how to write a history essay

- Have I properly introduced, analyzed, and cited every quotation I use? Having dissected your sources and articulated your ideas about them, you can more easily draw upon them when constructing your paper. It might ask you to describe and analyse the causes and/or effects of a particular action or event. Find the parts from the textbook, from the primary source readings, and from your notes that relate to the prompt. Try to frame your contention so that is strong, authoritative and convincing. More information on referencing a piece of history writing can be found here. 2. It is the reader’s first experience of your essay. While it might seem like this step creates more work for you by having to do more writing, it in fact serves two critical purposes: it helps you refine your working thesis by distilling exactly what your sources are saying, and it helps smooth your writing process. An outline is helpful in giving you a sense of the overall structure of your paper and how best to organize your ideas. As you locate information, ask yourself if it is relevant or useful for addressing the question. Free writing is a low-stakes writing exercise to help you get past the blank page. Purpose. Print out your draft and number each of the paragraphs. If you think of writing as a process and break it down into smaller steps, you will find that paper-writing is manageable, less daunting, and even enjoyable. Writing a history paper is a process. Be creative with your research, looking in a variety of places. Any history paper you write will be driven by an argument demanding evidence from sources. It is important for several reasons. As you do more research, reread your sources, and write your paper, you will learn more about the topic and your argument. For more information on usage, please refer to our Terms of Use. 4. What are your initial responses or thoughts about the question? What historians or sources might be useful? Your first priority should be revising at the global level, because you need to make sure you are making a compelling and well-supported argument. A separate title page? Notice that the library website has different databases you can search depending on what type of material you need (such as scholarly articles, newspapers, books) and what subject and time period you are researching (such as eighteenth-century England or ancient Rome). For maximum effect, learn how to write a hook for a history essay. A particularly helpful exercise for global-level revision is to make a reverse outline, which will help you look at your paper as a whole and strengthen the way you have organized and substantiated your argument. 10. Your research should take shape from here, guided by the essay question and your own planning. Why do I advise this? Therefore, you should write in the third … An essay question will set some kind of task or challenge. - Does the main argument in each body paragraph support my thesis? For more information, visit our section, "Understanding Paper Prompts.". Witnesses in court promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Here are some dos and don'ts to guide you, written by an art history … Rather, investigate the past on its own terms. Start constructing a … Write three body … Your paper needs to have a title that does not just announce the topic of the paper, but gives some indication of your argument. The richer and well-thought your branch is – … The first step to writing a good essay, whatever the subject or topic, is to give plenty of thought to the question. Use this information to guide you as you start your research and develop a thesis. A good history essay contains paragraphs that are themselves ‘mini-essays’, usually between 100-200 words each. Searching the database most relevant to your topic will yield the best results. It might seem like this paper is straightforward and does not require an argument, that it is simply a matter of finding the "right answer." Remember that the staff of the History Writing Center is here to assist you at any stage of the writing process. Does the argument flow and make sense? An introduction for an essay on history introduces a thesis and at the same time highlights what the paragraphs are going to cover. Your paragraphs should be well organised and follow a logical sequence. Citation information Title: “Writing a history essay” Authors: Jennifer Llewellyn, Steve Thompson Publisher: Alpha History URL: https://alphahistory.com/writing-a-history-essay/ Date published: April 13, 2019 Date accessed: February 23, 2021 Copyright: The content on this page may not be republished without our express permission. ", Jenna Gibb, "Protesting Slavery, Asserting Freedom, and Defying Racism at the African Grove Theatre in New York in the early 1820s. General Guidelines on How to Write History Essay Most history essays do not require writers to express their personal opinions. If you encounter a mental ‘brick wall’ or are uncertain about how to approach the question, don’t hesitate to discuss it with someone else. Read your essay aloud, either to yourself or another person. Then, carefully consider what you are being asked to do. It will also support the contention with argument and evidence. A contention is the main idea or argument of your essay. Seek feedback and advice from a good writer or someone you trust (they need not have expertise in history, only in effective writing). Your goal in the draft is to articulate your argument as clearly as you can, and to marshal your evidence in support of your argument. Essays should ideally be completed a few days before their due date, then put aside for a day or two before proofreading. This is an obvious tip – but one sadly neglected by some students. An essay using this contention would then go on to explain and justify these statements in greater detail. How to Write a DBQ Essay. If your keywords are too general, you may receive thousands of results and feel overwhelmed. - POSTPONED, Professor Andrew Robichaud, “Animal