The Famous U.S. History Research Paper: Student update

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Since the beginning of the winter term, most juniors have started their United States history research project. Students are encouraged to explore the topics they are interested in with the help of their history teachers and our skillful librarians. Lucy Shao ’19 shares her experience when writing out her paper. She chose to research the differences of applying cosmetics between white women and African American women from 1930 to 1940. Lucy explains “The reason why I chose this topic is because I thought it would be interesting to investigate on when cosmetics became a really important culture and what it meant to different ethnic groups and different classes in the society.” Her biggest take away from this project is that she learns more about African American culture and the distinctive cultures between different classes within the white society. She is also impressed by make-up companies’ mind manipulation which they used to persuade people to purchase their products, maximizing their profits.

Switching gear to the primary and secondary resources Lucy utilizes throughout her research, she says “A lot of my primary sources are advertisements because I want to see how the companies want to advertise cosmetics to different ethnic groups so I can understand what individual ethnic groups wanted out of the cosmetics.’’ With regard to her secondary sources, Lucy goes over thesis statements written by scholars, hoping to comprehend their perspectives and to look for new aspects to expand on.

In terms of how her history teacher guided her through her research process, Lucy expresses “My history teacher has a clear syllabus on what exactly you have to do in the timeline of our research paper.’’ She also appreciates his suggestions on finding secondary sources. For instance the book, Hope in the Dark opened a new door to Lucy as it introduced more usages of cosmetics in the 20th century.

We hope all the juniors will enjoy research process.

Written by: Angela Wang ’20 (Web Staff Writer)