Scholars world studies. Project description & schedule dbq research project: colonialism in africa, 2011

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Objective: Students will write an essay and assemble a collection of historical documents into a DBQ packet which will help its reader explore the historical question, “How did European colonialism affect African countries?” The student’s DBQ packet will resemble the in-class DBQ’s we have worked with this year. The project will involve these steps:

  • Initial research to identify sources for a background essay on a specific African country

  • Writing of background essay with works cited page.

  • Focus on a specific analytical category in further research. Creation of notecards which summarize the primary and secondary sources students find to answer the historical question

  • Editing and assembly of relevant documents into a DBQ-style packet with cover, eight documents and annotated bibliography

Initial research time was provided in the library. Additional time will be provided in class where laptops will be available for student use. Students MUST arrive to class prepared to make the best use of their class research time with the following:

  • Writing materials and paper

  • Flashdrive

  • Hard copies of relevant working documents

  • Source books for research

  • 3 X 5 notecards in a plastic pouch with organizing tabs


Date due

Sources: Students select a country & partner. Begin process by identifying sources to aid in writing a background essay. Working bibliography 2 days in library,week of Feb. 28, 2011.

Fri. 3/4

Composing Background essay. (In Class – laptops available) Students will research and write a three page background essay to set the historical context for their selected country. (see information sheet for structure)

Wk of 4/25

DUE DATE: Background essay and works cited page – hard copy & See rubric for exact specifications. Be sure to save a digital copy of all of your work for this project.

Mon 5/2

Research Historical question. Students select a focus for their research – economy, religion/culture, education, politics/government. Student research the question “How did European colonialism affect Africa?” Students identify sources that answer that question about their selected country negatively & positively.
Create notecards for annotated bibliography. (see handout for proper formatting) Identify a total of at least eight sources, (four primary and four secondary), for both the positive and negative perspective on your historical question. These sources can be used in whole or in part as documents for the final DBQ document collection. Sources must originate in a reliable database, book or reputable scholarly journal which is included in databases or book collections of the Von Steuben library. If a student identifies a source outside of the library, it requires the teacher’s review and permission. Students may use Wikipedia as a tool in conducting research but may NOT quote or paraphrase from it as a source.

Tue 5/3 to

Thu 5/12

DUE DATE: Research Notecards

Fri 5/13

Finalize Document Collection. Using sources from the research notecards in whole or in part, begin to create documents which you will use for your DBQ. A variety of documents should be used to assist the reader in acquiring a balanced view of the positive and negative effects of colonialism on the country.

Documents should include

  • Varied sources, e.g. pictures, maps, charts, text

  • Explanatory captions with each source used

  • Proper MLA citations of sources.

  • Four primary and four secondary sources.

  • Four documents each for negative & positive perspective on historical question.


5/13 to



DUE DATE: Final project elements including:

  • Cover. Attractive cover with a creative title, 2 relevant visuals, student name(s), class period

  • Title page. Creative title, relevant visual, historical question, student name(s) & class period

  • Documents. Eight documents, each document on a separate page, numbered & titled. Documents represent the negative & positive perspective of the historical question. Each document is neatly arranged on the page and includes

- Title & number

- Source(s), edited or original with explanatory captions (5 W’s: who-what-when-where-why)

- Proper MLA citations for each source.

  • Annotated bibliography, MLA format, min. 9 sources including Shadow of the Sun



Name ________________________________ Per ________ Date __________ Score _________/200


(Possible points)


Pts. earned

Background essay &

Works Cited page:

(25 points)
Due date: Mon May 2

Background essay is neatly typed and includes:

  • Separate Title Page: Creative title, relevant visual, statement of historical question, name(s), class period and date

  • Body of essay, three full pages, minimum

  • 1” margins, double spaced, 12 pt. font Times Roman.

  • Seven total quotes/paraphrases with in-text, parenthetical citations, MLA format, from sources listed in “Works Cited” page

- 3 relevant direct quotes

- 3 relevant paraphrases

- 1 relevant direct quote or paraphrase from Shadow of the Sun,

  • No grammar, spelling, punctuation errors.

  • Word choice and sentences are precise, varied and relevant.

  • 85% of paper is in student’s own words, i.e. student’s original writing

  • Hard copy of essay & “Works Cited” page for teacher on due date.

  • Essay is submitted to on due date (not “Works Cited” page

  • Name(s) of author(s) in footer on each page of essay.

Background Essay Knowledge,

Historical context

Organization & structure
(50 points)

Due date: Mon May 2

  • Writer uses relevant information accurately.

  • The historical context is set and there are no historical errors.

