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Perspectives Daily

Why Study History? Revisited

Peter N. Stearns | Sep 18, 2020

Over two decades ago I was asked to write a pamphlet for the AHA on the reasons to study history . I emphasized the variety of skills involved in history learning, from writing and developing arguments, to assessing evidence, to dealing with the phenomenon of change over time. The essay has been fairly widely used and consistently ranks among the AHA’s most popular webpages.

A rationale for studying history today must acknowledge both the serious challenges to the discipline and the dynamic changes within the discipline that have developed over the past quarter century.

A rationale for studying history today must acknowledge both the serious challenges to the discipline and the dynamic changes within the discipline that have developed over the past quarter century. Flickr/Bob Casey/CC BY-NC 2.0

Recently the London Publishing Partnership asked me to return to the topic with a British colleague, Marcus Collins. The resultant booklet, just released as Why Study History?   gave us a chance to reflect on the ways justifying the study of history must now be reframed. Reviewing a past argument is inevitably somewhat chastening—what might have been better anticipated earlier on? Happily, however, some elements still stand up fairly well. 

A rationale for studying history today must acknowledge both the serious challenges to the discipline and the dynamic changes within the discipline that have developed over the past quarter century. The more utilitarian climate for higher education and the changing nature of the student body must be addressed, aided by the abundant data about the career outcomes of the history major now available. But the substantial transformation of historical research and methodology has also enhanced the ways we can explain our discipline to a student audience. Finally, additional decades of teaching and reflection, plus the good thinking available from colleagues including history learning experts, inevitably alters, and hopefully improves, the presentation as well. 

As Marcus and I considered how to update the argument for history, we began with the recognition that the struggle for enrollments has become far more demanding than was the case in the 1990s. Changes in the economy plus rising student debt have greatly altered the context for promoting the field, while the presence of more first-generation learners enhances the need to address the practical results of studying a discipline like history.

This means, most obviously, that no one advocating for the study of history today can avoid explicit discussion of the kinds of job opportunities that result from a history degree. We can no longer rely on a presentation of the strengths of history education alone. Students, and those who advise them, need to know the practical results of their commitment. The amount of misinformation that has entered public discourse ever since the Great Recession about the career risk of any concentration beyond a STEM degree compels this new focus as well. Fortunately, the news is quite good on this score. Data on rates of employment, clearly competitive pay levels, and job satisfaction all make it clear that the varied careers of history majors rival those of science and business majors. Studying history is a valid professional choice, and we now need to say this vigorously.

No one advocating for the study of history today can avoid explicit discussion of the kinds of jobs that result from a history degree.

Job data alone, however, are not the only spur to a revised approach. The discipline itself has changed greatly over the past quarter century. Several of the new trends contribute directly to professional outcomes: the emergence of public history and digital history most obviously. But the disciplinary shifts also spur student interest directly, providing new ways to explain the connections between historical study and a growing variety of social and personal concerns. 

The capacity of history to explore a wide range of topics and to generate new knowledge is something that many students, based on their high school experience, do not fully realize. Many school history programs have simply shrunk, while others have been constrained by new pressures to teach for a test. To attract students, it is vital to illustrate the dynamic features of our discipline. For an increasingly diverse student body, history offers the opportunity to explore different races, regions, and genders, as part of a fuller understanding of the past. This is a vital and valid part of our argument, far more obvious now than it was a few decades back. More broadly still, building on the AHA’s informal motto—“everything has a history”—can be an exciting revelation to many students, part of a sense of seeing the study of history as a process of discovery. 

This aspect of our discipline extends to insisting, more clearly than seemed necessary a few decades ago, on the links between historical findings and contemporary issues. The early stages of the coronavirus gave us a chance to highlight the value of historical data and perspectives during a time of great uncertainty. Identifying historical precedents but also emphasizing what has changed since the last comparable experience both show the value of “thinking historically” about the world around us. The same holds true for topics like systemic racism (and racial protest) or political polarization. 

Any current explanation of the reasons to study history must, then, take into account employment concerns; a changing student body, faced with a number of new problems; but also the several ways in which the discipline itself has expanded its range—a challenging but exciting combination. 

It is vital to invite students to appreciate the joy of history learning.

With all this, the core argument about basic historical thinking skills—the main thrust of the earlier essay—has not greatly changed. Experience in handling varied data, building critical thinking, enhancing the capacity to understand change—these remain our building blocks, connecting directly to the kinds of career success that history majors enjoy.

Even here, however, minor changes were desirable. Making sure students themselves understand history skills is more important than was the case in 1998, not just in attracting them to the discipline, but in improving their ability to explain their qualifications to potential employers. Experience with data contributes measurably to the greater ability of history students in identifying “fake news,” another contemporary strength. The classic lesson, about learning from past mistakes, remains at least as important as ever, but we can also note the opportunity to learn from more positive outcomes in the past, for example by exploring causes of economic growth or factors that enhance social tolerance.

Overall, it is both possible and necessary to offer a wider argument for the reasons to study history than seemed necessary a quarter century ago. Yet along with the new components, a commitment to the importance of history and its role in constructive citizenship remains very much intact. And for all the essential bows to pragmatism, it is vital as well to invite students to appreciate the joy of history learning; here, too, opportunities have if anything expanded with time. 

Additional resources from the AHA:

Reflecting the wide range of the authors' experiences in work, civic engagement, and teaching, these 2018 essays suggest some of the many opportunities that studying history can offer students.

  • John Fea, " The History Major: Opening Doors to Life in a Global Economy "
  • Johann Neem, " Connecting Past to Present: The History Major in Our Communities "
  • Claire Potter, " An Education to Last a Lifetime: Conversations with the Past, Stories for the Present "
  • John Rowe, " What Employers Want: Thoughts from a History BA in Business "
  • Sarah Shurts, " The Landscape after College: Putting Your History Skills to Work "
  • Frank Valadez, " The Well-Rounded History Graduate: Professional Citizen, Human "

Peter N. Stearns is university professor of history and provost emeritus at George Mason University. He Tweets @StearnsPeter.

Tags: Perspectives Daily Teaching & Learning K-16 Education Teaching Resources and Strategies The History Major

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This guide is an introduction to selected resources available for historical research.  It covers both primary sources (such as diaries, letters, newspaper articles, photographs, government documents and first-hand accounts) and secondary materials (such as books and articles written by historians and devoted to the analysis and interpretation of historical events and evidence).

"Research in history involves developing an understanding of the past through the examination and interpretation of evidence. Evidence may exist in the form of texts, physical remains of historic sites, recorded data, pictures, maps, artifacts, and so on. The historian’s job is to find evidence, analyze its content and biases, corroborate it with further evidence, and use that evidence to develop an interpretation of past events that holds some significance for the present.

Historians use libraries to

  • locate primary sources (first-hand information such as diaries, letters, and original documents) for evidence
  • find secondary sources (historians’ interpretations and analyses of historical evidence)
  • verify factual material as inconsistencies arise"

( Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age, Fifth Edition, by Diana Hacker and Barbara Fister, Bedford/St. Martin, 2010)

This guide is meant to help you work through these steps.

Other helpful guides

This is a list of other historical research guides you may find helpful:

  • Learning Historical Research Learning to Do Historical Research: A Primer for Environmental Historians and Others by William Cronon and his students, University of Wisconsin A website designed as a basic introduction to historical research for anyone and everyone who is interested in exploring the past.
  • Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students by Patrick Rael, Bowdoin College Guide to all aspects of historical scholarship—from reading a history book to doing primary source research to writing a history paper.
  • Writing Historical Essays: A Guide for Undergraduates Rutgers History Department guide to writing historical essays
  • History Study Guides History study guides created by the Carleton College History Department

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  • URL: https://researchguides.library.wisc.edu/introhist

How to Write a History Research Paper

  • How do I pick a topic?
  • But I can’t find any material…

Research Guide

Writing guide.

See also: How to Write a Good History Essay

1. How do I pick a topic?

Picking a topic is perhaps the most important step in writing a research paper. To do it well requires several steps of refinement. First you have to determine a general area in which you have an interest (if you aren’t interested, your readers won’t be either). You do not write a paper “about the Civil War,” however, for that is such a large and vague concept that the paper will be too shallow or you will be swamped with information. The next step is to narrow your topic. Are you interested in comparison? battles? social change? politics? causes? biography? Once you reach this stage try to formulate your research topic as a question. For example, suppose that you decide to write a paper on the use of the films of the 1930’s and what they can tell historians about the Great Depression. You might turn that into the following question: “What are the primary values expressed in films of the 1930’s?” Or you might ask a quite different question, “What is the standard of living portrayed in films of the 1930’s?” There are other questions, of course, which you could have asked, but these two clearly illustrate how different two papers on the same general subject might be. By asking yourself a question as a means of starting research on a topic you will help yourself find the answers. You also open the door to loading the evidence one way or another. It will help you decide what kinds of evidence might be pertinent to your question, and it can also twist perceptions of a topic. For example, if you ask a question about economics as motivation, you are not likely to learn much about ideals, and vice versa.

2. But I can’t find any material…

No one should pick a topic without trying to figure out how one could discover pertinent information, nor should anyone settle on a topic before getting some background information about the general area. These two checks should make sure your paper is in the realm of the possible. The trick of good research is detective work and imaginative thinking on how one can find information. First try to figure out what kinds of things you should know about a topic to answer your research question. Are there statistics? Do you need personal letters? What background information should be included? Then if you do not know how to find that particular kind of information, ASK . A reference librarian or professor is much more likely to be able to steer you to the right sources if you can ask a specific question such as “Where can I find statistics on the number of interracial marriages?” than if you say “What can you find on racial attitudes?”

Use the footnotes and bibliographies of general background books as well as reference aids to lead you to special studies. If Carleton does not have the books or sources you need, try ordering through the library minitex. Many sources are also available on-line.

As your research paper takes shape you will find that you need background on people, places, events, etc. Do not just rely on some general survey for all of your background. Check the several good dictionaries of biography for background on people, or see if there is a standard book-length biography. If you are dealing with a legal matter check into the background of the judges who make the court decision and the circumstances surrounding the original incident or law. Try looking for public opinions in newspapers of the time. In other words, each bit of information you find should open the possibility of other research paths.

Learn to use several research techniques. You cannot count on a good research paper coming from browsing on one shelf at the library. A really pertinent book may be hidden in another section of the library due to classification quirks. The Readers’ Guide (Ref. A13 .R4) is not the only source for magazine articles, nor the card catalog for books. There are whole books which are listings of other books on particular topics. There are specialized indexes of magazine articles. Modern History Journals are indexed in the Social Studies and Humanities Index (Ref. A13 .R282) before 1976 After 1976 use the Social Sciences Index (REF A13 .S62) and the Humanities Index (Ref. A13 .H85). See also Historical Abstracts (Ref. D1 .H5). Reference Librarians would love to help you learn to use these research tools. It pays to browse in the reference room at the library and poke into the guides which are on the shelves. It also pays to browse the Internet.

3. Help! How do I put this together?

A. preliminary research:.

If you do not already have a general background on your topic, get the most recent good general source on the topic and read it for general orientation. On the basis of that reading formulate as clearly focused question as you can. You should generally discuss with your professor at that point whether your question is a feasible one.

B. Building a Basic Bibliography:

Use the bibliography/notes in your first general source, MUSE, and especially Historical Abstracts on cd-rom in the Library Reading Room (the computer farthest to the left in the front row as you walk past the Reference Desk — or ask there). If there is a specialized bibliography on your topic, you will certainly want to consult that as well, but these are often a bit dated.

C. Building a Full Bibliography:

Read the recent articles or chapters that seem to focus on your topic best. This will allow you to focus your research question quite a bit. Use the sources cited and/or discussed in this reading to build a full bibliography. Use such tools as Historical Abstracts (or, depending on your topic, the abstracts from a different field) and a large, convenient computer-based national library catalog (e.g. the University of California system from the “Libs” command in your VAX account or the smaller University of Minnesota library through MUSE) to check out your sources fully. For specific article searches “Uncover” (press returns for the “open access”) or possibly (less likely for history) “First Search” through “Connect to Other Resources” in MUSE can also be useful.

D. Major Research:

Now do the bulk of your research. But do not overdo it. Do not fall into the trap of reading and reading to avoid getting started on the writing. After you have the bulk of information you might need, start writing. You can fill in the smaller gaps of your research more effectively later.

A. Outline:

Write a preliminary thesis statement, expressing what you believe your major argument(s) will be. Sketch out a broad outline that indicates the structure — main points and subpoints or your argument as it seems at this time. Do not get too detailed at this point.

B. The First Draft:

On the basis of this thesis statement and outline, start writing, even pieces, as soon as you have enough information to start. Do not wait until you have filled all the research gaps. Keep on writing. If you run into smaller research questions just mark the text with a searchable symbol. It is important that you try to get to the end point of this writing as soon as possible, even if you leave pieces still in outline form at first and then fill the gaps after you get to the end.

Critical advice for larger papers: It is often more effective not to start at the point where the beginning of your paper will be. Especially the introductory paragraph is often best left until later, when you feel ready and inspired.

C. The Second Draft:

The “second draft” is a fully re-thought and rewritten version of your paper. It is at the heart of the writing process.

First, lay your first draft aside for a day or so to gain distance from it. After that break, read it over with a critical eye as you would somebody else’s paper (well, almost!). You will probably find that your first draft is still quite descriptive, rather than argumentative. It is likely to wander; your perspective and usually even the thesis seemed to change/develop as you wrote. Don’t despair. That is perfectly normal even for experienced writers (even after 40 years and a good deal of published work!). You will be frustrated. But keep questioning your paper along the following lines: What precisely are my key questions? What parts of my evidence here are really pertinent to those questions (that is, does it help me answer them)? How or in what order can I structure my paper most effectively to answer those questions most clearly and efficiently for my reader?

At this point you must outline your paper freshly. Mark up your first draft, ask tough questions whether your argument is clear and whether the order in which you present your points is effective! You must write conceptually a new paper at this point, even if you can use paragraphs and especially quotes, factual data in the new draft.

It is critical that in your new draft your paragraphs start with topic sentences that identify the argument you will be making in the particular paragraph (sometimes this can be strings of two or three paragraphs). The individual steps in your argument must be clearly reflected in the topic sentences of your paragraphs (or a couple of them linked).

D. The Third or Final Draft:

You are now ready to check for basic rules of good writing. This is when you need to check the diction, that is, the accuracy and suitability of words. Eliminate unnecessary passive or awkward noun constructions (active-voice, verbal constructions are usually more effective); improve the flow of your transitions; avoid repetitions or split infinitives; correct apostrophes in possessives and such. Make the style clear and smooth. Check that the start of your paper is interesting for the reader. Last but not least, cut out unnecessary verbiage and wordiness. Spell-check and proof-read.

– Diethelm Prowe, 1998

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Navigating US History: A Student’s Guide to Research Paper Topics

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As a student of history, you’re on a constant journey through time. Writing a research paper is more than just an assignment—it’s an opportunity to delve deeper into the events and periods that shaped the world we live in today. Whether you’re just beginning your journey or looking for fresh perspectives on well-trodden paths, this guide will provide a comprehensive list of US history research paper topics.

Table of content

The Importance of History Learning

Studying history provides a deeper understanding of societies, cultures, and the human condition. History shapes our collective memory, instilling a sense of identity and understanding of our place in the world. Exploring different eras helps us comprehend the consequences of certain actions, understand patterns, and better anticipate the future. Writing research papers on US history equips us with an analytical lens to critically assess the past, promoting empathy and encouraging informed citizenship.

The Art of Research Writing

Research writing requires a careful synthesis of existing knowledge with original thought. As a historical researcher, you act as a detective, deciphering mysteries, drawing connections, and unveiling the truths hidden in the annals of time. Your research paper is an exploration of your chosen topic and a demonstration of your analytical skills, critical thinking, and the ability to articulate complex ideas coherently.

Crafting your Research Paper Topic

Selecting an engaging and manageable topic is crucial in the research process. Your topic should be both broad enough to offer plenty of study sources and narrow enough to allow in-depth exploration. Below is a list of possible US history research paper topics.

Colonial Period

The Colonial Period, from the late 15th Century to the late 18th Century, marked the beginning of European settlement in what is now the United States. This era saw significant events such as the arrival of the Pilgrims, the establishment of the thirteen colonies, and the interactions between the settlers and the Native American tribes. This period set the stage for America’s diverse cultural, political, and social foundation.

