Skip Nav

Handbook for Historians

You are here

❶The early drafts of your outline will also help you see where the research you have already done fits, and what portions of your paper are weak.

Navigation menu

This article is a part of the guide:

If you are doing research on the history of seige warfare, you should not jump from the Persian seige of Amida to the seige of Vicksburg to the seige of Stalingrad and back again in the same paragraph. Instead, each of those major themes should be a separate group of paragraphs. Perhaps you will arrange them in historical order, with Amida coming first and Stalingrad last. Perhaps you will apply the lessons of Amida and Vicksburg to Stalingrad. Perhaps you will begin with Stalingrad before flashing back to Vicksburg and Amida.

You can always shuffle the different parts of your outline around, but it is helpful to have an idea of what details belong in which portion of the paper. The early drafts of your outline will also help you see where the research you have already done fits, and what portions of your paper are weak. Details come in four basic types for many research papers.

By CE, the Romans had stationed 15 legions along the Rhine. The third type of detail is a definition: Latifundias were large slave-run plantations in Roman-ruled Italy. The fourth type of detail is a direct quotation from one of your research sources, along with a date and location: Each of your details should be backed up with appropriate citations, whether these be footnotes, parenthetical notes, endnotes, or other attributions, from the source materials you are using. Research papers should have some kind of underlying story they wish to tell, whether that be the results of the War of the Spanish Succession, or the consequences of the Treaty of Westphalia.

Your story should support the thesis, but you will impress your history teacher, and likely earn a higher grade, if you are doing more than merely reciting a laundry list of facts and figures.

A research paper should open with an introduction. This is an extremely important part of your work. It provides the reader with some understanding of what will follow. Introductions help form perceptions of written texts, and most readers will think more highly of your work if it is well introduced.

This is the hardest part of your writing, though producing a good introduction is helped through having an understanding of what it should contain. Firstly, it should outline the parameters of your work, such as the dates of the period studied, the geographical remit of the paper, and the basic subject matter of what you will be studying.

Secondly, and more importantly, you should briefly introduce your thesis. This should only be done in the broadest terms in the introduction, and will be developed further in the body of your work.

Thanks to modern word processing tools on computers, it is possible to record your research notes directly into the same types of documents that you will use to write your paper. This can be an invaluable tool: Maintain a directory of sources on your computer means that you always have a resource to return to for future projects and papers.

Careful selection of quotations in this manner will also create a summary of the article, book, or primary source in question. All good history papers should have a list of sources cited. This list is called a Bibliography , though these days it is likely to include as many periodical articles and websites, as it is to contain books. Bibliographies follow different formats at different institutions; it would be difficult to categorize them all.

However, the general standard is to list primary sources first, in alphabetical order by author's name. Secondary printed sources , such as periodical literature, is listed the same way, after all the primary sources are accounted for. Tertiary sources , such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, and textbooks, would be listed next in high school-level research papers. However, tertiary sources in general should usually be avoided for research papers written in college or graduate school although magisterial works such as the Oxford English Dictionary might be cited in order to nail down the intended meaning of an unusual word in an older primary source.

Websites should be listed last. It is ironic on Wikibooks that we must caution against the prominent bibliographic placement of websites, but your grades are at stake here. While there are reliable websites available on the Internet, it is very difficult to determine their general usefulness or staying power as historical sources; the website author may suffer bandwidth crunch, and take down the site.

The transcript of a purported "pioneer's diary" from on his site may be nothing more than a fiction. If you have questions about the suitability of a website, check with your instructor, and be prepared. One useful tool for developing a bibliography for a specific paper is to keep a running word processing file in your computer's hard drive of all the books you have read or in which you have searched, along with a sentence-or-two description of the content.

In this way, you develop a lengthy list of materials that you have consulted as a scholar and as a reader, and you also have a handy reference guide for future papers. Some students keep separate bibliographies in separate subjects; you might have an American history bibliography file, a German history file, an Asian history file, and so on.

Keeping a separate directory of these files allows you to develop a comprehensive background for future research. There are numerous standards for formatting your bibliography. Every institution often has its own standards, and many professors choose one standard over another. You may also state what type of approach it is that you'll be using in your paper for the entire discussion of your topic. Generally, your Introduction should orient your readers to the major points the rest of the paper will be covering, and how.

The body of your paper is where you will be presenting all your arguments to support your thesis statement. Start with a strong argument, followed by a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument as your final point. The conclusion is where you form a summary of all your arguments so you can arrive at your final position.

Explain and reiterate why you've ended up with the said conclusion. As mentioned earlier, here are some sample outlines for research papers:. Shakespeare Adapted from AResearchGuide. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:. Research Paper Outline Examples. Retrieved Sep 14, from Explorable. The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4. You can use it freely with some kind of link , and we're also okay with people reprinting in publications like books, blogs, newsletters, course-material, papers, wikipedia and presentations with clear attribution.

Learn how to construct, style and format an Academic paper and take your skills to the next level. Don't have time for it all now? No problem, save it as a course and come back to it later.

Share this page on your website: This article is a part of the guide: Select from one of the other courses available: Don't miss these related articles:. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

An outline is a map of a longer work, which can be anything from a brief essay to a full-length book. Authors write outlines at many stages in their projects, but especially when they have completed a fair amount of research and want to figure out how to organize their findings, and again when they have written a draft and want to check it for.

Privacy FAQs

Handbook for Historians Sample Papers Search this Guide Search. Handbook for Historians. Guide to writing research papers for the History Department at Le Moyne College Example of an outline for a first year level history paper. Judge and Langdon Book Review/Research Paper - Example 1 Judge and Langdon Book Review/Research Paper - Example 2.

About Our Ads

The Basic Outline of a Paper The following outline shows a basic format for most academic papers. No matter what length the paper needs to be, it should still follow the . How to Write a History Research paper. Skip Navigation. A. Outline: Write a preliminary thesis statement, expressing what you believe your major argument(s) will be. Sketch out a broad outline that indicates the structure - main points and subpoints or your argument as it seems at this time. Do not get too detailed at this point.

Cookie Info

• In one or two sentences clearly state your position and briefly outline your supporting arguments. • Present your arguments in the same order in which you will address them in your. Learn how to write an essay outline. Students will learn to organize and format their ideas before writing an essay or research paper with our helpful samples. Sample Essay Outlines Why Write an Outline? Concluding Sentence: The Hockey Hall of Fame is an experience that combines the best sights, sounds and history of the game in Toronto.