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Drama 2361 - Watson, Ronald: Theatre History I: Home

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Theatre History

Sadler's Wells Theatre, London

image: ARTstor database

aka "nursery of debauchery"

See: Sadler's Wells Complete History

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Hey, Theatre History students!

This LibGuide will help you through the process of research for your project. Feel free to contact me if you need help at any time.

1. Define Topic: What do you know? Verify with Background Info.

2. Devise Strategy: What do you want to find out? List keywords.

3. Search Sources: Look at Books, Articles, web sites, etc.


EVALUATE what you're doing: Change your keywords/database; Are you finding good stuff?

Theatre History (DRAM 2361) / Research Paper Assignment


I.  Topic

A.  The subject of your Research Paper must have a clear and substantial connection to an era, play, or theatre artist of the course’s timeline (prehistory to the Renaissance). The paper’s topic should be appropriately narrow.


EXAMPLE:        “William Shakespeare”                                       WAY TOO WIDE

                        “Shakespeare’s Tragedies”                                  STILL TOO WIDE

                        “The Role of the Supernatural in Shakespeare’s

                        Tragedies and It’s Symbolism”                            APPROPRIATELY NARROW


B.  This paper must make an argument of some kind. This paper must NOT simply be a reporting of facts, but rather must make some ORIGINAL CONNECTION between different aspects or elements or eras of history. The subject is fairly limited, but the approach and argument is wide open.


II.  Length

A.  The Research Paper must be at least 2000 words long (approximately five pages) NOT INCLUDING the Cover Page nor the Works Cited page.


B.  I will accept papers up to 4000 words long (approximately ten pages).


III.  Citation and Sources

  1. Follow the MLA Handbook (7th Edition) for citation and formatting, using parenthetical citations and a works cited page.


  1. You must make use of at least six sources in your paper, and none of them can be Brockett or any non-approved electronic resource.


IV.  Outline

  1. Before writing the paper, you will create an outline. The outline will be worth twenty points and will be due on the date specified in class and posted on Canvas (to be turned in to me via Canvas, MS Word attachment).


  1. The outline should consist of the following:

1. Introductory paragraph: The first paragraph of your paper, detailing the various sections of the paper and the arguments and angles you’ll use to prove your thesis. Your thesis statement (a single sentence that sums up the argument of your paper) should appear in this paragraph in bold type.

2. Summary of each subsequent section: The paper will be carefully

structured, with each section representing a thoughtful approach to managing arguments and evidence and proving your thesis statement. For each section, you’ll summarize the basic argument in a single sentence, and then list the

sources (in MLA Works Cited page format) that you’re going to use to prove that statement.

EXAMPLE:  If your thesis statement argued that Uncle Tom’s Cabin

was marketed specifically at northern middle class Christians, your section summaries would look something like this:

Section One Summary Sentence: The overt religious content in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, including Tom and Eva’s appearance in heaven at the end of the play, clearly aligned Christianity and abolitionism.

Section One Sources: (list sources here)




V.  Individual Feedback Meeting

After you have turned in your Research Paper Outline, you have one week to make an appointment with me to talk about the outline and your plan for the paper. I will give you feedback during that appointment, after which you will have at least two weeks to write the final paper.


VI.  Final Paper

  1. The final paper will be worth one hundred points and should be turned in as a hard copy.


  1. The paper must reflect the structure of your outline as well as the revisions and suggestions made during the Individual Feedback Meeting.


  1. The paper will be graded on three criteria:

1. Insightful, clear, concise use of written English and correct use of MLA citation and formatting (30 points)

2. Research expressing depth and breadth of sources that are relevant and specifically applicable to the goals of the paper. (20 points)

3. Combination of historical research, analysis of artistic expression (specific play, design, genre, playwright, theatre, etc.), and focused thesis statement to create a paper that makes and supports an original argument. (50 points)


Our 5 main goals:

  1. Explore a variety of research tools
  2. Uncover NEW keywords & phrases
  3. Create a flexible search strategy using AND & *
  4. Share the title of one relevant source
  5. Have fun!
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Celita Ávila
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