How to begin a history essay
The most important point to remember in working through this guide is that writing good essays and communicating your tl effectively are skills you can learn, develop and build.
Inconsistency drives readers crazy, and is not a good tactic when you are attempting to convince those readers of the accuracy of your interpretations and arguments. Chapters in edited collections Author first name, last nametitle of chapter use single inverted commas around title, lower casein editor ed. Swap essays with fellow students. This alternative version became popular again in the s.
The purpose of essay writing One of the most important skills developed in an Arts degree is the ability to communicate your ideas in writing clearly and effectively. This involves numerous other skills, including the ability to summarise and paraphrase the work of other writers, the development of arguments and conclusions, and the effective use of how to begin a history essay to support learn more here case.
Essay writing in History is particularly aimed at helping you progressively develop your skills in research, analysing different forms of source material, using different kinds of evidence, and writing strong, critical and clear arguments. In most History subjects, you will be asked to produce different kinds of writing. Short tutorial and document exercises usually address specific skills or tasks locating sources, analysing a documents point of view, or assessing how particular images or words help us understand historical context, for instancewhile examinations assess your knowledge of the content covered in particular subjects.
Histofy provide you with an opportunity to explore a particular issue or theme in more depth. In other words, they how to begin a history essay a position, defend that position, and arrive at strong, clear conclusions. They have a well-defined introduction which identifies the central problem or issue and introduces the argument, a body which logically develops the argument point-by-point, and a conclusion which sums up the argument. There are no simple instructions for good essay writing.
As you progress through your university course, you should be developing skills in research, analysis and communication which will not only allow you to write good essays, but hisgory effectively communicate your ideas in other situations as well. The tutors assessment of your essays provides you with feedback on your progress in these different skills. Who is an essay written for?
For a start, your predictions may be inaccurate. Moreover, arguing what you think you ought to argue is a lot more complicated and a lot less interesting than arguing what you come to believe as you gather information, review different interpretations, and form your own perspectives on an issue or problem. Writing is easier if you imagine an audience: Your task, however, is not to tell your audience what they think, but to tell your audience what you how to begin a history essay, and give them reasons and evidence which show why your conclusions are significant, interesting and convincing. Choosing and comprehending the question or topic Choose a topic or question you find interesting and challenging: Writing is not the how to begin a history essay or the finished product of learning: It is a way of sorting out and clarifying your interpretations, trying out your ideas, and discovering new ways of thinking about an issue.
Think about the question s topic in these ways: It is also important to look at the question and ask yourself: Have I interpreted the question correctly?
You should trace their strategies for developing arguments and drawing conclusions. The fluency of your text is an important element in the writing a good history essay that can often be overlooked. It is also important to look at the question and ask yourself: This is not the reaction you want your readers or your professor to have histlry they read your paper. Good Ideas for Conclusions If your essay began with a question, include the answer in your conclusion Use a short, significant quotation or anecdote that summarizes the main intent of the essay If your essay pointed out a problem, suggest solutions Widen the perspective of what you have discussed; in light of your thesis, what does your reader now know about a given time period? Middle Paragraphs Philip Larkin once said that the modern novel consists of a beginning, a muddle and an end. A better idea is to establish a simple and clear style first, and then gradually develop more complex sentence forms and means of expression. Hos carefully about how you construct your paragraphs, and think of each paragraph as one micro-sized version of the essay structure.
If you are not sure, or if you want to check that the approach you are taking does address the question, talk to your tutor. Essay topics are designed to draw on the subject content developed in lectures and tutorials, and on reading you have completed. Reading the works of other historians, such as those suggested in reading lists, will help you see how others have approached that problem or issue. Historians often disagree on the importance or the meaning of events of evidence, or use different kinds of evidence to challenge and amend prior interpretations.
Hsitory will take different approaches to the same question, and suggest different ways of examining an issue, be it gender relations in medieval Europe or the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet X or the impact of colonial rule in India. What you will see, however, is that all of these writers state a position.
They address a problem. They answer a real or implied question. You should trace their strategies for developing arguments and drawing conclusions. As you do your introductory reading, review your lecture notes, and read more widely, think about your point of esswy, histofy own position in relation to other writers, and your own response to a problem. Examine and evaluate the evidence: Which interpretations do you think best fit the available evidence?
Your interpretations and conclusions do not have to be new to be original, challenging, and convincing. You should argue the essy which you think emerges most clearly from the evidence and from your critical review of visit web page historians work.
In order to plan your essay, you how to begin a history essay need to come up with an argument, a point of view which will guide your writing towards a conclusion. The question Would you agree with the argument that respect for the natural environment is a recent discovery for residents of Mars? Having read a variety of sources, you should be able to state your thesis your answer in a sentence or two.
Yes, because prior to the environmental movements of the s, the majority of Martians were more interested in exploiting than respecting the natural environment. No, because Martians have persistently respected their version of the natural environment, because natural environments are always viewed in a romanticised and idealised form. No, it is difficult to draw a simple, general conclusion on this issue, as the evidence suggests that different groups of Martians historry interpreted and viewed the environment very differently over time, and no clear trend is visible even now.
When you begin planning your essay, you should always be able to state your thesis in a fairly straightforward way, based on your initial reading and research for the topic.
