Research Paper Rules

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Research Paper Rules - Virtual Event

This event is submitted and judged virtually. The entry is due one week prior to contest day. Websites will be updated each year to reflect the submission due dates.  Instructions for uploading the entry will be published on the contest website and/or distributed to teachers each year.

Entry Limit:  1 research paper per school, with 1-2 authors

Length Limit:  minimum 700 words, maximum 1000 words, not including title page and Works Cited

Write a research paper in English on an interesting German-Texan cultural and/or historical topic.  The topic should not be commonly known:  a particular person, family, place, building, business, area, group, settlement, organization, church, tradition, activity, practice, etc.  The paper should contribute to a greater understanding of German-Texan history and/or culture.  The entry must be typed and double-spaced and have internal documentation with proper in-text citation and a Works Cited page, as per MLA (Modern Language Association) guidelines.  Follow the rules in the latest MLA Style Sheet, paying special attention to rules for entering Internet sources.  Use at least three sources, at least two of which must be non-Internet.  Digitally-archived sources originally published in hard copy may be counted as non-Internet sources.  Sources should include primary sources and secondary sources.  Primary sources are evidence in the form of artifacts, photos, letters, interviews, music, charts, illustrations, etc. with a direct connection to the era being studied.  They may be personally documented by the contestant(s) (photos taken, interviews recorded) or found in personal collections, archives, libraries, museums, etc.   Secondary sources are documents that discuss or analyze primary sources and topics – primarily other academic work.

All entries will be checked for plagiarism via or a similar service.  

Click here to download the critique sheet for Research Paper.

Submission Process:

  1. Using MLA Style, include your name(s), your school, the date, and the title of the paper at the top of page 1.
  2. To include photographs, other images, and/or audio materials, add an appendix after the Works Cited page. Images may be pasted directly into the document. Audio files should be linked, e.g., via a Google Drive link.
  3. Convert the completed research paper, including the Works Cited and any appendix, to a single PDF file and upload it according to the instructions provided.

Preparation Tips: In choosing a topic, the more specific and locally-based, the better.  Try to steer students away from the old stand-bys:  Prince Carl, Meusebach, Adelsverein.  It can be a family history.  Or focus on a local German building, organization, or church.  Consult the journal of the German-Texan Heritage Society ( for inspiration.  Contact the nearest chapter of the Texas German Society ( to see if they know of any stories that are just waiting to be told.