Guidelines for Preparation of Senior Thesis
Your thesis must be printed or typewritten in black-letter type upon plain white paper (any kind of paper is acceptable). The text must be double-spaced, with wide margins and paragraphs clearly indented. Although there is no fixed requirement, you should be careful to leave enough space on the left to allow for binding, and enough on the right, top, and bottom so that your thesis will look presentable. (An inch and a half on the left and an inch on the right, top, and bottom should be adequate.) It must be a single-sided document.
The title page should contain the title, name of author, date, and the following statement: "A senior thesis submitted to the History Department of Princeton University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts."
On a separate page you should certify that "This paper represents my own work in accordance with University regulations" and sign your name.
A table of contents listing the title and page number of each chapter should follow the title page. On a page preceding the table of contents, you may wish to acknowledge any special assistance or support that you received in writing your thesis.
The prescribed minimum length of text, excluding appendices, charts, and bibliography, is 75 pages. The prescribed maximum length is 100 pages. No thesis may exceed 100 pages unless permission of the thesis adviser is obtained in advance.
Two copies of your thesis must be submitted to the Department of History by the due date of 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Both copies MUST be bound, using Velo, GBC, or Glue; hardcover binding is not required. A pdf of your thesis is required for eventual deposit at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library and must be submitted by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, to https://www.princeton.edu/academicservices/forms/senior-theses/history/ .
Use quotations sparingly, keep them brief, and work them into the flow of your own narrative. If a long quotation must be used, take it out of the body of the text, indent, and single-space. Quotations treated in this manner are called block quotations. Quotation marks are not used for block quotations.
The omission of a word or phrase from a quotation is indicated by an ellipsis, or three spaced periods (. . .), at the point of omission. If the omitted words would have ended a sentence, a fourth period should be added to indicate the normal terminal punctuation.
A quotation must conform to the original in every detail. Do not correct misspellings or other errors, but insert after them the Latin word sic in brackets [sic] to show that the error was in the original. Brackets, not parentheses, are used to insert a clarifying word or phrase of your own into quoted material. When your thesis is completed, you should check all quotations against the original sources to ensure absolute accuracy.
Footnotes must be used to indicate the sources of:
- all quotations and statistical data;
- all facts not generally known to historians; and
- all opinions or interpretations that are not your own, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
Footnotes may also include your comments on the sources, remarks on disagreement among authorities, additional quotations, or essential information that cannot appropriately fit into the text. Generally speaking, anything worth saying at all is worth saying in the text. Do not use your footnotes as a dumping ground for surplus data.
Start a new set of footnotes, starting at 1, with each chapter. The footnote number, elevated above the line of type, should come at the end of the sentence for which a citation is needed. If the material in one or more paragraphs is all derived from a single work, put your footnote at the end of the section containing this material. If a single sentence or paragraph contains material from a number of sources, the sources may all be cited in the same footnote, separated by semicolons.
Footnotes should be placed at the bottom of the page upon which the material in question appears. They should be separated from the text by a short black line beginning at the left hand margin. Subject to your adviser’s approval, notes may be typed consecutively at the end of each chapter. In either case, the notes should be single-spaced with the first line of each note indented.
There is no single, universally accepted set of rules for citations. You probably will notice in your reading that different publishers and authors use different forms of footnotes. However, most historians follow the so-called Chicago style, which is based on the Chicago Manual of Style, and this is the format recommended by the Department of History. Still, the most important criterion is clarity and consistency: your notes should present all the pertinent information in as direct and simple a fashion as possible, and you should use the same format throughout your thesis.
The following rules provide a basic guide to the most common types of footnotes:
Book. The first time you cite a book, give the author's full name, the full title of the book as it appears on the title page, the place of publication, the publisher's name, the date of publication, and page from which your material has been drawn. Note that the publication data is enclosed in parentheses. For example:
- 1. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978), 231.
Multivolume Works. When all the volumes in a multivolume work have the same title, a reference to pages within a single volume is given in the following manner. (Note that the volume number is given in Arabic numerals and that the volume and page numbers are separated by a colon.) For example:
- 2. James Schouler, History of the United States of America, under the Constitution (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1904), 4:121.
When each volume in a multivolume work has a different title, a reference to pages within a single volume is given as follows:
- 3. Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall, vol. 4, Statesman, 1945-1959 (New York: Viking, 1987), 31.
Article in a Scholarly Journal. For the first citation of an article, give the author's full name, the full title, and the name, volume number, month and year, and page number of the journal or quarterly. For example:
- 4. Edwin S. Gaustad, “The Theological Effects of the Great Awakening in New England,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 40 (March 1954), 690.
Subsequent Citation. Subsequent citations of the same book or article should give only the author's last name and an abbreviated (short) title. For example:
- 5. Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy, 295.
- 6. Gaustad, “Theological Effects of the Great Awakening,” 693-695.
Use of the Abbreviation “Ibid.” If a footnote refers to the same source that was cited in the immediately preceding footnote, the abbreviation ibid. (for ibidem, which means “in the same place") may take the place of the author’s name, title of the work, and as much of the succeeding material as is identical. For example:
- 7. Ibid., 699.
Collected Works. In citing printed collected works such as diaries or letters, the author’s name may be omitted if it is included in the title. The name of the editor follows the title, preceded by a comma and the abbreviation “ed.,” which stands for “edited by.” For example:
- 8. An Englishman in America, 1785, Being the Diary of Joseph Hudfield, ed. Douglas S. Robertson (Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1933), 23.
