HISTORY logo Introduction to HIS390 "Historical Controversy on the Web"

Part I: Historical argument

  1. Discuss the ingredients of a historical argument. They include a thesis (line of reasoning), supporting facts, sources for those facts. For example:
    1. argue that history students are interested in HIS390 [thesis]
    2. by citing their majors and presence in class [facts]
    3. as shown by the Registrar's printout or MyWCU [sources].
  2. Discuss the need for definitions to support an argument. For example, argue that the weather on January 3, 2006 was "bad." A Hawaiian might agree, while a Greenlander might not. Define "bad weather" as any three of the following "less than 50 degrees F, more than 75% humidity, visibility less than one mile, winds greater than 5 miles per hour."
  3. Discuss the need to include all relevant facts and not just the ones that support an argument. For instance, to argue that the weather on January 3, 2006 was "bad," one might argue that the average annual temperature is 56 degrees F and that average cloud cover is 35%. That omits the fact that this is January when the averages are much different.

Part II: Discuss the use of web-based materials

  1. Ask students how they currently use the web
  2. How do you know if something on the web is factual? Discuss aspects of web site design that improve credibility. Consider appearance, the listing of sources, and the name of the URL
  3. How do you create reference notes for web material in a paper and on another web site? According to The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th editon (1993), sec.15.424, in general, a reference should contain the author, title, name of source [type of source: i.e. database on-line, electronic bulletin board], vol. no., date document was created [date document was accessed], URL or other unique source. (For more up-to-date information, see International Standards Organization standards for referencing electronic documents.) A reference note from one Web page to another web page should include the link written out and an active link to the source page.

Part III: Planning our approach to this semester's controversy.

  1. Draw up a list of topics to consider
  2. What should we do as we read our books and web pages? Identify the author, read footnotes and identify sources. If quotations are presented out of context, find the original to make sure they were presented correctly.

Return to HIS390 syllabus.