Sometimes professors distribute prompts with several sub-questions surrounding the main question they want you to write about. The sub-questions are designed to help you think about the topic.
They offer ideas you might consider, but they are not, usually, the key question or questions you need to answer in your paper. Make sure you distinguish the key questions from the sub-questions.
Otherwise, your paper may sound like a laundry list of short-answer essays rather than a cohesive argument.
A helpful way to hone in on the key question is to look for action verbs, such as "analyze" or "investigate" or "formulate.
Then, carefully consider what you are being asked to do. 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. Also, be sure that you are responding to every part of the prompt. Prompts will often have several questions you need to address in your paper. If you do not cover all aspects, then you are not responding fully to the assignment.
For more information, visit our section, "Understanding Paper Prompts. Before you even start researching or drafting, take a few minutes to consider what you already know about the topic.
Make a list of ideas or draw a cluster diagram, using circles and arrows to connect ideas--whatever method works for you. 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.
You want to think big and bring in everything you know or suspect about the topic. After you have finished, read over what you have created. Look for patterns or trends or questions that keep coming up.
Based on what you have brainstormed, what do you still need to learn about the topic? Do you have a tentative argument or response to the paper prompt? Use this information to guide you as you start your research and develop a thesis. 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.
Either way, start by rereading the relevant materials from class. Find the parts from the textbook, from the primary source readings, and from your notes that relate to the prompt. If you need to do outside research, the UCLA library system offers plenty of resources. You can begin by plugging key words into the online library catalog. This process will likely involve some trial and error. You will want to use search terms that are specific enough to address your topic without being so narrow that you get no results.
If your keywords are too general, you may receive thousands of results and feel overwhelmed. To help you narrow your search, go back to the key questions in the essay prompt that you wrote down in Step 1.
Think about which terms would help you respond to the prompt. Also, look at the language your professor used in the prompt. You might be able to use some of those same words as search terms. 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.
Searching the database most relevant to your topic will yield the best results. Visit the library's History Research Guide for tips on the research process and on using library resources.
You can also schedule an appointment with a librarian to talk specifically about your research project. Or, make an appointment with staff at the History Writing Center for research help. Visit our section about using electronic resources as well. By this point, you know what the prompt is asking, you have brainstormed possible responses, and you have done some research.
Now you need to step back, look at the material you have, and develop your argument. Based on the reading and research you have done, how might you answer the question s in the prompt? What arguments do your sources allow you to make? Draft a thesis statement in which you clearly and succinctly make an argument that addresses the prompt. If you find writing a thesis daunting, remember that whatever you draft now is not set in stone.
Your thesis will change. As you do more research, reread your sources, and write your paper, you will learn more about the topic and your argument. For now, produce a "working thesis," meaning, a thesis that represents your thinking up to this point. Remember it will almost certainly change as you move through the writing process.
For more information, visit our section about thesis statements. Once you have a thesis, you may find that you need to do more research targeted to your specific argument.
Revisit some of the tips from Step 3. 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. Annotating sources means writing a paragraph that summarizes the main idea of the source as well as shows how you will use the source in your paper. Think about what the source does for you.
Does it provide evidence in support of your argument? Does it offer a counterpoint that you can then refute, based on your research? Does it provide critical historical background that you need in order to make a point? For more information about annotating sources, visit our section on annotated bibliographies. 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: Having dissected your sources and articulated your ideas about them, you can more easily draw upon them when constructing your paper.
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. Write down exactly how a particular section in the textbook or in a primary source reader will contribute to your paper. An outline is helpful in giving you a sense of the overall structure of your paper and how best to organize your ideas.
You need to decide how to arrange your argument in a way that will make the most sense to your reader. Perhaps you decide that your argument is most clear when presented chronologically, or perhaps you find that it works best with a thematic approach. There is no one right way to organize a history paper; it depends entirely on the prompt, on your sources, and on what you think would be most clear to someone reading it.
An effective outline includes the following components: Be as detailed as you can when putting together your outline. 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.
Do not feel that you have to work through your outline from beginning to end. Some writers find it helpful to begin with the section in which they feel most confident. Look at your outline and see if there is one part that is particularly fleshed out; you may want to begin there. 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.
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 body is the part of your essay where you have to reveal the facts to support your thesis to give validity to your thesis. You may arrange the body of your historic essay in the following ways:. In the conclusion, you have to sum up everything that was mentioned in the introduction and the body.
You have to some extend to refresh all the main points that support your thesis. Assigned to write a history essay? Here is a great list of topics for your essay on history: Having no idea of a topic to write on?
Or having problems with composing your history essay? Order your history essay online. We specialize in writing different types of academic papers: A custom essay writing service you can trust! Top 10 Types of Essays. This article describes eight major essay types: Why the South Lost the Civil War. Could the Confederacy win the Civil War?
As your research paper takes shape you will find that you need background on people, places, events, etc. Do not just rely on some general survey for all of your background. Check the several good dictionaries of biography for background on people, or see if there is a standard book-length biography.
Guide to writing research papers for the History Department at Le Moyne College.
You're almost done! You will soon receive an activation email. Once you click on the link, you will be added to our list. If you do not receive this . History: Sample Research Paper 2 female protagonist who is struggling in an atmosphere of parental oppression. Manuel Rivas, in his short story La lengua de las mariposas (or Butterfly tongues), gives his readers a similar child-like perspective, but his is that of a little boy who struggles to understand the changes in his life brought about by.
In a history class, even if you are not writing a paper based on outside research, you are still writing a paper that requires some form of argument. For example, suppose your professor has asked you to write a paper discussing the differences between colonial New England and colonial Virginia. History research paper example is a written academic work that aims to summarize the research done by the researcher in the field of historical sciences.