Research Paper Topics for the Colonial Period

  • Role of the Church in Colonial Society.
  • Jamestown: Successes and Failures.
  • Impact of Tobacco Cultivation on Colonial Economy.
  • Life of Indigenous Tribes Pre-Colonization.
  • The Salem Witch Trials: Causes and Consequences.
  • The Role of Women in Colonial America.
  • Early Forms of Democracy: The Mayflower Compact.
  • Slavery in the Early Colonies.
  • The Transatlantic Trade: Its Impact on the Colonies.
  • Comparison of Northern and Southern Colonies.
  • Analysis of Colonial Laws and Their Impact on Society.
  • Evolution of Education in Colonial America.
  • The Great Awakening and Its Impact on American Society.
  • Indentured Servitude vs. Slavery: A Comparative Study.
  • Navigation Acts and Their Influence on the Colonies.
  • Impact of European Diseases on Native American Population.
  • The Role of the Dutch in New Amsterdam (New York).
  • The French and Indian War: Causes and Consequences.
  • The Influence of the Enlightenment in the Colonies.
  • Colonial Architecture: A Reflection of Cultural Identity.
  • The Pennsylvania Colony: A Quaker Experiment.
  • Cultural Exchange between Colonists and Native Americans.
  • The Evolution of Colonial Economies: From Mercantilism to Capitalism.

Revolutionary Era

The Revolutionary Era, roughly from the 1760s to the 1780s, marked a period of political upheaval and radical change. It included events such as the American Revolution and the drafting of the US Constitution. This period represents America’s struggle for independence and the nation’s birth.

Research Paper Topics for the Revolutionary Era

  • The Impact of the Stamp Act on the Colonies.
  • The Boston Massacre: An Analysis.
  • Role of Women in the American Revolution.
  • The Philosophical Underpinnings of the Declaration of Independence.
  • The Continental Congress: Achievements and Challenges.
  • The Role of Propaganda in the American Revolution.
  • Significance of the Battle of Saratoga.
  • Comparative Analysis of the American and Haitian Revolutions.
  • The Treaty of Paris (1783): Implications for America.
  • Founding Fathers: Contributions and Controversies.
  • The Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist Debate.
  • The Role of African Americans in the Revolutionary War.
  • The Impact of the Revolutionary War on Native Americans.
  • Influence of the Enlightenment on the US Constitution.
  • George Washington was a Military Leader.
  • The Articles of Confederation: Strengths and Weaknesses.
  • The Legacy of Thomas Jefferson.
  • The Formation and Influence of the Sons of Liberty.
  • Impact of the American Revolution on French Political Thought.
  • The Bill of Rights: A Study in Civil Liberties.
  • The Northwest Ordinance and Its Impact on American Expansion.
  • Impact of the Revolutionary Era on American Literature.
  • Loyalists during the American Revolution: Their Experiences and Contributions.

Nineteenth Century

The 19th Century was a time of dramatic transformation in America. From the expansion westward to the abolition of slavery and from the Industrial Revolution to the Civil War, these changes forged a new nation. It was an era defined by innovation, conflict, and expansion.

  • The Impact of the Cotton Gin on the Southern Economy.
  • The Missouri Compromise: An Analysis.
  • The Role of Women in the 19th Century.
  • Manifest Destiny and Its Impact on American Identity.
  • The Abolitionist Movement: Key Figures and Contributions.
  • The Mexican-American War: Causes and Consequences.
  • The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on American Society.
  • Analysis of the Compromise of 1850.
  • The Fugitive Slave Act and Its Implications.
  • The Influence of Transcendentalism on American Thought.
  • The Homestead Act and Westward Expansion.
  • Causes and Consequences of the Civil War.
  • The Reconstruction Era: Successes and Failures.
  • Role of African Americans in the Civil War.
  • The Trail of Tears: Causes and Implications.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation: Its Impact and Legacy.
  • The Indian Removal Act: An Analysis.
  • The Influence of the Gold Rush on American Society.
  • The Formation of Labor Unions and Workers’ Rights.
  • The Women’s Suffrage Movement: Key Events and Figures.
  • The Dred Scott Decision and Its Impact on American Politics.
  • The Impact of Railroads on Economic and Social Change.
  • The Gilded Age: An Analysis of Social and Economic Disparities.

Twentieth Century

Monumental changes in technology, culture, politics, and social norms marked the 20th Century. The US emerged as a global superpower through its involvement in two World Wars, the Cold War, and numerous other international conflicts. This era also witnessed significant social changes, including the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Liberation, and the Gay Rights Movement.

Research Paper Topics for the Twentieth Century

  • Impact of World War I on American Society.
  • The Harlem Renaissance: A Cultural Revolution.
  • Causes and Consequences of the Great Depression.
  • The Influence of the New Deal on American Government.
  • Role of Women in World War II.
  • The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II.
  • The Rise of Suburbia in Post-War America.
  • The Cold War: An Analysis of US Foreign Policy.
  • The Civil Rights Movement: Key Figures and Milestones.
  • Impact of the Vietnam War on American Culture.
  • The Watergate Scandal and Its Effect on Public Trust.
  • The Feminist Movement in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • The Space Race and Its Influence on Technology.
  • The Impact of Television on American Society.
  • The Environmental Movement and the Creation of the EPA.
  • The Gay Rights Movement: Key Events and Figures.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: An Analysis.
  • The Immigration Act of 1965 and Its Impact on American Demographics.
  • The War on Drugs: Causes and Consequences.
  • The AIDS Epidemic and Its Impact on Public Health Policy.
  • The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the End of the Cold War.
  • The Role of the Internet in the Digital Age.

Final Thoughts

History research can be a challenging but rewarding endeavor. Remember, the best papers reflect your curiosity and passion for the topic. So, pick a topic that resonates with you, immerse yourself in the research, and enjoy the journey through time.

📎 Related Articles

1. Hot Topic History: A Journey Through Pivotal Moments 2. Pioneering Perspectives: Navigating Civil War Topics for Your Research Paper 3. Engaging 8th Grade Research Paper Topics for Budding Historians 4. Unraveling Threads of Time: Early American History Topics for Students 5. The Great Wall: An Essay Topic Examples

World History Research Paper Topics

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In this comprehensive guide, we explore the fascinating world of world history research paper topics , designed to assist history students in their academic pursuits. Delving into the annals of human civilization, this page offers a diverse array of research paper topics categorized into 10 distinct themes, each presenting a captivating journey through time. From ancient civilizations and medieval Europe to modern global interactions and cultural movements, these topics provide a rich tapestry of subjects to explore and analyze. Emphasizing the importance of topic selection, the guide provides 10 tips to help students make informed choices that align with their interests and academic objectives. Furthermore, it equips aspiring historians with 10 essential tips for crafting compelling world history research papers that showcase critical thinking and scholarly excellence. For those seeking professional assistance, iResearchNet’s custom world history research paper writing services are presented, featuring a host of advantages and personalized support. As history enthusiasts embark on their academic journey, we invite them to unravel the tapestry of world history, exploring the intricacies of our shared human heritage and shaping a deeper understanding of the world’s past.

100 World History Research Paper Topics

World history is an expansive realm, brimming with diverse cultures, societies, and epochal events that have shaped human civilization. For history students embarking on research papers, this page offers an extensive compilation of world of world history research paper topics thoughtfully divided into 10 categories, each providing an intriguing window into the annals of time.

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Ancient Civilizations:

  • Mesopotamia: The Cradle of Civilization
  • Ancient Egypt: Pyramids, Pharaohs, and Society
  • Indus Valley Civilization: Trade and Urban Planning
  • Ancient Greece: Democracy and Philosophical Contributions
  • Roman Empire: Expansion and Decline
  • Ancient China: The Qin Dynasty: Unification and Terracotta Army
  • Ancient India: The Maurya Empire: Emperor Ashoka’s Reign and Buddhist Legacy
  • Ancient Africa: The Kingdom of Kush: Civilization Along the Nile River
  • Ancient Americas: The Maya Civilization: Architecture, Mathematics, and Calendar
  • Ancient Mesoamerica: The Aztec Empire: Society and Rituals

Medieval and Renaissance Europe:

  • The Crusades: Religious Conflict and Cultural Exchange
  • The Black Death: Social and Economic Impact
  • The Italian Renaissance: Art, Science, and Humanism
  • The Age of Exploration: European Expansion and Global Encounters
  • The Reformation: Religious Reforms and the Power of the Church
  • Medieval Japan: Feudal System and Samurai Culture
  • Medieval China: The Song Dynasty: Innovations and Maritime Trade
  • Medieval Middle East: The Islamic Golden Age: Science, Philosophy, and Art
  • Medieval Africa: The Mali Empire: Mansa Musa’s Hajj and Economic Prosperity
  • Medieval Americas: The Inca Empire: Engineering Marvels and Governance

Modern Global Interactions:

  • The Age of Enlightenment: Intellectual Revolutions and Enlightenment Thinkers
  • The French Revolution: Causes, Events, and Consequences
  • Industrial Revolution: Economic Transformations and Social Impact
  • The American Revolution: Independence and Constitutionalism
  • The British Empire: Colonization and Legacy
  • Imperial China: The Qing Dynasty: Opium Wars and Decline
  • Imperial India: The British Raj and Indian Independence Movement
  • Modern Japan: Meiji Restoration and Westernization
  • Colonial Africa: Scramble for Africa and the Berlin Conference
  • Latin American Revolutions: Bolivar, San Martin, and Independence Movements

Cultural and Intellectual Movements:

  • The Harlem Renaissance: African American Art and Literature
  • The Enlightenment in Latin America: Independence Movements
  • The Bauhaus Movement: Modernist Architecture and Design
  • Surrealism: Artistic Expression of the Unconscious Mind
  • Chinese Cultural Revolution: Mao Zedong’s Ideological Campaign
  • The Civil Rights Movement: Struggles for Equality and Desegregation
  • Feminist Movements: Suffrage and Gender Equality
  • The Beat Generation: Literature, Poetry, and Counterculture
  • Postcolonial Literature: Identity, Resistance, and Representation
  • Cultural Revolution in Iran: Ayatollah Khomeini and Islamic Revolution

Empires and Dynasties:

  • The Mongol Empire: Conquests and Legacy
  • The Byzantine Empire: Continuity and Survival
  • The Safavid Empire: Persian Renaissance and Religious Identity
  • The Gupta Empire: Golden Age of Indian Science and Mathematics
  • The Tang Dynasty: Cultural Flourishing and Silk Road Trade
  • The Ottoman Empire: Sultans, Janissaries, and Decline
  • The Mughal Empire: Akbar the Great and Artistic Patronage
  • The Spanish Empire: Conquistadors and Colonial Rule
  • The Russian Empire: Tsars and Westernization
  • The Austro-Hungarian Empire: Multiculturalism and Nationalism

Global Conflicts and Wars:

  • The Peloponnesian War: Athenian and Spartan Rivalry
  • The Hundred Years’ War: England and France Conflict
  • The Napoleonic Wars: European Conflicts and Napoleon’s Ambitions
  • The Korean War: Divided Peninsula and Cold War Tensions
  • The Vietnam War: Anti-War Movement and Long-term Impact
  • World War I: Causes, Events, and Aftermath
  • World War II: The Holocaust and Global Consequences
  • The Cold War: Superpower Rivalry and Nuclear Arms Race
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: US-Soviet Confrontation in the Caribbean
  • The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Origins and Continuing Struggles

Revolutions and Independence Movements:

  • The Haitian Revolution: Slavery and Independence
  • The Mexican Revolution: Social and Political Transformations
  • The Russian Revolution: Fall of the Romanovs and Bolshevik Rule
  • The Chinese Revolution: Rise of the Communist Party and Mao Zedong
  • The Iranian Revolution: Ayatollah Khomeini and Islamic Republic
  • The Indian Independence Movement: Gandhi’s Nonviolent Resistance
  • The Nigerian Civil War: Biafra’s Secession and Conflict Resolution
  • The Algerian War of Independence: FLN and French Colonialism
  • The American Civil Rights Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and Equality
  • The Apartheid Movement in South Africa: Mandela, Soweto, and Freedom

Explorers and Expeditions:

  • Christopher Columbus: The Discovery of the New World
  • Ferdinand Magellan: The First Circumnavigation of the Globe
  • Vasco da Gama: Voyage to India and the Maritime Spice Trade
  • Captain James Cook: Pacific Voyages and Exploration of Australia
  • Marco Polo: Travels to the East and the Silk Road
  • Zheng He: Ming Dynasty’s Great Navigator and Diplomat
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition: Exploring the American West
  • Roald Amundsen: First to Reach the South Pole
  • Amelia Earhart: Pioneering Aviator and Her Disappearance
  • Neil Armstrong: The First Moon Landing and Space Exploration

Pre-Columbian Civilizations:

  • The Aztec Empire: Society and Rituals
  • The Inca Empire: Engineering Marvels and Governance
  • The Maya Civilization: Astronomy and Calendar System
  • The Moche Civilization: Art and Ceremonial Centers
  • The Chaco Culture: Ancestral Puebloans and Architecture
  • The Cahokia Mounds: Mesoamerican Influence in North America
  • The Tiwanaku Empire: Andean Civilization and Stone Monuments
  • The Ancestral Puebloans: Cliff Dwellings and Sustainable Farming
  • The Olmec Civilization: Cultural Influence and Artistic Legacy
  • The Nazca Lines: Geoglyphs in the Peruvian Desert

Ancient China:

  • The Qin Dynasty: Unification and Terracotta Army
  • The Han Dynasty: Silk Road and Cultural Achievements
  • The Tang Dynasty: Golden Age of Poetry and Literature
  • The Song Dynasty: Technological Innovations and Economic Growth
  • The Yuan Dynasty: Mongol Rule and Cultural Exchange
  • The Ming Dynasty: Exploration and Zheng He’s Voyages
  • The Qing Dynasty: Opium Wars and Decline
  • Confucianism: Philosophy, Ethics, and Political Influence
  • Daoism (Taoism): Nature, Balance, and Harmony
  • Buddhism in China: Spread, Syncretism, and Cultural Impact

With these thought-provoking world history research paper topics, history students can embark on enlightening journeys through time, unearthing captivating narratives that have shaped the human story and expanded our understanding of the world’s rich and diverse past. Whether delving into ancient civilizations, exploring cultural movements, or analyzing global conflicts, these topics provide an opportunity to connect with the past and gain valuable insights into the complexities of our shared history.

World History: Exploring the Range of Topics

World history is an intriguing tapestry that weaves together the diverse threads of human civilization. As we delve into the past, we encounter a multitude of cultures, societies, and historical events that have shaped the trajectory of human development. From the rise and fall of empires to the intellectual revolutions that transformed thought and the conflicts that reshaped borders, the canvas of world history is vast and vibrant, offering an extensive range of research paper topics that entice history students to embark on explorative journeys through time.