First, what is to distinguish your work from that of everybody else? Who is the author? Don't forget to write in the past tense when referring to something that has already happened. Was the passing of the Enabling Act more important? A good paragraph is like a mini-essay; it begins with a clear topic sentence and how to begin a history essay the point in that sentence through examples and discussion. For a strong academic essay you should be using and engaging with scholarly material that is of a demonstrable quality. Look in the cover to check the publisher, if it is published by a University Press that is a good sign.
This sentence or two states your case. Broadly, your essay is the exposition and defence of that case: Planning the draft To write click good essay, you must first decide what your central argument is going to be, and then plan your essay to develop that argument. Of eseay, as you write your first draft, you may find that the argument changes and develops in a direction you did not anticipate.
Few writers are completely sure of their final conclusions before they begin drafting: Often, too, you might need to go back to your sources, read through some of your notes, or do some further reading to clarify and expand an emerging point. However, the basic thrust and content of your argument or thesis should be clear enough to bein you to plan the stages of your argument before you begin drafting. Perhaps the single best way of ensuring a successful essay is having a good plan.
The plan should lay out your argument, for instance in point form, and you can also use it to indicate where you will use certain items of evidence and supporting arguments. Martians have persistently respected their version of the natural environment, because natural environments are always viewed in a romanticised and idealised form explain the thrust of the argument: As uow progress into second and third year, you are expected to develop more sophisticated arguments, which makes good planning even more important.
Writing the draft 6a. You might also briefly summarise two or three of your main points. If you have decided to adopt a particular focus for instance, using case studies from a particular time or place, or narrowing the topic to concentrate on a particular themeyou should explain this in the introduction as well. The example above shows how an argument is then developed towards its conclusion.
Basically, each stage of your argument should be developed and defended in turn, by showing your interpretation of the appropriate evidence, by critically reviewing the work of other historians, and by using example, case study and explanation. Each paragraph is a block which builds your argument towards a conclusion. Each block is introduced and described, and then its place in the whole structure is shown. Painters rarely drew human figures. In her book Environmental Perception on Mars, Joan Brown argues that painters in the s focused on how nature was being conquered.
Certainly, by the s, most representations of jow natural environment showed nature being tamed and civilised. Even mining sites appeared in nature paintings, and the work of Joseph Smith is a good example of how even the most intensive forms of exploitation were represented as beneficial intrusion for the landscape. Humans did not threaten nature; they unleashed its potential. It was important for Martians, Smith argued into feel relaxed and comfortable about the past and future of the Go environment.
Yet representations of an ideal environment as one conquered and populated by humans never completely replaced the older tradition of mourning the degradation of another form of ideal environment, the Martian garden. This alternative version became popular again in the s. The body of your essay, therefore, uses evidence, examples and explanation to develop your case beyin by point. Each paragraph has a point to make, and occasional summary sentences guide the reader through the argument.
Using different kinds of evidence In developing your case, you will need to make decisions about the kinds of sources you will refer to, and the best ways to use them. Sources can generally be defined into two broad types: An article in the Age of 30 June about the bubonic plague epidemic which affected Sydney during that year is a primary source; an article in the Age on 30 June discussing the impact of the epidemic on public health policy in Australia is a secondary source.
The distinction is not hard and fast, and there will always be exceptions.
- When drawing up the plan you can assess the quality and depth of the evidence you have gathered and consider whether your thesis statement is adequately supported.
- Broadly, your essay is the exposition and defence of that case:
- In fact, it is a good idea to print out a copy of the page s you are using:
In most essays, you will be expected to critically analyse the interpretations of other historians in this way. In any event, these different types of sources should both be read critically: You also need to make decisions about how to use evidence: It hisory best to use quotation strategically and sparingly: If you use a quotation, make sure it fits with the stage of the essaay you are advancing.
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Refer to the language, analyse the assumptions or strategies it reveals. In other words, use quotation when the actual words are the single best way of providing the evidence and developing your case. If the w is less than about thirty words, combine it with your text, as in this example where I am quoting the following phrase which is how to begin a history essay very long.
This is an example of a much longer quote. It contains a few howw, and needs to be distinguished from the body of the essay. When you are indenting a quote like this, note that you do not have to use quotation marks; as it is already separated, there is no need to indicate that by the use of such symbols.
It is better to say what you mean in your own words, quoting another historian or interpreter only where the phrase is particularly wonderful or where esay need to show how to begin a history essay how that link made their point in order to criticise, defend or develop it. In all other cases, it is best to summarise. Write reflective summaries of what others have written, relating those interpretations to your argument. You might gow that the example paragraphs on the previous page gives you a more concrete idea of how a writer can use a mix of hkw and direct quotation from different kinds of sources to develop their argument.
Concluding the argument In your conclusion, you should restate your case strongly and clearly by summarising your main points.
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It is also possible to raise issues yo problems in your conclusion, especially broader questions which are beyond the scope of your essay. You might reflect on what your interpretation implies for contemporary debates or discussions, write briefly about the broader implications of your position, or consider what your interpretations tells us about the role and nature of history itself.
Use your conclusion to argue for the significance of how to begin a history essay argument and your interpretation. Again, as you develop your skills in formulating, developing and defending arguments, you will also develop your ability to write more reflectively and to use essays to open up these kinds of complex questions. Writing clearly and effectively The best single rule is to always hsitory clear expression: Use definite, specific and concrete language.
Writing problems often occur when people try to use very complex language and syntax.