nagivate scholarly literature.
Historian Marilyn Young's (NYU) book about the Vietnam War is a secondary source. She did not participate in the war. Her study is not based on her personal experience but on the evidence she culled from a variety of sources she found in the United States and Vietnam.
Primary Sources Back to Top
Primary sources emanate from individuals or groups who participated in or witnessed an event and recorded that event during or immediately after the event. They include speeches, memoirs, diaries, letters, telegrams, emails, proclamations, government documents, and much more.
A student activist during the war writing about protest activities has created a memoir. This would be a primary source because the information is based on her own involvement in the events she describes. Similarly, an antiwar speech is a primary source. So is the arrest record of student protesters. A newspaper editorial or article, reporting on a student demonstration is also a primary source.
II. Historical Analysis
- What is it? Back to Top
No matter what you read, whether it's a primary source or a secondary source, you want to know who authored the source (a trusted scholar? A controversial historian? A propagandist? A famous person? An ordinary individual?). "Author" refers to anyone who created information in any medium (film, sound, or text). You also need to know when it was written and the kind of audience the author intend to reach.
You should also consider what you bring to the evidence that you examine. Are you inductively following a path of evidence, developing your interpretation based on the sources? Do you have an ax to grind? Did you begin your research deductively, with your mind made up before even seeing the evidence. Historians need to avoid the latter and emulate the former. To read more about the distinction, examine the difference between Intellectual Inquirers and Partisan Ideologues .
In the study of history, perspective is everything. A letter written by a twenty- year old Vietnam War protestor will differ greatly from a letter written by a scholar of protest movements. Although the sentiment might be the same, the perspective and influences of these two authors will be worlds apart. Practicing the "5 Ws" will avoid the confusion of the authority trap.
- Who, When, Where, What and Why: The Five "W"s Back to Top
Historians accumulate evidence (information, including facts, stories, interpretations, opinions, statements, reports, etc.) from a variety of sources (primary and secondary). They must also verify that certain key pieces of information are corroborated by a number of people and sources ("the predonderance of evidence"). The historian poses the "5 Ws" to every piece of information he examines: Who is the historical actor? When did the event take place? Where did it occur? What did it entail and why did it happen the way it did? The "5 Ws" can also be used to evaluate a primary source. Who authored the work? When was it created? Where was it created, published, and disseminated? Why was it written (the intended audience), and what is the document about (what points is the author making)? If you know the answers to these five questions, you can analyze any document, and any primary source. The historian doesn't look for the truth, since this presumes there is only one true story. The historian tries to understand a number of competing viewpoints to form his or her own interpretation-- what constitutes the best explanation of what happened and why.
By using as wide a range of primary source documents and secondary sources as possible, you will add depth and richness to your historical analysis. The more exposure you, the researcher, have to a number of different sources and differing view points, the more you have a balanced and complete view about a topic in history. This view will spark more questions and ultimately lead you into the quest to unravel more clues about your topic. You are ready to start assembling information for your research paper.
III. Topic, Thesis, Sources
- Definition of Terms Back to Top
Because your purpose is to create new knowledge while recognizing those scholars whose existing work has helped you in this pursuit, you are honor bound never to commit the following academic sins:
- Plagiarism: Literally "kidnapping," involving the use of someone else's words as if they were your own (Gibaldi 6). To avoid plagiarism you must document direct quotations, paraphrases, and original ideas not your own.
- Recycling: Rehashing material you already know thoroughly or, without your professor's permission, submitting a paper that you have completed for another course.
- Premature cognitive commitment: Academic jargon for deciding on a thesis too soon and then seeking information to serve that thesis rather than embarking on a genuine search for new knowledge.