  • The Journey through Ancient Civilizations : The study of ancient civilizations opens the door to some of the most awe-inspiring and enigmatic epochs in human history. Topics in this category offer a glimpse into the cradle of civilization, where great empires emerged, and remarkable achievements were made. Scholars can delve into the mystery of the pyramids in Egypt, decipher the cuneiform script of Mesopotamia, explore the urban planning of the Indus Valley Civilization, contemplate the philosophical musings of ancient Greek thinkers, and unravel the intricate political mechanisms of the Roman Empire. Each civilization represents a unique tapestry, providing fertile ground for researchers to explore a variety of aspects, from architecture and religion to governance and social structures.
  • Unraveling the Threads of Medieval and Renaissance Europe : The medieval period witnessed the rise and fall of empires, the flourishing of art and culture, and the spread of knowledge across Europe. Research paper topics in this category encompass the tumultuous era of the Crusades, which saw the collision of civilizations, and the transformative impact of the Black Death on society. The Italian Renaissance brought about a resurgence of art and humanism, igniting intellectual revolutions that reverberated throughout Europe. Meanwhile, the Age of Exploration expanded the boundaries of human knowledge, with explorers charting new territories and cultures. Topics in this category offer an opportunity to delve into the complex interplay of politics, religion, and cultural exchange that shaped the medieval and Renaissance periods.
  • Modern Global Interactions: From Enlightenment to Modernity : The age of enlightenment ushered in an era of intellectual ferment, fueled by the desire to challenge traditional authority and embrace reason, science, and individual rights. Research paper topics in this category delve into the ideological underpinnings of revolutions, such as the French Revolution, which forever altered the political landscape of Europe. The industrial revolution marked a period of immense economic growth and societal transformation, laying the groundwork for the modern world. As the empires expanded their influence, interactions between nations intensified, resulting in conflicts such as World War I and II, shaping the course of the 20th century. Scholars can explore the profound societal changes brought about by these events, the rise of nationalism, and the quest for global stability in the face of geopolitical tensions.
  • Cultural and Intellectual Movements: Art, Literature, and Ideas : Cultural and intellectual movements have played a pivotal role in shaping societies and challenging prevailing norms. Research paper topics in this category offer an opportunity to delve into the vibrant creativity of the Harlem Renaissance, celebrating the artistic contributions of African Americans. Surrealism invites exploration into the realms of the unconscious and dreams, reflecting the psyche of the 20th-century mind. Meanwhile, the Civil Rights Movement signifies the unyielding spirit of activism, seeking justice, and equality. Topics in this category span an array of artistic and literary movements, philosophical ideas, and social changes that have left indelible marks on the human experience.
  • Empires and Dynasties: The Rulers and the Ruled : The rise and fall of empires are entwined with the stories of great rulers and the lives of the people they governed. From the vast Mongol Empire, led by figures like Genghis Khan, to the mighty Byzantine Empire, known for its continuity and survival, each dynasty leaves a legacy that influences subsequent generations. The Safavid Empire in Persia flourished with a renaissance of art and culture, while the Gupta Empire in India witnessed an era of scientific and mathematical brilliance. Scholars can explore the intricacies of governance, economic systems, and cultural achievements that characterized these empires and dynasties, shaping the societies they ruled over.
  • Global Conflicts and Wars: Struggles and Transformations : Wars and conflicts have been defining moments in history, altering political landscapes, and redrawing the boundaries of nations. Research paper topics in this category examine pivotal events, such as the Peloponnesian War, which brought about the decline of ancient Greek city-states, and the Hundred Years’ War, which shaped the relationship between England and France. The modern era witnessed devastating conflicts, from World War I and II, the Korean War, to the Vietnam War, which continue to shape geopolitical dynamics. Scholars can explore the social, political, and economic ramifications of these conflicts, as well as the ideologies that fueled them and the legacies they left behind.
  • Revolutions and Independence Movements: Quest for Change : Revolutionary movements have been catalysts for profound social and political transformations. The Haitian Revolution challenged the institution of slavery, resulting in the establishment of the first independent black republic. In Latin America, revolutionary figures like Simon Bolivar and José de San Martin spearheaded the fight for independence from colonial powers. Topics in this category allow researchers to delve into the motivations and ideologies that drove these movements, the challenges faced, and the long-term impact on the societies they sought to liberate.
  • Explorers and Expeditions: Expanding Horizons : The Age of Exploration marked a period of bold adventurers setting sail to chart uncharted territories, discovering new lands, and encountering diverse cultures. Explorers like Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, and Zheng He embarked on expeditions that expanded the known world. Topics in this category offer an opportunity to explore the motivations and consequences of these explorations, the interactions between explorers and indigenous peoples, and the lasting impact on global trade and cultural exchange.
  • Pre-Columbian Civilizations: Lost Worlds of the Americas : The Americas were home to a rich tapestry of civilizations long before the arrival of European explorers. Research paper topics in this category allow scholars to delve into the fascinating civilizations of the Aztecs, Incas, Mayans, and more. From their complex social structures and religious practices to architectural marvels and astronomical knowledge, these pre-Columbian cultures offer a captivating glimpse into the ingenuity and achievements of indigenous peoples.
  • Ancient China: Dynasties and Philosophies : China’s history spans a myriad of dynasties, each contributing to its rich cultural heritage. Research paper topics in this category delve into the profound impact of dynasties such as the Qin and Han, witnessing the unification of China and the flourishing of arts and culture. The Tang Dynasty left an enduring legacy of poetry and literature, while the Ming Dynasty saw great explorations led by the famous navigator Zheng He. Scholars can explore the philosophical underpinnings of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism, which have profoundly shaped Chinese thought and society.

In conclusion, world history presents a vast array of research paper topics that beckon history students to embark on journeys through time. From ancient civilizations to the modern era, from cultural movements to global conflicts, each topic offers a unique perspective on the human experience and the forces that have shaped the world we live in today. As we explore the intricate tapestry of world history, we gain valuable insights into the complexities of human societies and the interconnections that have molded our shared global heritage. The depth and breadth of world history research paper topics provide students with endless opportunities to unearth captivating narratives, challenge existing interpretations, and contribute to our collective understanding of the past.

Whether one’s interests lie in the awe-inspiring wonders of the ancient world or the intricacies of modern geopolitics, world history research paper topics offer something for every curious mind. As history students embark on their academic journey, they are encouraged to choose topics that resonate with their passions and intellectual curiosity. To assist in this process, the following section provides guidance on how to select world history research paper topics that will not only captivate readers but also showcase the students’ analytical and critical thinking abilities.

How to Choose a World History Topic

Selecting a compelling and relevant research topic is a crucial step in the journey of crafting an exceptional history paper. The process of choosing a topic can be both exciting and challenging, as it requires striking a delicate balance between personal interest, academic significance, and the availability of credible resources. To help history students navigate this undertaking successfully, let’s delve deeper into ten valuable tips on how to choose world history research paper topics that will not only captivate readers but also showcase the students’ analytical and critical thinking abilities.

  • Explore Your Interests : The study of world history encompasses a vast range of periods, regions, and themes. Begin by exploring your own interests within this vast landscape. Consider historical eras or topics that intrigue you the most. Perhaps you are fascinated by ancient civilizations, drawn to the tumultuous era of revolutions, or curious about the interactions between cultures during the Age of Exploration. The more passionate you are about the subject, the more engaged and committed you will be during the research and writing process.
  • Focus on Specificity : Rather than opting for broad and generic topics, narrow down your focus to specific aspects or events within a broader historical context. For example, instead of choosing “The Industrial Revolution,” you could focus on “The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on the Working Class in 19th-century England.” By narrowing your topic, you allow for more in-depth analysis and provide a unique perspective on familiar subjects.
  • Consider Unexplored Areas : World history is a treasure trove of untold stories and lesser-known events. Take the opportunity to explore uncharted territories within historical research. Seek out topics that have been underrepresented or under-researched. These unexplored areas may offer fresh insights and novel perspectives, making your research paper stand out and contribute to the field.
  • Research Availability : Before finalizing your research topic, ensure that there are sufficient credible sources and academic materials available to support your investigation. Adequate research materials not only substantiate your arguments but also enrich the depth of your analysis. Access to primary sources, archives, and academic journals specific to your chosen topic will contribute to the academic rigor of your research.
  • Relevance and Significance : Choose a topic that holds relevance and significance not only in its historical context but also in the present day. Investigate how the chosen topic relates to contemporary issues and challenges. Highlighting the enduring impact of historical events or phenomena can help readers understand the relevance of the past to the present and the future.
  • Consult with Professors and Experts : Don’t hesitate to seek advice from your history professors or academic advisors. They can provide valuable insights, guidance, and suggestions for potential research paper topics based on their expertise. Their knowledge of the field can help you refine your ideas and identify fruitful areas of research.
  • Analyze Primary Sources : If possible, incorporate primary sources into your research. Primary sources are firsthand accounts or original documents from the past. These sources offer direct perspectives from historical actors and can add authenticity and depth to your research. Engaging with primary sources demonstrates your ability to conduct thorough historical research.
  • Connect with Current Debates : World history is an ever-evolving field with ongoing debates and discussions among scholars. Engage with current historiographical debates, controversies, or unresolved questions related to your chosen topic. Demonstrating awareness of these debates will elevate the significance of your research and stimulate discussions on diverse perspectives.
  • Consider Global Connections : Many historical events and phenomena have global connections or transnational implications. Explore topics that highlight the interconnectedness of world history. Investigate how events and ideas from one region impacted others, leading to a more comprehensive analysis of historical developments.
  • Brainstorm and Refine : Choosing the right research paper topic is a process that requires time and thoughtful consideration. Don’t rush the selection process. Take the time to brainstorm ideas, conduct preliminary research, and refine your choices. Seeking feedback from peers or instructors can also provide valuable perspectives and enhance the quality of your final research topic.

In conclusion, selecting the right world history research paper topic is a critical step that sets the stage for an enriching and fulfilling academic journey. By exploring personal interests, focusing on specificity, and considering the availability of credible resources, students can discover research paper topics that not only ignite their curiosity but also contribute to the broader discourse of world history. A well-chosen topic serves as the foundation for a compelling and insightful research paper that sheds new light on the past, enhances historical understanding, and connects the complexities of history to the present and future.

How to Write a World History Research Paper

Crafting a well-structured and insightful world history research paper is a rewarding endeavor that allows students to delve deep into the annals of time and contribute to the broader understanding of human civilization. As history students embark on this academic journey, it is essential to approach the writing process with careful planning, thorough research, and effective communication of ideas. In this section, we will explore ten essential tips to guide students on how to write a world history research paper that will leave a lasting impression on readers and contribute to the ever-evolving narrative of the past.

  • Conduct In-Depth Research : The foundation of a successful world history research paper lies in thorough research. Begin by gathering a wide range of credible sources, including books, academic journals, primary documents, and reputable online databases. Take meticulous notes and keep track of all your sources to ensure accurate citations.
  • Develop a Clear Thesis Statement : Your thesis statement is the backbone of your research paper. It should succinctly convey the main argument or claim of your paper. A well-crafted thesis statement sets the tone for the entire paper and guides the reader on what to expect.
  • Create a Detailed Outline : Organize your research and thoughts into a coherent outline. This roadmap will serve as a guide throughout the writing process, ensuring a logical flow of ideas and a well-structured paper. Divide your research paper into clear sections, such as introduction, literature review, methodology (if applicable), main body, and conclusion.
  • Provide Context and Background : In the introduction, provide necessary context and background information to orient your readers. Explain the significance of the chosen topic and its relevance to the broader historical narrative. Engage your readers from the outset by highlighting the importance of your research.
  • Engage with Scholarly Debates : Situate your research within existing scholarly debates and historiographical discussions. Show an understanding of various perspectives on your topic and how your research contributes to the ongoing discourse. By engaging with scholarly debates, you showcase your ability to critically analyze and synthesize existing research.
  • Utilize Primary and Secondary Sources : Incorporate a mix of primary and secondary sources to support your arguments. Primary sources provide direct evidence from the past, such as letters, diaries, official documents, and artifacts. Secondary sources offer scholarly interpretations and analysis. Strive for a balance between these types of sources to provide a well-rounded perspective.
  • Analyze and Interpret Evidence : Avoid merely presenting historical facts; instead, critically analyze and interpret the evidence to support your thesis. Draw connections between sources, contextualize events, and offer insightful conclusions. Your ability to analyze evidence will demonstrate the depth of your historical understanding.
  • Craft Strong Topic Sentences : Begin each paragraph with a strong topic sentence that outlines the main point of the paragraph. Well-crafted topic sentences keep your research paper focused and maintain a cohesive flow of ideas. Each paragraph should contribute to the overall argument of your paper.
  • Address Counterarguments : Acknowledging and addressing counterarguments demonstrates intellectual rigor and an understanding of the complexity of historical issues. Anticipate potential objections to your thesis and provide compelling counterpoints to strengthen your position.
  • Revise and Edit Thoroughly : After completing the initial draft, take the time to revise and edit your research paper meticulously. Check for coherence, clarity, grammar, and proper citation formatting. Pay attention to the overall organization and structure of your paper. Seeking feedback from peers or professors can provide fresh perspectives and help refine your work.

In conclusion, writing a world history research paper requires careful planning, in-depth research, and effective communication of ideas. By conducting thorough research, developing a clear thesis statement, and creating a detailed outline, you set the stage for a compelling and well-structured paper. Engaging with scholarly debates, analyzing evidence, and crafting strong topic sentences enhance the quality of your research. Addressing counterarguments showcases your critical thinking skills and strengthens your argument. Lastly, thorough revision and editing are essential to ensure that your research paper meets academic standards and effectively conveys your historical insights.

Through the process of writing a world history research paper, students not only contribute to the body of historical knowledge but also develop essential skills in research, analysis, and effective communication. As you embark on this academic journey, remember that every word and idea you put on paper adds to the rich tapestry of human history and expands our understanding of the world’s diverse and interconnected past. Embrace the challenge, and let your research paper be a testament to the curiosity and passion that drive historians to explore the depths of time and unravel the mysteries of our shared heritage.

iResearchNet’s Custom Research Paper Writing Services

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  • In-Depth Research : Our writers are skilled researchers who are adept at conducting in-depth research on a wide range of historical topics. They have access to extensive databases, academic journals, and primary source materials, enabling them to gather comprehensive and credible information to enrich the content of each research paper.
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research paper about importance of history

On the Importance of History: Is There a Need to Study History? Research Paper

The Oxford online dictionary (2008) defines history as “the study of past events”. A pertinent question that could be asked is that is there a need to study history? To answer that question and four other important queries, this essay imagines invoking the Great Oracle of Babylon. The queries and the answers of the Oracle are contained in the succeeding paragraphs.

The first query asked was whether history can serve to build human identity? The answer was a resounding ‘yes’. The knowledge accumulated over a shared past gives rise to a set of common beliefs, culture and religious ethos. As Hegel, (1837) states:

“ History is always of great importance for a people; since by means of that it becomes conscious of the path of development taken by its own Spirit, which expresses itself in laws, manners, customs and deeds”(p.181). These are just the ingredients that help build a national identity. It is through history that people identify themselves as German, French and American to name a few. Historical ties built through shared religious beliefs are yet another means for developing identities. In certain cases, it leads to development of pan-national identities. The historical perspective woven with myths and legends produce a rich social and cultural context. All these ingredients build together a sense of ‘belongingness’ amongst the community. Nations that have scant historical background strive to create myths and legends to achieve a national identity. A prime example is Australia, where the myth “that the true ‘Australian Identity’ was to be found in the bush” (MC Coll, 2004, p.20), was used to develop a unique national identity.

The second query asked was does history repeat itself? The Oracle clarified that the conundrum, of the nature of history, whether it is cyclic or linear, depends upon the perceptions of the theorists and their following. For example, Hegel believed that history was directional and was based on the ‘struggle for recognition’. Marx held that history is linear and all facets of history can be explained through dialectical materialism . Cohen (2004) argues that history does repeat itself. He bases his argument on the fact that “Most people throughout history have lived under imperial rule. The current international system, with nearly two hundred independent states and not a single confessed empire, is a historical anomaly” (p.1). Turkey is often cited as an example of history repeating itself. The Great Ottoman Empire was the largest Muslim empire with overtly Muslim culture, religious and social ethos, which spearheaded the spread of Islam over the Middle East. In the aftermath of the First World War, and the dissolution of the Turkish Empire, its leader, Kemal Ataturk strove to establish a modern Turkey built on secular western traditions. These secular traditions have now come under threat from the governing AKP party with its conservative Islamic leanings with one of their agendas being “to lift the ban on wearing headscarves”(Taspinar, 2007, p.126).

To the third query whether history is objective, the Oracle’s answer was ambiguous, stating that historical perspectives are often colored by the biases of the recorder and thus writing a truly objective history may be difficult. Selective reading of history and partial understanding of its dynamics created one of the most virulent forms of racist philosophy which was put into practice with vengeance by the Third Reich in Germany. The theory of German Aryan race being the most pure breed of humans was created out of Germanic myths, historical beliefs and a misreading of the nihilistic philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche by the Nazi leaders. Political leaders in power try and unleash revisionist history of their lands to suit their larger political purposes.

The fourth query related to the validity of history as a teacher. To this query, the oracle had an affirmative answer. History does teach the human society valuable lessons. Leaders, strategists and thinkers down the ages have assiduously studied the histories of their adversaries to learn about their strengths, weaknesses and prepare counter-strategies for defeating or deterring the adversary. The past is linked to the present and the future, is a thought, very succinctly put by Nehru,(1946) ” The past becomes something that leads up to the present, the moment of action, the future something that flows from it; and all three are inextricably linked”(p.9). History teaches ethics and with that comes the human interpretation of ethical behavior. “Ethical beliefs, throughout recorded history have had two very different sources, one political, and the other concerned with personal religious and moral convictions”( Russell, 1954, p.28). Thus, it follows that historical lessons serve as a background on which leaders base their convictions, ideas and policies to implement on a national or a global scale.

The fifth query pertained to the existential problem of history. Was it possible that the human society is witnessing an ‘ End of History’ as confidently claimed by Francis Fukuyama and that the Western Liberal Democratic model was the ultimate form of human governance? To this last and final question, the Oracle gave an emphatic ‘no’. History, as the Oracle explained, is created by human dynamics, which are never static, and are always changing with time, circumstances and exercise of human imagination. Imagination produces ideas, ideas are used to create concepts, and concepts lead to formulation of doctrines and strategies. Strategies then are implemented, giving rise to a new set of changed circumstances. Therefore, as long as humans remain in existent, so shall history, its relevance, validity and applicability for the foreseeable future.

Cohen, Eliot A. (2004). Empire’s New Clothes. Web.

Hegel, G.W.F. (1837). The Philosophy of History. Batcoche Books. 2008. Web.

History. (2008). In Oxford Online Dictionary. Web.

Mc Coll, Lisa Marie. (2004). The influence of Bush Identity on Attitudes to Mental Health in a Queensland Community. 2008. Web.

