How to write a history essay


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How to write a history essay

  1. 1. How to write ahistory essay A basic guide for grades 9-12
  2. 2. General formatO Introduction: contains thesis (=your answer to the question), relatively shortO Body paragraphs: 3-7; each should start with a topic sentence followed by sufficient number of facts/evidence to support itO Conclusion: briefly restating thesis and the points made; no new information presented
  3. 3. What is a thesis?O Your answer to the questionO Your evaluation of the topic in questionExample: How important do you think technology is in ourlives?  It is up to you how you answer: technology is very important, not so much, we can live without it, etc.  Your opinion MUST be supported with specific facts, evidence. This is the crucial part of your essay: how the facts and evidence you use back up the claim you make!
  4. 4. What is a topic sentence? O A major point in defense of your thesis or a supplement to it O Each major point is presented in a new paragraph  Let’s still use the technology example: Let’s say, your thesis states that technology is very important in our lives because it makes daily life easier, it makes important contributions to science, and it provides entertainment.  Your topic sentence for the paragraphs will be the three statements highlighted in red above.
  5. 5. Structuring the paragraphs: O Start with a clear topic sentence that supports your thesis. O All evidence and facts, events, and other details you use MUST support the topic sentence and your original thesis statement. O Arrange the evidence in some logical order (with a historical essay, the order often is chronological, but it does not have to be).
  6. 6. Planning the essay:O Create a brainstorming web where nothing is off limits! Start thinking and see where it takes you!O Then organize your thoughts; add more, discard some, add details, etc.O Create an outline following the essay format: introduction, required number of paragraphs, conclusion
  7. 7. Tips to follow:O Focus on what the question is asking: underline important words to make sure you understand the questionO Be structured; have an outline or a mind map.O Have a clear thesis that answers the question. It can be just ONE sentence if it is a well-written one.O Keep checking that all evidence and examples you use SUPPORT your argument!O Keep the question in mind AT ALL TIMES and ask yourself: “Am I answering the question? Supporting my thesis?”
  8. 8. Things to avoid:O Just reciting historical events and not making a pointO First person statementsO General statements