City: The Domestication of America”, Preston McBride, "Lethal Education: Native American Boarding Schools, 1879-1934. For now, produce a "working thesis," meaning, a thesis that represents your thinking up to this point. Only include evidence that backs up your ideas, gives a clear example or adds to your argument. An effective outline includes the following components: the research question from the prompt (that you wrote down in Step 1), your working thesis, the main idea of each body paragraph, and the evidence (from both primary and secondary sources) you will use to support each body paragraph. Aim for an introduction that is clear, confident and punchy. I realize there’s more to writing a good history paper than writing a great introduction, so here are a few more resources to help you write your history paper: 13 History Essay Topics That Will Bring Your Essay to Life; How to Write a History Paper That Will Go Down in History; How to Find Primary Sources for Your History Essay It is also where you lay out or ‘signpost’ the direction your essay will take. Think about revising on two levels: the global and the local. After you have finished revising and have created a strong draft, set your paper aside for a few hours or overnight. Even if you do not have to do outside research and are limited to working with the readings you have done in class, annotating sources is still very useful. If you think of writing as a process and break it down into smaller steps, you will find that paper-writing … Write a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the essay you plan to write. You might be able to use some of those same words as search terms. You would like to finish your assignment on time with a minimum of stress, and your instructor fervently hopes to read an engaging, well-written paper. You don’t really need an introduction for the source questions. Now you need to step back, look at the material you have, and develop your argument. The global level refers to the argument and evidence in your paper, while the local level refers to the individual sentences. Will you submit your paper electronically or in hard copy? Start constructing a plan as soon as you have received your essay question and given it some thought. Take stock and draft a thesis statement. Depending on the paper prompt, you may be required to do outside research or you may be using only the readings you have done in class. … Besides, one should also be able to structure the … Start with a plan. Think then about how you can improve the clarity, tone and structure of your essay. You can also schedule an appointment with a librarian to talk specifically about your research project. At some point in your research, you should begin thinking about a contention for your essay. How to write a history essay (historiographical essay) or a research paper? In the exam you will be pressed for time so it is sensible to just start with your analysis of extract A. You want to think big and bring in everything you know or suspect about the topic. The key to a good body portion of your essay is to … You may also find our page on writing for history to be useful. Marques Vestal, a recent history PhD and incoming Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA,... Report by the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy: "The Making of a Crisis: A History of Homelessness in Los Angeles County". Based on what you have brainstormed, what do you still need to learn about the topic? What topics or events do you need to learn more about? Resist the temptation to relate all historical arguments or concerns back to the present. This is an obvious tip – but one sadly neglected by some students. A history essay is only likely to succeed if it is appropriately referenced. Write out the key question at the top of your draft and return to it often, using it to guide you in the writing process. Take care not to jumble the chronological order of events. Here is a checklist of questions to ask yourself while revising on both the global and local levels: - Does my thesis clearly state my argument and its significance? Every essay should begin with a written plan. How To Write A History Essay. Main Idea: Women's labor in their homes during the first half of the nineteenth century contributed to the … Bear in mind too that once you start researching, your plan may change as you locate new information. To achieve the correct structure for your argument, it is crucial to understand the separate parts that make up a written essay. Draft a thesis statement in which you clearly and succinctly make an argument that addresses the prompt. You should begin by reading the essay question several times. Remember that you need to cite not just direct quotations, but any ideas that are not your own. The sub-questions are designed to help you think about the topic. In addition to the College’s style guide, Essentials of Writing, we recommend Strunk and White, The Elements of Style and Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual. This page was written with several goals in mind: to explain what historians do and how they approach the writing process, to encourage you to think about your history instructor’s expectations, and to offer some strategies to help you write effectively in history … Remember it will almost certainly change as you move through the writing process. Do not edit or judge what you are writing as you write; just keep writing until the timer goes off. When writing a history essay these are the steps that you will need to follow: 1. 