Nehru, Jawaharlal. (1946). The Discovery of India. New York: Penguin Books.

Russell, Bertrand, (1956). Human Society in Ethics and Politics. Cornwall, Great Britain: T.J. Press (Padstow) Ltd.

Taspinar, Omer. (2007). The Old Turk’s Revolt. Foreign Affairs. Vol. 86 No.6 . 114-130.

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IvyPanda . 2023. "On the Importance of History: Is There a Need to Study History?" August 21, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/on-the-importance-of-history/.

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Bibliography

IvyPanda . "On the Importance of History: Is There a Need to Study History?" August 21, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/on-the-importance-of-history/.

  • Hegel’s Philosophical Theories
  • George Hegel: The Philosophy of Idealism
  • Hegel's Dialectics: Breaking the Limits of Human Thinking
  • Similarities and Difference between Hegel and Marx
  • Idealism in Hegel's Definition
  • Political Philosophies: Plato and Hegel Conceptual Differences
  • Hegel’s Ideas on Action, Morality, Ethics and Freedom
  • Hegel and Marx on Civil Society and Human Freedom
  • The Book "Introduction to the Reading of Hegel" by Kojève
  • George W.F. Hegel: The Role of Family
  • Albion’s Seed Four British Folkways in America
  • European Discovery Of America
  • India Civilization and Islam Civilization: Comparison
  • The 30 Years War Between the Catholics and the Protestants in Europe
  • Motives for British Imperialism in Africa

Home — Essay Samples — History — What Is History — The Importance of History

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The Importance of History

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Words: 527 |

Published: Oct 16, 2018

Words: 527 | Page: 1 | 3 min read

Table of contents

What is history, the importance of understanding history, works cited:.

  • Boyne, J. (2006). The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Random House.
  • Crowe, D. (2008). The Holocaust in the eyes of children. The English Journal, 97(4), 25-31.
  • Edelman, L. (1995). The Ghetto Fights. Holocaust Library.
  • Finkelstein, N. G. (2003). The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. Verso Books.
  • Gilroy, A. (2011). Ethnic and racial studies. Between camps: Race and culture in postmodernity, 34(3), 458-469.
  • Gleeson-White, J. (2011). Double vision: The Holocaust and representation. Australian Humanities Review, (50), 89-102.
  • Roth, J. K. (2006). Teaching about the Holocaust: essays by college and university teachers. University Press of America.
  • Snyder, T. (2015). Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. Crown/Archetype.
  • Wistrich, R. S. (2003). Holocaust and genocide studies. The long road back: Jewish intellectual refugees in post-war Europe, 17(2), 180-199.
  • Zuckerman, M. (1999). A dream undone: The integration of soldiers in World War II. University of California Press.

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Research Method

Home » Historical Research – Types, Methods and Examples

Historical Research – Types, Methods and Examples

Table of Contents

Historical Research

Historical Research

Definition:

Historical research is the process of investigating and studying past events, people, and societies using a variety of sources and methods. This type of research aims to reconstruct and interpret the past based on the available evidence.

Types of Historical Research

There are several types of historical research, including:

Descriptive Research

This type of historical research focuses on describing events, people, or cultures in detail. It can involve examining artifacts, documents, or other sources of information to create a detailed account of what happened or existed.

Analytical Research

This type of historical research aims to explain why events, people, or cultures occurred in a certain way. It involves analyzing data to identify patterns, causes, and effects, and making interpretations based on this analysis.

Comparative Research

This type of historical research involves comparing two or more events, people, or cultures to identify similarities and differences. This can help researchers understand the unique characteristics of each and how they interacted with each other.

Interpretive Research

This type of historical research focuses on interpreting the meaning of past events, people, or cultures. It can involve analyzing cultural symbols, beliefs, and practices to understand their significance in a particular historical context.

Quantitative Research

This type of historical research involves using statistical methods to analyze historical data. It can involve examining demographic information, economic indicators, or other quantitative data to identify patterns and trends.

Qualitative Research

This type of historical research involves examining non-numerical data such as personal accounts, letters, or diaries. It can provide insights into the experiences and perspectives of individuals during a particular historical period.

Data Collection Methods

Data Collection Methods are as follows:

  • Archival research : This involves analyzing documents and records that have been preserved over time, such as government records, diaries, letters, newspapers, and photographs. Archival research is often conducted in libraries, archives, and museums.
  • Oral history : This involves conducting interviews with individuals who have lived through a particular historical period or event. Oral history can provide a unique perspective on past events and can help to fill gaps in the historical record.
  • Artifact analysis: This involves examining physical objects from the past, such as tools, clothing, and artwork, to gain insights into past cultures and practices.
  • Secondary sources: This involves analyzing published works, such as books, articles, and academic papers, that discuss past events and cultures. Secondary sources can provide context and insights into the historical period being studied.
  • Statistical analysis : This involves analyzing numerical data from the past, such as census records or economic data, to identify patterns and trends.
  • Fieldwork : This involves conducting on-site research in a particular location, such as visiting a historical site or conducting ethnographic research in a particular community. Fieldwork can provide a firsthand understanding of the culture and environment being studied.
  • Content analysis: This involves analyzing the content of media from the past, such as films, television programs, and advertisements, to gain insights into cultural attitudes and beliefs.

Data Analysis Methods

  • Content analysis : This involves analyzing the content of written or visual material, such as books, newspapers, or photographs, to identify patterns and themes. Content analysis can be used to identify changes in cultural values and beliefs over time.
  • Textual analysis : This involves analyzing written texts, such as letters or diaries, to understand the experiences and perspectives of individuals during a particular historical period. Textual analysis can provide insights into how people lived and thought in the past.
  • Discourse analysis : This involves analyzing how language is used to construct meaning and power relations in a particular historical period. Discourse analysis can help to identify how social and political ideologies were constructed and maintained over time.
  • Statistical analysis: This involves using statistical methods to analyze numerical data, such as census records or economic data, to identify patterns and trends. Statistical analysis can help to identify changes in population demographics, economic conditions, and other factors over time.
  • Comparative analysis : This involves comparing data from two or more historical periods or events to identify similarities and differences. Comparative analysis can help to identify patterns and trends that may not be apparent from analyzing data from a single historical period.
  • Qualitative analysis: This involves analyzing non-numerical data, such as oral history interviews or ethnographic field notes, to identify themes and patterns. Qualitative analysis can provide a rich understanding of the experiences and perspectives of individuals in the past.

Historical Research Methodology

Here are the general steps involved in historical research methodology:

  • Define the research question: Start by identifying a research question that you want to answer through your historical research. This question should be focused, specific, and relevant to your research goals.
  • Review the literature: Conduct a review of the existing literature on the topic of your research question. This can involve reading books, articles, and academic papers to gain a thorough understanding of the existing research.
  • Develop a research design : Develop a research design that outlines the methods you will use to collect and analyze data. This design should be based on the research question and should be feasible given the resources and time available.
  • Collect data: Use the methods outlined in your research design to collect data on past events, people, and cultures. This can involve archival research, oral history interviews, artifact analysis, and other data collection methods.
  • Analyze data : Analyze the data you have collected using the methods outlined in your research design. This can involve content analysis, textual analysis, statistical analysis, and other data analysis methods.
  • Interpret findings : Use the results of your data analysis to draw meaningful insights and conclusions related to your research question. These insights should be grounded in the data and should be relevant to the research goals.
  • Communicate results: Communicate your findings through a research report, academic paper, or other means. This should be done in a clear, concise, and well-organized manner, with appropriate citations and references to the literature.

Applications of Historical Research

Historical research has a wide range of applications in various fields, including:

  • Education : Historical research can be used to develop curriculum materials that reflect a more accurate and inclusive representation of history. It can also be used to provide students with a deeper understanding of past events and cultures.
  • Museums : Historical research is used to develop exhibits, programs, and other materials for museums. It can provide a more accurate and engaging presentation of historical events and artifacts.
  • Public policy : Historical research is used to inform public policy decisions by providing insights into the historical context of current issues. It can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of past policies and programs.
  • Business : Historical research can be used by businesses to understand the evolution of their industry and to identify trends that may affect their future success. It can also be used to develop marketing strategies that resonate with customers’ historical interests and values.
  • Law : Historical research is used in legal proceedings to provide evidence and context for cases involving historical events or practices. It can also be used to inform the development of new laws and policies.
  • Genealogy : Historical research can be used by individuals to trace their family history and to understand their ancestral roots.
  • Cultural preservation : Historical research is used to preserve cultural heritage by documenting and interpreting past events, practices, and traditions. It can also be used to identify and preserve historical landmarks and artifacts.

Examples of Historical Research

Examples of Historical Research are as follows:

  • Examining the history of race relations in the United States: Historical research could be used to explore the historical roots of racial inequality and injustice in the United States. This could help inform current efforts to address systemic racism and promote social justice.
  • Tracing the evolution of political ideologies: Historical research could be used to study the development of political ideologies over time. This could help to contextualize current political debates and provide insights into the origins and evolution of political beliefs and values.
  • Analyzing the impact of technology on society : Historical research could be used to explore the impact of technology on society over time. This could include examining the impact of previous technological revolutions (such as the industrial revolution) on society, as well as studying the current impact of emerging technologies on society and the environment.
  • Documenting the history of marginalized communities : Historical research could be used to document the history of marginalized communities (such as LGBTQ+ communities or indigenous communities). This could help to preserve cultural heritage, promote social justice, and promote a more inclusive understanding of history.

Purpose of Historical Research

The purpose of historical research is to study the past in order to gain a better understanding of the present and to inform future decision-making. Some specific purposes of historical research include:

  • To understand the origins of current events, practices, and institutions : Historical research can be used to explore the historical roots of current events, practices, and institutions. By understanding how things developed over time, we can gain a better understanding of the present.
  • To develop a more accurate and inclusive understanding of history : Historical research can be used to correct inaccuracies and biases in historical narratives. By exploring different perspectives and sources of information, we can develop a more complete and nuanced understanding of history.
  • To inform decision-making: Historical research can be used to inform decision-making in various fields, including education, public policy, business, and law. By understanding the historical context of current issues, we can make more informed decisions about how to address them.
  • To preserve cultural heritage : Historical research can be used to document and preserve cultural heritage, including traditions, practices, and artifacts. By understanding the historical significance of these cultural elements, we can work to preserve them for future generations.
  • To stimulate curiosity and critical thinking: Historical research can be used to stimulate curiosity and critical thinking about the past. By exploring different historical perspectives and interpretations, we can develop a more critical and reflective approach to understanding history and its relevance to the present.

When to use Historical Research

Historical research can be useful in a variety of contexts. Here are some examples of when historical research might be particularly appropriate:

  • When examining the historical roots of current events: Historical research can be used to explore the historical roots of current events, practices, and institutions. By understanding how things developed over time, we can gain a better understanding of the present.
  • When examining the historical context of a particular topic : Historical research can be used to explore the historical context of a particular topic, such as a social issue, political debate, or scientific development. By understanding the historical context, we can gain a more nuanced understanding of the topic and its significance.
  • When exploring the evolution of a particular field or discipline : Historical research can be used to explore the evolution of a particular field or discipline, such as medicine, law, or art. By understanding the historical development of the field, we can gain a better understanding of its current state and future directions.
  • When examining the impact of past events on current society : Historical research can be used to examine the impact of past events (such as wars, revolutions, or social movements) on current society. By understanding the historical context and impact of these events, we can gain insights into current social and political issues.
  • When studying the cultural heritage of a particular community or group : Historical research can be used to document and preserve the cultural heritage of a particular community or group. By understanding the historical significance of cultural practices, traditions, and artifacts, we can work to preserve them for future generations.

Characteristics of Historical Research

The following are some characteristics of historical research:

  • Focus on the past : Historical research focuses on events, people, and phenomena of the past. It seeks to understand how things developed over time and how they relate to current events.
  • Reliance on primary sources: Historical research relies on primary sources such as letters, diaries, newspapers, government documents, and other artifacts from the period being studied. These sources provide firsthand accounts of events and can help researchers gain a more accurate understanding of the past.
  • Interpretation of data : Historical research involves interpretation of data from primary sources. Researchers analyze and interpret data to draw conclusions about the past.
  • Use of multiple sources: Historical research often involves using multiple sources of data to gain a more complete understanding of the past. By examining a range of sources, researchers can cross-reference information and validate their findings.
  • Importance of context: Historical research emphasizes the importance of context. Researchers analyze the historical context in which events occurred and consider how that context influenced people’s actions and decisions.
  • Subjectivity : Historical research is inherently subjective, as researchers interpret data and draw conclusions based on their own perspectives and biases. Researchers must be aware of their own biases and strive for objectivity in their analysis.
  • Importance of historical significance: Historical research emphasizes the importance of historical significance. Researchers consider the historical significance of events, people, and phenomena and their impact on the present and future.
  • Use of qualitative methods : Historical research often uses qualitative methods such as content analysis, discourse analysis, and narrative analysis to analyze data and draw conclusions about the past.

Advantages of Historical Research

There are several advantages to historical research:

  • Provides a deeper understanding of the past : Historical research can provide a more comprehensive understanding of past events and how they have shaped current social, political, and economic conditions. This can help individuals and organizations make informed decisions about the future.
  • Helps preserve cultural heritage: Historical research can be used to document and preserve cultural heritage. By studying the history of a particular culture, researchers can gain insights into the cultural practices and beliefs that have shaped that culture over time.
  • Provides insights into long-term trends : Historical research can provide insights into long-term trends and patterns. By studying historical data over time, researchers can identify patterns and trends that may be difficult to discern from short-term data.
  • Facilitates the development of hypotheses: Historical research can facilitate the development of hypotheses about how past events have influenced current conditions. These hypotheses can be tested using other research methods, such as experiments or surveys.
  • Helps identify root causes of social problems : Historical research can help identify the root causes of social problems. By studying the historical context in which these problems developed, researchers can gain a better understanding of how they emerged and what factors may have contributed to their development.
  • Provides a source of inspiration: Historical research can provide a source of inspiration for individuals and organizations seeking to address current social, political, and economic challenges. By studying the accomplishments and struggles of past generations, researchers can gain insights into how to address current challenges.

Limitations of Historical Research

Some Limitations of Historical Research are as follows:

