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There are two types of people: those who genuinely love history and are ready to spend hours digging in archives and encyclopedias for creating a perfect research or essay, and those who suffer throughout the whole course and think that writing a history research paper is a new form of torture. If you belong to the first group, we are very happy for you, but this article is for people who don’t know whether they will survive yet another term of history classes. Don’t worry, you will do just fine, and we are going to help you with that.
Prepare for the Battle
How can you turn a subject that mainly consists of facts, important people’s names and historical events into something interesting? From the first glance, it seems impossible, but we will prove to you that writing a history research paper can and should be fun and entertaining.
- Look for real people, not historical figures.
We all know that Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher were great politicians, and they did a lot of useful things for their country, but what kind of people were they? Discussing personalities as a simple collection of their deeds and achievements simplifies their characters, making them two-dimensional. Explore personal lives of famous historical figures, their romances, break-ups, dramas and moments of glory, if the topic of your history research paper allows you to do so.
- Find a difficult topic.
However illogical it may sound to you, writing history research papers on difficult and unexplored topics is actually much more interesting than picking a popular topic. Our brains love information since it serves as intellectual and visual stimuli. That’s why we keep scrolling social media timelines and watching silly videos even when we are exhausted, not to mention binging an exciting TV series over a night. Curiosity and interest are what keeps our brains awake, so use this trick to increase your motivation.
- Explore blank spots.
First of all, if you write a history research paper on a topic that wasn’t investigated before or lacks material, no one will be able to deny your arguments since you will be more knowledgeable on the matter than anyone in the class. Secondly, you will be able to learn a lot of new information, which is good to keep your interest and motivation at a high level. However, here’s a little warning: choose a topic in which you are at least a little bit interested. If you find some unexplored field which doesn’t touch the curiosity in you, the field will be left unexplored, and you will suffer from writing a work you don’t want to write.
- Don’t stress too much about mentioning everything or finding the “correct” answer.
Despite the fact that history is built on data, numbers, and facts, it’s not an exact science, and that means there are no definite answers, such as in math or physics. You are allowed to pick any opinion you can think about, however, you need to be ready to defend it in your paper using strong evidence and solid arguments. You cannot invent something out of thin air because it’s simply unscientific. If you are able, however, defend your opinion using arguments and quotations of other history scientists—it will be just fine. Essays and research papers are created for expressing and proving your opinion, so don’t worry if it seems to be a little bit unconventional and confronts the popular belief.
The Writing Process
Are you still afraid of history research papers? If so, you have one last stage to overcome your aversion towards this academic paper. We are not saying you will fall in love with archives and historical facts after this, but writing your history assignments will definitely become more tractable. We assume that you have read a thousand times about the stages of writing a research paper, such as an outline, introduction, and body, so we are going to give you a mixture of tips and tricks referring to various aspects of the writing process.
1) Divide the whole project into little bits.
Stop searching for motivational articles and hacks for writing your paper. Of course, you are frightened and overwhelmed by the fact you need to work on a 30-page academic paper on history! No wonder your motivation is low. Dividing the whole task into smaller portions may help a lot, since your mind will perceive each task as a separate action, and you won’t feel so horrified by the amount of work you have to do.
2) Develop a schedule.
Well, that’s an annoying piece of advice you’ve been hearing all your life from your parents, teachers, and strangers on the Internet. But what can we do if this really does help? Developing a schedule and working regularly on your project over a course of a month for 45 minutes every day (that’s not that much!) makes a dramatically better result than spending a crazy night trying to compose something out of thin air.
3) Just sit down and do something.
We all know that sneaky feeling of laziness and urge to delay unimportant and unexciting tasks to watch a new series of a TV show or hang out with friends. But soon, that not-so-urgent task turns into an important one, and then drama follows. We are sorry to tell you that, but there’s no way of doing something without actually putting effort into it.
Even if you won’t be able to do a lot of work at first, don’t be hard on yourself. On the contrary, reward yourself by buying your favorite sweets or a notebook with a funny picture. Your mind will remember that “doing stuff” is effective and rewarding, and saves your time, normalizes your sleep schedule and gets you cookies. That’s a lot of motivation!
Do you have a better idea on writing your history research paper? Feel free to share it in the comments section below, and the best ideas will be included in the next article on this topic.