You may respond, for example, by agreeing with the quotation in which case you will need to explain why agreement is the best response, why it would be wrong to disagree.
You should consider the merits of a variety of responses. If possible you should always examine the book or article from which the quotation has been taken in order to discover what its author meant by it, to discover how the author has understood the issues. One method of tackling such an essay would be to distinguish five or six areas of similarity and contrast, and to devote a section of the essay to each area - a section in which you would assess the degree of similarity and reach a sub-conclusion.
The conclusion would then require a summation of the various 'sub-conclusions'. It needs to be stressed that none of these types of question calls for a narrative approach. You will never be asked to produce a narrative of what happened. In rare circumstances, a few sentences of narrative may form part of the evidence cited in support of a point, but the essay as a whole should be organised according to a logical structure in which each paragraph functions as a premise in the argument.
The analytical and expository voice will always prove more effective than the narrative mode of writing. Preliminary Reading The aim of your initial reading should be to identify an argument which answers the question - one which you find plausible and can carry through with conviction. For this purpose, it will be useful to read at least two or three items, including a recent book covering the general area in which the topic falls.
Articles in reference books such as an encyclopaedia can provide an overview, but they rarely provide adequate coverage of the issues.
Citing such works will undermine the credibility of your essay. Do not forget to make notes as you go. Making notes helps you to summarise arguments and ideas, to select points relevant to your essay, to clarify and adjust your understanding of the essay question and of the topic it bears upon. But your main priority should be to discover an argument. Drawing up a Plan Once you have come up with a working argument, you need to draw up a plan to guide the next stage of your research.
It should comprise a list of the points which each paragraph will attempt to demonstrate, and rough notes on supporting examples. It may be useful to begin by thinking again what type of question you have chosen and by looking the natural way of answering it. In order to draw up a plan you will need to evaluate its merits: What points will I need to make in order to sustain this argument? Are there alternative points of view which will have to be considered and refuted in order to make this argument work?
Do I have enough examples and evidence to support the points which are crucial to my argument? Do I need to know more about the examples I'm planning to use? Perhaps there is another way of looking at this piece of evidence which I'll have to mention or even refute? Directed Research Having decided on the line of argument you intend to use, and identified areas where you need more material, search the reading list and bibliographies of the texts you've been using for books and articles which will help you to solve these problems.
Go and collect the information, making notes and adding notes to your plan as you go along. Do not forget to make careful bibliographical notes for every book and article you consult. You will need this information when it comes to footnoting your essay. Revising your Argument Inevitably, the previous stage will turn up things you hadn't thought of and books with better things to say about the topic.
Do not panic. Ask yourself: can your argument be saved with a few adjustments? Does the argument need to be re-constructed from scratch? If so, how can I recycle the information I've already begun to collect? Much will depend upon how confident you now feel about your argument.
Follow your instincts: if the argument feels wrong, look for a better one. It is better to start again than to write an essay that lacks conviction. If complete reconstruction is unavoidable, go back to '5. Drawing up a Plan'. Writing the First Draft Having revised you argument and plan , it's time to write your essay. If you've carried out steps one to five properly, it should be possible to write the first draft up in two or three hours.
Secondary resources are those created by historians and scholars about the topic. Most tutors prefer primary over secondary sources.
Where to find sources? Great question! Check out bibliographies included in required class readings. Ask a campus Librarian. Peruse online journal databases; most colleges provide students with free access. When in doubt, make an appointment and ask the professor for guidance. The same is, alas, all too true of many history essays.
It should be obvious, from your middle paragraphs, what question you are answering. So consider starting each middle paragraph will a generalisation relevant to the question. Then you can develop this idea and substantiate it with evidence.
You must give a judicious selection of evidence i. You only have a limited amount of space or time, so think about how much detail to give. Relatively unimportant background issues can be summarised with a broad brush; your most important areas need greater embellishment. The regulations often specify that, in the A2 year, students should be familiar with the main interpretations of historians.
Do not ignore this advice. On the other hand, do not take historiography to extremes, so that the past itself is virtually ignored. Quite often in essays students give a generalisation and back it up with the opinion of an historian — and since they have formulated the generalisation from the opinion, the argument is entirely circular, and therefore meaningless and unconvincing. It also fatuously presupposes that historians are infallible and omniscient gods.