  • Reliance on incomplete or biased data: Historical research is often limited by the availability and quality of data. Many primary sources have been lost, destroyed, or are inaccessible, making it difficult to get a complete picture of historical events. Additionally, some primary sources may be biased or represent only one perspective on an event.
  • Difficulty in generalizing findings: Historical research is often specific to a particular time and place and may not be easily generalized to other contexts. This makes it difficult to draw broad conclusions about human behavior or social phenomena.
  • Lack of control over variables : Historical research often lacks control over variables. Researchers cannot manipulate or control historical events, making it difficult to establish cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Subjectivity of interpretation : Historical research is often subjective because researchers must interpret data and draw conclusions based on their own biases and perspectives. Different researchers may interpret the same data differently, leading to different conclusions.
  • Limited ability to test hypotheses: Historical research is often limited in its ability to test hypotheses. Because the events being studied have already occurred, researchers cannot manipulate variables or conduct experiments to test their hypotheses.
  • Lack of objectivity: Historical research is often subjective, and researchers must be aware of their own biases and strive for objectivity in their analysis. However, it can be difficult to maintain objectivity when studying events that are emotionally charged or controversial.
  • Limited generalizability: Historical research is often limited in its generalizability, as the events and conditions being studied may be specific to a particular time and place. This makes it difficult to draw broad conclusions that apply to other contexts or time periods.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing Historical Research [without getting hysterical!] In addition to being a scholarly investigation, research is a social activity intended to create new knowledge. Historical research is your informed response to the questions that you ask while examining the record of human experience. These questions may concern such elements as looking at an event or topic, examining events that lead to the event in question, social influences, key players, and other contextual information. This step-by-step guide progresses from an introduction to historical resources to information about how to identify a topic, craft a thesis and develop a research paper. Table of contents: The Range and Richness of Historical Sources Secondary Sources Primary Sources Historical Analysis What is it? Who, When, Where, What and Why: The Five "W"s Topic, Thesis, Sources Definition of Terms Choose a Topic Craft a Thesis Evaluate Thesis and Sources A Variety of Information Sources Take Efficient Notes Note Cards Thinking, Organizing, Researching Parenthetical Documentation Prepare a Works Cited Page Drafting, Revising, Rewriting, Rethinking For Further Reading: Works Cited Additional Links So you want to study history?! Tons of help and links Slatta Home Page Use the Writing and other links on the lefhand menu I. The Range and Richness of Historical Sources Back to Top Every period leaves traces, what historians call "sources" or evidence. Some are more credible or carry more weight than others; judging the differences is a vital skill developed by good historians. Sources vary in perspective, so knowing who created the information you are examining is vital. Anonymous doesn't make for a very compelling source. For example, an FBI report on the antiwar movement, prepared for U.S. President Richard Nixon, probably contained secrets that at the time were thought to have affected national security. It would not be usual, however, for a journalist's article about a campus riot, featured in a local newspaper, to leak top secret information. Which source would you read? It depends on your research topic. If you're studying how government officials portrayed student activists, you'll want to read the FBI report and many more documents from other government agencies such as the CIA and the National Security Council. If you're investigating contemporary opinion of pro-war and anti-war activists, local newspaper accounts provide a rich resource. You'd want to read a variety of newspapers to ensure you're covering a wide range of opinions (rural/urban, left/right, North/South, Soldier/Draft-dodger, etc). Historians classify sources into two major categories: primary and secondary sources. Secondary Sources Back to Top Definition: Secondary sources are created by someone who was either not present when the event occurred or removed from it in time. We use secondary sources for overview information, to familiarize ourselves with a topic, and compare that topic with other events in history. In refining a research topic, we often begin with secondary sources. This helps us identify gaps or conflicts in the existing scholarly literature that might prove promsing topics. Types: History books, encyclopedias, historical dictionaries, and academic (scholarly) articles are secondary sources. To help you determine the status of a given secondary source, see How to identify and nagivate scholarly literature . Examples: Historian Marilyn Young's (NYU) book about the Vietnam War is a secondary source. She did not participate in the war. Her study is not based on her personal experience but on the evidence she culled from a variety of sources she found in the United States and Vietnam. Primary Sources Back to Top Definition: Primary sources emanate from individuals or groups who participated in or witnessed an event and recorded that event during or immediately after the event. They include speeches, memoirs, diaries, letters, telegrams, emails, proclamations, government documents, and much more. Examples: A student activist during the war writing about protest activities has created a memoir. This would be a primary source because the information is based on her own involvement in the events she describes. Similarly, an antiwar speech is a primary source. So is the arrest record of student protesters. A newspaper editorial or article, reporting on a student demonstration is also a primary source. II. Historical Analysis What is it? Back to Top No matter what you read, whether it's a primary source or a secondary source, you want to know who authored the source (a trusted scholar? A controversial historian? A propagandist? A famous person? An ordinary individual?). "Author" refers to anyone who created information in any medium (film, sound, or text). You also need to know when it was written and the kind of audience the author intend to reach. You should also consider what you bring to the evidence that you examine. Are you inductively following a path of evidence, developing your interpretation based on the sources? Do you have an ax to grind? Did you begin your research deductively, with your mind made up before even seeing the evidence. Historians need to avoid the latter and emulate the former. To read more about the distinction, examine the difference between Intellectual Inquirers and Partisan Ideologues . In the study of history, perspective is everything. A letter written by a twenty- year old Vietnam War protestor will differ greatly from a letter written by a scholar of protest movements. Although the sentiment might be the same, the perspective and influences of these two authors will be worlds apart. Practicing the " 5 Ws " will avoid the confusion of the authority trap. Who, When, Where, What and Why: The Five "W"s Back to Top Historians accumulate evidence (information, including facts, stories, interpretations, opinions, statements, reports, etc.) from a variety of sources (primary and secondary). They must also verify that certain key pieces of information are corroborated by a number of people and sources ("the predonderance of evidence"). The historian poses the " 5 Ws " to every piece of information he examines: Who is the historical actor? When did the event take place? Where did it occur? What did it entail and why did it happen the way it did? The " 5 Ws " can also be used to evaluate a primary source. Who authored the work? When was it created? Where was it created, published, and disseminated? Why was it written (the intended audience), and what is the document about (what points is the author making)? If you know the answers to these five questions, you can analyze any document, and any primary source. The historian doesn't look for the truth, since this presumes there is only one true story. The historian tries to understand a number of competing viewpoints to form his or her own interpretation-- what constitutes the best explanation of what happened and why. By using as wide a range of primary source documents and secondary sources as possible, you will add depth and richness to your historical analysis. The more exposure you, the researcher, have to a number of different sources and differing view points, the more you have a balanced and complete view about a topic in history. This view will spark more questions and ultimately lead you into the quest to unravel more clues about your topic. You are ready to start assembling information for your research paper. III. Topic, Thesis, Sources Definition of Terms Back to Top Because your purpose is to create new knowledge while recognizing those scholars whose existing work has helped you in this pursuit, you are honor bound never to commit the following academic sins: Plagiarism: Literally "kidnapping," involving the use of someone else's words as if they were your own (Gibaldi 6). To avoid plagiarism you must document direct quotations, paraphrases, and original ideas not your own. Recycling: Rehashing material you already know thoroughly or, without your professor's permission, submitting a paper that you have completed for another course. Premature cognitive commitment: Academic jargon for deciding on a thesis too soon and then seeking information to serve that thesis rather than embarking on a genuine search for new knowledge. Choose a Topic Back to Top "Do not hunt for subjects, let them choose you, not you them." --Samuel Butler Choosing a topic is the first step in the pursuit of a thesis. Below is a logical progression from topic to thesis: Close reading of the primary text, aided by secondary sources Growing awareness of interesting qualities within the primary text Choosing a topic for research Asking productive questions that help explore and evaluate a topic Creating a research hypothesis Revising and refining a hypothesis to form a working thesis First, and most important, identify what qualities in the primary or secondary source pique your imagination and curiosity and send you on a search for answers. Bloom's taxonomy of cognitive levels provides a description of productive questions asked by critical thinkers. While the lower levels (knowledge, comprehension) are necessary to a good history essay, aspire to the upper three levels (analysis, synthesis, evaluation). Skimming reference works such as encyclopedias, books, critical essays and periodical articles can help you choose a topic that evolves into a hypothesis, which in turn may lead to a thesis. One approach to skimming involves reading the first paragraph of a secondary source to locate and evaluate the author's thesis. Then for a general idea of the work's organization and major ideas read the first and last sentence of each paragraph. Read the conclusion carefully, as it usually presents a summary (Barnet and Bedau 19). Craft a Thesis Back to Top Very often a chosen topic is too broad for focused research. You must revise it until you have a working hypothesis, that is, a statement of an idea or an approach with respect to the source that could form the basis for your thesis. Remember to not commit too soon to any one hypothesis. Use it as a divining rod or a first step that will take you to new information that may inspire you to revise your hypothesis. Be flexible. Give yourself time to explore possibilities. The hypothesis you create will mature and shift as you write and rewrite your paper. New questions will send you back to old and on to new material. Remember, this is the nature of research--it is more a spiraling or iterative activity than a linear one. Test your working hypothesis to be sure it is: broad enough to promise a variety of resources. narrow enough for you to research in depth. original enough to interest you and your readers. worthwhile enough to offer information and insights of substance "do-able"--sources are available to complete the research. Now it is time to craft your thesis, your revised and refined hypothesis. A thesis is a declarative sentence that: focuses on one well-defined idea makes an arguable assertion; it is capable of being supported prepares your readers for the body of your paper and foreshadows the conclusion. Evaluate Thesis and Sources Back to Top Like your hypothesis, your thesis is not carved in stone. You are in charge. If necessary, revise it during the research process. As you research, continue to evaluate both your thesis for practicality, originality, and promise as a search tool, and secondary sources for relevance and scholarliness. The following are questions to ask during the research process: Are there many journal articles and entire books devoted to the thesis, suggesting that the subject has been covered so thoroughly that there may be nothing new to say? Does the thesis lead to stimulating, new insights? Are appropriate sources available? Is there a variety of sources available so that the bibliography or works cited page will reflect different kinds of sources? Which sources are too broad for my thesis? Which resources are too narrow? Who is the author of the secondary source? Does the critic's background suggest that he/she is qualified? After crafting a thesis, consider one of the following two approaches to writing a research paper: Excited about your thesis and eager to begin? Return to the primary or secondary source to find support for your thesis. Organize ideas and begin writing your first draft. After writing the first draft, have it reviewed by your peers and your instructor. Ponder their suggestions and return to the sources to answer still-open questions. Document facts and opinions from secondary sources. Remember, secondary sources can never substitute for primary sources. Confused about where to start? Use your thesis to guide you to primary and secondary sources. Secondary sources can help you clarify your position and find a direction for your paper. Keep a working bibliography. You may not use all the sources you record, but you cannot be sure which ones you will eventually discard. Create a working outline as you research. This outline will, of course, change as you delve more deeply into your subject. A Variety of Information Sources Back to Top "A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimension." --Oliver Wendell Holmes Your thesis and your working outline are the primary compasses that will help you navigate the variety of sources available. In "Introduction to the Library" (5-6) the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers suggests you become familiar with the library you will be using by: taking a tour or enrolling for a brief introductory lecture referring to the library's publications describing its resources introducing yourself and your project to the reference librarian The MLA Handbook also lists guides for the use of libraries (5), including: Jean Key Gates, Guide to the Use of Libraries and Information Sources (7th ed., New York: McGraw, 1994). Thomas Mann, A Guide to Library Research Methods (New York: Oxford UP, 1987). Online Central Catalog Most libraries have their holdings listed on a computer. The online catalog may offer Internet sites, Web pages and databases that relate to the university's curriculum. It may also include academic journals and online reference books. Below are three search techniques commonly used online: Index Search: Although online catalogs may differ slightly from library to library, the most common listings are by: Subject Search: Enter the author's name for books and article written about the author. Author Search: Enter an author's name for works written by the author, including collections of essays the author may have written about his/her own works. Title Search: Enter a title for the screen to list all the books the library carries with that title. Key Word Search/Full-text Search: A one-word search, e.g., 'Kennedy,' will produce an overwhelming number of sources, as it will call up any entry that includes the name 'Kennedy.' To focus more narrowly on your subject, add one or more key words, e.g., "John Kennedy, Peace Corps." Use precise key words. Boolean Search: Boolean Search techniques use words such as "and," "or," and "not," which clarify the relationship between key words, thus narrowing the search. Take Efficient Notes Back to Top Keeping complete and accurate bibliography and note cards during the research process is a time (and sanity) saving practice. If you have ever needed a book or pages within a book, only to discover that an earlier researcher has failed to return it or torn pages from your source, you understand the need to take good notes. Every researcher has a favorite method for taking notes. Here are some suggestions-- customize one of them for your own use. Bibliography cards There may be far more books and articles listed than you have time to read, so be selective when choosing a reference. Take information from works that clearly relate to your thesis, remembering that you may not use them all. Use a smaller or a different color card from the one used for taking notes. Write a bibliography card for every source. Number the bibliography cards. On the note cards, use the number rather than the author's name and the title. It's faster. Another method for recording a working bibliography, of course, is to create your own database. Adding, removing, and alphabetizing titles is a simple process. Be sure to save often and to create a back-up file. A bibliography card should include all the information a reader needs to locate that particular source for further study. Most of the information required for a book entry (Gibaldi 112): Author's name Title of a part of the book [preface, chapter titles, etc.] Title of the book Name of the editor, translator, or compiler Edition used Number(s) of the volume(s) used Name of the series Place of publication, name of the publisher, and date of publication Page numbers Supplementary bibliographic information and annotations Most of the information required for an article in a periodical (Gibaldi 141): Author's name Title of the article Name of the periodical Series number or name (if relevant) Volume number (for a scholarly journal) Issue number (if needed) Date of publication Page numbers Supplementary information For information on how to cite other sources refer to your So you want to study history page . Note Cards Back to Top Take notes in ink on either uniform note cards (3x5, 4x6, etc.) or uniform slips of paper. Devote each note card to a single topic identified at the top. Write only on one side. Later, you may want to use the back to add notes or personal observations. Include a topical heading for each card. Include the number of the page(s) where you found the information. You will want the page number(s) later for documentation, and you may also want page number(s)to verify your notes. Most novice researchers write down too much. Condense. Abbreviate. You are striving for substance, not quantity. Quote directly from primary sources--but the "meat," not everything. Suggestions for condensing information: Summary: A summary is intended to provide the gist of an essay. Do not weave in the author's choice phrases. Read the information first and then condense the main points in your own words. This practice will help you avoid the copying that leads to plagiarism. Summarizing also helps you both analyze the text you are reading and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses (Barnet and Bedau 13). Outline: Use to identify a series of points. Paraphrase, except for key primary source quotations. Never quote directly from a secondary source, unless the precise wording is essential to your argument. Simplify the language and list the ideas in the same order. A paraphrase is as long as the original. Paraphrasing is helpful when you are struggling with a particularly difficult passage. Be sure to jot down your own insights or flashes of brilliance. Ralph Waldo Emerson warns you to "Look sharply after your thoughts. They come unlooked for, like a new bird seen on your trees, and, if you turn to your usual task, disappear...." To differentiate these insights from those of the source you are reading, initial them as your own. (When the following examples of note cards include the researcher's insights, they will be followed by the initials N. R.) When you have finished researching your thesis and you are ready to write your paper, organize your cards according to topic. Notecards make it easy to shuffle and organize your source information on a table-- or across the floor. Maintain your working outline that includes the note card headings and explores a logical order for presenting them in your paper. IV. Begin Thinking, Researching, Organizing Back to Top Don't be too sequential. Researching, writing, revising is a complex interactive process. Start writing as soon as possible! "The best antidote to writer's block is--to write." (Klauser 15). However, you still feel overwhelmed and are staring at a blank page, you are not alone. Many students find writing the first sentence to be the most daunting part of the entire research process. Be creative. Cluster (Rico 28-49). Clustering is a form of brainstorming. Sometimes called a web, the cluster forms a design that may suggest a natural organization for a paper. Here's a graphical depiction of brainstorming . Like a sun, the generating idea or topic lies at the center of the web. From it radiate words, phrases, sentences and images that in turn attract other words, phrases, sentences and images. Put another way--stay focused. Start with your outline. If clustering is not a technique that works for you, turn to the working outline you created during the research process. Use the outline view of your word processor. If you have not already done so, group your note cards according to topic headings. Compare them to your outline's major points. If necessary, change the outline to correspond with the headings on the note cards. If any area seems weak because of a scarcity of facts or opinions, return to your primary and/or secondary sources for more information or consider deleting that heading. Use your outline to provide balance in your essay. Each major topic should have approximately the same amount of information. Once you have written a working outline, consider two different methods for organizing it. Deduction: A process of development that moves from the general to the specific. You may use this approach to present your findings. However, as noted above, your research and interpretive process should be inductive. Deduction is the most commonly used form of organization for a research paper. The thesis statement is the generalization that leads to the specific support provided by primary and secondary sources. The thesis is stated early in the paper. The body of the paper then proceeds to provide the facts, examples, and analogies that flow logically from that thesis. The thesis contains key words that are reflected in the outline. These key words become a unifying element throughout the paper, as they reappear in the detailed paragraphs that support and develop the thesis. The conclusion of the paper circles back to the thesis, which is now far more meaningful because of the deductive development that supports it. Chronological order A process that follows a traditional time line or sequence of events. A chronological organization is useful for a paper that explores cause and effect. Parenthetical Documentation Back to Top The Works Cited page, a list of primary and secondary sources, is not sufficient documentation to acknowledge the ideas, facts, and opinions you have included within your text. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers describes an efficient parenthetical style of documentation to be used within the body of your paper. Guidelines for parenthetical documentation: "References to the text must clearly point to specific sources in the list of works cited" (Gibaldi 184). Try to use parenthetical documentation as little as possible. For example, when you cite an entire work, it is preferable to include the author's name in the text. The author's last name followed by the page number is usually enough for an accurate identification of the source in the works cited list. These examples illustrate the most common kinds of documentation. Documenting a quotation: Ex. "The separation from the personal mother is a particularly intense process for a daughter because she has to separate from the one who is the same as herself" (Murdock 17). She may feel abandoned and angry. Note: The author of The Heroine's Journey is listed under Works Cited by the author's name, reversed--Murdock, Maureen. Quoted material is found on page 17 of that book. Parenthetical documentation is after the quotation mark and before the period. Documenting a paraphrase: Ex. In fairy tales a woman who holds the princess captive or who abandons her often needs to be killed (18). Note: The second paraphrase is also from Murdock's book The Heroine's Journey. It is not, however, necessary to repeat the author's name if no other documentation interrupts the two. If the works cited page lists more than one work by the same author, include within the parentheses an abbreviated form of the appropriate title. You may, of course, include the title in your sentence, making it unnecessary to add an abbreviated title in the citation. > Prepare a Works Cited Page Back to Top There are a variety of titles for the page that lists primary and secondary sources (Gibaldi 106-107). A Works Cited page lists those works you have cited within the body of your paper. The reader need only refer to it for the necessary information required for further independent research. Bibliography means literally a description of books. Because your research may involve the use of periodicals, films, art works, photographs, etc. "Works Cited" is a more precise descriptive term than bibliography. An Annotated Bibliography or Annotated Works Cited page offers brief critiques and descriptions of the works listed. A Works Consulted page lists those works you have used but not cited. Avoid using this format. As with other elements of a research paper there are specific guidelines for the placement and the appearance of the Works Cited page. The following guidelines comply with MLA style: The Work Cited page is placed at the end of your paper and numbered consecutively with the body of your paper. Center the title and place it one inch from the top of your page. Do not quote or underline the title. Double space the entire page, both within and between entries. The entries are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name or by the title of the article or book being cited. If the title begins with an article (a, an, the) alphabetize by the next word. If you cite two or more works by the same author, list the titles in alphabetical order. Begin every entry after the first with three hyphens followed by a period. All entries begin at the left margin but subsequent lines are indented five spaces. Be sure that each entry cited on the Works Cited page corresponds to a specific citation within your paper. Refer to the the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (104- 182) for detailed descriptions of Work Cited entries. Citing sources from online databases is a relatively new phenomenon. Make sure to ask your professor about citing these sources and which style to use. V. Draft, Revise, Rewrite, Rethink Back to Top "There are days when the result is so bad that no fewer than five revisions are required. In contrast, when I'm greatly inspired, only four revisions are needed." --John Kenneth Galbraith Try freewriting your first draft. Freewriting is a discovery process during which the writer freely explores a topic. Let your creative juices flow. In Writing without Teachers , Peter Elbow asserts that "[a]lmost everybody interposes a massive and complicated series of editings between the time words start to be born into consciousness and when they finally come off the end of the pencil or typewriter [or word processor] onto the page" (5). Do not let your internal judge interfere with this first draft. Creating and revising are two very different functions. Don't confuse them! If you stop to check spelling, punctuation, or grammar, you disrupt the flow of creative energy. Create; then fix it later. When material you have researched comes easily to mind, include it. Add a quick citation, one you can come back to later to check for form, and get on with your discovery. In subsequent drafts, focus on creating an essay that flows smoothly, supports fully, and speaks clearly and interestingly. Add style to substance. Create a smooth flow of words, ideas and paragraphs. Rearrange paragraphs for a logical progression of information. Transition is essential if you want your reader to follow you smoothly from introduction to conclusion. Transitional words and phrases stitch your ideas together; they provide coherence within the essay. External transition: Words and phrases that are added to a sentence as overt signs of transition are obvious and effective, but should not be overused, as they may draw attention to themselves and away from ideas. Examples of external transition are "however," "then," "next," "therefore." "first," "moreover," and "on the other hand." Internal transition is more subtle. Key words in the introduction become golden threads when they appear in the paper's body and conclusion. When the writer hears a key word repeated too often, however, she/he replaces it with a synonym or a pronoun. Below are examples of internal transition. Transitional sentences create a logical flow from paragraph to paragraph. Iclude individual words, phrases, or clauses that refer to previous ideas and that point ahead to new ones. They are usually placed at the end or at the beginning of a paragraph. A transitional paragraph conducts your reader from one part of the paper to another. It may be only a few sentences long. Each paragraph of the body of the paper should contain adequate support for its one governing idea. Speak/write clearly, in your own voice. Tone: The paper's tone, whether formal, ironic, or humorous, should be appropriate for the audience and the subject. Voice: Keep you language honest. Your paper should sound like you. Understand, paraphrase, absorb, and express in your own words the information you have researched. Avoid phony language. Sentence formation: When you polish your sentences, read them aloud for word choice and word placement. Be concise. Strunk and White in The Elements of Style advise the writer to "omit needless words" (23). First, however, you must recognize them. Keep yourself and your reader interested. In fact, Strunk's 1918 writing advice is still well worth pondering. First, deliver on your promises. Be sure the body of your paper fulfills the promise of the introduction. Avoid the obvious. Offer new insights. Reveal the unexpected. Have you crafted your conclusion as carefully as you have your introduction? Conclusions are not merely the repetition of your thesis. The conclusion of a research paper is a synthesis of the information presented in the body. Your research has led you to conclusions and opinions that have helped you understand your thesis more deeply and more clearly. Lift your reader to the full level of understanding that you have achieved. Revision means "to look again." Find a peer reader to read your paper with you present. Or, visit your college or university's writing lab. Guide your reader's responses by asking specific questions. Are you unsure of the logical order of your paragraphs? Do you want to know whether you have supported all opinions adequately? Are you concerned about punctuation or grammar? Ask that these issues be addressed. You are in charge. Here are some techniques that may prove helpful when you are revising alone or with a reader. When you edit for spelling errors read the sentences backwards. This procedure will help you look closely at individual words. Always read your paper aloud. Hearing your own words puts them in a new light. Listen to the flow of ideas and of language. Decide whether or not the voice sounds honest and the tone is appropriate to the purpose of the paper and to your audience. Listen for awkward or lumpy wording. Find the one right word, Eliminate needless words. Combine sentences. Kill the passive voice. Eliminate was/were/is/are constructions. They're lame and anti-historical. Be ruthless. If an idea doesn't serve your thesis, banish it, even if it's one of your favorite bits of prose. In the margins, write the major topic of each paragraph. By outlining after you have written the paper, you are once again evaluating your paper's organization. OK, you've got the process down. Now execute! And enjoy! It's not everyday that you get to make history. VI. For Further Reading: Works Cited Back to Top Barnet, Sylvan, and Hugo Bedau. Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing: A Brief Guide to Argument. Boston: Bedford, 1993. Brent, Doug. Reading as Rhetorical Invention: Knowledge,Persuasion and the Teaching of Research-Based Writing. Urbana: NCTE, 1992. Elbow, Peter. Writing without Teachers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973. Gibladi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 4th ed. New York: Modern Language Association, 1995. Horvitz, Deborah. "Nameless Ghosts: Possession and Dispossession in Beloved." Studies in American Fiction , Vol. 17, No. 2, Autum, 1989, pp. 157-167. Republished in the Literature Research Center. Gale Group. (1 January 1999). Klauser, Henriette Anne. Writing on Both Sides of the Brain: Breakthrough Techniques for People Who Write. Philadelphia: Harper, 1986. Rico, Gabriele Lusser. Writing the Natural Way: Using Right Brain Techniques to Release Your Expressive Powers. Los Angeles: Houghton, 1983. Sorenson, Sharon. The Research Paper: A Contemporary Approach. New York: AMSCO, 1994. Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. 3rd ed. New York: MacMillan, 1979. Back to Top This guide adapted from materials published by Thomson Gale, publishers. For free resources, including a generic guide to writing term papers, see the Gale.com website , which also includes product information for schools.

