Modern History Essay Guide Prelude Over the past couple of months, quite a few people have been emailing and PM me about modern and how to write a band 6 calibre essay. As a general note, this guide is mainly designed for students who are struggling with essay writing.
Treat it as food for thought, as providing a set of suggestions some of which you might incorporate into your own method for writing essays.
Why do historians set essays? It is useful to begin by considering why essay-writing has long been the method of choice for assessment in history. We want you to show us that not only have you acquired a knowledge of the topic but also that you fully understand the topic and the issues raised by it.
Essays test understanding by asking you to select and re-organise relevant material in order to produce your own answer to the set question. Essays which do not answer the question can only be regarded as demonstrating some knowledge of the topic, they cannot be said to show understanding of the topic.
Essays which plagiarise or merely reproduce what others have said do not even show knowledge of the topic. Plagiarism is thus not merely a matter of theft, it involves an entirely unacceptable subversion of the learning process.
Is there a right and a wrong answer? History essays are less about finding the correct answer to the set question than they are about demonstrating that you understand the issues which it raises and the texts which discuss these issues. With most historical problems certainly the most interesting ones it is seldom possible to arrive at a definitive answer.
The evidence almost always permits a variety of solutions, and different approaches generate divergent conclusions. This body of evidence will typically comprise what the primary sources tell us about the events and phenomena under discussion.
A good answer will need to harmonise with all of this evidence, or explain why particular items have been dismissed as having no bearing on the problem.
Analysing the Question Essential steps: Circling the key words in the question is sometimes a helpful first step in working out exactly what you need to do. It is useful to note that there is usually a natural way of structuring your answer: It might be useful to define and defend the criteria on which your judgement depends.
That is, to explain why they are the best criteria for judging the historical phenomenon at issue.
This essay will examine five spheres which cast light on the extent of Jewish influence in high medieval France: The essay would need a conclusion in which you pulled together the results of your test cases: It has been seen that the Jews exerted a profound influence on the intellectual life of the universities but almost none on that of the established monastic orders.
You may respond, for example, by agreeing with the quotation in which case you will need to explain why agreement is the best response, why it would be wrong to disagree. You should consider the merits of a variety of responses.
If possible you should always examine the book or article from which the quotation has been taken in order to discover what its author meant by it, to discover how the author has understood the issues. One method of tackling such an essay would be to distinguish five or six areas of similarity and contrast, and to devote a section of the essay to each area - a section in which you would assess the degree of similarity and reach a sub-conclusion.
It needs to be stressed that none of these types of question calls for a narrative approach. You will never be asked to produce a narrative of what happened.
In rare circumstances, a few sentences of narrative may form part of the evidence cited in support of a point, but the essay as a whole should be organised according to a logical structure in which each paragraph functions as a premise in the argument. The analytical and expository voice will always prove more effective than the narrative mode of writing.
Preliminary Reading The aim of your initial reading should be to identify an argument which answers the question - one which you find plausible and can carry through with conviction. For this purpose, it will be useful to read at least two or three items, including a recent book covering the general area in which the topic falls.
Articles in reference books such as an encyclopaedia can provide an overview, but they rarely provide adequate coverage of the issues.
Citing such works will undermine the credibility of your essay. Do not forget to make notes as you go. Making notes helps you to summarise arguments and ideas, to select points relevant to your essay, to clarify and adjust your understanding of the essay question and of the topic it bears upon.
But your main priority should be to discover an argument. Drawing up a Plan Once you have come up with a working argument, you need to draw up a plan to guide the next stage of your research.
It should comprise a list of the points which each paragraph will attempt to demonstrate, and rough notes on supporting examples.
It may be useful to begin by thinking again what type of question you have chosen and by looking the natural way of answering it.
In order to draw up a plan you will need to evaluate its merits: What points will I need to make in order to sustain this argument? Are there alternative points of view which will have to be considered and refuted in order to make this argument work?
Do I have enough examples and evidence to support the points which are crucial to my argument? Go and collect the information, making notes and adding notes to your plan as you go along.Tips on Writing a Persuasive Essay.
During this phase, students should plan every aspect of the essay: Choose a position. Students should think about the issue and pick the side they wish to advocate.
The Secret to Good Paragraph Writing. Consider various ways to make the argument, including using an analogy, drawing comparisons, or. How to write an essay plan The ability to write a good essay begins with careful and efficient planning.
This means that the preparation and research of an essay are as . You need to think for yourself and come up with a ‘bright idea’ to write a good history essay. You can of course follow the herd and repeat the interpretation given in your textbook. But there are problems here.
A-level history is all about writing essays. No matter how much you know, if you can't: write a good essay you will not do well. Unfortunately, a good essay does not just consist of writing all you know about a given topic; at A-level examiners tend to insist on tricky things like answering the question, analysis rather than narrative and including information to support your point of view.
The Purpose of an Essay. The original meaning of an essay is 'an attempt', or a try, at caninariojana.com is therefore appropriate to consider writing an essay as a learning exercise.
Essays, and other academic writing, focus the mind and encourage you to come to conclusions about what you are studying. These essays don’t have to be serious— just ask David Sedaris— but there are good and bad ways to write them.
Never fear—this template is here to guide you in setting up your hook, descriptive body paragraphs, and an impactful conclusion.