Boost your Grades with us today!

Essay Guide

Essay Guide

NOTE: there will be a 2% per day penalty for late papers.

            Papers are to be submitted in class. Late papers are to be put in the drop box in the History Department office. Do not place them under the professor’s door.

            Electronic copies must also be submitted to (students can access by clicking on “Research Essay” which can be found in “Assignments” in the course website)




Students must write their essays and assignments in their own words. Whenever students take an idea, or a passage from another author, they must acknowledge their debt both by using quotation marks where appropriate and by proper referencing such as footnotes or citations. Plagiarism is a major academic offense (see Scholastic Offence Policy in the Western Academic Calendar).

All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and (

The following rules pertain to the acknowledgements necessary in academic papers.

A. In using another writer’s words, you must both place the words in quotation marks and acknowledge that the words are those of another writer.

You are plagiarizing if you use a sequence of words, a sentence or a paragraph taken from other writers without acknowledging them to be theirs. Acknowledgement is indicated either by (1) mentioning the author and work from which the words are borrowed in the text of your paper; or by (2) placing a footnote number at the end of the quotation in your text, and including a correspondingly numbered footnote at the bottom of the page (or in a separate reference section at the end of your essay). This footnote should indicate author, title of the work, place and date of Publication and page number. Method (2) given above is usually preferable for academic essays because it provides the reader with more information about your sources and leaves your text uncluttered with parenthetical and tangential references. In either case words taken from another author must be enclosed in quotation marks or set off from your text by single spacing and indentation in such a way that they cannot be mistaken for your own words. Note that you cannot avoid indicating quotation simply by changing a word or phrase in a sentence or paragraph which is not your own.

B. In adopting other writer’s ideas, you must acknowledge that they are theirs.

You are plagiarizing if you adopt, summarize, or paraphrase other writers’ trains of argument, ideas or sequences of ideas without acknowledging their authorship according to the method of acknowledgement given in ‘At above. Since the words are your own, they need not be enclosed in quotation marks. Be certain, however, that the words you use are entirely your own; where you must use words or phrases from your source; these should be enclosed in quotation marks, as in ‘A’ above.

Clearly, it is possible for you to formulate arguments or ideas independently of another writer who has expounded the same ideas, and whom you have not read. Where you got your ideas is the important consideration here. Do not be afraid to present an argument or idea without acknowledgement to another writer, if you have arrived at it entirely independently. Acknowledge it if you have derived it from a source outside your own thinking on the subject.

In short, use of acknowledgements and, when necessary, quotation marks is necessary to distinguish clearly between what is yours and what is not. Since the rules have been explained to you, if you fail to make this distinction, your instructor very likely will do so for you, and they will be forced to regard your omission as intentional literary theft. Plagiarism is a serious offence which may result in a student’s receiving an ‘F’ in a course or, in extreme cases, in their suspension from the University.


The University recognizes that a student’s ability to meet his/her academic responsibilities may, on occasion, be impaired by medical illness. Please go to to read about the University’s policy on medical accommodation. Please go to to download the necessary form. In the event of illness, you should contact Academic Counselling as soon as possible. The Academic Counsellors will determine, in consultation with the student, whether or not accommodation is warranted. They will subsequently contact the instructors in the relevant courses about the accommodation. Once a decision has been made about accommodation, the student should contact his/her instructors to determine a new due date for term tests, assignments, and exams.

If you have any further questions or concerns please contact, Rebecca Dashford, Undergraduate Program Advisor, Department of History, 519-661-2111 x84962 or

Length of the essay:

The essay should be 8-10 pages (approximately 2,000-2,500 words) in length, double spaced and in 12 point font.

A word count must be included on the title page.

Although there is no formal penalty for essays that are too long or too short, since such papers do not fall into the stipulated guidelines, they are subject to a reduced mark.

NOTE: Since this is an academic setting, it is expected that written material meet a minimum standard of literacy (i.e., grammar, spelling, writing style, etc.). Accordingly, those who are not familiar with writing essays, or those whose native language is other than English, are expected to avail themselves of the various writing skills facilities available on or off campus. One such resource is the Effective Writing Program offered by the Student Development Centre:

            If you have doubts about writing style or grammar, the following website could be of help:

The essay must conform to one of the conventional academic formats (i.e., proper citations, formatting of quotations, bibliography, etc.). The preferred format is referred to as, “Traditional Endnotes or Footnotes with Superscript Numbers (humanities),” as outlined in the following website:

NOTE : essays without proper citations for sources will not be accepted.

Since, Rampolla, Mary Lynn A Pocket Guide to Writing in History Eighth Edition  (Boston: Bedford Martins, 2015) is a required text for this course, it is expected that students follow the guidelines outlined in this book as to formatting, formulation of a thesis, etc.

Resource Material

Since these are research papers, it is expected that primary and secondary sources other than the textbook will be used (for explanations of primary & secondary sources see,

Generally, at least 5 sources (this does not include textbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.) are expected to be consulted for an essay of this nature.

Of course textbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc., may be used, but they should be used sparingly—a paper that relies heavily on such sources will inevitably be very general in nature as such reference material does not go into the detail needed for an effective paper.

            Since the textbook, Ebrey, Patricia East Asia: A Cultural, Social and Political History Third Edition (Belmont, Ca.: Wadsworth, 2014) is required for this course, it is expected that you will use this book to give you the historical background you may need to put the material in the essay into a proper historical context. Inaccuracies in dates, historical events, etc., will obviously undermine the credibility of your essay, so use your textbook as a reference guide.