UCLA History Department

Introductions & Conclusions

The introduction and conclusion serve important roles in a history paper.  They are not simply perfunctory additions in academic writing, but are critical to your task of making a persuasive argument.

A successful introduction will:

  • draw your readers in
  • culminate in a thesis statement that clearly states your argument
  • orient your readers to the key facts they need to know in order to understand your thesis
  • lay out a roadmap for the rest of your paper

A successful conclusion will:

  • draw your paper together
  • reiterate your argument clearly and forcefully
  • leave your readers with a lasting impression of why your argument matters or what it brings to light

How to write an effective introduction:

Often students get slowed down in paper-writing because they are not sure how to write the introduction.  Do not feel like you have to write your introduction first simply because it is the first section of your paper.  You can always come back to it after you write the body of your essay.  Whenever you approach your introduction, think of it as having three key parts:

  • The opening line
  • The middle “stage-setting” section
  • The thesis statement

“In a 4-5 page paper, describe the process of nation-building in one Middle Eastern state.  What were the particular goals of nation-building?  What kinds of strategies did the state employ?  What were the results?  Be specific in your analysis, and draw on at least one of the scholars of nationalism that we discussed in class.”

Here is an example of a WEAK introduction for this prompt:

“One of the most important tasks the leader of any country faces is how to build a united and strong nation.  This has been especially true in the Middle East, where the country of Jordan offers one example of how states in the region approached nation-building.  Founded after World War I by the British, Jordan has since been ruled by members of the Hashemite family.  To help them face the difficult challenges of founding a new state, they employed various strategies of nation-building.”

Now, here is a REVISED version of that same introduction:

“Since 1921, when the British first created the mandate of Transjordan and installed Abdullah I as its emir, the Hashemite rulers have faced a dual task in nation-building.  First, as foreigners to the region, the Hashemites had to establish their legitimacy as Jordan’s rightful leaders.  Second, given the arbitrary boundaries of the new nation, the Hashemites had to establish the legitimacy of Jordan itself, binding together the people now called ‘Jordanians.’  To help them address both challenges, the Hashemite leaders crafted a particular narrative of history, what Anthony Smith calls a ‘nationalist mythology.’  By presenting themselves as descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, as leaders of the Arab Revolt, and as the fathers of Jordan’s different tribal groups, they established the authority of their own regime and the authority of the new nation, creating one of the most stable states in the modern Middle East.”

The first draft of the introduction, while a good initial step, is not strong enough to set up a solid, argument-based paper.  Here are the key issues:

  • This first sentence is too general.  From the beginning of your paper, you want to invite your reader into your specific topic, rather than make generalizations that could apply to any nation in any time or place.  Students often run into the problem of writing general or vague opening lines, such as, “War has always been one of the greatest tragedies to befall society.”  Or, “The Great Depression was one of the most important events in American history.”  Avoid statements that are too sweeping or imprecise.  Ask yourself if the sentence you have written can apply in any time or place or could apply to any event or person.  If the answer is yes, then you need to make your opening line more specific.
  • Here is the revised opening line: “Since 1921, when the British first created the mandate of Transjordan and installed Abdullah I as its emir, the Hashemite rulers have faced a dual task in nation-building.”
  • This is a stronger opening line because it speaks precisely to the topic at hand.  The paper prompt is not asking you to talk about nation-building in general, but nation-building in one specific place.
  • This stage-setting section is also too general.  Certainly, such background information is critical for the reader to know, but notice that it simply restates much of the information already in the prompt.  The question already asks you to pick one example, so your job is not simply to reiterate that information, but to explain what kind of example Jordan presents.  You also need to tell your reader why the context you are providing matters.
  • Revised stage-setting: “First, as foreigners to the region, the Hashemites had to establish their legitimacy as Jordan’s rightful leaders.  Second, given the arbitrary boundaries of the new nation, the Hashemites had to establish the legitimacy of Jordan itself, binding together the people now called ‘Jordanians.’  To help them address both challenges, the Hashemite rulers crafted a particular narrative of history, what Anthony Smith calls a ‘nationalist mythology.’”
  • This stage-setting is stronger because it introduces the reader to the problem at hand.  Instead of simply saying when and why Jordan was created, the author explains why the manner of Jordan’s creation posed particular challenges to nation-building.  It also sets the writer up to address the questions in the prompt, getting at both the purposes of nation-building in Jordan and referencing the scholar of nationalism s/he will be drawing on from class: Anthony Smith.
  • This thesis statement restates the prompt rather than answers the question.  You need to be specific about what strategies of nation-building Jordan’s leaders used.  You also need to assess those strategies, so that you can answer the part of the prompt that asks about the results of nation-building.
  • Revised thesis statement: “By presenting themselves as descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, as leaders of the Arab Revolt, and as the fathers of Jordan’s different tribal groups, they established the authority of their regime and the authority of the new nation, creating one of the most stable states in the modern Middle East.”
  • It directly answers the question in the prompt.  Even though you will be persuading readers of your argument through the evidence you present in the body of your paper, you want to tell them at the outset exactly what you are arguing.
  • It discusses the significance of the argument, saying that Jordan created an especially stable state.  This helps you answer the question about the results of Jordan’s nation-building project.
  • It offers a roadmap for the rest of the paper.  The writer knows how to proceed and the reader knows what to expect.  The body of the paper will discuss the Hashemite claims “as descendants from the Prophet Muhammad, as leaders of the Arab Revolt, and as the fathers of Jordan’s different tribal groups.”

If you write your introduction first, be sure to revisit it after you have written your entire essay.  Because your paper will evolve as you write, you need to go back and make sure that the introduction still sets up your argument and still fits your organizational structure.

How to write an effective conclusion:

Your conclusion serves two main purposes.  First, it reiterates your argument in different language than you used in the thesis and body of your paper.  Second, it tells your reader why your argument matters.  In your conclusion, you want to take a step back and consider briefly the historical implications or significance of your topic.  You will not be introducing new information that requires lengthy analysis, but you will be telling your readers what your paper helps bring to light.  Perhaps you can connect your paper to a larger theme you have discussed in class, or perhaps you want to pose a new sort of question that your paper elicits.  There is no right or wrong “answer” to this part of the conclusion: you are now the “expert” on your topic, and this is your chance to leave your reader with a lasting impression based on what you have learned.

Here is an example of an effective conclusion for the same essay prompt:

“To speak of the nationalist mythology the Hashemites created, however, is not to say that it has gone uncontested.  In the 1950s, the Jordanian National Movement unleashed fierce internal opposition to Hashemite rule, crafting an alternative narrative of history in which the Hashemites were mere puppets to Western powers.  Various tribes have also reasserted their role in the region’s past, refusing to play the part of “sons” to Hashemite “fathers.”  For the Hashemites, maintaining their mythology depends on the same dialectical process that John R. Gillis identified in his investigation of commemorations: a process of both remembering and forgetting.  Their myth remembers their descent from the Prophet, their leadership of the Arab Revolt, and the tribes’ shared Arab and Islamic heritage.  It forgets, however, the many different histories that Jordanians champion, histories that the Hashemite mythology has never been able to fully reconcile.”

This is an effective conclusion because it moves from the specific argument addressed in the body of the paper to the question of why that argument matters.  The writer rephrases the argument by saying, “Their myth remembers their descent from the Prophet, their leadership of the Arab Revolt, and the tribes’ shared Arab and Islamic heritage.”  Then, the writer reflects briefly on the larger implications of the argument, showing how Jordan’s nationalist mythology depended on the suppression of other narratives.

Introduction and Conclusion checklist

When revising your introduction and conclusion, check them against the following guidelines:

Does my introduction:

  • draw my readers in?
  • culminate in a thesis statement that clearly states my argument?
  • orient my readers to the key facts they need to know in order to understand my thesis?
  • lay out a roadmap for the rest of my paper?

Does my conclusion:

  • draw my paper together?
  • reiterate my argument clearly and forcefully?
  • leave my readers with a lasting impression of why my argument matters or what it brings to light?

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Curious Desire

Quench Curiosity

How to Write Importance of History Essay – 2 Sample Essays

September 11, 2023 by Yusuf Ali

Essay writing about the importance of history is a common assignment among high school , college and university students. The study of history allows us to understand the past and learn from it in order to shape the future.

Writing on the importance of history essay helps to gain insight into how different aspects of the past have impacted our present-day lives. In this article, we will discuss two sample essays on the importance of history to provide you with a better understanding of how to approach this type of essay.

Table of Contents

A Step-Wise Guide on How to Write Importance of History Essay

Writing about the importance of history can be a challenging task if you don’t have the right approach. To help you get started, here is a step-wise guide on how to write an effective essay on this topic:

1. Start with an Interesting Introduction

Begin your essay by introducing the topic and providing a brief overview of what will be discussed in the essay. This will help to grab the reader’s attention and set the tone for the rest of your essay.

For writing an essay on the importance of history , you can start with the following hook statement – “History is important because it helps us to understand our present and make sense of what has gone before.”

Importance of history essay writing

2. Provide a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement establishes the main point or argument of your essay and acts as a roadmap throughout the paper. Make sure that your thesis statement conveys your opinion on the topic and provides an argument that is debatable.

For example, you can write a thesis statement such as, “The study of history helps to shape our future by providing us with insights into past mistakes and successes.”

3. Support Your Argument

Once you have established your argument in the essay, it is important to provide evidence to support your argument. This can be done by presenting historical facts and figures , citing experts in the field or providing examples of how history has impacted our lives today.

For example, you can cite historical figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, who used non-violent tactics to challenge the oppressive rule of British colonialists in India.

4. Conclude the Essay

Your conclusion should sum up your essay and restate your thesis statement in a different way. This will help to reiterate the main points of your argument and leave the readers with something to think about.

For example, you can conclude by saying – “In conclusion, it is evident that studying history is important as it helps us to understand our present and make better decisions for the future.”

By following the above-mentioned steps, you can easily write a comprehensive essay on the importance of history. In addition to this, you can take the help of two sample essays given below which discuss the same topic in detail.

