US History Personal Research Project

Personal Research Project


For your largest single project grade this semester, you will be conducting a personal research project.

You must select a topic that concerns a historical event, individual, concept, or pattern in the 20th century concerning the United States. You will then write a thesis-driven research paper that establishes and defends an argument about the significance, outcomes, or impacts of your topic.


See the resources below to understand what each of these steps are.

  1. Establish a historical question that you would like to answer.
  2. Begin preliminary research to figure out what your thesis will be. (Your thesis should not be written before you have done research.)
  3. Craft a thesis.
  4. Conduct research that applies to your thesis. Be willing to shift your thesis if historical evidence shows something else.
  5. Begin writing your rough draft.
  6. Have it peer reviewed and reviewed by Mr. Erfurth.
  7. Turn in the final draft.

Topics and thesis statements will require approval to ensure you're setting yourself up for success.

Read through the following resources in preparation for your project. These are all available on the History Handbook at If you don’t know where to start, read the section titled “What to do if you don't know what to ask” at the bottom of Asking Historical Questions.


This paper will be written using academic voice, will be formatted according to Chicago/Turabian standards, and will be based on at least four major secondary sources and two primary sources (see  “Finding Resources”).

This paper must be at least 1500 words (that’s roughly six pages). The title page and bibliography obviously do not count.

Sources must be cited in Chicago. Use footnotes and also include a bibliography. See Purdue OWL for reference.

Due dates will be posted to Canvas for each of the stages of the project.