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Writing History

A Guide for Students

Fifth Edition

William Kelleher Storey

Publication Date - June 2015

ISBN: 9780190238940

160 pages
5 x 7-3/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $22.95

The most concise and hands-on guide to writing for history students


Bringing together practical methods from both history and composition, Writing History: A Guide for Students, Fifth Edition, provides a wealth of tips and advice to help students research and write essays for history classes. Now with a lay-flat binding that further increases the book's utility, Writing History covers all aspects of writing about history, including finding and researching topics, interpreting source materials, drawing inferences from sources, and constructing arguments. It concludes with three chapters that discuss writing effective sentences, using precise wording, and revising. Using numerous examples from the works of cultural, political, and social historians, Writing History serves as an ideal text for any history course that asks students to conduct research.

New to this Edition

  • A more accessible format with lay-flat binding
  • Improved reference tools, including flowcharts, lists, exercises, and review boxes
  • Additional help with online research, including databases and other digital tools
  • Updated examples of primary and secondary sources
  • Clarification of frequently confused topics like primary sources

About the Author(s)

William Kelleher Storey is Professor of History at Millsaps College. Formerly Preceptor in Expository Writing at Harvard University, he is the author of The First World War: A Concise Global History, Second Edition (2014), Guns, Race, and Power in Colonial South Africa (2008), and Science and Power in Colonial Mauritius (1997).

Previous Publication Date(s)

February 2012
April 2008
July 2003

Table of Contents

    1.A. Explore Your Interests
    1.B. Find a Historical Motive
    1.C. Focus Your Interests Early
    1.D. Work with Bibliographies
    1.E. Search Preselected Databases on the Internet
    1.F. Use Reference Sources to Begin a Project
    1.G. Conduct a General Search on the Internet
    1.H. Scan the Search Results
    1.I. Get a Quick First Impression
    1.J. Critically Assess Sources on the Internet
    1.K. Speak with a Librarian
    1.L. Speak with Your Professor
    1.M. Approach Your Topic from a Particular Angle
    1.N. Browse for More Sources
    1.O. Form a Hypothesis
    1.P. Craft a Proposal
    1.Q. Write an Annotated Bibliography
    1.R. Talk to People about Your Topic
    1.S. If You Have to Abandon a Topic, Do It Early
    Flowchart Chapter 1: Constructing an Argument Based on Sources

    2.A. Distinguish Primary Sources from Secondary Works
    2.B. Refine Your Hypothesis with Who, What, Why, Where, and When
    2.C. Be Sensitive to Points of View in Your Sources
    2.D. Select the Most Important Source Materials
    2.E. Take Notes by Being Selective
    Flowchart Chapter 2: Taking Notes

    3.A. Collect and Report Your Sources Carefully
    3.B. Incorporate the Ideas of Others with Care and Respect
    3.C. Know the Difference between Summaries and Paraphrases
    3.D. Learn How and When to Quote
    3.E. Use Ellipses and Brackets, but Do Justice to Your Sources
    3.F. Learn How to Use Quotation Marks
    3.G. Don't Plagiarize
    3.H. Be Honest, but Don't Give Unnecessary Citations
    3.I. Choose a Citation System That Suits Your Audience
    Exercise: How to Cite

    4.A. Be True to Recognized Facts
    4.B. Transform Facts into Evidence
    4.C. Check Your Facts
    4.D. Check the Internal Consistency of Primary Sources
    4.E. Check Primary Sources Against Each Other
    4.F. Compare Primary Sources with Secondary Works
    4.G. Conduct Interviews Systematically
    4.H. Compare Sources to Make Inferences
    4.I. Make Inferences from Visual and Material Sources
    4.J. Move from Inferences to Arguments
    4.K. Make Reasonable Inferences from Your Sources
    4.L. Make Inferences That Are Warranted
    4.M. Avoid Unwarranted Comparisons
    4.N. Avoid Anachronistic Inferences
    Flowchart Chapter 4: Understanding Sources

    5.A. Craft a Thesis Statement
    5.B. Create a Draft Outline of an Analytical Essay
    5.C. Create a Draft Outline of a Narrative Essay
    5.D. Complete Your Outline
    5.E. Start to Write a First Draft
    5.F. Grab Your Reader's Attention, but Do It Gently
    5.G. State Your Intellectual Interests Early
    5.H. Review the Historical Literature
    5.I. Build Your Essay with Good Paragraphs
    5.J. Define Your Key Terms Early
    5.K. Set an Appropriate Tone
    5.L. Treat Other Writers with Consideration
    5.M. Account for Counterarguments
    5.N. Lead Your Readers to an Interesting Conclusion
    Flowchart Chapter 5: Writing Your First Draft

    6.A. Combine Chronology with Causation
    6.B. Get a Sense of Change and Continuity
    6.C. Select the Key Participants in Your Story
    6.D. Find Your Own Voice as a Narrator
    6.E. Choose Your Own Beginning and End
    6.F. Write a Narrative with Well-Chosen Details
    6.G. Write a Narrative to Support an Argument
    Flowchart Chapter 6: Representing the Past

    7.A. Choose Verbs That Are Precise
    7.B. Make Passive Sentences Active
    7.C. Write in the Past Tense
    7.D. Avoid Split Infinitives If You Can
    7.E. Put Verbs in Your Sentences
    7.F. Put Your Ideas in an Intelligible Order
    7.G. Begin a Sentence on Common Ground and Gradually Build a New Point
    7.H. Place the Emphasis at the End
    7.I. Construct Parallel Forms for Emphasis
    7.J. Form the Possessive Correctly
    7.K. Break the Rules If You Must

    8.A. Be Concise
    8.B. Write in Language That Your Audience Can Understand
    8.C. Avoid Pretentious Language
    8.D. Avoid Colloquial Language
    8.E. Be Sensitive to the Politics of Diction
    8.F. Be Sensitive to Gender-Specific Language
    8.G. Avoid Euphemisms
    8.H. Choose Figurative Language Carefully
    8.I. Use Metaphors and Similes Judiciously
    8.J. Use Color, but Avoid Clichés
    8.K. Use Foreign Words That Are Familiar to Your Audience
    8.L. Check for These Common Diction Problems

    9.A. Get Some Perspective on Your Draft
    9.B. Work with a Peer Editor
    9.C. Revise Your Draft
    9.D. Evaluate Your Own Arguments and Narratives
    9.E. Evaluate Your Sentences and Word Choices
    9.F. Proofread the Final Draft
    9.G. Keep the Rules in Mind, but Enjoy Your Writing
    Flowchart Chapter 9: Writing Your Final Draft

    Answers for Exercise: How to Cite

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