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History

For this paper, I want you to choose two scholarly papers of between 10 and 25 pages apiece which examine some aspect of the First World War from different perspectives. The two essays do not need to be entirely in opposition to each other, nor do they have to be on exactly the same specific subject. However, they should treat the same general subject from different perspectives.

Please cite these papers as sources when first mentioned in the body of your paper, and also in a Bibliography at the end. See the Purdue Owl Writing Center handout on Chicago citation method.  (Links to an external site.)

Here is a link to a sample student paper

Actions that, while not 100% perfect, does a great job of performing a side-by-side comparison of the two papers the student chooses.  Note that the paper is about the Montgomery bus boycott, and thus is not about “World War I,” so this topic would not work for this particular assignment.

For example, if you were to choose as your World War I subtopic, “The Ottoman Empire in the Great War/WWI” you should find two essays which have as their main subject the Ottoman Empire which in some way relate to the First World War.

One paper (and I’m just imagining imaginary papers here) may examine the political intrigue surrounding the rise of the Young Turks to power, while another might examine the experience of Ottoman soldiers on the front.  As long as you choose two academic papers about the same broad subtopic, read them, summarize them, and compare their approaches, you have fulfilled the goal of the paper. 

All I am asking is for you to locate two reputable academic papers about a single subject, and then write a unified three to four page essay on what the different perspectives are. It need not be an assessment of the articles, but instead a comparison of their topics and the approach of their authors to the subject. The different perspectives must be chosen wisely, however. You cannot choose just any two papers. You must not write a three to four page paper that treats each reading separately and distinctly and doesn’t unify them. You must choose them so that you can write a unified paper that sheds light on the subject as a whole, by using the two essays. Usually the best way to do this is to have a strong introduction and thesis, and a strong conclusion. You may discuss the papers separately inside the essay, but your justification for looking at the two essays together must be clear.

That said, you are not writing a research paper based on two articles — you are comparing two academic articles.  You should mention in the body of your paper the author, title, and typically, the journal where they appeared, and will generally refer to the article in your paper by the last name of the primary author (e.g. “While McMillen discusses the Ottomans prior to 1914, Gandalf is mostly concerned with the collapse of the empire in the 1918-1920 period.” 

Here are some potential topics:

The Schlieffen Plan

Kaiser Wilhelm’s instability

Serbian nationalism

Bulgarian nationalism

The War in Africa

Japan in WWI

The Battle of the Marne (or Somme, or etc.)

Shell Shock (PTSD)

Nurses at the Front

The Flu Pandemic in Europe

Trench Life

The Sinking of the Lusitania

U-Boat Warfare

Women’s Suffrage Movements During the War

German and Austro-Hungarian Military Cooperation

The Versailles Conference

Dogfighting

I mean, there are millions of possible topics.  Just find two academic articles about one of them, read both, take notes, and then compare their approaches to the topic.  

NOTE: The assignment perhaps sounds more difficult than it actually is.  It really is just a compare and contrast piece concerning two different academic papers.  It’s not a review of the two articles, although you will have to summarize them; instead, you should discuss how each of the papers examines a different aspect of the subject you have chosen.  That’s it.

One good way to think about your thesis statement is create one that reads “Whereas Paper A says this about the topic,  Paper B says this.”  You should try to talk about the two papers together though, and not as two separate summaries or reviews.

 
 

 

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