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History Paper Guide  

Tips on how to structure and research a history paper.
Last Updated: Jan 16, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Ancient History Paper Step by Step

History Paper Step by Step

Nancy Hill

Spring 2014


Step 1: Topic and Sources

Ø Topic is

ü Clearly defined

ü Narrow enough to handle

ü Covered in scholarly sources

Ø Sources

ü Primary sources available

ü Critiques of primary sources available

ü Secondary sources available




Step 2: Obvious and Not So Obvious Sources


Ø Classical authors (Loeb Classical Library, etc.)

Ø Archaeological reports

ü Coins (dates, pictures, metal content)

ü Pottery (styles, locations, materials, contents)

ü Art works (statues, vases, mosaics)

Ø Scholarly journals (in JSTOR, etc.)

Ø 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

Ø Use the right tools; put the pieces together correctly

Ø Chicago Manual of Style

Ø Double spaced in 12-point type

Ø Indented paragraphs

Ø Footnotes present and correct

Ø Bibliography present and correct

      Contains primary and secondary sources

      Alphabetical order


Two Heads are Better Than One

Nancy Hill

Library, Room 100


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