The purpose of this assignment is to help launch you on your research project and to start finding
primary sources that will help you complete it. If you ultimately pursue a different research
question/agenda than the one you lay out here, that is okay. Research often evolves in
unexpected ways. This assignment, however, should demonstrate that you are thinking closely
and in a focused way about the project.
This assignment is composed of two parts—a project proposal and a brief primary source
Part I: Final project proposal
In 3 paragraphs, address the questions below. Make sure to address all questions below for
1. Explain the historical feminist issue you will be exploring. Try to be specific in terms
of the regional/geographic and chronological scope—where will you focus? Will you
be studying the issue locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally? Will you be
studying the issue within a certain time period or decade?
If you’re interested in histories of sexual violence and reproductive justice or LGBTQ
activism, think about focusing on a particular issue, in a specific time period and
place, home in on a key debate, or explore a key person and/or event.
Make sure to include what specific question(s) you are thinking of exploring through
2. Explain the sorts of primary and secondary sources you hope to find and where you
plan to look for them. Explain how these sources will help you determine the answers
to the question(s) you are asking.
3. Explain the potential form your final project might take (will you be writing a
research paper or doing a creative assignment, and if the latter, what kind of creative
assignment?). Explain any problems you expect to encounter in the project design,
form, research questions, availability of sources, etc.
Part II: Brief primary source analysis
You will compose a 1.5 – 2 page, double-spaced analysis of a primary source you have located
that you think might be relevant to the final project you have proposed. (This source might not be
one that you include in your final project, and that is okay. This assignment helps you to start
exploring a topic that is of interest to you.)
First, find one primary source that you would like to analyze and that relates in some way to the
topic you are interested in exploring. The source could be a speech, diary entry, letter,
conference proceeding, essay, memoir, newspaper article, novel, poem, political cartoon, image,
or other item. If it is a long work, like a book or memoir, choose a relatively short passage (of
around 5-10 pages) to analyze closely. If it is an oral history, choose a period of about 15-20
minutes of that oral history to analyze closely.
We will be talking more in class about how to locate primary sources by using online databases
(see list of resources on CCLE under “ONLINE DATABASES OF PRIMARY SOURCES”).
1. Provide a Chicago style bibliography or endnote citation for your primary source at
the top of the page. (If you have questions about Chicago format, see “HOW TO
CITE SOURCES” under HANDOUTS on our CCLE page.) You do not need to
provide a copy of the source itself, but you do need to provide a citation of it.
2. In 1.5-2 double-spaced pages analyze your source, using the questions below to help
you analyze it. Make sure to address the basic who, what, where, when, why
questions of the source, and what you find significant about this source. You do not
need to provide a copy of the source itself, but you do need to provide a citation of it.
Synthesize the questions below that are most pertinent to the source and its
significance; do not just answer these questions in a row. Explain why this source is
related to your research question(s) that you provided in Part I of the assignment.