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In the tab names, SS stands for Secondary Source, PS stands for Primary Source


City Walking Tours, 1624-2001

Research Paper Assignment and Due Dates


Goal: To independently research and write an original, thesis-driven paper that presents a “tour” of a particular place (neighborhood, city block, major landmark, etc.) or a social, political or cultural movement within or across the five boroughs in the City of New York. You will analyze the economic, social, political and/or cultural factors that contributed to the transformation of the area. The paper’s thesis must be supported by historical evidence (primary sources) and set within the historical context with the guidance of the writings of professional historians (secondary sources). Your tour must be geographically specific, yet may be defined by a social group, political movement, its economic role, or cultural relevance.

You must make three stops on your tour. Each "stop" requires a main focus and you must provide evidence and analysis of change over time and place, as made clear in your thesis statement. Note that while the tour concept may seem slightly different from a traditional history paper, you are nevertheless using historical context and analysis of sources to support your claims about change in the area you are touring.

Think broadly and creatively about what to use as historical evidence--local newspapers, journals, pamphlets, campaign buttons, theater posters, film footage, photographs, videos, diaries, letters, old maps, recipes, subway maps, other artifacts, etc.



You will each create a NoodleTools Project Page to post assignments.


Research Requirements

  • Research Question

  • Primary sources: at least 6

  • Secondary sources: at least 3. You are required to annotate each secondary source on your NoodleTools bibliography.

  • Encyclopedia of New York City, second edition, ed. Kenneth Jackson

  • Libraries: You should check the Spence MUS Library; the NYPL branches; or other libraries relevant to your particular research (N-Y Historical Society; Museum of the City of NY; NY Transit Museum; Museo del Barrio, the Frick Collection, and many more!).

  • Online resources: You are required to consult our special NYC History Research Guide created by Ms. Kane; the Spence Online Library databases; as well as the many research collections available online from city institutions. Please be sure of the academic legitimacy of all sources, if in doubt, please check with Dr. Smith or Ms. Kane.

  • Please note that Wikipiedia is NOT a legitimate resource for this assignment, not even the bibliographies listed. Instead, use the Jackson, ed. NYC Encyclopedia or the Spence Online Encyclopedias when searching for basic background information (tertiary source).

  • You must go visit the sites of your "stops" at least once--preferably more times. Please see me if this is not possible for any reason or if I can facilitate in anyway.

  • Here is the link to our New York City History Research Guide, built by Ms. Kane. You can also access this through the Spence website (MUS Library/Research Guides)​


Reading Required

  • Pocket Guide to Writing History, chapters 5, 6, and 7.

  • Pages on “Research and Writing” section on Google Classroom

Writing Requirements

  • 2100-2500 word count Word document (approx. 7-8 pages)

  • Thesis: must meet requirements

  • Three stops with analysis of how and why they changed over time

  • Double spaced (2.0)

  • Font: Cambria or Times Roman, size 12

  • Margins: Keep the default margins, do not alter

  • Title Page: Your name, paper title, teacher name, course name, date due, relevant image is optional (but source of image must be cited). Title page does not count toward number of pages in body of paper.

  • Your paper pages must be numbered on bottom right (insert page numbers).

  • Proofread and edit for clarity, grammar, word choice, and style.

Citation Requirements

  • Chicago Style (Advanced)

  • Footnotes (not endnotes). Footnotes should appear in size 10 font, do not adjust size or spacing

  • Bibliography: a separate page at the end of the paper. Does not count toward number of pages in body of paper.

  • Acknowledgments (including a tutor)

  • You must create a project on NoodleTools to create the bibliography; please “share” your project with me.

Evaluation: You will receive a grade on each of these components:

  • Paper Process: completing assignments and meeting deadlines.

  • Your Detailed Outline will receive a grade

  • Your final paper will receive three grades: research; citations; writing

  • Presentation (Take us on a Virtual Tour!) in 8 minutes

Using Research Guides at Home

When at school, you can use the Spence Library resources using the links on the guide through automatic IP authentication.

When at home, the first time you use a library resource in your browser you will be redirected to a log-in screen in order to authenticate that you are a member of the Spence Community. To do so, enter your Spence username (for most students this is: first initial + last name + year of graduation) and the master password you were given by Spence at the beginning of the school year. After you authenticate, you will be automatically directed to the database you select. You only need to authenticate once during a browsing session.