  • Essay follows the structure of the outline guide given to students and clearly explains the historical relevance of significant events and people and the implications of their actions.

  • The conclusion explains the analytical category selected and the relevance of the documents to understanding the implications of the colonial period.

Background Essay Citations

(25 points)

Due date: Mon May 2

  • Essay is thoroughly and correctly cited

  • Paraphrases and direct quotes are effectively integrated into the essay using transition phrases and tense changes for clarity

  • Works Cited page includes only those sources cited in the essay.

Research Notecards

(25 points)
Due date: Fri May 13

  • Minimum eight sources, MLA format (4 primary & 4 secondary)

  • For each source, one notecard for each discrete piece of relevant research (direct quotes, paraphrases, background information). This means you should have several notecards for one source.

  • Student followed proper format for notecard organization (see handout)

Final project elements:

- Project Cover

- Documents Title Page

- Document Collection

- Annotated Biblio.
(75 points)
Due date: Mon May 23

  • Project Cover: Attractive, neat cover with a creative title, two relevant visuals, student name(s), class period, date

  • Documents Title page includes title, relevant visual, student(s) name & class period.

  • Document collection (8 total). Each document is numbered with a relevant title and on a separate page. Document pages are neatly arranged and may have more than one source. Page includes

- Source(s), edited or original

- Explanatory captions for each source

- Proper MLA citations for each source.

- Relevant to the student’s selected analytical category

  • Annotated bibliography, min. 8 sources, MLA style

- Four primary and four secondary sources.

- Four negative documents & four positive documents

- Variety of sources, e.g. pictures, maps, charts, text, cartoons

Bonus points

Student(s) demonstrated care and effort over and above what is expected.



I. Structure for background essay
I. Introduction: Introductory paragraph provides background information and an overview of what the reader can expect to read in the essay.
II. What is colonialism? Brief explanation of the historical practice of colonialism which has been practiced by numerous civilizations throughout history. Who colonized the selected African country and when?
III. Historical Context. A description of the selected African country prior to European colonization

  1. People of the country: tribal backgrounds, language, religious practices, governing structures

  2. Infrastructure, i.e. systems serving the country such as roads, trains, public transportation, communication systems and schools

  3. Economic activity

  4. Geography and environment

  5. Significant events, people and places

IV. Europe divides up Africa: Berlin Conference, 1884 and after. What was immediate result for selected country?

V. European Settlement of selected African country
VI. Colonial government of selected African country
VII. Native independence movement and its leaders for selected African country
VI. Independence and post-colonial period (20 years later) for selected African country

VII. Conclusion. Explanation of the analytical category you selected. Discussion of why you believe it played a significant role, both positive and negative, in the colonial and immediate post-colonial life of the country.

II. Critical Thinking Intellectual Standards
While researching and writing the background essay and assembling the DBQ documents, students should be using the “Critical Thinking Intellectual Standards”. As students combine different facts and opinions from research, their goal will be to provide information with:







When providing evidence to support or clarify a fact or idea, students will use quotes and paraphrases and will cite them properly with in-text parenthetical citations in MLA style. A separate “Works Cited” page in MLA style, will be attached to the essay and an annotated bibliography will be attached to the final document packet.
III. Document Packet, Analytical categories
Students will select one analytical category to help them focus their research. As they do their research, this analytical category will be their guide in assembling a collection of eight relevant documents. The categories are:

  • Economy

  • Religion and Culture

  • Politics and Government

  • Education

IV. Sources
A rich variety of primary sources help to add depth, clarity and credibility to research. Here is a list of the some types of sources students should consider when conducting their research. Students should search out non-American sources in their research – many European and African countries provide online information in English. If such sources are not included in the Von Steuben databases, check with Ms. Brandt before using them.
Be sure that the sources selected are within the historical context of the time period being considered, i.e. immediate pre-colonial and colonial period in Africa. For example, a graph which shows the ethnic population distribution of Uganda in 2010 would NOT be relevant for this project. However, a graph which contrasts ethnic population distribution in Uganda in the pre-colonial and colonial period would be relevant.
Maps: There are many different types of maps which provide specific information such as political, economic/resource, physical, climate, road, topographic, ethnographic, population.
Economic information: Charts showing statistics on national earnings figures; value of exports and imports; gross national product; Industry-specific earnings figures; detailed breakdown on types of economic activities.
Education information. Literacy rate; Number/types of schools; Breakdown of student population (who, where, etc.); Government expenditure on education
Primary Sources. Political speeches of significant people; Literature; Political cartoons; Visuals of art, architecture; Newspaper articles including editorials; Pictures of relevant people, places and events. Government and university websites.
Secondary sources. Academic journal articles; Magazine articles; Non-fiction books. Documentary films. Government and university websites.
A caution about websites. Confine your searches to websites on the school databases or the websites suggested on the school library website. Commercial websites, except for visuals, are unacceptable.
IV. Dual Perspectives
Critical thinking requires students to add “breadth” to their writing , i.e. to look at a topic from multiple perspectives or points of view. In an effort to help students gain a more complex understanding of the impact of colonialism, students are required to select documents which show both the negative and positive effects of colonialism.
Students are required to use both primary and secondary sources. Each of these should have a minimum of 2 with a positive perspective and two with a negative perspective.

