This Webpage provides an index to course materials and historical data for use with HIS480, "Computer Methods of Historical Research," offered each spring semester at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. For access to the Riggtown History Homepage, click here.

This Webpage is maintained by Dr. Jim Jones of the West Chester University Department of History .

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HIS 480 Syllabus, Spring 1999


Professor: Jim Jones
Office: 519 Main Hall
Office hours: MWF 2-3pm & 4-5pm, W 5-6pm
Telephone: 436-2168
Email: jjones@wcupa.edu

Course objectives: Learn how to use personal computers to enhance your research and presentation skills. Your research will focus on material on the history of Chester County that is available in local archvies and public record offices.

Your responsibility: Punctuality, regular attendance, intelligent class participation, and serious effort to use primary sources. Since our work wull be part of a group project, you must submit complete assignments on the day they are due.

My responsibility: Punctuality, clear and interesting demonstrations, regular office hours, fair assignments, and written feedback. Since our work will be part of a group project, I must include your name if I publish anything using our results.

Attendance policy: Since this is a 400-level course, you may miss four classes before I reduce your final grade. However, absences will affect your class participation grade, and late assignments will result in a reduction of one letter grade for that assignment.

Textbook: James A. Jones, "Computer Methods for Historical Research," revised edition (West Chester, PA: 1997), available from this page (see Weekly Topics below).


10% Abstract of research project Feb 10 (4th class)
10% Notes on death register Feb 17 (5rd class)
10% Corrected notes Mar 3 (7th class)
20% Notes on secondary reading Mar 24 (9th class)
10% Oral presentations Apr 28 (14th class)
20% Final paper Apr 28 (14th class)
20% Skills test (final exam) May 5 (final exam week)


Week 1 Jan 20 Introduction and historical overview
Week 2 Jan 27 Demonstrate computer-based research projects
Week 3 Feb 3 Taking notes from secondary and primary sources: EXAMPLE
Week 4 Feb 10 Creating a database from reading notes
Week 5 Feb 17 Using the database
Week 6 Feb 24 Creating a spreadsheet from death register data
Week 7 Mar 3 Using the spreadsheet to analyze data
Mar 10 SPRING BREAK--no class
Week 8 Mar 17 The Internet
Week 9 Mar 24 Historical "modeling"
Week 10 Mar 31 Image scanner and software
Week 11 Apr 7 Presentation software
Week 12 Apr 14 Techniques for oral and written presentation
Week 13 Apr 21 What have we learned? Hypotheses and conclusions from our research
Week 14 Apr 28 Oral presentations