Sample Essay 1: The Importance of History

History has always been an essential part of human life , as it has helped us understand our past and shape our future. By studying history, we can gain an understanding of different cultures, appreciate the events that have shaped our present-day lives and learn from the mistakes in order to prevent them from occurring again in the future. It is important to recognize that the past is not merely a collection of dates and events, but it also includes people’s stories, experiences, and perspectives.

importance of history in essay

The study of history helps us to understand the development of human rights , economic systems, political structures and social norms throughout time . By learning about different cultures and societies all over the world, we can acquire a better understanding of our own culture and ourselves. It is important to understand the causes and effects of major events that have happened throughout history in order to make sure that similar mistakes are not repeated in the future.

History also helps us to appreciate other cultures, religions and societies which may be different from our own. By studying different cultures, we can learn to be more tolerant and understanding of other people’s beliefs and values . This knowledge can help us in our personal interactions with others as well as when making decisions in the present day. The study of history helps us to better comprehend how civilizations rose and fell, how leaders led their people, and how certain events or discoveries changed the course of history. It provides us with a better understanding of different aspects of life, from politics, economics , science , and culture.

History also allows us to gain insight into some of the most important lessons that can be applied to our current times. For example, we have learned from past wars the devastation that can ensue from unchecked aggression and bigotry. We can use these lessons to shape our present decisions, such as choosing diplomacy over war and promoting understanding between different cultures.

Overall, history helps us to gain an appreciation for the past, understand our current situation, and plan for the future. By studying the events of past civilizations and societies, we can gain insight into our own lives and make better decisions to create a more peaceful and prosperous future. It is essential for us to learn from our mistakes in order to create a better world.

Sample Essay 2: The Importance of History

History plays an important role in our lives today. By studying the past, we are able to understand how different societies lived, how powerful leaders led their people, and how certain events or discoveries changed the course of history. It also helps us appreciate other cultures, religions and societies which may be different from our own. Additionally, history provides us with the opportunity to gain insight into some of the most important lessons that can be applied to our current times.

The study of history is essential in order to understand how civilizations rose and fell, how people lived in different societies throughout the world, and how the events of the past have shaped our present-day lives. History helps to provide context for current events and allows us to gain an understanding of different cultures, religions, and political systems. It also enables us to appreciate the perspectives of people from different backgrounds and times in history.

Essay on importance of history

History also helps us learn from our mistakes in order to prevent them from occurring again in the future. By understanding why certain actions were taken or why an event happened, we can acquire a better understanding of our own culture and ourselves. We can learn more about major events that have occurred throughout history and use this knowledge to ensure similar mistakes are not made again.

The study of history gives us a better understanding of different cultures, an appreciation for major events that have shaped our lives, and an opportunity to learn from our mistakes. We can gain insight into how civilizations rose and fell, how leaders led their people, and how certain events or discoveries changed the course of history.

In addition, the study of history provides us with an opportunity to gain insight into some of the most important lessons that we can carry over to our present-day lives. We can learn from past wars and conflicts, such as the importance of diplomacy and understanding between different cultures. We can use these insights to shape our current decisions and help build a more peaceful and prosperous future.

Overall, history provides us with an appreciation for the past, an understanding of our current situation, and a chance to plan for the future. By studying the events of past civilizations and societies, we can gain insight into our own lives and make better decisions to create a more peaceful and prosperous future.

By learning from the past, we can gain a better understanding of our present and shape our future. The study of history is essential for developing an appreciation for our past, understanding different cultures, and learning valuable lessons that can be applied to our current lives. With this knowledge, we can create a more peaceful and prosperous future.

Essay writing on the importance of history is an essential skill for students. Through the study of history, we are able to appreciate different cultures, gain insight into our own lives, and learn valuable lessons that can be applied to our present-day lives.

History provides us with an understanding of the past, a better appreciation for our current situation, and an opportunity to plan for the future. By studying history, we can gain insight into our own civilization and work together to create a more peaceful and prosperous future.

research paper about importance of history

Yusuf is interested in exploring the world around him and making meaningful connections with it. He then express these ideas with words for the world to enjoy. In his free time, Yusuf loves to spend time with books, nature & his family.

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Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City in March 2005.

Who was Jeffrey Epstein and what are the court documents about?

Formerly redacted names of the financier and sex offender’s network were revealed in records unsealed on Wednesday

  • Full report: Jeffrey Epstein court documents unsealed
  • Read unsealed documents in full

Previously redacted names of disgraced financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein ’s expansive network of friends and business associates have been revealed this week in the form of nearly 1,000 pages of court records, which were unsealed on Wednesday.

Many names of these associates and those in the inner circle of Epstein – who died in jail awaiting federal sex-trafficking charges in 2019 – had been formerly redacted from court documents.

In anticipation of these revelations, social media had been abuzz with speculation as to what they will yield. To help paint a clearer picture of why this matters, here’s what we know about the documents.

Who was Jeffrey Epstein ?

A millionaire known for associating with celebrities, politicians, billionaires and academic stars, Epstein was initially arrested in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2005 after he was accused of paying a 14-year-old girl for sex.

Dozens of other underage girls described similar sexual abuse, but prosecutors ultimately allowed the financier to plead guilty in 2008 to a charge involving a single victim. He served 13 months in a jail work-release program.

Some famous acquaintances abandoned Epstein after his conviction, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, but many did not. Epstein continued to mingle with the rich and famous for another decade, often through philanthropic work.

Reporting by the Miami Herald renewed interest in the scandal, and federal prosecutors in New York charged Epstein in 2019 with sex trafficking. He died by suicide in jail while awaiting trial.

The US attorney in Manhattan then prosecuted Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell , for helping recruit his underage victims. She was convicted in 2021 and is serving a 20-year prison term.

What are these records about ?

The documents being unsealed are part of a lawsuit filed against Maxwell in 2015 by one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre. She is one of the dozens of women who sued Epstein saying he had abused them at his homes in Florida, New York, the US Virgin Islands and New Mexico.

Giuffre said the summer she turned 17, she was lured away from a job as a spa attendant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club to become a “masseuse” for Epstein – a job that involved performing sexual acts.

Giuffre also claimed she was pressured into having sex with men in Epstein’s social orbit, most famously with Britain’s Prince Andrew. All of those men said her accounts were fabricated. She settled a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in 2022. That same year, Giuffre withdrew an accusation she had made against Epstein’s former attorney, the law professor Alan Dershowitz, saying she “may have made a mistake ” in identifying him as an abuser.

Giuffre’s lawsuit against Maxwell was settled in 2017, but the Miami Herald went to court to access court papers initially filed under seal, including transcripts of interviews the lawyers did with potential witnesses.

About 2,000 pages were unsealed by a court in 2019. Additional documents were released in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

This next batch of records had remained sealed because of concerns about the privacy rights of Epstein’s victims and other people whose names had come up during the legal battle but were not complicit in his crimes.

What is in the documents ?

US district judge Loretta A Preska, who evaluated the documents to decide what should be unsealed, said in her December order that she was releasing the records because much of the information within them was already public.

Some records have been released, either in part or in full, in other court cases. Much of the rest involve topics and people who have been exhaustively covered in nearly two decades’ worth of newspaper stories, TV documentaries, interviews, books and testimony at Maxwell’s criminal trial.

The people named in the records include many of Epstein’s accusers, members of his staff who told their stories to tabloid newspapers, people who served as witnesses at Maxwell’s trial, people who were mentioned in passing during depositions but are not accused of anything salacious, and people who investigated Epstein, including prosecutors, a journalist and a detective.

There are also boldface names of public figures known to have associated with Epstein over the years, but whose relationships with him have already been well-documented elsewhere, the judge said.

One of them is Jean-Luc Brunel, a French modeling agent close to Epstein who was awaiting trial on charges that he raped underage girls when he killed himself in a Paris jail in 2022. Giuffre was among the women who had accused Brunel of sexual abuse.

Clinton and Trump both factor in the court file, partly because Giuffre was questioned by Maxwell’s lawyers about inaccuracies in newspaper stories about her time with Epstein. One story quoted her as saying she had ridden in a helicopter with Clinton and flirted with Trump. Giuffre said neither of those things actually happened. She has not accused either former president of wrongdoing.

The judge said a handful of names should remain blacked out in the documents because they would identify people who were sexually abused.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Epstein Documents Naming Prominent Figures Expected to Be Released Soon

The documents, related to a lawsuit involving Ghislaine Maxwell, an associate of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, are anticipated to include names previously redacted.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell standing next to each other at what appears to be a party. Mr. Epstein has his left arm around Ms. Maxwell’s shoulders and his left cheek pressed against the side of her head. She grins widely.

By Maggie Astor

Court documents related to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein are expected to be released soon with many names that were previously redacted, and prominent figures on the right are holding up the impending disclosures as evidence of wrongdoing by Democrats despite a lack of concrete information about what they will show.

Most of the names being made public — currently cited in the documents as John Does — have previously been identified in other court documents or in news reports as having been associated with Mr. Epstein.

A longtime friend of powerful people, including politicians, business executives and royalty, Mr. Epstein was accused of preying on girls as young as 14, bringing them to his homes and paying them for sex acts. He died at 66 by suicide in jail in 2019 , before he could stand trial in Manhattan on federal sex-trafficking charges, but his associate Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted in 2021 of conspiring with him and sentenced to 20 years in prison . Mr. Epstein’s estate has since paid out about $150 million in settlements to more than 125 women.

It is in connection with a defamation lawsuit against Ms. Maxwell that the documents are being released. That lawsuit was brought by one of Mr. Epstein’s and Ms. Maxwell’s victims, Virginia Giuffre. Previously, many of the names in the documents were sealed, but a New York judge ruled in December that some of them could be unsealed.

Multiple news reports have said that former President Bill Clinton will be among those named, a fact conservative commentators have jumped on, though there is no indication that it will be in connection with allegations of wrongdoing, and Ms. Giuffre has not accused Mr. Clinton of any misconduct. His office said in 2019 that he had flown on Mr. Epstein’s private plane but had no knowledge of Mr. Epstein’s crimes, and a spokesman pointed to that statement on Tuesday.

“President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,” the 2019 statement said, acknowledging trips and meetings with Mr. Epstein in the early 2000s. It added, “He’s not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade.”

Being named in the documents does not necessarily indicate that a person participated in or was aware of Mr. Epstein’s or Ms. Maxwell’s actions, and it was already known that Mr. Epstein was friendly with Mr. Clinton — as well as countless other celebrities and officials , including Donald J. Trump. It remains to be seen if the documents will say anything significant about Mr. Clinton or any other person.

But right-wing officials and commentators have seized on the impending release without caveats.

“For some us, it’s no surprise at all that Bill Clinton will be named in the Jeffrey Epstein files. We said it a long time ago but they labeled us conspiracy theorists,” Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, wrote on X , adding, “Pedophiles belong in jail not on secret government lists.”

Ms. Greene’s comment adopted some conservatives’ description of the coming documents as a “list” of Mr. Epstein’s associates, but according to a person briefed on the documents, many of them are depositions taken from victims of Mr. Epstein and related court filings.

Others playing up the documents included the far-right commentator Benny Johnson; Graham Allen, a right-wing video streamer; and Brigitte Gabriel, the founder of the anti-Muslim group ACT for America.

One name expected to be included in the documents is that of Prince Andrew, who in 2022 settled a lawsuit filed by Ms. Giuffre accusing him of sexual abuse.

Matthew Goldstein and Benjamin Weiser contributed reporting.

Maggie Astor covers politics for The New York Times, focusing on breaking news, policies, campaigns and how underrepresented or marginalized groups are affected by political systems. More about Maggie Astor

A look back at the biggest news events that shaped 2023 and made history

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Correction : The original version of this piece misstated that Mikaela Shiffrin became the winningest slalom skier of all time. She is the winningest alpine skier. The transcript has been corrected. We regret the error.

There is no question that we live in historic, unusual times, and 2023 added to the list of unprecedented events. We look back at the events that defined the year.

Read the Full Transcript

Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

Lisa Desjardins:

There is no question that we live in historic unusual times. 2023 added to the list of unprecedented events. See if you remember it all as tonight we take a look back at the events that define the year.

Lisa Desjardins (voice-over):

Conflict has dominated the headlines including a still unfolding war in the Middle East. Less than three months ago, Hamas militants attacked southern Israel in a surprise multipronged and bloody invasion. Nearly 1,200 Israelis were killed and another 240 were taken hostage.

Naom Peri, Daughter of hostage: Almost 80 people are missing are kidnapped.

80 people at a community of 350.

Yes. 24 of them are above the age of 75, 15 of them are kids. Some are even babies.

Israeli retaliation was swift and relentless. An air assault followed weeks later by a ground invasion, beginning in northern Gaza and then marching south.

Leila Molana Allen:

The scale of destruction here and in so many other villages along Gaza border with Israel is complete. Every house is gutted.

Gaza's health ministry reports more than 21,000 Palestinians have been killed. Nearly 2 million more have been displaced, a humanitarian crisis, igniting demonstrations and cities around the world.

War torn Ukraine got a surprise and historic visit from President Biden. The first time in modern history, a President has visited an active conflict zone not under us control. On the verge of its third year of fighting against Russia, Ukraine launched a counter offensive this summer.

Nick Schifrin:

This is right at the epicenter of the counter offensive where Ukrainians have pushed the Russians back a little. They're trying to expand their territory, the Russian lines half a mile both that way and that way, and you could hear all the firing.

As temperatures dropped Russia focused its attacks on eastern Ukraine, where both sides use drones and the frontline has barely budged. Meanwhile, Russia's neighbor to the east Finland joined the NATO alliance.

Other parts of the world saw their own share of instability. Haiti remained in turmoil with no elected officials and gang warfare in the streets. Nigeria and Gabon became the latest West African countries beset by military coups. In Myanmar, a possible turn in the Civil War. The military junta was stunned by a fall offensive from a coalition of armed ethnic rebel groups.

After three years of a global pandemic, a momentous milestone.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Directo-General, World Health Organization:

I declared a COVID-19 over as a global health emergency.

In the U.S. the pandemics and also met some government programs transitioned to private markets, including virus treatments. COVID vaccines remained free to all but this year's vaccine rollout was rocky as supply chain issues disrupted distribution, about 18 percent of Americans have received an updated shot this year.

The global health emergency surrounding the infectious disease monkeypox also came to an end as cases fell, but another virus gripped the world's attention as cases spread among children, RSV or respiratory virus that can be serious, both in children and older adults.

Respiratory problems from a different source impacted much of the U.S. and Canada this year. Smoke from massive wildfires burning in Canada shrouded large parts of the U.S. in a dangerous haze for days. The Canadian blazes were the worst on record, touching every province and burning an area the size of North Dakota.

A fast moving wildfire on the Greek island of roads led to a frantic mass evacuation of tourists. And on the Hawaiian island of Maui a weather chain reaction and offshore hurricane sent high winds across the drought Stricken Island fueling intense and rapidly spreading fires.

Aaron Kamaunu, Maui resident: That puppy was a block away.

William Brangham:

Is it gone from a mile to a block away.

Aaron Kamaunu:

In minutes in minutes, minutes, minutes, minutes. It was like unreal. Unbelievable.

100 people are killed and the historic town of Lahaina was destroyed. Though not solely caused by climate change, the fires are strong indicators of a warming planet. This year was the hottest on record, according to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization.

There were other natural disasters to cope with in 2023. In February, a massive earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, toppling thousands of buildings across the 140,000 square mile quake zone.

Jane Ferguson:

There are thousands of rescue workers just like this spread out across southern Turkey still digging through the rubble, still determined to pull survivors from underneath collapsed buildings. But three whole days since the earthquakes struck, the likelihood of finding anyone still alive, diminishes every hour.

In the end, nearly 60,000 people were killed. Thousands more injured, and hundreds of thousands of buildings were destroyed or severely damaged, prompting questions about building code standards.

In Morocco a similar story on a smaller scale, where a giant quake in September killed nearly 3,000 people and brought down entire villages. From quakes to mass flooding, Libya was inundated by a fast moving torrential rainstorm that led to the collapse of two dams. 4,000 people died and much of the city of Derner was destroyed in the worst floods Libya has seen in a century.

And as a year of natural disasters closes out, after weeks of intense quake activity in Iceland, a volcanic eruption arrived just before Christmas. Everyone who lives in the nearby town of Grindavik was evacuated weeks ago in anticipation.

Asgeir Om Emilsson, Grindavik Resident:

I don't think we'll ever feel safe after going with us heavily there.

From natural disasters to manmade ones. In February, a Norfolk Southern train derailed and exploded in a towering ball of flames over the town of East Palestine, Ohio. Many of the cars that exploded were carrying hazardous chemicals. And then nearly 5,000 people who call East Palestine home felt the impacts immediately.

Geoff Bennett:

Residents here still have questions about whether the air and water are safe and about the company's commitment to address the long term consequences of the derailment and spill.

