Investigative Essay About Nashville

ENG 122: Freshman Composition

Fall 2020

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Essay 3: Investigative Research Paper (Worth 30% of final grade)


First Draft Due: Monday, November 23rd (Peer Review)


Due: Monday, December 14th


Lateness Policy: This will be your last and final essay, so it must be turned in by the due date.

Length: 5 pages, including Works Cited page

Format: MLA, double-spaced, typed, with one-inch margins on all four sides

Font: Times New Roman 12

Title: Please center at the top of your first page a creative and interesting title.


Please make sure your name, my name, the course number, and the due date are in the upper left-hand corner.


Please staple.


The purpose of this research paper is to investigate the local history of the town, village, or city where you or your ancestors lived. Each town/village/city has its own story to tell. Sometimes historical events will have affected the community, while other times the community will have generated its own fascinating dramas. By delving into the history of your town/village/city, you will develop a deeper historical understanding of the people, places, and events that impacted the history of you or your ancestor’s community.


Resources to use when researching local history


Read published local histories: Especially county and town histories. These can provide excellent genealogical information often times profiling every family who lived in the town.


Map out the town: Historical maps of a city, town, or village may provide layouts of the town’s original layout and buildings, as well as the names and locations of many of the town’s residents.


Look at the library: Libraries are rich sources of information for local histories, directories, and local records that you may not be able to find elsewhere.


Dig into court records: Court proceedings are another rich source of finding out about a town’s history. These may include civil complaints as well as burial ground locations.


Interview the residents: Talking to people can turn up interesting nuggets about your town. If your town has a historical society, they may be able to help you or point you in the right direction of who to talk to.


Google for the goods: The internet (as we know) is a rich resource for local history research.


Historical newspapers: Obituaries, marriage announcements, society columns, public announcements and advertisements, all show what residents found important, and provide interesting insights into the town/village/city. Do not discount local events, school activities, and court cases.


Please include some of the following:


Size of town/village/city





Relevance to your life


Make sure your paper is interesting by including facts that may not have been known about the town. For instance: In Sugar Grove, Illinois a murder took place 30 years ago in which an innocent man was sent to jail. This man was later exonerated by the courts and went on to write a best-selling novel about his experience. (This small bit of information can be investigated through newspapers, the library, etc.)


**I will be looking for creativity, description, and the use of sources (cites) to back up what you find out about the historical background of your/your ancestor’s community. Make sure to include at least 3-4 interesting facts within your research paper.


Part 2:


You will create a Tedtalk featuring your/your ancestor’s hometown. The Tedtalk should be 5-7 minutes in length and will be presented on the day of your final. You will pick a time slot to present your Tedtalk.


**Hint: Watch Tedtalks to get an idea of how to do your presentation.


Your Tedtalk should include, an introduction, interesting facts, and a good conclusion. (Humor helps!) You may include visuals.

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