Choose a Topic Back to Top
"Do not hunt for subjects, let them choose you, not you them." --Samuel Butler
Choosing a topic is the first step in the pursuit of a thesis. Below is a logical progression from topic to thesis:
- Close reading of the primary text, aided by secondary sources
- Growing awareness of interesting qualities within the primary text
- Choosing a topic for research
- Asking productive questions that help explore and evaluate a topic
- Creating a research hypothesis
- Revising and refining a hypothesis to form a working thesis
First, and most important, identify what qualities in the primary or secondary source pique your imagination and curiosity and send you on a search for answers.
Bloom's taxonomy of cognitive levels provides a description of productive questions asked by critical thinkers. While the lower levels (knowledge, comprehension) are necessary to a good history essay, aspire to the upper three levels (analysis, synthesis, evaluation).
Skimming reference works such as encyclopedias, books, critical essays and periodical articles can help you choose a topic that evolves into a hypothesis, which in turn may lead to a thesis. One approach to skimming involves reading the first paragraph of a secondary source to locate and evaluate the author's thesis. Then for a general idea of the work's organization and major ideas read the first and last sentence of each paragraph. Read the conclusion carefully, as it usually presents a summary (Barnet and Bedau 19).
- Craft a Thesis Back to Top
Very often a chosen topic is too broad for focused research. You must revise it until you have a working hypothesis, that is, a statement of an idea or an approach with respect to the source that could form the basis for your thesis.
Remember to not commit too soon to any one hypothesis. Use it as a divining rod or a first step that will take you to new information that may inspire you to revise your hypothesis. Be flexible. Give yourself time to explore possibilities.
The hypothesis you create will mature and shift as you write and rewrite your paper. New questions will send you back to old and on to new material. Remember, this is the nature of research--it is more a spiraling or iterative activity than a linear one.
Test your working hypothesis to be sure it is:
- broad enough to promise a variety of resources.
- narrow enough for you to research in depth.
- original enough to interest you and your readers.
- worthwhile enough to offer information and insights of substance
- "do-able"--sources are available to complete the research.
Now it is time to craft your thesis, your revised and refined hypothesis. A thesis is a declarative sentence that:
- focuses on one well-defined idea
- makes an arguable assertion; it is capable of being supported
- prepares your readers for the body of your paper and foreshadows the conclusion.
Evaluate Thesis and Sources Back to Top
Like your hypothesis, your thesis is not carved in stone. You are in charge. If necessary, revise it during the research process. As you research, continue to evaluate both your thesis for practicality, originality, and promise as a search tool, and secondary sources for relevance and scholarliness. The following are questions to ask during the research process:
- Are there many journal articles and entire books devoted to the thesis, suggesting that the subject has been covered so thoroughly that there may be nothing new to say?
- Does the thesis lead to stimulating, new insights?
- Are appropriate sources available? Is there a variety of sources available so that the bibliography or works cited page will reflect different kinds of sources?
- Which sources are too broad for my thesis? Which resources are too narrow?
- Who is the author of the secondary source? Does the critic's background suggest that he/she is qualified?
After crafting a thesis, consider one of the following two approaches to writing a research paper:
- Excited about your thesis and eager to begin?
- Return to the primary or secondary source to find support for your thesis.
- Organize ideas and begin writing your first draft.
- After writing the first draft, have it reviewed by your peers and your instructor. Ponder their suggestions and return to the sources to answer still-open questions.
- Document facts and opinions from secondary sources.
- Remember, secondary sources can never substitute for primary sources.
- Confused about where to start?
- Use your thesis to guide you to primary and secondary sources.
- Secondary sources can help you clarify your position and find a direction for your paper.
- Keep a working bibliography. You may not use all the sources you record, but you cannot be sure which ones you will eventually discard.
- Create a working outline as you research. This outline will, of course, change as you delve more deeply into your subject.
- A Variety of Information Sources Back to Top
"A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimension." --Oliver Wendell Holmes
Your thesis and your working outline are the primary compasses that will help you navigate the variety of sources available.
