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Teacher's Comment :

Choi, Eunsol - The History of Kazakhstan as Reflected in the New York Times, 1920-1969



In her sophomore year at our school, Choi, Eunsol had the opportunity, with a number of classmates to go on a two week long government funded trip to Kazakhstan, to study the history of the Korean minority there. So I suggested to her to write a research paper on the history of Kazakhstan. As she does not read Russian, she needed an English language source basis.
As the New York Times articles published since 1851 are online, and access is affordable for high school students like Eunsol, we decided that Choi, Eunsol in her research topic was to examine how suitable the New York Times coverage of Kazakhstan over the years was, as a source to reconstruct the country's history.

The paper discussed here is primarily based on primary sources. Choi Eunsol selected 289 out of c.1500 articles as relevant, sorted these into categories (political, economic, deportations & labour camps etc.), observed if the articles were superficial or detailed, examined the sources on which they were based. She observes that the NYTimes coverage of Kazakhstan was largely, but not exclusively, dependent on Soviet media, that the NYTimes coverage was selective, that it qualifies as a historical source but needs to be complemented by other sources.

The paper discussed here qualifies as a presentable model of a high school research paper. Choi, Eunsol has spent about a year on her research; printed out the paper covers c.30 pages single space, a reasonable size. The emphasis of her paper lies in her own research, not in the compilation of the findings of others; Choi Eunsol has a high degree of ownership. A few weeks ago Choi, Eunsol gave a convincing, impressive oral presentation of her findings.

Unlike many of her classmates, Eunsol did not yet have the opportunity to live for a year or more in an English-speaking environment, and her English grammar and style are in need of further improvement. Her paper does, however, prove that her passive English proficiency is much better than her active reading proficiency, and that she can handle assignments in an English-language academic environment.
Choi, Eunsol's paper goes beyond college presentations, is a research paper of a scope which can reasonably be expected of a high school student.


October 12th 2007

Alexander Ganse



Choi, Eunsol The History of Kazakhstan as Reflected in the New York Times