History Term Paper

In my last post, I shared some tips on how to conduct research in history and emphasized that researchers should keep in mind a source’s category (transcript, court document, speech, etc.).

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As mentioned in the photo caption, I suggest utilizing large library tables to spread out your notes.

This way, you don’t have to constantly flip through binders, notebooks, and printed drafts.

What is lost, then, if 81% of high school teachers do not ever assign a 5,000-word history research paper?

It may very well mean that a majority of our high school students never read a complete nonfiction book on any subject before they graduate.

They may also miss the experience of knowing a fair amount about some important topic—more, for instance, than anyone else in their class.

History Term Paper

They may also miss a fundamental step in their preparation for demanding college work.With a history paper specifically, one is often writing about a sequence of events and trying to tell a story about what happened.Roughly speaking, your thesis is your interpretation of these events, or your take on some aspect of them (i.e. Before opening up Word, I suggest writing down the stages of your argument.Then, outline or organize your notes to know what evidence you’ll use in each of these various stages.If you think your evidence is solid, then you’re probably ready to start writing—and you now have a solid roadmap to work from!Candidates for the International Baccalaureate Diploma must complete a 4,000-5,000 word Extended Essay, and The Concord Review has published 572 history research papers (average 5,000 words with endnotes and bibliography) by high school students from 42 states (and 33 other countries) in the last 15 years.Many of these essays were from private school students, but many were also from the students of overworked public high school teachers, including a number who were preparing their students for AP and IB and ACT exams.During the background reading phase of your project, keep an eye out for intriguing angles to approach your topic from and any trends that you see across sources (both primary and secondary). Themes and Context Recounting the simple facts about your topic alone will not make for a successful research paper.One must grasp both the details of events as well as the larger, thematic context of the time period in which they occurred. Does that consensus seem right to you, after having done primary and secondary research of your own? Develop an Argument Grappling with answers to the above questions will get you thinking about your emerging argument.When writing a history research paper, the right approach is key.Sitting outside, like the above student, may be helpful, but also consider heading to a library for a more focused atmosphere–and larger tables to spread out your notes!


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