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How to Write a History Essay?
Googling for "writing a history essay" may land you with thousands of articles, tips, essay samples, and recommendations. You get confused and frustrated, choosing to go with the shortest article, but it doesn't give you the whole picture. As a result, you turn to Facebook or Instagram, your progress stalls and you submit something which can hardly be called a serious piece of academic writing. Sounds painfully familiar, right? Well, let's break this vicious circle once and for all! If you're eager to learn how to write a history essay, this article is your ultimate guide to unlocking the secrets of essay writing!
What Is a History Essay?
Before we proceed any further, it's important to come up with the correct definition of a history essay as it will give us a sense of direction of sorts. There are a lot of essay types these days, so you should have a pretty good idea which of them you're going to use for your paper. When you are given a task to write a historical essay, never hesitate to seek out your professor for all kind of essay-related advice. Of course, the Internet is not to be neglected either as it is always helpful, but asking your professor the question "What is a history essay?" can save you time and provide you with the essential info that you can rely on when brainstorming topic ideas.
But for now, we will give you a short answer to get you started. Essentially, a history essay either defines the field itself by expounding on its definition and development stages, or discusses a particular event that occurred in the history of the world or country, a personality, or time period. The number of possible history essay topics can go on for ages. The world is billions of years old, and even though only a tiny part of that is documented and immortalized in printed works, there are still millions of possible issues for you to discover and dissect.
How to Write a Good History Essay
Don't know where to get the best ideas on how to start a history essay? Not sure what goes after what? Doubtful whether you need a thesis statement? Check out our short guide to writing about history that you may find useful!
- Analyze the essay question. Highlight the keywords, making sure you understand all the terms you need to cover. It's only after you've looked up their definition that you can get down to the actual writing.
- Make sure you understand the essay questions and know how to answer them. Keep in mind that each of them should be explained differently.
- Work on the main argument only after you've performed research. The main argument (aka thesis statement) should be clear enough to base your essay plan on it.
- Prepare an essay plan. This way you'll be able to organize your thoughts and ideas. Once you're done, start developing an essay structure, or a skeleton of your whole work.
- When working with sources, remember to distinguish between secondary and primary ones. The essay you are working on needs a strong argument, so be sure to use authoritative and reliable literature. However, depending on an essay type, it is possible to use both types of sources. Your instructor will definitely give you recommendations and requirements concerning the sources you are to use.
- Always think critically when working with sources and making judgments. When reading a source, ask yourself about the reason the writer made the argument and how it fits into the general historical and social situation. Are there any weaknesses or limitations of the arguments provided?
- Take notes while reading. Don't be afraid to overuse the paper; surely, you won't need all of the data you put down, but it helps set the best direction for your essay. Remember to cite a quote if the idea is not yours.
History Essay Structure
Your essay should have a clear and logical structure. Fortunately, the formatting requirements are pretty much standard here: a minimum of five paragraphs are required, including an introduction, body paragraphs (supporting your thesis), and conclusion (restating your thesis and summing up your major findings and results).
History essay outline
How do you come up with an outline for your essay? Depending on the topic and type, your framework may differ, so let's check out this example to give a general idea of what it may look like.
- INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH
- Should include an opening sentence to grab the reader's attention.
- Should consist of subsequent sentences in which you narrow down the topic before moving on to the main point.
- Should include a thesis statement, comprising one or two sentences in which you present your main arguments and position.
- BODY TEXT
- Comprises three supporting arguments to support your thesis, so make sure there is a clear and logical connection!
- Each argument should be at least one paragraph long, but it doesn't mean they should be limited to one paragraph only.
- Start each paragraph with a topic sentence.
- Provide evidence (quotes, charts, etc.) to back up anything you state.
- Give your own explanation of the facts you've mentioned.
- All of your essay's sections should be logically connected to each other.
- Use different words to restate your thesis statement.
- Sum up your arguments to demonstrate that the ideas stated therein also support the thesis. That way you convince the reader that you've proven it.
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