Dr. Patrick Ryan

Paper Instructions - History 3850F/G

VERY IMPORTANT:  Do not indicate your identity on your paper with your name.  Please submit them with your student number in very large font on the center of the first page above all else on the page.

Consult Strunk & White, The Elements of Style for advice on the effective use of English.  Below is a list of abbreviations that I use to mark your papers.  

All papers must be typed, double-spaced, and use Turabian citation style in the form of endnotes or footnotes. 

Turabian is available in the library, but click here for an easy-to-use set of samples.

PAPER 1: DUE Feb. 8 -- 20%

Write a 4-page (1,200 word) critical review of
Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906).

Explain the historical significance of the book as a primary source.

PAPER 2: DUE Mar. 7 -- 20%

Write a 4-page (1,200 word) critical review of
John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (1939).

Explain the historical significance of the book as a primary source.


PAPER 3: DUE Apr. 4 -- 35%

Drawing upon the course readings and lectures,
write an 8-page (2,400 word) essay on the usefulness

of 'class' as a category of historical analysis.

Essay Comment Abbreviations:


SP = spelling error

WC = a questionable word choice; meaning obscure

WW = wrong word

GR = major grammatical problems with the sentences

RD = Redundancy needs to be removed

AWK = awkward sentence structure or phrase


LFW = Logic Flow Weak - links between sentences are unclear or weak - point obscured

TR = transitional sentences needed to link paragraphs or sentences

= new paragraph, or better paragraph organization, needed

No Block = shorten quotation or remove block quotation

Space = what are these extra spaces or margins doing here?

Arrows indicate the position or area of the text where the comment applies


Q or QU = the question you are supposed to be answering; usually refers to a departure from it

EV = evidence needed to support point

CITE = citation needed for evidence

NO = you have made a significant factual error

? or Huh = what do you mean?; don't get what you're saying

EXG = you have exaggerated the facts or you need to qualify this point

|| = good point

 = excellent point

Evaluation Chart



Handling the Question


Meaning & Analysis

Errors of fact or grammar


insightful and penetrating

nuanced and delicate

fulsome & convincing throughout

brilliant, creative, or ingenious

free of errors; gracefully written


clear and concise, well developed

complete command of the issue or assignment

relevant throughout

excellent logical flow, completely persuasive 

crisply written


clear and complete 

basic understanding of the issue or assignment

all major points supported

only minor weaknesses in logical flow or interpretation

clearly written with no major blunders

D & F

not entirely comprehensible, or failing to deal with issue

lacks basic understanding of the issue or assignment

lacks evidence for major parts of the thesis

major misinterpretations, shallow or illogical claims

blunders or incoherence