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History Paper Guide: Home

Tips on how to structure and research a history paper.

Ancient History Paper Step by Step

History Paper Step by Step

Nancy Hill

Spring 2014

Step 1: Topic and Sources

Topic is

Clearly defined

Narrow enough to handle

Covered in scholarly sources


 Primary sources available

Critiques of primary sources available

Secondary sources available



Step 2: Obvious and Not So Obvious Sources


Classical authors (Loeb Classical Library, etc.)

Archaeological reports

Coins (dates, pictures, metal content)

Pottery (styles, locations, materials, contents)

Art works (statues, vases, mosaics)

Scholarly journals (in JSTOR, etc.)

Dissertations (ProQuest Dissertations online)

Step 3: Your Outline is Your Best Friend

1.   Introduction

         a)   Big idea

         b)  Thesis

         c)    The questions to answer

2.   Historiography

         a)   Source A and critique

         b)  Source B and critique

3.   Sub-topic A

         a)   Thesis

         b)  Evidence

         c)    Conclusion

4.   Sub-topic B

         a)   Thesis

         b)  Evidence

         c)    Conclusion

5. Conclusion

         a)   Summary

         b)  Conclusion (restatement of thesis with findings)

Step 4: Proposal

      What’s the big idea?

      What’s your thesis?

      What questions will you answer?

      What sources will you use? Why?

      What do you expect to find?

Step 5: Oral Presentation: Content

Step 6: Oral Presentation: Delivery


Step 7: Mechanics

Use the right tools; put the pieces together correctly

 Chicago Manual of Style

 Double spaced in 12-point type

 Indented paragraphs

 Footnotes present and correct

 Bibliography present and correct

      Contains primary and secondary sources

      Alphabetical order

Two Heads are Better Than One

Nancy Hill

Library, Room 134


If You Need Help, Ask A Librarian



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Luke Jastrzebski
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