In June, the world's attention turned to a saga unfolding under the sea. Five men taking a paid private submersible to the shipwreck Titanic lost their lives when the vessel imploded.

And in the United States, mass shootings continue to plague the country from a ballroom dance hall in California to a mall shooting in Texas, to a private Christian school in Nashville. And a lockdown in the city of Lewiston, Maine as authorities hunted the killer. The U.S. has seen more than 600 mass shootings where four or more people are shot or killed in 2023 alone.

In Memphis, a reminder of a different problem. Police brutality. Officer body cam footage showed multiple officers beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols to death. The Justice Department charged five officers with federal crimes.

And in the nation's capital, it was a year of turbulence and change. At the Supreme Court, justices effectively brought an end to affirmative action at colleges and universities. The vote fell along ideological lines six to three.

In the U.S. House of Representatives there were three different speakers in the span of nine months. Republican Kevin McCarthy was elected to replace Nancy Pelosi in January but it took 15 ballots for him to win.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) California:

That was easy.

But by October he was ousted as eight renegade Republicans voted with Democrats in an historic first.

The office of Speaker of the House of the United States House of Representatives is hereby declared vacant.

The Chair said empty for 22 days amid GOP disarray and eventually Republican Mike Johnson won the speakership.

Three weeks that's again for nominees.

In the midst of it all, the threat of government shutdowns loomed large not once but twice, with government funding about to run out in both October and November. At the last minute, Congress passed stopgap funding bills to keep the government operating.

In December, another rarity when the House voted to expel one of its own Republican Congressman George Santos of New York under fire for a slew of alleged crimes and ethics violations.

Jack Smith, Special Counsel:

Today, and then guiding them was unsealed. Charging Donald J. Trump, with conspiring to defraud the United States, conspiring to disenfranchise voters and conspiring and attempting to obstruct an official proceeding.

Also on trial former President Trump who made multiple appearances in several of the federal and state courtrooms in which he faces a combined 91 charges both civil and criminal.

Even with the trials in motion, Mr. Trump's numbers soared in his bid for the Republican nomination. Polling puts him far in the front of the pack of contenders, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Independent candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. threw his hat in the ring with a controversial run of his own.

Around the world, a wave of new populist far right leaders were elected to power from Argentina or the Trump adoring Javier Mileisays he'll rein in triple digit inflation by adopting the U.S. dollar and slashing government spending.

To the Netherlands where anti-Islam and anti-European Union populist Geert Wilders won a surprise victory. But in Britain, the ultimate status quo. Throngs of people converged on London for the coronation of King Charles III and his Queen Consort, Camilla.

In the U.S. some good economic news, inflation eased more than expected. Growth was healthy and unemployment stayed below 4 percent for the longest time since the 1960s. Still, Americans struggled with the cost of living and high mortgage rates made it challenging for new homebuyers to get a foothold on the property ladder.

Workers in several industries took to the picket line calling for better wages, hours and working conditions. United Auto Workers walked off the job for an unprecedented six weeks and coordinated strikes this fall and gained record wage increases, President Biden joined them in person.

Health care workers with Kaiser Permanente stage the largest health care strike in U.S. history over understaffing issues.

And in Hollywood, both writers and actors went on strike, bringing the industry to a standstill for months over fair pay on streaming services, and the threat of artificial intelligence in entertainment.

AI kept on growing and pushing into people's everyday lives on the one hand, making mundane tasks easier and faster. But on the other sounding alarm bells over how the technology will be regulated going forward. AI even helped generate a new song from the Beatles more than 50 years after they broke up now and then mixed in John Lennon vocals from an old cassette tape.

But other big name musicians drew big crowds on tour this year. Including two record breaking superstars. Beyonce is much anticipated Renaissance Tour was the highest grossing by a black artist in history. And Taylor Swift's tour set the record for all artists are sold out Eras Tour and subsequent film were economic juggernauts. The tour so far has earned over $1 billion in ticket sales and boosted the economies of cities where she performed.

2023 saw the continuing rise of female athletes, the Women's World Cup drew record crowds and viewers around the world and the U.S. team collapsed midway for new champions Spain, so did the women's NCAA basketball finals. The Louisiana State beat Iowa and the game broke records for scoring attendance and viewership.

Michaela Schifrin became the winningest alpine skier of all time male or female. 19-year-old Coco Gauff won the U.S. Open her first Grand Slam and she was the highest paid female athlete this year. Simone Biles made her gymnastics comeback after a mental health break, adding more gold medals to her collection, and an outdoor University of Nebraska women's volleyball match broke attendance records.

In the world of baseball a couple of firsts. The Texas Rangers won their first World Series and a record payout for Shohei Otani, the Japanese pitcher signed with the Dodgers for $700 million over 10 years, the most lucrative contract in professional sports history.

As the year comes to a close some of the final farewells of 2023. First Lady Rosalynn Carter passed away at the age of 96. Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, the longest serving California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat and conservative Christian media mogul Pat Robertson, from the world of arts, the Nobel Prize winning poet Louise Gluck, writer Cormac McCarthy from stage and screen, Bob Barker, Richard Belzer, Michael Gambon, Matthew Perry, Paul Rubens and Raquel Welch and a final exit for some legendary names in music, Tony Bennett, Harry Belafonte, Jimmy Buffett, David Crosby, Sinead O'Connor, Lisa Marie Presley, and Tina Turner.

And now the new year has already kicked off for many around the world from Auckland to Athens, cities rang in 2024 with countdowns fireworks and cheering crowds.

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Lisa Desjardins is a correspondent for PBS NewsHour, where she covers news from the U.S. Capitol while also traveling across the country to report on how decisions in Washington affect people where they live and work.

Lorna Baldwin is an Emmy and Peabody award winning producer at the PBS NewsHour. In her two decades at the NewsHour, Baldwin has crisscrossed the US reporting on issues ranging from the water crisis in Flint, Michigan to tsunami preparedness in the Pacific Northwest to the politics of poverty on the campaign trail in North Carolina. Farther afield, Baldwin reported on the problem of sea turtle nest poaching in Costa Rica, the distinctive architecture of Rotterdam, the Netherlands and world renowned landscape artist, Piet Oudolf.

Azhar Merchant is a production assistant for PBS News Weekend.

Satvi Sunkara is a production assistant for PBS News Weekend.

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Quantum Physics

Title: the quantum house of cards.

Abstract: Quantum computers have been proposed to solve a number of important problems such as discovering new drugs, new catalysts for fertilizer production, breaking encryption protocols, optimizing financial portfolios, or implementing new artificial intelligence applications. Yet, to date, a simple task such as multiplying 3 by 5 is beyond existing quantum hardware. This article examines the difficulties that would need to be solved for quantum computers to live up to their promises. I discuss the whole stack of technologies that has been envisioned to build a quantum computer from the top layers (the actual algorithms and associated applications) down to the very bottom ones (the quantum hardware, its control electronics, cryogeny, etc.) while not forgetting the crucial intermediate layer of quantum error correction.

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Nikki Haley knows slavery caused the Civil War, but she doesn't want to look 'woke'

Nikki haley is from the south and governed a southern state. she knows civil war history. acknowledging is another matter and an important one..

research paper about importance of history

  • David Plazas is the director of opinion and engagement for the USA TODAY Network Tennessee and editorial board member of The Tennessean.

2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley set herself up in a bear trap after rallying so hard against efforts to promote racial equality.

Haley, the former South Carolina Gov. and United Nations ambassador, received criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for her awkward and incomplete answer to a New Hampshire town hall attendee who asked her about the cause of the Civil War.

“I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run, the freedoms and what people could and couldn't do,” she said Wednesday evening.

Haley corrected herself Thursday morning on a radio show: “I mean, of course the Civil War was about slavery ... I’m from the South, of course I know it’s about slavery.”

Not only is she from the South, she was the governor who finally signed legislation to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse.

This, of course, followed the brutal and tragic murder of nine Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church congregants in Charleston – all Black – who died at the hands of a white supremacist shooter.

Editorial: Teaching accurate, comprehensive history strengthens American society

‘Wokeness’ panic has limited what students can learn

Haley knows the history, but she is also caught in the trap that she laid for herself when she declared that “wokeness is a virus more dangerous than any pandemic.”

The racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota in 2020, which occurred only months after the announcement that COVID-19 emerged in the U.S., has faced tremendous pushback over the past few years.

There is a frenzy to purge any “wokeness” from the classroom – however it might be defined – but it usually has to do with quelling narratives that challenge officially adopted, often watered-down, history and might make citizens feel guilty about how their ancestors played a role in creating an unequal society and sustaining it in the Jim Crow era following the end of Reconstruction in the late 19 th century.

Ironically, critics who claimed “woke” activists are trying to indoctrinate or silence them have resorted to state-sponsored censorship of their adversaries.

Former President Donald Trump created the 1776 Commission to counteract the lessons from The New York Times “1619 Project.”

States legislatures including Tennessee banned “divisive lessons” from public K-12 and college classrooms, which can include in-depth examinations of slavery, Reconstruction and the generational trauma that persists because they make some students uncomfortable .

Books are allowed to be curtailed that talk about little girls such as Ruby Bridges desegregating schools and even about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The culprit, lawmakers said, is the indoctrinating “critical race theory,” which is a law school theory.

The USA TODAY Network Tennessee wrote about what students learn and do not about history in the internationally award-winning “Confederate Reckoning” series.

There are clearly still many lessons to be learned.

Another view: Nikki Haley better learn to say 'slavery,' if she wants moderate Black votes

Secessionists made no secret about their desire to preserve slavery

In recent years, I have written a couple of columns quoting the words of Tennessee Gov. Isham Harris to the legislature on Jan. 7, 1861, as citizens considered whether to secede from the United States of America.

“To evade the issue thus forced upon us at this time, without the fullest security for our rights, is, in my opinion, fatal to the institution of slavery forever,” Harris said. “The time has arrived when the people of the South must prepare either to abandon or to fortify and maintain it. Abandon it, we cannot, interwoven as it is with our wealth, prosperity, and domestic happiness.”

Tennessee’s former governor knew it was about slavery, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley knows better too.

Did she fear she might sound “woke” if she said so?

We have a long way to go before we truly reckon with our history and some people would prefer never to do so.

Acknowledging the facts does not make one woke, but it does create a responsibility to confront a hard truth and, for an elected official, that means doing something about it.

David Plazas  is the director of opinion and engagement for the USA TODAY Network Tennessee and editorial board member of The Tennessean. He hosts the  Tennessee Voices videocast  and curates the  Tennessee Voices  and  Latino Tennessee Voices  newsletters. Call him at (615) 259-8063, email him at  [email protected]  or find him on X at  @davidplazas .

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  1. PDF What is the purpose of studying history? Developing students

    The History Education Research Journal is a peer-reviewed open-access journal. Nuttall, D. (2021) 'What is the purpose of studying history? Developing students' perspectives on the purposes and value of history education'. History Education Research Journal, 18 (1), 89-108. https://doi.org/10.14324/HERJ.18.1.06

  2. Why Study History? (1998)

    History Helps Us Understand Change and How the Society We Live in Came to Be The second reason history is inescapable as a subject of serious study follows closely on the first. The past causes the present, and so the future.

  3. On historical thinking and the history educational challenge

    Introduction. Historical thinking is a notion that has become increasingly popular in international research on history education. Central to this notion is the idea that the uniqueness of history as a subject of study rests on its disciplinary foundations (Lee, Citation 1983).This approach to history education emanated in the UK in the 1970's as researchers in history education sought to ...

  4. Why Study History? Revisited

    For an increasingly diverse student body, history offers the opportunity to explore different races, regions, and genders, as part of a fuller understanding of the past. This is a vital and valid part of our argument, far more obvious now than it was a few decades back. More broadly still, building on the AHA's informal motto—"everything ...

  5. (PDF) CHAPTER ONE MEANING, NATURE AND SCOPE OF HISTORY ...

    Abstract. History is to a people what memory is to the individual. A people with no knowledge of the past would suffer from collective amnesia, groping blindly into the future without guideposts ...

  6. PDF A Brief Guide to Writing the History Paper

    Some papers are concerned with history (not just what happened, of course, but why and how it happened), and some are interested in historiography (i.e., how other historians have written history, specifically the peculiarities of different works, scholars, or schools of thought).

  7. Specifying the Significance of Historic Sites in Heritage Planning

    This paper aims to propose an approach for specifying the values and importance of historic sites. In this study, the Historic Urban Landscape approach is taken as the research framework.

  8. Introduction to Historical Research : Home

    This guide is an introduction to selected resources available for historical research. It covers both primary sources (such as diaries, letters, newspaper articles, photographs, government documents and first-hand accounts) and secondary materials (such as books and articles written by historians and devoted to the analysis and interpretation of historical events and evidence).

  9. How to do Research on History

    Encyclopedia of American History, edited by Gary B. Nash, 11 vols., 4,864 pages (New York: Facts On File, 2003) This 11-volume reference offers in-depth coverage of the most important individuals, events, and topics in U.S. history. Unlike most encyclopedias, this reference is arranged chronologically and organized by era.

  10. How to Write a History Research Paper

    1. How do I pick a topic? Picking a topic is perhaps the most important step in writing a research paper. To do it well requires several steps of refinement. First you have to determine a general area in which you have an interest (if you aren't interested, your readers won't be either).

  11. Best History Research Paper Topics

    The following comprehensive list of the best history research paper topics is crafted to stimulate your curiosity and ignite your passion for historical study. These topics cover a range of historical periods and geographical locations to cater to the diverse interests of history students.

  12. Guide to US History Research Paper Topics

    The Importance of History Learning Studying history provides a deeper understanding of societies, cultures, and the human condition. History shapes our collective memory, instilling a sense of identity and understanding of our place in the world.

  13. PDF The Importance of History

    History Provides Identity Studying History Is Essential for Good Citizenship What Skills Does a Student of History Develop? The Ability to Assess Evidence The Ability to Assess Conflicting Interpretations Experience in Assessing Past Examples of Change History Is Useful in the World of Work

  14. World History Research Paper Topics

    In this comprehensive guide, we explore the fascinating world of world history research paper topics, designed to assist history students in their academic pursuits.Delving into the annals of human civilization, this page offers a diverse array of research paper topics categorized into 10 distinct themes, each presenting a captivating journey through time.

  15. 1

    Historians provide insight into the past. By means of books, articles, websites, or presentations, they offer information to colleagues, students, and a wider public. In their work, historians constantly ask questions about the past, and they answer those questions by researching historical literature and sources.

  16. On the Importance of History

    On the Importance of History: Is There a Need to Study History? Research Paper Exclusively available on IvyPanda Updated: Aug 21st, 2023 The Oxford online dictionary (2008) defines history as "the study of past events". A pertinent question that could be asked is that is there a need to study history?

  17. PDF Guidelines for Historical Research and Writing

    A. Fourteen Steps to a good historical research paper. In A Short Guide to Writing About History Richard Marius outlines fourteen steps that every student should follow in writing a historical research paper. 1. Identify your audience. All writing assignments are intended to be read, and the intended audience should always determine what is ...

  18. The Importance of History: [Essay Example], 527 words

    History is important because we are the past: we are the sum of all the events good, bad, and indifferent that have happened to us. This sum product guides our actions in the present. This is true not only for the individual. The only way we can understand who we are and how we got to be that way is by studying the past.

  19. Historical Research

    Archival research is often conducted in libraries, archives, and museums. Oral history: This involves conducting interviews with individuals who have lived through a particular historical period or event. Oral history can provide a unique perspective on past events and can help to fill gaps in the historical record.

  20. The Purpose of a Historical Research Paper

    A research paper in history is an exercise in exploration and supporting theories. Don't look at it as a report. Don't look at it as a summation of an event. It's much more than that. It is meant to be an exploration of your topic. What Is a Research Paper?

  21. A Step by Step Guide to Doing Historical Research

    This step-by-step guide progresses from an introduction to historical resources to information about how to identify a topic, craft a thesis and develop a research paper. Table of contents: The Range and Richness of Historical Sources. Secondary Sources. Primary Sources.

  22. Introductions & Conclusions

    The first draft of the introduction, while a good initial step, is not strong enough to set up a solid, argument-based paper. Here are the key issues: Opening line: "One of the most important tasks the leader of any country faces is how to build a united and strong nation.". This first sentence is too general.

  23. How to Write Importance of History Essay

    Sample Essay 1: The Importance of History History has always been an essential part of human life, as it has helped us understand our past and shape our future.

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  27. [2312.17570] The Quantum House Of Cards

    Quantum computers have been proposed to solve a number of important problems such as discovering new drugs, new catalysts for fertilizer production, breaking encryption protocols, optimizing financial portfolios, or implementing new artificial intelligence applications. Yet, to date, a simple task such as multiplying 3 by 5 is beyond existing quantum hardware. This article examines the ...

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