- In "Introduction to the Library" (5-6) the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers suggests you become familiar with the library you will be using by:
- taking a tour or enrolling for a brief introductory lecture
- referring to the library's publications describing its resources
- introducing yourself and your project to the reference librarian
- The MLA Handbook also lists guides for the use of libraries (5), including:
- Jean Key Gates, Guide to the Use of Libraries and Information Sources (7th ed., New York: McGraw, 1994).
- Thomas Mann, A Guide to Library Research Methods (New York: Oxford UP, 1987).
- Online Central Catalog
- Most libraries have their holdings listed on a computer.
- The online catalog may offer Internet sites, Web pages and databases that relate to the university's curriculum. It may also include academic journals and online reference books.
- Below are three search techniques commonly used online:
- Index Search: Although online catalogs may differ slightly from library to library, the most common listings are by:
- Subject Search: Enter the author's name for books and article written about the author.
- Author Search: Enter an author's name for works written by the author, including collections of essays the author may have written about his/her own works.
- Title Search: Enter a title for the screen to list all the books the library carries with that title.
- Key Word Search/Full-text Search:
- A one-word search, e.g., 'Kennedy,' will produce an overwhelming number of sources, as it will call up any entry that includes the name 'Kennedy.'
- To focus more narrowly on your subject, add one or more key words, e.g., "John Kennedy, Peace Corps."
- Use precise key words.
- Boolean Search:
- Boolean Search techniques use words such as "and," "or," and "not," which clarify the relationship between key words, thus narrowing the search.
- Take Efficient Notes Back to Top
Keeping complete and accurate bibliography and note cards during the research process is a time (and sanity) saving practice. If you have ever needed a book or pages within a book, only to discover that an earlier researcher has failed to return it or torn pages from your source, you understand the need to take good notes.
Every researcher has a favorite method for taking notes. Here are some suggestions-- customize one of them for your own use.
- There may be far more books and articles listed than you have time to read, so be selective when choosing a reference. Take information from works that clearly relate to your thesis, remembering that you may not use them all.
- Use a smaller or a different color card from the one used for taking notes.
- Write a bibliography card for every source.
- Number the bibliography cards. On the note cards, use the number rather than the author's name and the title. It's faster.
- Another method for recording a working bibliography, of course, is to create your own database. Adding, removing, and alphabetizing titles is a simple process. Be sure to save often and to create a back-up file.
- A bibliography card should include all the information a reader needs to locate that particular source for further study.
- Most of the information required for a book entry (Gibaldi 112):
- Author's name
- Title of a part of the book [preface, chapter titles, etc.]
- Title of the book
- Name of the editor, translator, or compiler
- Edition used
- Number(s) of the volume(s) used
- Name of the series
- Place of publication, name of the publisher, and date of publication
- Page numbers
- Supplementary bibliographic information and annotations
- Most of the information required for an article in a periodical (Gibaldi 141):
- Author's name
- Title of the article
- Name of the periodical
- Series number or name (if relevant)
- Volume number (for a scholarly journal)
- Issue number (if needed)
- Date of publication
- Page numbers
- Supplementary information
- For information on how to cite other sources refer to your So you want to study history page.
- Note Cards Back to Top
- Take notes in ink on either uniform note cards (3x5, 4x6, etc.) or uniform slips of paper.
- Devote each note card to a single topic identified at the top. Write only on one side. Later, you may want to use the back to add notes or personal observations.
- Include a topical heading for each card.
- Include the number of the page(s) where you found the information. You will want the page number(s) later for documentation, and you may also want page number(s)to verify your notes.
- Most novice researchers write down too much. Condense. Abbreviate. You are striving for substance, not quantity. Quote directly from primary sources--but the "meat," not everything.
- Suggestions for condensing information:
- Summary: A summary is intended to provide the gist of an essay. Do not weave in the author's choice phrases. Read the information first and then condense the main points in your own words. This practice will help you avoid the copying that leads to plagiarism. Summarizing also helps you both analyze the text you are reading and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses (Barnet and Bedau 13).
- Outline: Use to identify a series of points.
