"Top Ten Signs that you may be Writing a Weak History Paper" (from Alfred Kelly's Writing a Good History Paper, p. 34):
10. You're overjoyed to find that you can fill the required pages by widening all the margins.
9. You haven't mentioned any facts or cited any sources for several paragraphs.
8. You find yourself using the phrase "throughout history mankind has..."
7. You just pasted in another 100 words of quotations.
6. You haven't a clue about the content of your next paragraph.
5. You're constantly clicking on The Britannica, Webster's, and Bartlett's.
4. Your writing tutor sneaks another look at her watch as she reminds you for the third time to clarify your thesis.
3. Your main historical actors are this, it, they, the people, and society, and they are all involved with factors, aspects, impacts, and issues.
2. You just realized that you don't understand the assignment, but it's 3:00 A.M., the paper is due at 9:00, and you don't dare call your professor.
1. You're relieved that the paper counts for only 20 percent of the course grade.
Research Advisory Service
Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics (examples of research topics).
This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.
Scheduling a consultation
Some reference questions can't be easily answered over e-mail and I am happy to talk with you in person or over the phone if your question is more complex or if you'd like a more in-depth consultation. Trying to schedule appointments via email is time-consuming. Here are some alternatives:
1. Call me at 510-768-7059
2. Go to my bCal calendar and in the upper right corner choose the WEEK view. Locate a free slot between 9-5, Mon-Fri that works with your schedule. You can propose an appointment in bCal or contact me by email asking me to reserve that slot for you.
Starting February 19, every Wednesday from 1-3 I will also be available to answer your questions in the History Department's office.