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Music History 455: Jazz History  

Last Updated: Jan 5, 2015 URL: Print Guide

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Miles Davis resting backstage at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium "Just Jazz" Concert, 1950
(image tagged as being in the public domain)

Your Assignment

Research Paper


  • learn about a Jazz performer, topic, or issue in depth
  • think about a subject and write an arguable thesis
  • develop bibliographic and analytical skills
  • evaluate electronic sources
  • present you research in a scholarly manner


1. Thesis Consultation (10 points)

  1. Begin with an area, artist, or topic in Jazz that you are interested in—a broad topic: “Bass playing.”
  2. Do some background research on that topic (textbooks, google). “Oh, I didn’t know that they used gut strings until the 1960s.”
  3. Develop a working thesis. (See the thesis page on moodle). Make a claim that is interesting and arguable. “The timbre of pizzicato gut strings is preferable to steel.”
  4. Research more (Library, EbscoHost, RILM) and modify your thesis based on the material you find.
  5. Email your thesis ( no later than 11:59pm, Friday, January 16th.

2. Research Consultation (15 points) and Bibliography Draft (50 points)

  1. We will have individual paper consultation appointments via sign-up on Monday, February 2..
  2. Bring hard copies, pdf files, or stable urls for all of your sources to the meeting.
  3. Bring a draft of your bibliography. Format in Chicago Style. See Turabian, chapter 16, and the quick guide on moodle. Remember: we’re using the examples marked “B.”
  4. Your Bibliography must contain at least 6 sources. Two of them must be non-electronic, and at least one must be a recording.

3. Paper Draft (75 points) and Updated Bibliography (25 points)

  1. 5-7 pages plus bibliography.
  2. Cite sources and format according to Turabian (Chicago) “Notes and Bibliography” style with footnotes. 12 point font, one-inch margins.
  3. Email your MS Word file before 11:59pm, Monday, February 23.

4. Final Paper (125 points)

     Email your MS Word file before 11:59pm, Wednesday, March 11.


Track Your Progress

RefWorks is a web-based citation manager provided by the library. Our subscription to RefWorks lets you create a database of your research. Entries, including abstracts of articles, can be downloaded directly from a number of online research sources, or you can create records for articles, books, websites, and more. RefWorks has the added benefit of allowing you to include notes on your research. Bibliographies can be drafted from the entries in your RefWorks database in AAA, ACS, APA, Chicago, and MLA style, plus dozens of formats for publication in specific journals.


Evaluate What You Find

Evaluating the resources you find is an essential part of the research process. See this guide to hints on evaluation of books and articles and this guide to evaluating Internet resources.

Contact the Music Librarian

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Antoinette Powell
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(920) 832-6995
fax: (929) 832-6967
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