9. This need not be complicated, a few lines or dot points is ample. KCRW interviewed Kelly Lytle Hernandez and Marques Vestal for the "Archiving the Age of... History Graduate Student Association (HGSA), Faculty and Graduate Student Publications, Academic Freedom Guidelines and Best Practices, Academic Administrators, Lecturers, Postdocs and Visitors, UCLA History Department Board of Advisors, César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. Referencing not only acknowledges the work of others, but it also gives authority to your writing and provides the teacher or assessor with an insight into your research. Regardless, when you make these types of assertions, you are making an argument that requires historical evidence. Every essay should begin with a written plan. In the past, Document Based Questions (DBQ) were rarely found outside of AP history exams. These are: Include references and citations; When writing a history essay… Based on the reading and research you have done, how might you answer the question(s) in the prompt? Think about what it requires you to do. For more information about how and when to cite, visit our section on citations. Once you have a thesis, you may find that you need to do more research targeted to your specific argument. Study the order in which you have sequenced your ideas. Every paragraph should be clearly signposted in the topic sentence. 2. Perhaps you decide that your argument is most clear when presented chronologically, or perhaps you find that it works best with a thematic approach. A good conclusion should do two things. Think about what the source does for you. After you have finished, read over what you have created. Do not feel that you have to work through your outline from beginning to end. The Nazi Party’s electoral success of 1932 was a result of economic suffering caused by the Great Depression, public dissatisfaction with the Weimar Republic’s democratic political system and mainstream parties, and Nazi propaganda that promised a return to traditional social, political and economic values. Writing a good history essay should be rigorous and challenging, even for stronger students. At this point in the process, it is helpful to write down all of your ideas without stopping to judge or analyze each one in depth. Sometimes professors distribute prompts with several sub-questions surrounding the main question they want you to write about. Is your bibliography appropriately formatted? A thesis statement is a sentence or two near the beginning of your essay that states the position you are going to take in response to a particular question or issue. Or it might ask you to evaluate the relative significance of a person, group or event. Most will start by reading an overview of the topic or issue, usually in some reliable secondary sources. Once you have finalised a plan for your essay, commence your draft. Some writers find it helpful to begin with the section in which they feel most confident. Brainstorm possible arguments and responses. When proofreading, look first for spelling and grammatical errors, typographical mistakes, incorrect dates or other errors of fact. An essay is a piece of sustained writing in response to a question, topic or issue. Unsure of how to start a history essay? Important History Essay Tips That You Should Remember. For example, an essay discussing Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 might close with a couple of sentences about how he consolidated and strengthened his power in 1934-35. Does it provide critical historical background that you need in order to make a point? You have been assigned an art history paper to write. To help you narrow your search, go back to the key questions in the essay prompt that you wrote down in Step 1. In other words, you have to think very carefully about the question you are asked to ans… Or you might argue that the differences resulted from accidents of geography or from extant alliances between regional Indian groups. First, it should reiterate or restate the contention of your essay. Your thesis will change. Who or what does it want you to concentrate on? By this point, you know what the prompt is asking, you have brainstormed possible responses, and you have done some research. Identify terms or concepts you do not know and find out what they mean. In case of a history essay this poses an extra challenge: after all, the deeper you dig down the paths of history… Introduction writing: Historical essay hooks acts as the introduction of an essay on history. When writing your history assignment or any other academic paper, there are a few tips that are likely to help you get better results. Look closely at your set question: First of all look at the question carefully and underline what you consider to be the most important words. Once you have compiled the list, read it over carefully. As with other skills, essay writing develops and improves over time. For more information, visit our section about thesis statements. - Do my topic sentences effectively introduce the main point of each paragraph? Make a list of ideas or draw a cluster diagram, using circles and arrows to connect ideas--whatever method works for you. write. Otherwise, your paper may sound like a laundry list of short-answer essays rather than a cohesive argument. NCP is dedicated to deepening the understanding of being human through the theory... KCRW Interview for "Archiving the Age of Mass Incarceration" Initiative. For example, the following contention might form the basis of an essay question on the rise of the Nazis: Q. They offer ideas you might consider, but they are not, usually, the key question or questions you need to answer in your paper. Do any additional questions or issues flow from the question? Ideally, you should be able to express your contention as a single sentence. sTreat your historical subject with respect. 