summary is provided in Unit One

studying history

The ability to prepare clear and useful summaries of your readings is an important part of studying history. It’s also a useful skill with a multitude of applications. An example of a good reading note summary is provided in Unit One. We want to be sure that you’ve got this skillset up and running early in the course, so this assignment is front-loaded.

For early feedback on your studying, reading, and note-taking techniques and on your comprehension submit this to your Open Learning Faculty Member early, before you start Unit Three. It will be marked on a percentage basis out of a total of 100 marks and contributes 10 per cent toward your final grade for the course.

For this assignment, you are asked to send your Open Learning Faculty Member reading notes for four of the articles you have read in Units One and Two.

For each reading note, be sure to provide a correct citation, a statement of the author’s argument, a summary of the main points of analysis, the typical sources of evidence used by the author, and your assessment of how well the author developed his or her argument.

Each reading note should be about 200–250 words, excluding the citation. You may be penalized if your reading notes are excessively short or long.

Submit reading notes for four of the following articles:

· Allan Greer, “National, Transnational, and Hypernational Historiographies: New France Meets Early American History,”Canadian Historical Review 91, no. 4 (December 2010): 695–724. doi: 10.3138/chr.91.4.695.

· Alan Gordon, “The Many Meanings of Jacques Cartier,” chap. 6 in The Hero and the Historians: Historiography and the Uses of Jacques Cartier (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010) (TRU library e-book, search: The Hero and the Historians )

· A.B. McKillop, “Who Killed Canadian History? A View from the Trenches,” Canadian Historical Review, 99, no.2 (June 1999): 269-300.

· Charles C. Mann, “1491,” The Atlantic (March · Susan Neylan, “Unsettling British Columbia: Canadian Aboriginal Historiography, 1992–2012,” History Compass 11, no. 10 (October 2013): 845–858, doi: 10.1111/hic3/12085.

· Harald E. L. Pri chap. 4 in American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture, and Cartography in the Land of Norumbega, eds. Emerson W. Baker, Edwin A. Churchill, Richard D’Abate, Kristine L. Jones, Victor A. Conrad, and Harald E. L. Prins. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994), 95–117.




Essay Preparation

Three of your four HIST 1121 assignments are essays. It is imperative that your essays be well organized and carefully written and that they demonstrate your ability to analyze historical issues. Here are seven general suggestions to help you prepare your essays.

1. It is essential to define, describe, or specify the problem about which you are writing. An assigned topic will provide some general boundaries, but you must set precise limits for yourself and indicate to the reader the direction and significance of your essay. If, for example, you are going to identify the causes of the Seven Years’ War, it would be extremely prudent to restrict your efforts to, say, three causes and not attempt to cover every imaginable factor. The reader judges the essay by how well it demonstrates an understanding of the problem and addresses the question. Consider including in the first or second paragraph a sentence that begins with the phrase, This paper explores these themes and seeks to demonstrate that ….

Note the distinction between a topic and a thesis or argument—between what you are writing about and what you are arguing. State your thesis clearly in your introduction.

2. You will write an essay to present an argument or interpretation about a historical problem. Your Open Learning Faculty Member will judge your paper according to how well you present and defend your thesis or point of view.

3. As your essay is essentially an argument, all sections of the essay must contribute something to the argument. Organization is the key. Your essay should elaborate upon your thesis in an orderly and effective manner. You will need to introduce, describe, elaborate, answer objections to, and conclude your argument. An essay in which it would be possible to shuffle paragraphs around at random, without loss of continuity, has failed in this respect.

There is no magic formula for writing an introduction, but it does come at the beginning and should tell the reader what he or she must know in order to appreciate the body of the essay. Similarly, the conclusion, at the end, should be a statement of what has been learned on the basis of the evidence presented in the essay.

Continually pose yourself the question: How does this paragraph carry my argument forward? If you cannot give a good answer for a certain paragraph, you may be padding your essay with useless information. If a paragraph is irrelevant (however interesting), delete it.