Websites should be used with discretion. They can provide the most up to date data (as in the case of government statistics, demographic data, etc.) but, generally speaking, they are made for a broad readership, and therefore do not provide the detailed analysis necessary for an academic paper. Moreover, it is often difficult to assess the credibility of websites as authorship is usually not provided. Finally, websites are unstable. Just because you found something on a website yesterday doesn’t mean that it will be there today— it may be revised, or the website may shut down. Whatever the case, if any of these issues arise the integrity of your essay is put into question, and that could have an effect on your mark. Remember, the onus is on the writer to use credible and authoritative resources. So be forewarned.

Papers using websites must include a printed copy of the passages from the websites that are cited in the essay. NOTE: this does not apply to journal articles that are provided online as, properly speaking, these are not really “websites.”

What is Expected from the Essay

            The point of any essay is not simply to reiterate what one finds in source material on a particular topic. An essay should present one’s interpretation/understanding of a topic, or an aspect of a topic, and to articulate that as precisely and coherently as possible. Thus, an academic essay is not simply a list of facts, no matter how good the facts are. Therefore, the essay should have a thesis, or area of focus. This does not necessarily take the form of an argument per se, but it does have to let the reader know what you are trying to get across in the paper. For a guide on formulating a thesis, see the section, “Thesis Statements,” in “Writing Support Handouts,” in the following website:

See also, “Offering a well-organized and persuasive thesis,” in the article, “Asking a Good Historical Question; Or, How to Develop a Manageable Topic,” in the following website:

            See also: “Thesis Statements” in,

See also: “Moving from a topic to a Thesis”

            For a general guide to writing history essays see, Rampolla, Mary Lynn A Pocket Guide to Writing in History Eighth Edition  (Boston: Bedford Martins, 2015).


Expectations are higher for the essay as students are expected to utilize the comments and criticisms made on their first term assignment and the book review in order to produce a more effective paper. Be forewarned, your mark may suffer if you have not made an effort to improve on the shortcomings pointed out in the previous assignments.


The following are the topics for your essay –

Topics will be limited to one person per tutorial – this is to ensure that adequate library resources will be available for each topic. Choose your topic from the following list and sign up in your tutorial. Substitutions will be permitted only with the written consent of the instructor.

NOTE: The topics are purposely broad to allow you to pursue any aspect of the topic that might interest you. Keep in mind that you will have to narrow down the scope of the topics because they are rather broad (i.e., essays that are too general are usually not very successful).

Topics other than those listed below may be chosen, but they must first be approved by the teaching assistant.


  1. The changing status of Chinese women in modern times
  2. Chiang Kai-shek
  3. China’s export of labour: from the 19th to the 21st centuries
  4. Changes to China’s One Child Policy, 2015
  5. China and Tibet
  6. The Chinese Revolution of 1911
  7. Confucianism in Modern China
  8. The Cultural Revolution in China
  9. The Democracy Movement in China (1980s)
  10. Deng Xiaoping and China’s Reform Era
  11. Dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: the Chinese perspective
  12. Empress Dowager Cixi
  13. The Great Leap Forward
  14. The Long March
  15. “Made in China”—product safety issues: Whose responsibility?
  16. Mao Zedong
  17. The May Fourth Movement
  18. Chinese Media (why does China maintain strict control over its media?)
  19. The Nationalist Era in Taiwan (how has the ‘2-28’ legacy altered the balance of political power in post-war Taiwan?)
  20. Sun Yat-sen
  21. The Tiananmen Square Incident
  22. The Nanjing Massacre
  23. The Warlord Era in 1920s China
  24. Yan’an Era (how did the Chinese Communist Party develop its political strategy during the Yan’an era?)


  1. The American Occupation of Japan
  2. Bushidō in Tokugawa Japan
  3. The Changing status of Japanese women in modern times.
  4. Tokugawa Japan’s isolationist policy
  5. Government and Business in Postwar Japan
  6. Hiroshima and the Atomic Bomb
  7. Meiji Japan
  8. Militarism in Modern Japan
  9. Modern Japanese Popular Culture (why did manga become so popular in post-war Japan?)
  10. The Post-war Legacy of Japanese Imperialism (why is Japan reluctant to formally apologize for its actions in Asia during the Pacific War?)
  11. The Road to Pearl Harbor
  12. The Russo-Japanese War
  13. “Cool Japan”


  1. The Changing status of Korean women in modern times.
  2. Christianity in Korea (why did Christianity become so popular in Korea during the late 19th and early 20th centuries)
  3. Cultural Life of late-Chosŏn Korea
  4. Four ‘Little Tigers’ and the Asian ‘Economic Miracle’
  5. Intellectual Life of late-Chosŏn Korea (Silhak, “Practical Learning”)
  6. Japan’s Occupation of Korea (1910-1945)
  7. Kim Jong Un
  8. Kim Il-Sung and the DPRK
  9. The Korean Democracy Movement (1980s)
  10. The Korean War
  11. ‘Korean Wave’ in Modern Popular Culture (why did Korean popular culture gain such success in Asia in the 1990’s?)
  12. “Korean Cool”
  13. Military Dictatorship in South Korea
  14. The Political Structure of late-Chosŏn Korea
  15. The North Korean Nuclear Threat
  16. Women in Chosŏn Korea
Looking for a Similar Assignment? Our Experts can help. Use the coupon code SAVE30 to get your first order at 30% off!

Hi there! Click one of our representatives below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Chat with us on WhatsApp