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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

FSEM 100S1: The Amusement Park: Park History Paper

The Park History Paper

Here is an excerpt from the description of the Park History Paper. This is only an excerpt; please read the full document for the complete requirements of the assignment.

Students will begin by selecting a park or attraction of their choosing to explore.  Students should consider using an attraction referenced in their Pastime Paper, an attraction from their hometown, or favorite vacation destination.  The class will also spend time brainstorming topics as a group. 


Students will then write a 4-6 page informative paper discussing their attraction’s history, noteworthy elements or experiences, and significance in the industry.  Students should utilize at least 3-4 primary sources in addition to popular or personal communication sources in order to enhance their paper.  Students will adhere to APA guidelines for formatting and references. 

Four steps

A clipboard with the words "Four Steps" written on it

Follow these steps to complete your project:

  1. Find a topic (an amusement park or other attraction)
    • It’s okay to explore several possible topics.
  2. Read overviews of the topic, and take notes.
    • Wikipedia is a good place to find overviews.
    • Some attractions have historical overviews on their official websites.
  3. Use your notes to look for sources you can cite.
    • Look for specific types of popular sources and specific types of scholarly sources.
    • As you read, keep taking notes! Write down words you could type in search boxes.
  4. Write the paper and cite your sources.

Types of sources

Here are the different types of sources that you'll use in your research. You need both of these!

Popular Scholarly
Written for the average person to read Written by scholars, for scholars to read

Note: You won’t find scholarly sources about specific attractions, except for very famous attractions such as Disney World. Instead, look for scholarly sources about types of attractions such as amusement parks or museums or beaches or theaters. This gives you information about the broader context.

For the Park History Paper, popular and scholarly sources will serve different purposes.

  • Popular sources will give you evidence that you can use to establish facts (such as when an attraction opened, or what visitors think of it).
  • Scholarly sources will give you expert analysis of the context your attraction exists in (such as the business of amusement parks, or the history of amusement parks).

Caution: You might see some analysis in popular sources, but take it with a grain of salt! Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but an analysis written by a random person isn't as valuable as an analysis written by an expert.

Finding library materials

Use Quest to search the library's physical collection and the contents of most of the library's electronic databases.

You can also search each database one-at-a-time, which helps you focus on particular subjects. (For example, if you're trying to find articles about the business of amusement parks, you could use our Business databases.)

Cartoon art of a book

Finding books in the library

Use Quest to discover books in the library, and then use call numbers to find those books on the shelves. Here's an explanation of how our call numbers work.

You can check out as many books as you want, and keep each book for five weeks. If you want more time, you can renew your books online.

My presentation to your class

Here are the PowerPoint slides for my presentation to your class. Click in the lower right corner to expand the slides to full screen.