You might also consider presenting certain types of information (for example, an interesting-but-somewhat-irrelevant aside) in an appendix or footnote so you don’t allow it to interrupt the flow of your argument.

4. As with any argument, you must defend or prove the points you make. Use others’ data and interpretations to justify your own interpretation, but be sure to acknowledge your use of the sources. Make full use of TRU Library’s writing resources and the TRU Writing Centre.

Treat your sources in a critical manner. Do not accept a point simply because someone has written it. Wherever possible, check against other sources. When, in your research, you find objections to your thesis, do not ignore them; refute them by explaining why, given the available data, your thesis represents a more logical interpretation of the facts.

Assume that your reader has little understanding of your essay topic. Identify all persons, places, events, and dates the first time you mention them. (For example, instead of dropping “Secord” into the middle of an argument, introduce her as “Laura Secord, a local shopkeeper.”) Explain all the connections and steps in your argument, even the obvious ones. Check each step with the questions: Is it convincing? Does it follow from my premises? Does it follow from the evidence?

5. Good writing is an essential part of the craft of doing history. You could quickly undermine the first four suggestions in this list with an incomprehensible writing style. Essays form an integral part of your history courses, and your success or failure will depend, to a great extent, upon your ability to express your ideas clearly. In order to do this, clear thinking and careful organization are essential; this means that you must pay attention to both form (such as spelling, grammar, and style) and content. Your Open Learning Faculty Member expects your written work to be in correct and comprehensible English.

When writing, it is better to choose the short rather than the long, the familiar rather than the unfamiliar, the concrete rather than the abstract, and the direct rather than the indirect. Use short and direct prose instead of longer and more flowery expressions. If you mean, “he goes home,” do not say, “he returns to his domicile.” If you mean, “it became cooler,” do not say, “there occurred a downward movement in temperature.” If you mean “farmer,” do not say “an independent commodity producer in the agricultural sector.”

A Note on Terminology

You will find various terminologies in use throughout this course. Terms like Aboriginal, Amerindian, First Nation(s), Métis, and European are used (depending on the context), as are variations. Familiarize yourself with these terms and especially the nomenclature used to identify Aboriginal communities.

Before writing your assignments, you may find it helpful to consult the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada website to find appropriate word us

6. When writing an academic essay you must observe academic conventions concerning footnotes, bibliography, and scholarly abbreviations.

Your essays must use the Chicago/Turabian citation style. Any other style is unacceptable. See TRU Library’s guide to using the Chicago citation style


Plagiarism occurs in two forms: a person either uses another person’s exact words or ideas as if they were his or her own, or paraphrases another person’s ideas without acknowledging that they are another person’s and/or without identifying the source. A full description of plagiarism can be found in the Handbook for History 

To avoid plagiarism, whenever you use an idea that is not your own, you must cite the source—even if you express the idea in your own words.


Each assignment is viewed individually for academic integrity. Please be aware, should you choose to submit multiple assignments at the same time and if an academic integrity violation is discovered in more than one of those assignments, that each assignment submission will be viewed as a separate offence and sanctions will be applied accordingly.

Here are some guidelines to help you avoid plagiarism:

· Each footnote should provide enough information to lead the reader directly to your source.

· Anything in your paper that you do not acknowledge to have come from another source must be your own work.

· If you quote a passage of any length verbatim, you must clearly indicate that it is a quotation (by enclosing the passage in quotation marks or, for longer passages, by indenting and single spacing) and provide a complete citation. Anything you quote is assumed to be exactly as it appeared in the original source unless you indicate otherwise. You have a responsibility to transcribe accurately.

· If you paraphrase a passage or an idea from one of your sources—for example, if you were to paraphrase the argument of the authors of one of your readings by writing “Berger argues that…“—remember that although the description is in your own words, the argument is theirs, and you need to provide full acknowledgment of the source article in a footnote.

· It is dishonest to try to make a passage from a source unrecognizable in order to present it as your own idea. As long as the work or idea belongs to someone else, you must acknowledge it.

