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A Pocket Guide to Writing in History



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Bedford/St. Martin's
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  • A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
    A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
  • A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
    A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
  • A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
    A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
  • A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
    A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
  • A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
    A Pocket Guide to Writing in History


An essential writing, reading, and research tool for all history students, A Pocket Guide to Writing in Historyoffers a best-selling combination of concise yet comprehensive advice in a portable and accessible format. This quick-reference guide provides a practical introduction to typical history assignments, exercising critical reading skills, evaluating and documenting sources, writing effective history papers, conducting research, and avoiding plagiarism. Building on its time-tested approach, the seventh edition offers expanded, hands-on guidance for writing and researching in the digital age, and additional coverage on working with primary and secondary sources.

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? The changing status of a source
     Uses of primary and secondary sources
Evaluating sources
     Evaluating primary sources
     Tips for Writers: Questions for Evaluating Text-Based Primary Sources
     Tips for Writers: Questions for Evaluating Nonwritten Primary Sources
     Evaluating secondary sources
     Tips for Writers: Questions for Evaluating Secondary Sources
     Evaluating online resources
     Questions for Evaluating Websites
3. Approaching Typical Assignments in History
Reading actively in history
     Tips for Writers: Writing as You Read
Writing about reading
     Annotated bibliographies
Using primary sources
     Single-source analysis
     Comparing primary sources
     Tips for Writers: Writing a Comparative Essay
Secondary Sources: Typical Writing Assignments
     Critiques and book reviews
     Historiographic essays
Film reviews
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
Constructing an argument
     Tips for Writers: Constructing a Thesis
     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: Revising for 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
Conducting research
     Consulting human resources
     Using the library's online catalog
     Using print and electronic reference sources
     Locating secondary sources: using print and electronic periodical databases
     Tips for Writers: Electronic Databases
     Finding Internet sources
     Distinguishing among electronic sources
Taking effective research notes
Developing a working thesis
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 to avoid plagiarism
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
Sample pages from a student research paper





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