Primary Sources (Min. 4)

Secondary Sources (Min. 4)

Source shows positive effects of colonialism. (min. 2)

Source shows positive effects of colonialism. (min. 2)

Source shows negative effects of colonialism. (min. 2)

Sources shows negative effects of colonialism. (min. 2)

V. Works Cited and Annotated Bibliography

Works Cited Page. This is simply a list of the sources a writer actually cited in their writing with a direct quote or paraphrase. If an in-text, parenthetical citation is included in an essay, that source needs to be included on a works cited page. All citations should be in MLA format. Check the library website for proper MLA formatting.

Annotated bibliography. A bibliography is a list of ALL the sources consulted while doing research, even those that may not have been directly cited. Thus, the annotated bibliography may be longer than the “works cited” page.

For this project, students will be expected to create a one paragraph annotation for their sources which includes:

  • Summary description: Describe the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say?

  • Reflection: How does the source fit into the research? Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic? Does this source provide you with information on the positive and/or negative effects of colonialism and why?

April 25, 2011

Dear Parent or Guardian:
We are working on a month-long research project in World Studies with a series of steps and due dates. Attached is a set of explanatory documents for your information. These documents have also been posted on the class page of the Von Steuben website.

As you know, this week the freshmen will have two days off due to PSAE testing of the juniors on Wednesday and Thursday, April 27-28. It is expected that they will continue working on this project during that time. Please encourage them to do so. Students were offered the option to work on this project with a partner. If your child is working with a partner, ask him/her to show you a copy of their agreements on how they will divide up the work to be successful.

Once you familiarize yourself with these documents, sign below to confirm that you have read them. Give your student the signed form to return to me. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. It is easiest to reach me through email. Thank you for your cooperation in helping your child to successfully complete this project to the best of their ability.
Mary Brandt, World Studies Teacher


The form below must be signed by a parent/guardian and returned to the teacher by Tue. Apr. 26, 2011


I have received and read the schedule, information and rubric, for the research project in World Studies. I will support my child in meeting the given deadlines and in completing this project to the best of their ability.
______________________________________ ____________________________________

Parent Name (print) Parent Signature Date

Parent email: ________________________________________________
Parent of ___________________________________________________

(print student’s name)

Partner Agreement

DBQ project, Colonialism in Africa, May 2010
The following is a list of tasks needed to complete the project and how partners have agreed to divide up the tasks. It is required that BOTH partners work on the BOTH the essay and the document packet.
There are several elements to this project. Partners should decide how to divide up the work fairly. Here is a list of elements/tasks to be completed. Consult the rubric and project information handouts for details on each task and due dates. Partners will discuss and agree on who will do what. They will then sign this agreement, keep one copy each and give one copy to the teacher.




Researching and writing following parts of three-page essay.

  • Separate Title Page: Creative title, historical question, student name(s) class period, date

  • Introduction

  • Europe divides up Africa, Berlin Conference

  • European settlement

  • Colonial government

  • Native independence movement

  • Independent and post-colonial period (20 years after)

  • Conclusion

Assembling parts of essay and editing, organizing into a coherent whole

  • Proofreading

  • Editing and adding logical transitions

  • Checking that all required elements described in DBQ are present including citations

  • Typing final copy of essay

  • Submitting essay on due date.

Works cited page for essay, MLA format, submitted on due date.

Essay submitted to on due date.

Notecards: Min. 8 varied sources per rubric, PLUS Shadow of the Sun. Several notecards for each source (see handout for proper organization). Notecards submitted on due date.

Cover to DBQ packet.

Title page to DBQ documents.

DBQ documents packet. 8 documents, primary & Secondary, reflecting dual perspectives, PLUS Shadow of the Sun.

Annotated bibliography, MLA format.

I agree that I will do my fair share and fully cooperate with my partner to complete this project successfully, carefully and on time.

____________________________________________ ____________________________________________

Name (print) Signature Date

Apr. 25, 2011

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