Your guide to writing a History thesis

How to write a History Thesis

What is the secret of writing a good History Thesis?

There is no secret to writing a good History Thesis. It is the presentation of information in a concise written argument that answers a specific question.

Remember that the point of the thesis is to answer the question!

Reading

Begin your reading after studying the question:

  • Start with; outline texts on the period under investigation.

  • From these progress to more specific texts, that deal with the subject/ question in a more focused way.

  • Try to get a range of different texts arguing varying perspectives, this will:

    • a) strengthen your understanding of the subject
    • b) help you form a more detailed argument

  • Produce notes which;

    • a) Summarize arguments
    • b) Have the page numbers of relevant quotes.

Planning

The next stage is planning your History Thesis:

  • Begin by setting out your introduction, paragraphs and conclusion in general terms.
  • The next stage is a complete plan that details the argument and supporting evidence for each paragraph.
  • In the plan you should also outline how you will scrutinize and expand your evidence.
  • During this phase any thoughts or ideas that question your initial approach should be considered even if you have to completely re-plan your essay.
  • You should believe absolutely in your argument.

The Introduction

The Introduction to your History Thesis should consist of a brief outline of your argument as well as the structure of the essay.

The Main Body

It is critical that paragraphs are correctly structured, they must be;

  • a) Clearly defined
  • b) Their points unambiguous
  • c) Fit into the general flow of the argument.

It is important to define your own opinion on each topic. Conversely state clearly where your opinion ends and the supporting research begins, because this shows you understand the subject and are not simply writing without clarity or original thought.

Quoting and footnoting should be unambiguous. Use quotes carefully as they can disrupt the flow of your writing. Try to work quotes into the flow of the paragraph, for example “Smith believes that the defeat of the army was due to (then the quote)”.

The Conclusion

The Conclusion to your History Thesis should be clear and concise; it should follow on from the argument in the essays without excessively repeating the points in the texts or adding new ones. It should categorically answer the question.

Finishing Touches

Once you have finished your Thesis write your bibliography, including all your sources. Remember to re-read the entire essay and check the spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Final Thoughts

  • Try to avoid 'flowery' language
  • Remember to balance opinion and argument; markers want to see what you think, but they also want to see where your getting your ideas
  • Your supporting evidence needs to be focused, lots of evidence shows research, but it reduces space for the argument

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