World History at

Research Seminar History

At KMLA, students are given the opportunity to devote a certain amount of their time on Independent Research (IR), and another amount of time on guided research (Research Seminar), in an area of their choice.
Students who choose to participate in Research Seminar History are taught study skills such as bibliography, paleography and translating short historical texts from languages such as French, Italian or German into English.
Participants in Research Seminar History are expected to choose a working topic, do bibliographic research, acquire a number of books (our library has limited stocks; serious research papers require the purchase of a number of books on the topic, mostly from antiquarian booksellers), write an outline. At this stage the topic may be altered; then it is for the student to write a first draft, get advice/corrections, write a second draft and so on. At the end, successful research papers are to be posted below. Students are given advice/counselling; however, they have to do their research, to analyze independently (a point stressed by the fact that some of the research projects are basd on sources in languages I, as the guiding teacher, can not read). The purpose of their respective research topic is not the end result, but the experience they make in the process of achieving their result.

The purpose of research papers in history is for the student to (a) learn study skills applicable in history as well as in other fields of research, (b) to go through the experience of doing research and writing a research paper. They will learn that some research topics are more difficult to deal with than others, that success does not only depend on effort invested, but also on the right questions being asked, on availability of information and the language they are available in. (c) The research paper also provides the teacher with a foundation for recommendation letters he is to write, as it provided him with the opportunity to observe the student in the process of writing the paper.
KMLA being a school located in Korea, a research paper in history may provide (d) the student writing it, as well as the recommender and ultimately the college he/she applies to with the assurance that the student in question is capable of reading and processing a certain amount of pages/books written in academic English - and thus indicate that he/she, in this aspect, is capable of adjusting to an English-speaking academic environment.
(e) It also may indicate that he is capable to form a judgment of his own - that is, if with the choice of the topic, a research paper largely depending on one book could be avoided. Topics should be chosen of a kind, which require the student to compile information from several sources.

While some of the papers below, as far as time and effort the respective student invested, are compatible with masters' theses, it is important to keep in mind that they do not meet university standards at several levels : we do not have access to a university library (and, when it comes to western history, even most Korean university libraries would not have sufficient stocks of books and magazines on the respective topic); the students lack experience in an academic environment, and often qualifications, such as the command of languages in which the sources are written in. In exceptional cases we have students who speak/read languages other than English and Korean. And lastly, as the guiding teacher, I can not claim to be an expert in every part of history; and, Korean disregarded, in some cases students of mine have language skills which exceed mine.
Some of the papers posted below are rather long (the longest, 115 pages single space) and some took sustained effort over a lengthy period of time (the longest, about 15 months); such papers are high school students' versions of masters theses. While such effort and results are appreciated, I sense it appropriate to state that the students are expected to write papers ranging between 12 and 25 pages, including notes and bibliography. A reasonable time period over which students may work on their topic is 3 to 6 months - and this, because often students have to order books from booksellers abroad, and it may take 1-3 months for some of these books to arrive; this waiting time is included in the estimate of 3 to 6 months.
The essays below are what they are, essays of highly motivated high school students, the result of serious, sustained effort. The research projects which resulted in these essays, while familiarizing the students with academic methods and the obstacles historian scholars have to live with, do not claim to meet academic standards.

Kim, Shin et al.
Kim Hyun Kyu
Ganse, Alexander
Ganse, Alexander
Ganse, Alexander
Ganse, Alexander
Ganse, Alexander
Ganse, Alexander
How to Find Stuff
How to Use Newspaper and Magazines as a Source
Sources Accessible to KMLA Students
What Can Go Wrong
Stages of a History Research Project at KMLA
Term Papers : Grading Procedure and Criteria
Unquotable Sources
The Transcription of Korean Names (1), (2)

Tools : Blank A4 gif image file for text files including Chinese, Korean or other non-Western fonts

Prospective Graduates of 2016
Prospective Graduates of 2015
Prospective Graduates of 2014
Prospective Graduates of 2013
Prospective Graduates of 2012
Prospective Graduates of 2011
Graduates of 2010
Graduates of 2009
Graduates of 2008
Graduates of 2007
Graduates of 2005 and 2006
18th Wave : 0 papers
17th Wave : 5 papers
16th Wave : 9 papers
15th Wave : 19 papers
14th Wave : 36 papers
13th Wave : 62 papers
12th Wave : 97 papers
11th Wave : 32 papers
10th Wave : 28 papers
9th Wave : 12 papers
7th and 8th Waves : 1 respectively 11 papers

Criteria for Good History Papers, Catalogue of Frequently Made Mistakes, Types of Research Papers
Best Papers of 2012 Spring, 2011 Fall, Spring, 2010 Fall, Spring, 2009 Fall, Spring, 2008 Fall, Spring,

We began with offering students the opportunity to write research papers in 2004 (graduates of 2005). Since the number of completed research papers, and their quality has risen continuously, beyond what I believed possible at the beginning, and even beyond what I believed possible at the beginning of 2007. KMLA has earned its reputation because of the quality and engagement of our students.
         Dec. 28th 2007          Alexander Ganse

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