A Pocket Guide to Writing in History

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-05-27
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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A portable and affordable reference tool, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History provides reading, writing, and research advice useful to students in all history courses. Concise yet comprehensive advice on approaching typical history assignments, developing critical reading skills, writing effective history papers, conducting research, using and documenting sources, and avoiding plagiarism enhanced with practical tips and examples throughout have made this slim reference a best-seller. Now in its sixth edition, the book offers more coverage of working with sources than ever before.

Author Biography

MARY LYNN RAMPOLLA (Ph.D., University of Toronto) is associate professor of history at Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C. Her scholarly work focuses on medieval and early modern Europe, and her publications include articles in Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies and entries in the Dictionary of the Middle Ages. She is active in the fields of history and composition.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Why Study History? 
Historical questions 
How this manual can help you 
2. Working with Sources
Identifying historical sources
         Primary sources
         Secondary sources
         Primary or secondary?
         Uses of primary and secondary sources
Evaluating sources
         Evaluating primary sources
         Tips for Writers: Evaluating Text-based Primary Sources
         Tips for Writers: Evaluating Nonwritten Primary Sources
         Evaluating secondary sources
         Tips for Writers: Evaluating Secondary Sources
         Evaluating online sources
         Tips for Writers: Evaluating Web Sources
3. Reading and Writing in History: Some Typical Assignments
Reading actively in history
         Tips for Writers: Writing as You Read
Writing about reading
         Annotated bibliographies
         Critiques and Book Reviews 
         Film reviews
         Single-source Analysis
         Historiographic essays
Taking history exams
         Preparing for an exam
         Answering identification questions
         Taking an essay exam
4. Writing History Papers
Approaching a history assignment
Thinking like a historian
Developing a thesis
Tips for Writers: Testing your Thesis
Constructing an argument
         Supporting your thesis
         Responding to counterevidence and anticipating
            opposing viewpoints
Organizing your paper
         Drafting an introduction
         Writing clear and connected paragraphs
         Writing an effective conclusion
Revising for content and organization
         Tips for Writers: Questions for Revising: Content
            and Organization
Editing for style and grammar
         Choosing appropriate language
 Choosing the appropriate tense
 Using active voice  
 Knowing when to use the pronouns I, me, and you
5. Writing a Research Paper 
Moving from topic to research question
         Choosing a topic
         Focusing on a research question
Developing a research plan and a working thesis
         Gathering and managing sources
          Developing a working thesis
Conducting research
          Consulting human resources
          Locating primary sources
          Using the library’s online catalog
          Using print and electronic reference sources
          Using print and electronic periodical databases
          Tips for Writers: Electronic Databases
          Finding Internet sources
          Distinguishing among electronic sources
Taking effective research notes
Making an outline
Revising and editing your paper
6. Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Avoid It
What is plagiarism?
Avoiding plagiarism
          Citing sources to avoid plagiarism
          Paraphrasing to avoid plagiarism
          Tips for Writers: Avoiding Plagiarism 
          Downloading Internet sources carefully
Plagiarism and the Internet
7. Quoting and Documenting Sources
Using quotations
          When to quote
          How to quote
Documenting sources
          Footnotes and endnotes
          Documenting nonwritten materials
Documentation models
Directory to Documentation Models
          Formatting notes
          Formatting bibliography entries
          Models for notes and bibliography entries
Sample pages from a student research paper
Appendix A. Writing Guides of Interest to Historians
Appendix B. Selected Print and Online Resources
  in History

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