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A Student's Guide to History



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Bedford/St. Martin's
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  • A Student's Guide to History
    A Student's Guide to History
  • A Student's Guide to History
    A Student's Guide to History


This guide provides comprehensive coverage of the historian's research process — from formulating a research question to how to find, evaluate, and work with sources of all types — written and nonwritten, in print and online. The writing process is explained thoroughly as advice on creating a strong thesis and writing an effective paper culminates with a model student research paper. The appendices and companion Web site point students to the most helpful research resources.

Author Biography

Jules R. Benjamin was a professor of history at the University of Rochester and now an Emeritus professor at Ithaca College.  He taught for over thirty years.  His current research focuses on contemporary international relations.  He is the author of several books and articles, including The United States and Cuba: Hegemony and Dependent Development, 1880-1934 (1977) and The United States and the Origins of the Cuban Revolution: An Empire of Liberty in an Age of National Liberation (1990).

Table of Contents

1. The Subject of History and How To Use it 
What History Can Tell You
How Historians Work
Approaches to History
How You Can Use Your History Skills

2. Succeeding in Your History Class
Keeping Up With Reading Assignments
Taking Notes in Class
Taking Exams
Classroom Participation 
Interactive Course Content

3. Working with Different Types of Historical Evidence 
Primary Sources 
Secondary Sources
When a Secondary Source Becomes a Primary One
Accessing Sources in Print, in Person, and Online
Reading Written Sources
“Reading” Non-Written Sources

4. Evaluating Historical Evidence 
Evaluating Sources
Interpreting Sources and Taking Notes
Avoiding Plagiarism
5. Writing Assignments: From Source Analysis to Comparative Critique
Writing about Primary Sources
Writing about Secondary Sources
Writing Short Essays

6. Building a History Essay: From Thesis to Conclusion 
Why Clear Writing is Important
Preparing to Write
Drafting Your Essay
Revising Your Essay
Proofreading Your Essay
The Danger of Plagiarism

7. Conducting Research in History 
Beginning the Research Process
Conducting Research

8. Writing a Research Paper
Asserting Your Thesis
Organizing Your Evidence with a Writing Outline
Writing the Text
Revising and Rewriting

9. Example of a Research Paper 
A Sample Research Paper

10. Documenting a Research Paper
Formatting Footnotes and Endnotes
Organizing a Bibliography
Documentation Models

Appendix A: Resources for History Research
Appendix B: Historical Sources in Your Own Backyard

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