- Paraphrase, except for key primary source quotations. Never quote directly from a secondary source, unless the precise wording is essential to your argument. Simplify the language and list the ideas in the same order. A paraphrase is as long as the original. Paraphrasing is helpful when you are struggling with a particularly difficult passage.
- Be sure to jot down your own insights or flashes of brilliance. Ralph Waldo Emerson warns you to "Look sharply after your thoughts. They come unlooked for, like a new bird seen on your trees, and, if you turn to your usual task, disappear...." To differentiate these insights from those of the source you are reading, initial them as your own. (When the following examples of note cards include the researcher's insights, they will be followed by the initials N. R.)
- When you have finished researching your thesis and you are ready to write your paper, organize your cards according to topic. Notecards make it easy to shuffle and organize your source information on a table-- or across the floor.
- Maintain your working outline that includes the note card headings and explores a logical order for presenting them in your paper.
IV. Begin Thinking, Researching, Organizing Back to Top
Don't be too sequential. Researching, writing, revising is a complex interactive process. Start writing as soon as possible! "The best antidote to writer's block is--to write." (Klauser 15). However, you still feel overwhelmed and are staring at a blank page, you are not alone. Many students find writing the first sentence to be the most daunting part of the entire research process.
- Be creative. Cluster (Rico 28-49).
- Clustering is a form of brainstorming. Sometimes called a web, the cluster forms a design that may suggest a natural organization for a paper. Here's a graphical depiction of brainstorming.
- Like a sun, the generating idea or topic lies at the center of the web. From it radiate words, phrases, sentences and images that in turn attract other words, phrases, sentences and images. Put another way--stay focused.
- Start with your outline.
- If clustering is not a technique that works for you, turn to the working outline you created during the research process. Use the outline view of your word processor.
- If you have not already done so, group your note cards according to topic headings. Compare them to your outline's major points. If necessary, change the outline to correspond with the headings on the note cards.
- If any area seems weak because of a scarcity of facts or opinions, return to your primary and/or secondary sources for more information or consider deleting that heading. Use your outline to provide balance in your essay. Each major topic should have approximately the same amount of information.
- Once you have written a working outline, consider two different methods for organizing it.
- A process of development that moves from the general to the specific. You may use this approach to present your findings. However, as noted above, your research and interpretive process should be inductive.
- Deduction is the most commonly used form of organization for a research paper.
- The thesis statement is the generalization that leads to the specific support provided by primary and secondary sources.
- The thesis is stated early in the paper. The body of the paper then proceeds to provide the facts, examples, and analogies that flow logically from that thesis.
- The thesis contains key words that are reflected in the outline. These key words become a unifying element throughout the paper, as they reappear in the detailed paragraphs that support and develop the thesis.
- The conclusion of the paper circles back to the thesis, which is now far more meaningful because of the deductive development that supports it.
- Chronological order
- A process that follows a traditional time line or sequence of events.
- A chronological organization is useful for a paper that explores cause and effect.
- Parenthetical Documentation Back to Top
The Works Cited page, a list of primary and secondary sources, is not sufficient documentation to acknowledge the ideas, facts, and opinions you have included within your text. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers describes an efficient parenthetical style of documentation to be used within the body of your paper.
This guide adapted from materials published by Thomson Gale, publishers. For free resources, including a generic guide to writing term papers, see the Gale.com website, which also includes product information for schools.
- Guidelines for parenthetical documentation:
- "References to the text must clearly point to specific sources in the list of works cited" (Gibaldi 184).
- Try to use parenthetical documentation as little as possible. For example, when you cite an entire work, it is preferable to include the author's name in the text.
- The author's last name followed by the page number is usually enough for an accurate identification of the source in the works cited list.
These examples illustrate the most common kinds of documentation.
- Documenting a quotation:
Ex. "The separation from the personal mother is a particularly intense process for a daughter because she has to separate from the one who is the same as herself" (Murdock 17). She may feel abandoned and angry.
