Guide to writing a history research paper


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The workshop runs nightly drop-in centers Sunday- Thursday in Jesup, Sawyer, and Schow, where students can just drop by for a half-hour session. Tutors also work as writing assistants for classes, and offer individualized tutoring programs. The Williams Honor Code.

Starting Your Research Paper: Writing an Introductory Paragraph

The following online resources should also prove helpful. A typical Carolina history course includes several kinds of writing assignments:. To begin a historiographical essay, you will first read multiple works on the same topic, such as the American Revolution. You can organize your essay chronologically in the order that the books on the topic were published or methodologically grouping historians with similar interpretations together.

Some questions to consider as you write a historiographical essay are: How has the historiography on this subject evolved over time? What are the different schools of thought on the topic, and how do they impact the interpretations of this subject? Why have different scholars come to different conclusions about this topic?

You may find some of the information in our handout on literature reviews helpful. The specifics of your particular assignment will obviously vary.


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Recall the link between history and writing In case you missed this, history is basically an educated guess about the past. When you write, you will most likely have to show that you know something about the past and can craft that knowledge into a thoughtful interpretation answering a specific question. You will have to read before you write. If the reading has been assigned, guess why your instructor chose it. Whatever you read, ask yourself:. For more on this, see also our handout on reading to write.

Example Outline

Since you now having completed step 1 anticipate having to make—and support—an educated guess, pick the question apart. Opportunities to show what you know.

Outlining - Writing a Paper - Academic Guides at Walden University

These are requests for information and are usually pretty easy to find. Look for verbs like these:.

Papers & Essays: Crash Course Study Skills #9

Opportunities to show what you think. These are requests for interpretation. Look for key words like these:. These introductory statements, however, can offer clues about the expected content and organization of your essay. A strong answer would not only pick a culture and prove its importance to the development of breadmaking, but also:.

For more on this, see our handout on understanding assignments. Jot down what you know and what you think This is important because it helps you develop an argument about the question. You should be able to trace each item in this list to a specific source lecture, the textbook, a primary source reading, etc.

What conclusions might a reasonable person draw? If this is more difficult which it should be , try:. In our example, there is no need to prove that Western civilization would have died out without bread. If no question has been assigned, give yourself plenty of time to work on step 4. Now, do any of these ideas seem significant? Do they tie in to some theme of your reading or course?

For more on this, see our handout on making an argument , handout on constructing thesis statements , and handout on asking for feedback on your writing. The next step is to figure out a logical way to explain and prove your argument. Dana F. Fleming, Fleming, "The Role," Bibliography: Submit a complete bibliography of the sources you cite in your paper your instructor may want a complete bibliography of all sources you consulted - check with your instructor if in doubt.

Arrange the entries alphabetically by author's last name. If a work has more than one author, alphabetize by the first author listed on the title page. Divide a long bibliography 20 sources or more into 2 categories: 1 Primary Sources and 2 Secondary sources.

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Basic bibliographic entry format - NOTE the differences from note format: a. Book: Brinton, Crane.

A Decade of Revolution New York: Harper, Article: Feming, Dana F. Internet site: Janis, Ely. Accessed 12 January Much more information on what to document and how may be found in Kate L. History College of Arts and Sciences. Writing A Research Paper.

Writing A Research Paper

Selecting a Topic and Forming a Thesis A. Locating Sources and Compiling a Bibliography A. Creating an Outline A. Doing the Research and Taking Notes A. Writing the Paper A. Documenting the Paper A.