Unless you give real evidence to back up your view — as historians do — a generalisation is simply an assertion. Middle paragraphs are the place for the real substance of an essay, and you neglect this at your peril. In the middle paragraph you are akin to a barrister arguing a case. Now, in the final paragraph, you are the judge summing up and pronouncing the verdict.
Do not introduce lots of fresh evidence at this stage, though you can certainly introduce the odd extra fact that clinches your case. If your question is about Hitler coming to power, you should not end by giving a summary of what he did once in power. Such an irrelevant ending will fail to win marks. On the other hand, it may be that some of the things Hitler did after coming to power shed valuable light on why he came to power in the first place.
Examiners are not expected to think; you must make your material explicitly relevant. Final Thoughts A good essay, especially one that seems to have been effortlessly composed, has often been revised several times; and the best students are those who are most selfcritical.
Get into the habit of criticising your own first drafts, and never be satisfied with second-best efforts. Also, take account of the feedback you get from teachers. Relevance is vital in a good essay, and so is evidence marshalled in such a way that it produces a convincing argument. But nothing else really matters.
The paragraph structure recommended above is just a guide, nothing more, and you can write a fine essay using a very different arrangement of material.Treat it as food for thought, essay providing a set of history some of which you might incorporate into your own made for writing essays. Why do historians set essays? It is useful to begin by considering why essay-writing has long been the method of choice effort never dies essay help assessment in history. The chief reason is that writing other method provides as effective a means of testing a student's comprehension of a topic. We want you to show us that not only have you acquired a knowledge of the topic but also that you fully understand the topic and the issues raised by it.
Ask a campus Librarian. Identify terms or concepts you do not know and find out what they mean. Credits: This guide was devised and developed by Paul Antony Hayward
The eye tends to overlook errors on the screen, and spell checkers almost invariably allow a significant number of mistakes to slip through. Most will start by reading an overview of the topic or issue, usually in some reliable secondary sources. It also fatuously presupposes that historians are infallible and omniscient gods. It looks more impressive especially if you cite well and widely , and saves the marker flicking back and forth. Think about possible successes. The longer a sentence becomes, the greater the risk of it becoming long-winded or confusing.
Now, in the final paragraph, you are the judge summing up and pronouncing the verdict.
You only have a limited amount of space or time, so think about how much detail to give.
The second sentence should then enlarge upon the argument indicated by the first. Between each major idea you need to use creatively phrased transition statements that allow the flow of the essay to not be disrupted.
Do paragraphs need to be expanded, fine-tuned or strengthened with more evidence? Relatively unimportant background issues can be summarised with a broad brush; your most important areas need greater embellishment. Reference and cite your sources A history essay is only likely to succeed if it is appropriately referenced. We want you to show us that not only have you acquired a knowledge of the topic but also that you fully understand the topic and the issues raised by it. Revising your Argument Inevitably, the previous stage will turn up things you hadn't thought of and books with better things to say about the topic.
If you get totally confused, take a break.
You may find that some of your points are irrelevant: this material should be disregarded. Relevance Witnesses in court promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Middle paragraphs are the place for the real substance of an essay, and you neglect this at your peril. The dramatic fall in the prices of land within urban centres implies an equally sharp fall in the numbers of people wanting to live in cities and, thus also, a sudden decline in the actual number of people living there. Editing your Essay You will need to edit: for grammar, spelling and punctuation; to remove unnecessary verbiage, colloquialisms and jargon; to ensure that the footnotes and bibliography conform with the required style sheet; and for the coherence and quality of your writing. One method of tackling such an essay would be to distinguish five or six areas of similarity and contrast, and to devote a section of the essay to each area - a section in which you would assess the degree of similarity and reach a sub-conclusion.
The analytical and expository voice will always prove more effective than the narrative mode of writing. Most tutors prefer primary over secondary sources. Plagiarism is thus not merely a matter of theft, it involves an entirely unacceptable subversion of the learning process.
Directed Research Having decided on the line of argument you intend to use, and identified areas where you need more material, search the reading list and bibliographies of the texts you've been using for books and articles which will help you to solve these problems. This much is illustrated by the way in which Europe expanded between the tenth and sixteenth centuries.