Note: The author of The Heroine's Journey is listed under Works Cited by the author's name, reversed--Murdock, Maureen.
Quoted material is found on page 17 of that book. Parenthetical documentation is after the quotation mark and before the period.
- Documenting a paraphrase:
Ex. In fairy tales a woman who holds the princess captive or who abandons her often needs to be killed (18).
Note: The second paraphrase is also from Murdock's book The Heroine's Journey. It is not, however, necessary to repeat the author's name if no other documentation interrupts the two.
- If the works cited page lists more than one work by the same author, include within the parentheses an abbreviated form of the appropriate title.
- You may, of course, include the title in your sentence, making it unnecessary to add an abbreviated title in the citation. >
- Prepare a Works Cited Page Back to Top
- There are a variety of titles for the page that lists primary and secondary sources (Gibaldi 106-107).
- A Works Cited page lists those works you have cited within the body of your paper. The reader need only refer to it for the necessary information required for further independent research.
- Bibliography means literally a description of books. Because your research may involve the use of periodicals, films, art works, photographs, etc. "Works Cited" is a more precise descriptive term than bibliography.
- An Annotated Bibliography or Annotated Works Cited page offers brief critiques and descriptions of the works listed.
- A Works Consulted page lists those works you have used but not cited. Avoid using this format.
- As with other elements of a research paper there are specific guidelines for the placement and the appearance of the Works Cited page. The following guidelines comply with MLA style:
- The Work Cited page is placed at the end of your paper and numbered consecutively with the body of your paper.
- Center the title and place it one inch from the top of your page. Do not quote or underline the title.
- Double space the entire page, both within and between entries.
- The entries are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name or by the title of the article or book being cited. If the title begins with an article (a, an, the) alphabetize by the next word.
- If you cite two or more works by the same author, list the titles in alphabetical order. Begin every entry after the first with three hyphens followed by a period.
- All entries begin at the left margin but subsequent lines are indented five spaces.
- Be sure that each entry cited on the Works Cited page corresponds to a specific citation within your paper.
- Refer to the the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (104- 182) for detailed descriptions of Work Cited entries.
Citing sources from online databases is a relatively new phenomenon. Make sure to ask your professor about citing these sources and which style to use.
V. Draft, Revise, Rewrite, Rethink Back to Top
"There are days when the result is so bad that no fewer than five revisions are required. In contrast, when I'm greatly inspired, only four revisions are needed." --John Kenneth Galbraith
- Try freewriting your first draft.
- Freewriting is a discovery process during which the writer freely explores a topic. Let your creative juices flow. In Writing without Teachers, Peter Elbow asserts that "[a]lmost everybody interposes a massive and complicated series of editings between the time words start to be born into consciousness and when they finally come off the end of the pencil or typewriter [or word processor] onto the page" (5).
- Do not let your internal judge interfere with this first draft. Creating and revising are two very different functions. Don't confuse them! If you stop to check spelling, punctuation, or grammar, you disrupt the flow of creative energy. Create; then fix it later.
- When material you have researched comes easily to mind, include it. Add a quick citation, one you can come back to later to check for form, and get on with your discovery.
- In subsequent drafts, focus on creating an essay that flows smoothly, supports fully, and speaks clearly and interestingly. Add style to substance.
- Create a smooth flow of words, ideas and paragraphs.
- Rearrange paragraphs for a logical progression of information.
- Transition is essential if you want your reader to follow you smoothly from introduction to conclusion.
- Transitional words and phrases stitch your ideas together; they provide coherence within the essay. External transition: Words and phrases that are added to a sentence as overt signs of transition are obvious and effective, but should not be overused, as they may draw attention to themselves and away from ideas. Examples of external transition are "however," "then," "next," "therefore." "first," "moreover," and "on the other hand." Internal transition is more subtle. Key words in the introduction become golden threads when they appear in the paper's body and conclusion. When the writer hears a key word repeated too often, however, she/he replaces it with a synonym or a pronoun. Below are examples of internal transition.