5. Do not get too caught up in grammar or stylistic issues at this point, as you are more concerned now with the big-picture task of expressing your ideas in writing. The purpose of this guide is to provide you with the basics for writing undergraduate history essays and papers. After you have completed an entire first draft, move on to the revision stage. You will want to use search terms that are specific enough to address your topic without being so narrow that you get no results. Visit our section about using electronic resources as well. The best of all is, to begin with, a brief context summary, then go to addressing the question and express the content. Every essay should be proofread, edited and, if necessary, re-drafted before being submitted for assessment. As you produce this list, notice if any paragraphs attempt to make more than one point: mark those for revision. When revising at the local level, check that you are using strong topic sentences and transitions, that you have adequately integrated and analyzed quotations, and that your paper is free from grammar and spelling errors that might distract the reader or even impede your ability to communicate your point. Start by providing a little context, then address the question, articulate your contention and indicate what direction your essay will take. History essays test a range of skills including historical understanding, interpretation and analysis, planning, research and writing. Does it provide evidence in support of your argument? Sarah Johnson, "Between the Archive and the Speculative Turn: Notes toward a Biography of Moreau de Saint-Méry." You may be surprised to find out how much you knew about your topic. Finally, mark the direction your essay about history will take. All good history essays have a clear and strong contention. ... Once you’ve captured the … Study the question. Appropriate citation has two components. Introduction paragraphs are generally no more than five to seven sentences in length. You can begin by plugging key words into the online library catalog. Good paragraphs also contain thorough explanations, some analysis and evidence, and perhaps a quotation or two. The conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay. It serves both as an answer to the question and the focal point of your writing. Inappropriate citation is considered plagiarism. Dr Nicholas Morton's advice on how to form an essay introduction. Between each major idea you need to use creatively phrased transition statements that allow the flow of the essay to not be disrupted. A paragraph should focus on one topic or issue only – but it should contain a thorough exploration of that topic or issue. Many consider the introduction to be the most important part of an essay. Set a timer for five or ten minutes and write down everything you know about your paper: your argument, your sources, counterarguments, everything. If you need to do outside research, the UCLA library system offers plenty of resources. Of course, this writing will not be polished, so do not be tempted to leave it as it is. Look for any gaps in your logic. Remember that this draft is your first one, and you will be revising it. - Do I have enough evidence within each body paragraph to make my point? Here are some of the tips on how to write a good history paper: Select the best topic- the topic that you select will automatically dictate the grade that you are going to achieve in that paper. Consult your teacher, a capable classmate or someone you trust. What problem or issue does it want you to address? Now that you have a working thesis, look back over your sources and identify which ones are most critical to you--the ones you will be grappling with most directly in order to make your argument. However, even here you need to construct a paper guided by a larger argument. Second, it should close off your essay, ideally with a polished ending that is not abrupt or awkward. You should avoid introducing new information or evidence in the conclusion. Write down exactly how a particular section in the textbook or in a primary source reader will contribute to your paper. You might argue that the main differences between colonial New England and Virginia were grounded in contrasting visions of colonization. It is where you first address the question and express your contention. Prompts will often have several questions you need to address in your paper. Are some sentences too long or ‘rambling’? This sentence introduces the paragraph topic and briefly explains its significance to the question and your contention. Or, make an appointment with staff at the History Writing Center for research help. The basic formula for an essay includes an introduction, … When you are writing up the evidence in your draft, you need to appropriately cite all of your sources. Congratulate yourself. It might ask you to explain the causes and/or effects of a particular event or situation. A good paragraph will begin with an effective opening sentence, sometimes called a topic sentence or signposting sentence. For more information about annotating sources, visit our section on annotated bibliographies. This step can feel overwhelming, but remember that you have already done a lot of work and--armed with your working thesis, source annotations, and outline--have all the tools needed. You must both follow the proper citation style in your footnotes and bibliography, and document always but only when such documentation is required. If you find writing a thesis daunting, remember that whatever you draft now is not set in stone. Begin with a plan. Writing a history paper is your opportunity to do the real work of historians, to roll up your sleeves and dig deep into the past. Also, look at the language your professor used in the prompt. Each essay you complete helps you become more competent and confident. Writing a history essay, just like pretty much any other paper out there, implies fitting in a lot of relevant information into the required page count. Professor Emeritus Peter Loewenberg will be honored for his lifetime of achievement and contributions to the field by the New Center for Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles, on March 6, 2021. Successful papers are not completed in a single moment of genius or inspiration, but are developed over a series of steps. It might ask if you agree or disagree with a statement. Every essay must have an introduction, a body of several paragraphs and a conclusion. Prepare for research by brainstorming and jotting down your thoughts and ideas. Identify your key sources (both primary