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Articles Writing Historical Essays: The authors gratefully acknowledge the following for their aid: Butters and George D. Duke University Department of English, Purpose The purpose of this guide is to provide you with the basics for writing undergraduate history essays and papers.
It is a guide only, and its step by step approach is only one possible model; it does not replace consultation with your professor, TA, or instructor about writing questions and getting feedback, nor the excellent tutoring services provided by the Rutgers Writing Center program roomMurray Hall, College Avenue Campus and the Douglass Writing Center roomSpeech and Hearing Building, Douglass Campus.
Writing is a craft. All serious writing is done in drafts with many hesitations, revisions, and new inspirations. Remember always that there is nothing natural about being able to write we all have to be taught—over many yearsand writing well is a matter of application, discipline, and effort.
You may already write well. Just remember that our subject here—critical, scholarly writing—has special requirements. In what follows we will briefly discuss the nature of historical writing, lay out a step by step model for constructing an essay, and provide a set of useful observations from our experience as instructors regarding problems that most frequently crop up in student writing.
What Is Historical Writing? Elements The basic elements of academic essay writing are two: All scholarly writing, from the most concise paper to the longest book, follows these basic guidlines.
Thesis Historical essay writing is based upon the thesis. A thesis is a statement, an argument which will be presented by the writer.
The thesis is in effect, your position, your particular interpretation, your way of seeing a problem. The writer should demonstrate originality and critical thinking by showing what the question is asking, and why it is important rather than merely repeating it.
Your own informed perspective is what matters. Many first-year students ask whether the "thesis" is not just their "opinion" of a historical question. A thesis is indeed a "point of view," or "perspective," but of a particular sort: The truism that we each have "our own" opinions misses the point.
Thesis and Evidence To make a good argument you must have both a strong central thesis and plausible evidence; the two are interdependent and support each other. A strong statement of thesis needs evidence or it will convince no one. Equally, quotes, dates, and lists of details mean nothing by themselves.
Your task is both to select the important "facts" and to present them in a reasonable, persuasive, and systematic manner which defends your position. To support your argument, you should also be competent in using footnotes and creating bibliographies for your work; neither is difficult, and both are requirements for truly professional scholarship.Analyzing historical documents requires students to identify the purpose, message, and audience of a text.
Document analysis forms are graphic organizers that guide students through a process of identifying important background information about a document (e.g., author/creator, date created, place, format, etc.) and using this data to determine the .
Goal 2. The ability to write and speak logically, clearly, precisely, and the ability, through accurate reading and listening, to acquire, organize, present, and document information and ideas (three credits). Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat.
Curriculum Pathways provides interactive, standards-based resources in English language arts, math, science, social studies, and Spanish (grades K). How do I begin to document and file family history and genealogy, in preparation for computer online Internet publication.
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