History 284:  Hawaiian History  
Instructor:  Colette Higgins  


(Sources of History)




Historians often use primary sources to study the past. These are from the time period being studied, including first person accounts. This assignment will help you assess the value of using a variety of sources (i.e. historical sites, historical artifacts, oral histories, and written documents) to better understand the past its historical context.


Your Journey

  1. Choose an event or time period in Hawai'i's history (before 1990) that will allow you to visit a historical site (or examine related historical objects), listen to an individual's oral history (or read first person accounts in letters, diaries or memoirs), and examine primary sources (i.e. official documents, newspapers, photographs).
  2. Do some preliminary research on your chosen topic using secondary sources (i.e. general history books, websites, videos) and a vist to the library to see what's available. Keep track of your sources for your annotated bibliography.
  3. Visit a place that is relevant to your topic. For example, if you're interested in immigration or sugar plantation life, you could visit Hawaii's Plantation Village in Waipahu. If you're interested in Kalakaua, Kapi'olani or Lili'uokalani, you could visit 'Iolani Palace. Alternatively, you may want to think about a place you'd like to visit, then determine what part of that site's history you'd like to focus your research. By the time you submit your Part I, you should have made your site visit.
  4. Interview someone who remembers the event or time period you're researching. Alternatively, you could use transcripts or video recordings of oral histories done by others, or you may read first person accounts (i.e. letters, diaries, journals, memoirs). By the time you submit your Part II, you should have completed your interview, read a transcript/viewed a video of an oral history, or read a first person account.
  5. Do more in-depth research using books and scholarly articles that are specifically about your event or time period and by examining at least one primary source document relavent to your topic. Consider how this additional research helps to place an individual's story into the larger historical context of the event or time period. Keep track of your sources for your annotated bibliography.
  6. Choose one of the three options provided for Part III to present what you've learned about the event or time period. Be sure to incorporate information gleaned from research, along with elements learned from your visit to the historical site and from an individual's perspective.  


Citing Historical Sources

During your research journey be sure to keep track of all your sources. For Part I, include evidence (i.e. photo, receipt, ticket) of a place visited and the date you visited. For Part II, include the name of the person and the date interviewed, or the transcript/video information, or identify the source for your first person account. For Part III, you will submit an annotated bibliography, which means, in addition to the typical MLA bibliographical citation (i.e. author, title, city, publisher, year), you need to also provide a brief explanation on how each source helped you.  I am interested in all the sources that you’ve consulted for all three parts (i.e. books, articles, videos, internet sites, historical sites, interviews).


Three Part Writing Process (worth 150 points total)          

o      If you choose to write an essay, you will develop a thesis and support it in a typical research paper format.  Imagine that you’re writing for a scholarly journal and the theme for that edition is:  Why Written Records?  You will develop a thesis statement, then support it with data uncovered through research.

o      If you choose to write a dialogue, you will need to identify at least two people who will have an imagined conversation (one being a person connected to your research).  It will read much like a script for a play, or a transcript of an interview.  Imagine that your written dialogue will be performed as a live play at a high school or middle school.  The curriculum objective is to have students appreciate the value of an individual's story when remembering past events.

o      If you choose to write a vignette, you will be telling a story.  You could describe behaviors, thoughts, and events from an historical character's perspective.  This format also provides the option of a narrator's voice (i.e. someone telling the story, but not necessarily involved in it).  Imagine that your vignette will be published in one of KCC’s student journals and you want your audience to see the value of visiting historical sites or preserving historical records and artifacts.

Organization, grammar, spelling and punctuation will be graded in this third part.  You must also resubmit your graded Parts I & II, and provide an annotated bibliography (all in a non-plastic folder).  Format:  double spaced, one inch margins, 800-1000 words, although it is understood that the dialogue or vignette may be substantially longer for scene setting reasons.*   Late papers will be accepted, but there will be a five-point penalty for each class day that a paper is late. Due: Thursday, May 1st


*Please identify the font & provide a word count at the end of each part.

(e.g.  Times New Roman 930 words)