A Pocket Guide to Writing in History

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  • Edition: 8th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-01-16
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A Pocket Guide to Writing in History is the concise, trusted, and easy-to-use guide for the writing and research skills needed in undergraduate history courses. Now thoroughly updated to reflect the 2017 Chicago guidelines, the ninth edition ensures that students have the most up-to-date advice and ample instruction for conducting responsible research.

Author Biography

Mary Lynn Rampolla (PhD, University of Toronto) is associate professor of history at Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C., and where she chairs the History Program at Trinity (Washington) University. 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 has several articles in an encyclopedia called Holy People of the World. She is active in the fields of history and composition and frequently presents papers at the annual International Medieval Congress at the University of Western Michigan.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Why Study History?

1a?Asking historical questions

1b?Developing historical thinking skills

2 Working with Sources

2a?Identifying historical sources

2a-1?Primary sources

2a-2?Secondary sources

2a-3?Primary or secondary? The changing status of a source

2a-4?Accessing sources in history

2a-5?Use of primary and secondary sources

2b?Evaluating sources

2b-1?Evaluating primary sources

Tips for Writers:?Questions for Evaluating Text-Based Primary Sources

Tips for Writers:?Questions for Evaluating Nonwritten Primary Sources

2b-2?Evaluating Secondary Sources

Tips for Writers:?Questions for Evaluating Secondary Sources

2b-3?Evaluating online resources

Tips for Writers:?Questions for Evaluating Web sites

2b-4?Identifying fake news

3 Approaching Typical Assignments in History

3a?Reading actively in history

Tips for Writers:?Writing as You Read

3b?Writing about reading


3b-2?Annotated bibliographies

3c?Using primary sources

3c-1?Single-source analysis

3c-2?Comparative papers

Tips for Writers:?Writing a Comparative Essay

3d?Using secondary sources

3d-1?Critiques and book reviews

3d-2?Historiographic essays

3e?Writing about film

3f?Taking history exams

3f-1?Preparing for an exam

3f-2?Answering identification questions

3f-3?Taking an essay exam

4 Following Conventions of Writing in History

4a?Approaching a history assignment

4b?Thinking like a historian

4c?Developing a thesis

4d?Constructing an argument

Tips for Writers:?Testing Your Thesis

4d-1?Supporting your thesis

4d-2?Responding to counterevidence and anticipating opposing viewpoints

4e?Organizing your paper

4e-1?Drafting an introduction

4e-2?Writing clear and connected paragraphs

4e-3?Writing an effective conclusion

4f?Revising for content and organization

Tips for Writers:?Revising for Content and Organization

4g?Editing for style and grammar

Tips for Writers:?Common Grammatical Errors (and how to avoid them)

4g-1?Choosing appropriate language

4g-2?Choosing the appropriate tense

4g-3?Using active voice

4g-4?Knowing when to use the pronouns?I, me,?and?you

5 Writing a Research Paper

5a?Moving from topic to research question

5a-1?Choosing a topic

5a-2?Focusing on a research question

5b?Developing a research plan

5c?Conducting research

5c-1?Consulting human resources

5c-2?Using the library’s online catalog

5c-3?Using print and electronic reference sources

5c-4?Locating primary sources

5c-5?Locating secondary sources

5c-6?Finding Internet sources

Tips for Writers:?Electronic Databases

5c-7?Distinguishing among electronic sources

5d?Taking effective research notes

5e?Developing a working thesis

5f?Making an outline

5g?Revising and editing your paper

6 Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Avoid It

6a?What is plagiarism?

6b?Avoiding plagiarism

6b-1?Citing sources to avoid plagiarism

6b-2?Paraphrasing to avoid plagiarism

Tips for Writers:?Avoiding Plagiarism

6b-3?Downloading Internet sources carefully

6c?Plagiarism and the Internet

7 Quoting and Documenting Sources

7a?Using quotations

7a-1?When to quote

7a-2?How to quote

7b?Documenting sources

7b-1?Footnotes and endnotes


7b-3?Documenting nonwritten materials

7c?Documentation models

7c-1?Formatting guidelines for footnotes and endnotes

7c-2?Formatting guidelines for bibliographies

7c-3?Models for notes and bibliography entries

7d?Sample pages from a student research paper

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