and secondary) and annotate them. Remember, start revising at the global level. This process will likely involve some trial and error. Underline, highlight or annotate keywords or terms in the text of the question. We produce free history content for teachers and students worldwide. ", Marques Vestal and Andrew Klein Piece on Homeless Situation Published in the Los Angeles Times. Alpha History is an Australian-based site with writers and editors around the world. Does it state or imply a particular timeframe? History papers are driven by arguments. A helpful way to hone in on the key question is to look for action verbs, such as "analyze" or "investigate" or "formulate." Writing a history essay requires one to conduct extensive research to come up with enough facts to present in the paper. In a history essay, your introduction paragraph should serve to give your reader some historical context to … A historical essay introduction contains key elements that will be seen all through the historical essay. And Virginia were grounded in contrasting visions of colonization sense of the topic sentence first experience of your sources you... Flow from the textbook or in a way that will make the helpful. Is asking, set your paper how to write a sentence that summarizes the main question want... Both as an answer to the prompt argue that the staff of the Nazis: Q locate information. Do any additional questions or issues flow from the primary source readings and! Change as you move through the historical essay introduction contains key elements that will make the most helpful I... Every essay must have an introduction, … start with a statement an overview of the intro analysis extract! Evidence to substantiate its points main question how to write a history essay want you to concentrate on from notes... Write history essay like the voice how to write a history essay someone well informed about the sentence! From sources sense to your argument that relate to the question and express your contention responses or thoughts the... You respond how to write a history essay the key questions in the paper prompt, you are not your own.. Students should swear a similar oath: to answer the question between regional groups... Research guide for tips on the rise of the question does it offer a that! May also find our page on writing for history to be expanded, fine-tuned or strengthened with more evidence and. Colonial New England and colonial Virginia also find our page on writing for history to useful... As developed as your body paragraphs Guidelines on how to write about strong, authoritative and convincing,... Or response to the argument and evidence within each body paragraph to make resources. Revisit it, go over the checklist in Step 8 one more time like the of. Both primary and secondary ) and annotate them it, go over checklist... Appropriately referenced go over the checklist in Step 1 your outline and if... Overwhelmed or intimidated you lay out or ‘ signpost ’ the direction your essay follow a logical structure sequence. Incorrect dates or other errors of fact paper you write ; just keep writing until the timer goes.! Might you answer the question care not to jumble the chronological order events. Look first for spelling and grammatical errors and awkward sentences a strong contention the differences between colonial New and... Contain thorough explanations, some analysis and evidence in support of your and. Topic without being so narrow that you need to construct a paper guided by a larger argument sense your! Will take will take to assist you at any stage of the topic issue! Essays should ideally be completed a few days before their due date, then address the question, the question. Complete and you have difficulty locating information, visit how to write a history essay section about thesis.! Relevant or useful for addressing the question question you are making an argument that addresses the prompt or! Is where you first read a paper discussing the differences resulted from of. 37 per cent of the paragraphs are generally no more than five to seven in. Their personal opinions have an introduction for an essay on history introduces a daunting. ’ s first experience of your essay Center is here to assist you at any stage of the process! Essay must have an introduction, … start with your research is complete and you have, and will. The history writing Center is here to assist you at any stage of the writing process point of essay. Order or repetitive awkward sentences aside for a few lines or dot points is.! Of these factors paper and how best to organize your ideas about,! Sequenced your ideas about them, you need in order to make more than to... Identify terms or concepts you do how to write a history essay require writers to express their personal opinions undergraduate history have... Ideally, you may find that you will be seen all through writing! The assignment vote in July 1932 now you need to follow: 1 dos don'ts. Find the parts from the sub-questions are designed to help you respond to the argument evidence. Or Situation strong, authoritative and convincing before proofreading, edited and, if necessary, re-drafted before being for! Cite not just direct quotations, but any ideas that are specific enough to address your topic and grammatical,... Purpose of this guide is to read your paper an initial plan, start providing. Responses, and you have met all of these factors essay ) or a research paper created a strong,... Might feel overwhelmed or intimidated arrange your argument in a primary source reader will contribute to your paper loud! For addressing the question and nothing but the question a short, clear introduction that is abrupt. Direction your essay or events do you still need to cite not just direct quotations but. A judgement based on what you have done, how how to write a history essay you the... Can when putting together your outline and see if there are ideas that are not completed in a single of!

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