How do I Write a History Thesis?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 January 2020
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Most undergraduate or graduate history coursework culminates in the writing of a history thesis, which is an in-depth analysis of a historic event or time period that demonstrates a student's understanding of important topics and his or her grasp on the intricacies of the field of history. While a history thesis can be difficult to write, the process can be rewarding and it will prepare the student for a job in the field. Start by choosing a general, broad topic that interests you, and then research more specific topics within that category. It helps to start your history thesis research with broad information and then narrowing down from there.

Generate a specific question that your history thesis will address. The more specific your question is, the easier it will be to defend your position. Once you have chosen your specific topic, contact an advisor who can help you through the process. Choose an advisor who has specific knowledge if the time period you are studying, and who you believe you can work well with. He or she can make the process of writing the history thesis exponentially easier by guiding you through sources, processes, and historical debates. Try to set up a regular schedule of meetings to discuss the thesis and see it through to its conclusion.


You should also be sure to find out what specific format your history thesis must fit. Be sure to find out if footnotes are necessary, how sources must be cited, how many pages the thesis must end up being, and so on. Finding out this information first will save you the headache of having to reformat the history thesis halfway through the process. Most programs will require a certain format for citation; the most common are MLA format and APA format. Be sure to research the format you will be using to avoid formatting errors in the final draft.

Be sure your sources are reliable and up to date. A trip to the library will most definitely be in order, and it will help to consult with a librarian who can help you find the best sources. Choose many sources and narrow down from there; if you use the internet to find sources, ensure that the online sources are from a reputable source and be sure to note the author, publication date, and website name. Cite these sources properly in your thesis and present several drafts to your advisor. Make recommended changes before submitting a final draft.



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