· If you use another student’s essay, project, or class notes, or if you otherwise receive assistance in the preparation of your paper, you must acknowledge fully and clearly the help you have received. You must also cite in a footnote any verbal comment made by an instructor in a lecture.


It is far better to be overly cautious than to run the risk of committing plagiarism. If you are in doubt, consult your Open Learning Faculty Member.

7. Consult handbooks on essay writing, grammar, and style for further clarification. Four of the best are listed here; request one from TRU Library.

· Sheridan Baker, The Canadian Practical Stylist 4th ed., prepared by Ken Ledbetter and Lawrence Gamache, Toronto: Addison Wesley, Pearson, 1998.

· This handbook provides tips on establishing a thesis; strategies and exercises to improve your writing, grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation; a handy essay checklist; and a sample research paper.

· Joanne Buckley, Fit to Print: The Canadian Student’s Guide to Essay Writing 7th ed., Toronto: Nelson, 2009.

· This book provides chapters on developing, designing, drafting, and writing the essay. It includes sections on choosing words, reducing wordiness, and improving sentences.

· Margot Northey, Making Sense: A Student’s Guide to Research and Writing: Social Sciences 5th ed., Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2007.

· This multipurpose book has both a glossary and an index and includes chapters on writing essays, book reports, lab reports, business reports, and examinations; on writing with style; and on grammar and usage, punctuation, and documentation styles.

· William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. New York: Penguin, 2005.

· A review in The New Yorker magazine called this book “direct, correct and delightful.” In addition to giving sound advice on writing style, it presents the basic rules of usage and the principles of composition. It also lists words and expressions commonly misused.

Another option is to consult TRU Library’s “Get Research Help” web page and make use of the TRU Writing Centre’s online servce. There are many supports available for writers and it is up to you to seek advice on this topic.

Footnote and Bibliography Format for HIST 1121

Examples of Style for Footnotes

1. John D. Belshaw, Canadian History: Pre-Confederation (Vancouver: BCcampus, 7 March 2015),

[Note: Italicize book titles.]

2. Colin M. Coates, Metamorphoses of Landscape and Community in Early Quebec (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000): 125.

3. Ibid.

[Note: “Ibid.” is a Latin abbreviation meaning “in the same place” and refers to the immediately previous reference (that is in this case, #2 above). If the citation refers to page 126 rather than page 125, then write “Ibid., 126.”]

4. Susan Neylan, “Unsettling British Columbia: Canadian Aboriginal Historiography, 1992–2012,” History Compass 11, no. 10 (2013): 845–858.

[Notice how the article title is not italicized while the journal title is italicized? This is an example of a print journal article; see 10 and 11 below for online examples.]

5. “Frank Abbott Interview,” Canadian Historians on Video: An OER, Video file, 4:11 (Kamloops: TRU, 2015).

6. Neylan, “Unsettling British Columbia,” 849.

[Note: This is a second citation, so it may be shortened.]

7. “Wendy Wickwire Interview,” Canadian Historians on Video: An OER, Video file, 1:08:11 (Kamloops: TRU, 2015).

8. Belshaw, Canadian History, 7.1–7.2.


[Note: This is how you cite an article from a free website.]

11. Allan Greer, “National, Transnational, and Hypernational Historiographies: New France Meets Early American

[Note: This is how you cite an article from a Subscription Database. It looks similar to #10, but that URL takes you to the magazine/journal itself, while this URL takes you to a database site

Examples of Style for Bibliography

Ajzenstat, Janet. Canadian Founding: John Locke and Parliament. Montréal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007.

Belshaw, John D. Canadian History: Pre-Confederation. Vancouver: BCcampus,

Canadian Historians on Video: An OER. Video file. Vancouver: BCcampus, 2015.

Donovan, Kenneth. “Slaves and their Owners in Île Royale, 1713–1760,” Acadiensis 25, no. 1 (Autumn 1995): 3–32.

See how the surnames come first and are listed alphabetically? For additional assistance, see the TRU Library’s Chicago Manual of Style web guide

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