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Handbook for Historians

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❶The sub-questions are designed to help you think about the topic. On the basis of this thesis statement and outline, start writing, even pieces, as soon as you have enough information to start.

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Many sources are also available on-line. 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.

If you are dealing with a legal matter check into the background of the judges who make the court decision and the circumstances surrounding the original incident or law. Try looking for public opinions in newspapers of the time. In other words, each bit of information you find should open the possibility of other research paths.

Learn to use several research techniques. You cannot count on a good research paper coming from browsing on one shelf at the library. A really pertinent book may be hidden in another section of the library due to classification quirks. The Readers' Guide Ref. R4 is not the only source for magazine articles, nor the card catalog for books. There are whole books which are listings of other books on particular topics. There are specialized indexes of magazine articles.

S62 and the Humanities Index Ref. See also Historical Abstracts Ref. Reference Librarians would love to help you learn to use these research tools. It pays to browse in the reference room at the library and poke into the guides which are on the shelves. It also pays to browse the Internet. If you do not already have a general background on your topic, get the most recent good general source on the topic and read it for general orientation. On the basis of that reading formulate as clearly focused question as you can.

You should generally discuss with your professor at that point whether your question is a feasible one.

Building a Basic Bibliography: If there is a specialized bibliography on your topic, you will certainly want to consult that as well, but these are often a bit dated. Building a Full Bibliography: Read the recent articles or chapters that seem to focus on your topic best. This will allow you to focus your research question quite a bit. Use such tools as Historical Abstracts or, depending on your topic, the abstracts from a different field and a large, convenient computer-based national library catalog e.

For specific article searches "Uncover" press returns for the "open access" or possibly less likely for history "First Search" through "Connect to Other Resources" in MUSE can also be useful. Now do the bulk of your research. But do not overdo it. Do not fall into the trap of reading and reading to avoid getting started on the writing. Overall, you will be grateful and secretly happy about an enormous amount of time you gained with our cheap services.

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Guide to writing research papers for the History Department at Le Moyne College.

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Making Sure your History Paper has Substance Get off to a good start. Avoid pretentious, vapid beginnings. If you are writing a paper on, say, British responses to the rebellion in India.

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Writing a history paper is a process. Successful papers are not completed in a single moment of genius or inspiration, but are developed over a series of steps. When you first read a paper prompt, you might feel overwhelmed or intimidated. COLLEGE Writing Center Harvard College Faculty of Arts and Sciences Harvard University WRITING CENTER BRIEF GUIDE SERIES A Brief Guide to Writing the History Paper The Challenges of Writing About (a.k.a., Making) History At first glance, writing about history can seem like an Common Types of History Papers History papers come in all.