History Paper Tips

History Paper Tips

Outline: After you have done your research, plan in advance what line of argument you will take. Depending on the complexity of your subject and on your own study habits, the outline may be anything from a broad general guide to a very detailed plan. The outline should enable you to check easily on the development of the argument, and to re-order it in the most effective, logical order.

An outline will also help you gauge your time. Start working on the paper well in advance of the due date. It is highly recommended that you meet the specified due date. Notify your instructor as soon as possible if it seems that, for some legitimate reason, you may need an extension. A paper simply turned in late, without prior negotiation, will usually draw a penalty

You may need to go through multiple plans before writing the paper, to clarify your questions and their ordering (crucial) and to gradually sort out the argument with which you bring together the different questions you have set yourself. .

Title: Choose a title which suggests a question or debate you will address. Print it at the top of the first page, and on the cover sheet. Bear it in mind while you are writing the paper. Don't let yourself stray from the subject as you have framed it. Subtle suggestion: If you have something nifty you badly want to include, you should arrange the initial presentation (title and introduction) to make it relevant -- Right from the start.

Introduction: Start strongly. This is where you manage (or fail) to capture interest and thereby improve your grade. Usually the first paragraph should introduce the argument. Sometimes a short opening paragraph is also needed to set the historical context.

Argument: Marshall evidence to support your thesis. This does not mean that you simply pile up facts. If others take different lines of argument on your topic, indicate why you agree or disagree with them.

Conclusion: Finish with a bang not a whimper. Summarize the debate...

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