As noted in the syllabus, a specific set of guidelines (beyond those already available in the main syllabus) for the final paper is to be provided. The guidelines, as you will note, are somewhat general and that is for a simple reason, there are many ways to produce a successful research paper. In addition, I would not advise you to view the guidelines as a recipe that you can follow to ensure yourself of a particular mark. Instead I would view the guidelines as minimum standards that must be achieved to have a chance at the mark you aspire to. That said let me delineate the guidelines.
1. The paper must have an introduction in which you give the reader some indication of the thesis or main point you are trying to prove in your paper. In other words, a person reading the introduction should be able to answer the "so what" question, that is, what will the reader learn about the topic of this paper by reading it and what interpretation of the phenomena under consideration will be given? The introduction should not be more than .75 pages double-spaced. If it is longer than that you will be devoting space to it that should be used to achieve other important goals in the paper.
2. The paper should give a clear sense of how the results of your work speak to (i.e. specifically relate to) the relevant historical work on your chosen topic. One of the common ways a historian achieves this is by devoting a specific section of a given essay to discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the relevant historical work and then indicating the question or questions that he/she will address in her essay, including what will be achieved by answering them. This is the approach that I would like you to take in this paper. Basically what I am asking you to do is tell me how what your doing relates to what others have already done. You should not devote less than 3 pages and not more than 4 pages to this task. I would divide the discussion into 1) a general discussion of the work historians have done on your topic and how that work relates to the scholarship on the Atlantic world and 2) a more specific discussion of how your project relates to the work already done.
3. The body of the essay (approximately 10-12 double-spaced pages in length) should be primary-source driven. That means that there must be substantial use of primary sources on almost every page of the body and on at least 6 pages of it. To help you here I will set the following minimum for primary and secondary source use: All research papers must use at least 8 primary sources, at least one of which must be the equivalent of 20 printed pages in length and all research papers must use at least 8 secondary sources, the minimum acceptable length of which is 10 standard printed pages (needless to say all secondary sources must be scholarly in their approach and no shorter works like book reviews that you use will count towards your minimum 8 secondary sources).
4. Finally, you need a conclusion, which should sum up what you have demonstrated in your paper and should be no more than .75 page double-spaced.
5. Beyond these specific minimum standards, your paper ought also to adhere to the standard guidelines in the Standard Guidelines for Written Work listed in the main syllabus for this course.
6. The paper should have a bibliography that details all primary and secondary sources used and it must be appropriately footnoted (if you are in doubt on this talk to me). In both your footnotes and your bibliography you must use the Chicago Manual of Style format, which is what historians use. MLA and APA are not in any way acceptable.