CIV 150W Midterm Research Paper Guide

Click HERE to return to the CIV 150W Home page.
Click HERE for the web page of the Writing Resources Center, and
Click HERE for the Writing Center's online handouts, including guides to citing sources.
Click HERE for the Swem Library's (i.e. Jessica's) page of online resources for classics
Lastly, click HERE for a page listing links to useful Web sites, and HERE is a direct link to the Perseus Website.

Midterm paper: A medium-length research paper (1000-1500 words) on a topic to be agreed upon in consultation with me.
You will be required to submit a brief proposal for this paper and a preliminary draft which will be read and commented
on by me and by other students in the class. No papers will be accepted without prior approval of the topic, and no papers
will be accepted without the required proposal and draft having been turned in on time.

Since this is a research paper, you will be required to do research:  You must include in the sources you use at least TWO
ancient sources (things written before 500 CE/AD) and at least TWO relevant works of modern scholarship written after 1950
CE/AD.   Your modern sources should be in the form of books or periodical articles or substantial, scholarly internet
resources.  The numbers given in this paragraph represent the minimum requirement.  Papers earning grades in the A or B
range will generally include references to more sources of both the ancient and modern variety.

Your are also required to cite both ancient and modern sources.  For more on citation, see below.


September 28: Proposal;
October 8: Draft;
October 19: Final Version.


Contents. Click on the links to go to a particular section:

Additional Requirements


Using Internet Sources

Guidelines for Citations

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS (in addition to ones already stated):

1. Papers should be typewritten or word-processed, and in either case DOUBLE SPACED. Any problems with legibility will diminish your grade.

2. Any words, thoughts or ideas you put in your paper that are not original to you must be properly credited. Modern scholarship which you consult (including Internet sources) must be cited in footnotes, endnotes or in-text citations , and specific references to ancient sources must be given. Papers with insufficient citations and references will not receive a passing grade. Note the guidelines given below for citations and, more particularly, the guidelines for citing ancient sources (click HERE to go there).  You must give complete bibliographical information for every source that you cite, either in the first citation of the source or in a separate list of sources (aka. "bibliography") that you append to the end of your paper.

SUGGESTIONS which may help you get the grade you want:

1. Read and cite ancient sources. Do not cite a modern author if he or she does nothing but repeat what a previous author says. Go back to the source.

2. With few exceptions, citing a general encyclopedia (even the Encylopedia Britannica) is usually a sign of an insufficiently researched paper. You may begin your research by reading an encyclopedia article, but don't let it end there. Similarly, m ost books that have the word "Handbook" or "Dictionary" in the title should be used for quick reference and further bibliography; they should not be used as major sources of information for a university-level paper.

3. Avoid relying for information on works about the ancient world that do not specify and cite the ancient sources on which its assertions are based. Such works tend to be superficial and unreliable.

4. Avoid citing something a professor (yes, even me) says in a class lecture. If you think something a professor says might be useful, talk to the professor to get tips on published sources.

5. Proofread your paper carefully before handing it in. Mistakes in spelling or grammar will result in a lower grade.

6. Avoid Quotationese. Here is a particularly bad example of Quotationese:

The Parthenon was "the cornerstone of Pericles' building programme" (Johnson, 23), which made Athens "the architectural and artistic epicentre of the Greek world" (Smith, 105) and was "certainly one of Pericles' greatest acheivements" (Ehrenberg , 181) . The only circumstance in which extended direct quotations from modern authors are desirable is when you wish to take issue with, or call attention to, the particular words or ideas that an author expresses. Otherwise, put it in your own words.

7. Make sparing use of the passive voice. The following sentences illustrate the difference between the active and passive voices of verbs:

active voice: The dog ate my homework.

passive voice: My homework was eaten.

The passive voice is a weak, weasely way of expressing yourself, and it is usually used to absolve someone of responsibility (as the dog in the second sentence) or to avoid responsibility yourself. You might for instance try to avoid the resear ch necessary to find out who defeated the Romans at Carrhae in 53 B.C. by writing "In 53 B.C. the Romans were defeated at Carrhae." This will impress no one.


There's a lot of very useful and beneficial information available on the World Wide Web. It is a particularly good place for finding maps, illustrations translations of ancient texts, etc. When it comes to modern scholarship, however, you ha ve to be cautious. There is some good stuff out there, but unfortunately there's also a lot of material you should never be caught dead using in your paper, such as high school term papers, government and tourist-office propoganda, and your crazy uncle Albert's theories on the pyramids. In general, you can use the same criterion for web material that you use for old food in your refrigerator: when in doubt, throw it out. More specifically, do not use or cite material on the web unless:

You can identify it as the work of a competent professional scholar and

It includes specific references to ancient and modern sources

If you have questions about the reliability of a particular item you find on the Web, consult me.

You can find a number of recommended Websites (where the ratio of useful material to BS will be relatively high) through the "Sites for studying the Ancient World" link on the course home page. One site that has a huge amount o f first-rate material of all sorts is the Perseus web site:

Other lists of pre-screened Websites can be found on the Classics resource page from Swem Library:

To learn how to cite Web sites properly in your paper, visit this site:

There are also guidelines for citing electronic resources in your Writer's Reference


Citations may take the form of footnotes, endnotes or references in brackets () within the text of your paper. There are many methods of citation in use. You may adopt any method as long as it is consistent and easy to interpret. Specifics and examples of different citation methods can be found in your textbook.  In general, for modern works (published after ca. 1700), citations and/or lists of sources should include at least the following information: Authorís name, Title of work, Place of publication, Date of publication, PAGE NUMBER(s). The most popular citation meth od in the humanties is the MLA (Modern Langague Association) standard. For a description and examples of this standard, go to:

There are special rules for citing ancient works. Most ancient works exist in several editions and translations, and page numbers will vary from one edition to the next. For this reason you should NOT refer to page numbers when citing ancient sources. Instead, most editions will preserve ancient numbers for books (= volumes), sections and paragraphs (in prose works) and line numbers (for poetry). It is these numbers you should cite, since these numbers will (theoretically) allow anyone reading your pap er to look up your citiations regardless of whether they have the same translation you used. You should be able to figure out the numbers, which usually occur at the beginnings of paragraphs or run down the margins. Here are what some typical citations from various ancient works look like: Only in the rare cases where you have to use a translation that does not preserve the original numbering should you cite the page number, and include the publication information for the edition you are using in your lis t of sources.

Homer, Iliad 1.23. = Homer, Iliad Book 1, line 23.

Plutarch, Pericles 17. = Plutarch, Life of Pericles, section 17.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon 280. = Aeschylus, Agamemnon line 280.

Thucydides 2.16. = Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Book 2 Section 16. (When an author, like Thucydides, is known for only one work, you need not put the title of the work)

If you are unsure how to make citations to any ancient work, consult me.