How to Write an Analytical History Paper

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The purpose of an analytical history paper is to provide an argument that proves a specific thesis. This argument should demonstrate insight by employing primary and secondary sources to prove the essay's basic claim. The success of an analytical history paper rests on the author's ability to present information in a clear and concise manner so that the reader may easily follow the analysis.

  • Establish a question: The question is the core of your paper. It forms the basic elements of the entire argument and establishes the topic of the paper. An analytical essay relies on a strong question that outlines the subject, temporal and geographic considerations. For example, if you are writing about the Vietnam War, a narrow topic could focus on what everyday life was like for draft dodgers who left the US for Canada.

  • Identify sources: Sources can be found in many forms, including primary sources that consist of written documents and photographs that originate from the period, and secondary sources that include what other scholars have written about the subject. By analyzing data pertaining to the topic you will be able to formulate an argument and provide supporting evidence for your thesis.

  • Develop a thesis: The thesis is generally presented in a single statement that outlines your particular interpretation of the topic. The thesis statement should be a unique perspective about the topic that is based on evidence from supporting documents. For instance, if the sources indicate that draft dodgers experienced an inability to integrate in their host society, you will need to present the argument in a logical statement that demonstrates what you plan to argue in your essay.

  • Write your introduction: The introduction outlines how you intend to present your analysis. It also presents a basic map for the essay that indicates how you will prove your argument. The most important component of the introduction is your thesis statement, which must be presented in clear and concise language.

  • Construct the body of your essay: The body of an analytical essay should do more than present a series of facts or describe a historical event. Each paragraph should present a specific point, beginning with a topic sentence that defines its aim and illustrates how the paragraph fits into the essay's overall thesis.

  • Summarize your argument: Your conclusion should summarize what you have presented and restate the essay's analytical focus. Furthermore, your conclusion should reintroduce the thesis statement and relate it to the evidence presented in the essay. The conclusion illustrates what you have proved in the essay and leaves the reader with an impression of its significance.

  • Cite your sources: Citing your sources is a valuable component of academic writing. It is important to indicate where you have obtained your evidence. Citation styles may vary; therefore, it is important to check the requirements for your paper.

  • Proofread your paper: Editing your paper for grammar and style mistakes will improve the academic presentation of the argument. More importantly, proofreading provides an opportunity to ensure that your argument makes sense and that the evidence supports your thesis. Proofreading can make a substantial difference in the quality of the paper.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to summarize the evidence you found in your own words.
  • A successful essay requires several drafts. Be sure to start your paper well in advance of the deadline.
  • Plagiarism is a serious offense and can result in a serious punishment. Ensure all sources are cited and that you do not steal other scholar's ideas.

References

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