- Transitional sentences create a logical flow from paragraph to paragraph. Iclude individual words, phrases, or clauses that refer to previous ideas and that point ahead to new ones. They are usually placed at the end or at the beginning of a paragraph.
- A transitional paragraph conducts your reader from one part of the paper to another. It may be only a few sentences long.
- Each paragraph of the body of the paper should contain adequate support for its one governing idea.
- Speak/write clearly, in your own voice.
- Tone: The paper's tone, whether formal, ironic, or humorous, should be appropriate for the audience and the subject.
- Voice: Keep you language honest. Your paper should sound like you. Understand, paraphrase, absorb, and express in your own words the information you have researched. Avoid phony language.
- Sentence formation: When you polish your sentences, read them aloud for word choice and word placement. Be concise. Strunk and White in The Elements of Style advise the writer to "omit needless words" (23). First, however, you must recognize them.Keep yourself and your reader interested. In fact, Strunk's 1918 writing advice is still well worth pondering.
- First, deliver on your promises. Be sure the body of your paper fulfills the promise of the introduction.
- Avoid the obvious. Offer new insights. Reveal the unexpected.
- Have you crafted your conclusion as carefully as you have your introduction? Conclusions are not merely the repetition of your thesis. The conclusion of a research paper is a synthesis of the information presented in the body. Your research has led you to conclusions and opinions that have helped you understand your thesis more deeply and more clearly. Lift your reader to the full level of understanding that you have achieved.
- Revision means "to look again."
- Find a peer reader to read your paper with you present. Or, visit your college or university's writing lab. Guide your reader's responses by asking specific questions. Are you unsure of the logical order of your paragraphs? Do you want to know whether you have supported all opinions adequately? Are you concerned about punctuation or grammar? Ask that these issues be addressed. You are in charge.
- Here are some techniques that may prove helpful when you are revising alone or with a reader.
- When you edit for spelling errors read the sentences backwards. This procedure will help you look closely at individual words.
- Always read your paper aloud. Hearing your own words puts them in a new light. Listen to the flow of ideas and of language. Decide whether or not the voice sounds honest and the tone is appropriate to the purpose of the paper and to your audience.
- Listen for awkward or lumpy wording. Find the one right word, Eliminate needless words. Combine sentences.
- Kill the passive voice. Eliminate was/were/is/are constructions. They're lame and anti-historical.
- Be ruthless. If an idea doesn't serve your thesis, banish it, even if it's one of your favorite bits of prose.
- In the margins, write the major topic of each paragraph. By outlining after you have written the paper, you are once again evaluating your paper's organization.
- OK, you've got the process down. Now execute! And enjoy! It's not everyday that you get to make history.
VI. For Further Reading: Works Cited Back to Top
Barnet, Sylvan, and Hugo Bedau. Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing: A Brief Guide to Argument. Boston: Bedford, 1993.
Brent, Doug. Reading as Rhetorical Invention: Knowledge,Persuasion and the Teaching of Research-Based Writing. Urbana: NCTE, 1992.
Elbow, Peter. Writing without Teachers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.
Gibladi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 4th ed. New York: Modern Language Association, 1995.
Horvitz, Deborah. "Nameless Ghosts: Possession and Dispossession in Beloved." Studies in American Fiction, Vol. 17, No. 2, Autum, 1989, pp. 157-167. Republished in the Literature Research Center. Gale Group. (1 January 1999).
Klauser, Henriette Anne. Writing on Both Sides of the Brain: Breakthrough Techniques for People Who Write. Philadelphia: Harper, 1986.
Rico, Gabriele Lusser. Writing the Natural Way: Using Right Brain Techniques to Release Your Expressive Powers. Los Angeles: Houghton, 1983.
Sorenson, Sharon. The Research Paper: A Contemporary Approach. New York: AMSCO, 1994.
Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. 3rd ed. New York: MacMillan, 1979.
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