Full Guide on How to Write History Essays
If you’re a history student, you need to know how to write an excellent history essay. This is a popular assignment, and you will be asked to write at least one during your education. And we are here to provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to create an excellent essay.
In this article, we will discuss the main elements of a history essay, its structure, and what steps should be taken to achieve the best result. Also, you will find some great tips on writing essays about history. So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
History Essay Writing: Main Elements and Structure
The first thing you need to know about history essays is their key components and structure. A history essay should have two main elements: a thesis statement and evidence. The essay is pointless without these two elements, as the main purpose of writing an academic paper is to show your skills and knowledge.
A thesis statement is basically your point of view on a certain historical question. And the evidence is needed to defend your position and convince the reader that your opinion is reasonable and based on facts.
In writing a history essay, you need to follow a 5-paragraph structure: an introduction paragraph, 3 main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. But, sometimes professors can ask students to structure their essays in another way. So, if you receive specific instructions, make sure to follow them.
Steps in Writing History Essays
The essay writing process includes a lot of steps, from research to proofreading. And to effectively work on your history essay, it is essential to follow all the steps in the correct order. Here is a list of key steps in writing an essay on history:
- Understand in what format you need to write your history essay. Usually, you will be asked to analyze a certain historical event or question, provide your opinion, and persuade the readers in your position.
- Choose the topic. If your professor didn’t ask you to write on a specific topic, you could select anyone you want. Research different ideas and find the best one.
- Investigate the chosen idea and create an outline. Simply put all your thoughts on a page and try to organize them to find the best way to develop your idea in the essay.
- Write the first draft. Work on the introduction, argumentation, and conclusion. Try to follow the structure and divide the text into paragraphs.
- Revise the first draft, edit all the mistakes, add more information, and work on the structure and paragraph flow. Proofread your text as many times as needed and pay attention to every detail.
How to Start a Historical Essay
An introduction is a paragraph where you prepare the reader for what will be covered in your essay. Thus, you need to include the following elements in the first paragraph:
- Attention grabber
- Background of the topic
- Thesis statement
- Outline of points you will talk about in your essay.
An introduction paragraph should usually be 5-6 sentences long. Write one sentence to grab the attention of your audience, write a couple of sentences to provide background information, state your thesis in one sentence, and end with one or two sentences about what will be covered in your essay.
A common mistake many beginners make is to state a topic as their thesis statement. It is a wrong approach, as the purpose of writing a history essay is not just to provide information about a historical event. You need to analyze this event from your perspective. That’s why a thesis statement should show your point of view on a certain historical event. But, keep in mind that your thoughts should be based on facts and evidence.
How to Write Main Body Paragraphs in an Essay on History
In the main body paragraphs, you need to develop your thesis statement by presenting and discussing your arguments. It is the largest and most important part of your essay. So, you need to pay attention to every detail when writing body paragraphs.
To persuade the audience it is not enough to just communicate your arguments one by one. You need to support each argument with facts to show that your position is reasonable. A good way to strengthen your argumentation is to add footnotes or cite credible sources. They will play the role of strong evidence to your position.
Also, make sure you present all the information in a systematic manner. Your argumentation should be well-structured. A common rule is to divide the text into several paragraphs, so each argument and evidence to it takes one paragraph. The logical division is critical to make your essay easy to read and help the reader to understand all your points correctly.
How to End a Historical Essay
A conclusion seems the easiest to write, as you have already presented all your points and just need to summarize them. But, everything is not that simple. A strong concluding paragraph is critical to make a lasting impression on the reader. And by simply repeating your points you will impress no one. So, let’s take a look at what you should include in your conclusion to end your history essay in the best way.
First, you need to remind your readers of your overall topic and your position. Reiterate your thesis statement in the first sentence of a conclusion paragraph. Then, summarize all arguments. Show the connection between them and your thesis, and how they support your position. End the concluding paragraph with a final statement about how your key point helps to better understand your overall topic.
A conclusion shouldn’t be long, as it didn’t provide any new information to the reader. You just reinforce your position by showing how all arguments complement each other and support your point of view together.
Practical Tips for Writing History Essays
It is obvious that to create a good-quality history essay, you need to practice and develop your skills. Every professional writer went through this. But, there are also a lot of ways to make the writing process easier without sacrificing quality. Professionals usually know many tricks that help them to write excellent essays. And we want to share some of these tricks with you.
- Always make sure you follow the instructions from your professor. If you write a great essay but don’t take into account all the requirements, there are low chances that you get a good grade. So, always consult with your professor before writing an essay.
- Don’t skip the outline process. It is an essential step to organize your thoughts and understand how you want to present all the information.
- Write the introduction at the end. Sometimes it is easier to first work on the main body paragraphs and then focus on the introduction when you already know what point you cover in the main body.
- Revise your essay at least three times. We all can make mistakes, and it is hard to find them all at once. Revising will help you to significantly improve the quality of your history essay.
All good essays usually look simple, precise, and well-structured like their authors know exactly what to do from the beginning. But, in fact, to achieve such results writers usually put a lot of effort into researching information, outlining their work, and editing it many times. So, don’t be upset if you can’t organize all your thoughts and create a perfect first draft of your history essay. Take your time, follow our recommendations, and don’t forget to consult with your professor in case of any questions.
What is the format for a history essay?
Usually, students are asked to write persuasive and analytical history essays, that include the following parts:
- Introduction. In the beginning, you state your thesis and prepare the reader for what you will discuss in your essay.
- Body paragraphs. You defend your position with arguments backed up with facts. Also, you can communicate opposite positions and refute them with evidence.
- Conclusion. In the end, you wrap up everything by summarizing your points and making a final statement.
How do you write an A+ history essay?
Writing an excellent essay requires good writing skills and knowledge of the correct structure for your paper. Before starting your essay, spend enough time reading your professor’s or instructor’s requirements, investigating your topic, and outlining your essay. Then, develop a strong thesis statement, find the best arguments to convince the readers of your position, and present all this information in a systematic manner.
How many paragraphs should a history essay have?
For a history essay, students can use a common 5-paragraph structure: an introduction paragraph, 3 main body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. Keep in mind that the introduction and conclusion should take no more than 15% of your essay. Sometimes, professors provide specific instructions for the essays’ structure, and in this case, you should take them into account.