How to Write a History Paper
From your 20th Century History Guide
Writing a history paper is a skill that with practice you can learn. Start off with these great tips.
- Before beginning, jot down a list of some of the important points you would like to make. These don't have to be in any order; just brainstorm topics or arguments you would like to cover in your paper.
- Make an outline. It's hard to start a paper if you don't know where you're going. By planning ahead, you'll known when you're almost done. Seriously, this is very important.
- Never use the word 'I.' History papers are supposed to be about the past, not about you.
- The first paragraph is the most important one. This introduces the reader to your paper. In it, you should tell the reader the subject of the paper, the topics or arguments you will cover, as well as include a one to two sentence summary of your conclusion.
- Don't be afraid to create paragraphs. Each paragraph should be about a different topic or argument.
- You aren't paying for punctuation! Avoid run-on sentences. Read your sentences out-loud. If you have to take a breath and there is no comma, your sentence needs to be shorter.
- Write a conclusion. You've written most of your paper - did you come to the same conclusion as the one you wrote in the first paragraph? No new information should be introduced here; it should summarize the main points of your paper.
- Make sure you create accurate footnotes or endnotes. These are a common thing to get marked down for. Though many students think them superfluous, they really are an important research tool.
- Don't forget to spell-check your paper. Most teachers and professors will automatically mark you down an entire grade for bad spelling. All you have to do is click on a button.
- Once you are done, read your paper out-loud using the punctuation. This means take a breath at a comma and pause at periods. Though this may seem 'corny,' listen to the way your paper sounds.
- Have a friend read your paper. Sometimes we aren't as clever as we think we are.
- Print it out and turn it in. I hope you get a good grade!
- Teachers and professors won't accept the excuse that your paper is late because your printer ran out of ink - even if it is true. Make sure you have an extra ink cartridge.
More How To's from your Guide to 20th Century History