Manuscript. In citing correspondence from manuscript collections, give the full names of the writer and recipient, the date the letter was written, and the manuscript collection in which it may be found. The first time a collection is cited, its name should be given in full and its location should be indicated. Subsequent citations should abbreviate the name of the collection and omit location of the collection. For example:
- 9. James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, May 6, 1791, Andre De Coppet Collection, Firestone Library, Princeton University.
- 10. James Madison to George Washington, Feb. 18, 1788, De Coppet Collection.
In the case of large collections, you should indicate the number of the box (or designation of the file) in which the cited material may be found. For example:
- 11. Adlai E. Stevenson to John F. Kennedy, Jan. 12, 1961, Adlai E. Stevenson Papers, Box 310, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Princeton University.
Article in Popular Magazine. It is not necessary to cite the volume or issue number of a magazine of general interest. Note, however, that the abbreviation “p” is required to distinguish clearly between the date of publication and page number. For example:
- 12. Michael Rogers, “Software for War, or Peace: All the World’s a Game,” Newsweek, Dec. 9, 1985, p. 82.
Newspaper. For reference to a newspaper, the name of the paper and date usually are sufficient. However, for large newspapers, particularly those made up of sections, it is desirable to give the page number. For example:
- 13. Washington Globe, Feb. 24, 1835; Richmond Enquirer, May 15, 1835.
- 14. New York Times, Oct. 24, 1948, p. 17.
Web Site. Include as much of the following information as is available: author, title of the site, sponsor of the site, and the site’s URL. When no author is named, treat the sponsor as the author. For example:
- 15. Kevin Rayburn, The 1920s, http://www.louisville.edu/~kprayb01/1920s.html.
The Chicago Manual of Style does not advise including the date that you accessed a Web source, but you may provide the date after the URL if the cited material is time sensitive.
Abbreviations. Should you cite certain sources repeatedly, you may wish to develop a system of abbreviations to simplify your footnotes. In this case, a page explaining the abbreviations should follow the table of contents. For example:
DOHC Dulles Oral History Collection
FRUS Foreign Relations of the United States
NYT New York Times
Note: For additional guidance and examples of Chicago-style documentation, see “Documenting Sources: Model Notes and Bibliography Entries,” which is posted on the Department of History’s Web site. Go to undergraduate drop-down menu and choose “library resources.” Then choose “history resources” and “History: Documenting Sources.” (Do not hesitate to ask your thesis adviser for assistance in determining the appropriate format.)
- Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978), 231.
- James Schouler, History of the United States of America, under the Constitution (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1904), 4:121.
- Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall, vol. 4, Statesman, 1945-1959 (New York: Viking, 1987), 31.
- Edwin S. Gaustad, "The Theological Effects of the Great Awakening in New England," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 40 (March 1954), 690.
- Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy, 295.
- Gaustad, "Theological Effects of the Great Awakening," 693-695.
- Ibid., 699.
- An Englishman in America, 1785, Being the Diary of Joseph Hudfield, ed. Douglas S. Robertson (Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1933), 23.
- James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, May 6, 1791, Andre De Coppet Collection, Firestone Library, Princeton University.
- James Madison to George Washington, Feb. 19, 1788, De Coppet Collection.
- Adlai E. Stevenson to John F. Kennedy, Jan. 12, 1961, Adlai E. Stevenson Papers, Box 310, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Princeton University.
- Michael Rogers, “Software for War, or Peace: All the World’s a Game,” Newsweek, Dec. 9, 1985, p. 82.
- Washington Glove, Feb. 24, 1835; Richmond Enquirer, May 15, 1835.
- New York Times, Oct. 24, 1948, p. 17.
- Kevin Rayburn, The 1920s, http://www.louisville.edu/~kprayb01/1920s/html.
The bibliography should list all primary and secondary sources that are actually used in writing your thesis. Bibliographies of theses that draw upon archival and manuscript sources normally are divided into sections. Sources are listed alphabetically by author, editor, or publishing agency (when no author or editor is given). Single-space each item with double-spacing between items and sections of the bibliography. The following is an acceptable model for delineating various categories of primary and secondary sources.
- Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Record Group 218. National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C.
- Stevenson, Adlai E. Papers. Seeley G. Mudd Library, Princeton University.
- U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Naval Affairs. Hearings on H.R. 9218. 75th Cong., 3rd sess., 1938.
- U.S. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, 1944. Vol. 4, Europe. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1966.
Memoirs and Collected Papers
- Hudfield, Joseph. An Englishman in America, 1785, Being the Diary of Joseph Hudfield. Edited by Douglas S. Robertson. Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1933.
Contemporary Journals and Newspapers
- New York Times, 1921-1923
Books and Articles
- Campbell, Mildred, The English Yeoman under Elizabeth and the Early Stuarts. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1942.
- Gaustad, Edwin S. "The Theological Effects of the Great Awakening in New England," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 40 (March 1954), 681-706.
- Schouler, James. History of the United States of America, under the Constitution. 6 vols. Rev. ed. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1904.
- Rigby, David Joseph. “The Combined Chiefs of Staff and Anglo-American Strategic Coordination in World War II.” Ph.D. dissertation, Brandeis University, 1996.
You should remember that theses are submitted to the Department of History and not only to your individual thesis adviser. The adviser is just one of the readers who will grade the thesis; the final evaluation of your work will be the product of deliberations between your adviser and a second reader (and in some instances, a third reader). Still, there should be no problem submitting an acceptable thesis as long as you work closely with your adviser throughout the year and respond to his/her guidance.
Each reader of your thesis will prepare written comments. Usually these take the form of a general evaluation of your work, but you may find that a reader has prepared more detailed comments about particular points of substance and style. You may obtain the readers’ comments, together with your thesis grade, from the department’s undergraduate office upon submission of your comprehensive examination.