Research assignment: Legacies of British Slave Ownership Project
Your assignment is to write a brief essay (3-5 pages, double-spaced, font size 12) on the LBS database.
Expectations for research assignment:
In your research assignments, we will be looking to see that you have done the following:
1) Demonstrated thorough knowledge of the Legacies of British Slave Ownership database (the ‘who, what, where, why, when’) (25%):
- In both a review and a research proposal, it’s important to show you have become well-acquainted with the source material at hand - so be prepared to show you understand what the database comprises, what its source base is, what questions it is seeking to answer, and the context in which it was created (the institutions and lead researchers involved)
2) Demonstrated an informed, competent grasp of the broader historical context of mid-century British slave-ownership and its implications for British society more broadly (25%):
- In both a review and in a research proposal, you will be expected to demonstrate awareness of the aspects of nineteenth-century British history the database seeks to inform users about. What major developments/shifts in British history does it shed light on? What historical debates does the database address? Why is this particular period/theme in British history important? What do we currently not understand about the period that the database is helping to shed light on?
3) Made a clear, cogent and persuasive argument, supported by examples from the database (30%):
- In a review, this will be an argument that evaluates how far the database is successful at setting out to answer the questions it sets for itself, and about the successes and limitations of the database, justified with well-chosen supporting examples. Does the database do what it set out to do, in terms of data, usability, identifying and reaching its target audience? How could the database be altered, expanded, or modified to be more successful? Would the inclusion of other sources enhance the database - if so, why?
- In a research proposal, this will be an argument convincing the reader of the significance of the project proposed/question asked, and how the database will be the best source base to answer the question put forward by the research proposal, justified with well-chosen supporting examples. A research proposal is an argument for the significance and feasibility of the research you are proposing, and an argument for how the database will allow you to accomplish that project. If you need to supplement the database with other sources, you should also make a case for what these sources would be and how they would support your project.
4) Offered a well-structured piece of writing which flows logically and coherently, with a clear line of argument running throughout, good use of topic sentences, and a formal, academic tone (20%):
- In both a review and a research proposal, we are looking for a clear thesis statement expressing your argument right from the very start. Your supporting points need to refer back to this argument at all times, so be clear on what you are arguing, and think about how best to structure your essay in a way that is logical and reinforces your argument from start to finish. Topic sentences will be important here; so too will writing clearly and formally as a scholarly piece of work.