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Writing a History Essay: How to Do It Right?

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History Essay

So your History tutor asked you to compose an essay. The reason for him/her to do so is a necessity to check your progress and understanding of the subject. History essays can be tricky. The problem is that these papers require your best research, analytical, and planning skills. When composing an assignment of that kind, you need to understand a certain historical event, its meaning, consequences, and background. Usually, historical events are not that simple to interpret, because they entail cultural, sociological, and political aspects. That’s why creating a good piece can be really challenging even for the best high-achievers. Read this guide to organize your writing and compose a successful History paper.

Read the instructions carefully

Your first task is to read the paper instructions and make sure that you understand the question. This step might seem obvious, but most students neglect it. Here are the most common types of History essay questions:

  • Analyze a particular event and explain its causes and/or results
  • Express your understanding of a statement
  • Agree or disagree with a statement
  • Analyze the role and significance of a certain person/group of people in an event

First and foremost, you need to grasp the task and understand what exactly you need to do. This will direct your research correctly. What are the main problems to concentrate on? What are the time periods you need to analyze? Think about these questions before you start.

Make an outline

If you think that making an outline is a waste of time, then we have some news for you. Chances are that you will waste more time rewriting and reorganizing your piece in case you skip an outline. An outline is a key to a clear, structured, and well-done paper. You need to know the central themes and questions you are going to cover before you start writing. The additional details will flow in the process, so your outline can be pretty rough. If you have problems on this stage, discuss the question with someone capable. Ask your tutor, classmate or expert from an essay writing service. It’s okay to change your outline in the process of researching and writing.

Do a research

Your research should follow the following plan:

  • Read an overview of the topic to gain or refresh your understanding
  • Find concepts that you don’t know and make them clear to yourself
  • Get relevant and useful academic sources like books, journals, and encyclopedias
  • Follow your initial plan to address the main question
  • Think about side questions in the process
  • Take notes during the process

Look for sources in a variety of places, but be sure that you use reliable ones. Don’t forget about correct formatting for your quotations.

Come up with a thesis statement

Your thesis statement must be clear and powerful. Express your main argument in one or two sentences. You will develop this idea in your further writing, so start thinking about your thesis when doing a primary research. Make it brief, convincing, and well-thought.

Write an introduction

There are three important tasks to fulfill when writing an introduction:

  • Provide readers with a brief context, but don’t overdo with storytelling
  • Address the main question of your paper
  • Articulate a thesis statement
  • Shape the direction of your paper

Your introduction is very important, so aim to make it clear and to the point. Make your readers interested in your further ideas!

Create body paragraphs

The main thing to consider when writing body paragraphs of your History essay is that they should be pretty extensive. Make sure that each of them contains at least 150-200 words, starts with a clear problem statement, explores it and provides a small conclusion. That’s right, each paragraph should be structured to the same principle as your entire paper. Provide your own interpretations of the ideas found in sources and support your claims with quotations.

Sum up

Compose a conclusion. There are two main things to do in this part: restate your thesis statement and provide a summary. Make your conclusion as detailed and developed as your previous paragraphs, but avoid adding any quotations or new information.

As you can see, a History essay is similar to other academic tasks, still it has some peculiarities. When writing one, make sure that you know how to approach the main question. Read enough relevant sources to grasp the topic, reveal your ideas in a structured and clear way, add quotes, and summarize your work in the last paragraph. Don’t forget to proofread your paper before submission! Good luck and happy writing!

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