Term Paper Prospectus Prompt



Your name


Class Professor Name


TENTATIVE TITLE or ESSAY TOPIC (the title goes in all caps)

Introduction: Give a brief overview of your topic, explain its relevance and be as specific as possible. It’s okay to begin with a broad theme – such as Civil Rights, Imperialism, Westward Expansion, etc., but as you research the topic, narrow your focus to a more specific aspect of the larger theme. If you know what direction, your essay is going to take, state it here. In effect, what you are doing is providing a proposal of ideas. The proposal should be only one (1) paragraph long. Use this document as your template, your proposal should have these same sections found here: Heading, Title, Introduction, Thesis, and Sources.


Working theses: Your tentative thesis statement (argument) goes here.

What is a thesis? A thesis statement is not a topic sentence, a title, or a summary. A thesis makes a deniable assertion , that is, you are proposing an idea that someone else might not share or can argue against. Do not try to “prove” anything, just argue a point with facts.

A thesis:

· Is a road map for the paper, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.

· Tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject.

· Makes a claim that others might dispute.

· Is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself.

· The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Civil Rights; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the movement.

· Is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader.

· The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.


Potential sources: Here you will list your sources – the articles and primary sources you will use. I don’t expect you to have your sources yet but list them here if you do. If you have not reached this point, list the types of sources you have looked at or are planning to consult for your essay. The sources are tentative and can change later, and that’s okay. The point is to get you thinking about them. In the field of history, the sources list is called a “Bibliography,” you may know it as “Works Cited.” Try to cite your sources in MLA style, but the Chicago (Turabian) style is preferred in history – use it if you can. The approved sources for the paper are:

· Journal articles – these are found in peer-reviewed academic journals

· Primary sources – these may come from the textbook or from the additional databases provided on Blackboard.

Consult the document on sources in the “Writing Materials” folder for further explanation. Random online sources are not allowed for this assignment – this will get you an automatic zero. The textbook is off limits, use it only for general reference, but do not cite it – paraphrase.