Historiographical essay

How to write a historiographical essay.

historiographical essay

Historiographical essays or historiographic essays are about a description of historical events naturally. It is a history within history written in the form of an essay. Therefore, knowledge of history is required especially of the event you chose to write your essay on. This type of an essay also requires exploration of different sources, which might be contradictory.

historiographicalessayAs for the elements of a historiographical essay, what you need to do first is to present a thesis statement. The thesis statement, in its turn, presents an event at stake, introduces the sources briefly, perspectives and main points to be disagreed of the authors of these sources. It is a part of introduction. There has to be a historic theme you work on. There has to be no question asked in your introduction paragraph on a researched topic. Body paragraphs are about development and elaboration of the main points, pulling out the disagreement some specific ideas, paraphrasing the arguments and making an analysis on the way. Think and write upon why exactly the authors are disagree. A conclusion paragraph is about summarizing what you have found during the work on your paper, make evaluation of your sources credibility, point out which ones are the most valid and what makes them so.

Decide on the topic you are going to need to write a historiographical essay. In case of it to be an assignment for a class, you will most likely be assigned to write on a certain specific chosen beforehand topic given to you. The other way, you will have to come up with a topic of your own. Be sure your topic to have a substance within itself, it has to be arguable and defined clearly for your readers.

Work on collecting your sources. It is important for them to be not very old, up to 30 years old approximately. The more recent the sources are the better. Look through as many books as you can possibly find on the topic you have chosen. The more you find, he better. Your essay will be complete when detailed and varied. historiographic essay

It is needless to say, that the information you find for your essay should be relevant and seasoned with pertinent examples. Read, read and once again read. It will not do you any harm but improve your knowledge of history.

Feel free to make notes while working on your essay but be sure you do not plagiarize unintentionally. It will help you to organize your thoughts and write them down clearly and logically. Write on everything each author has to say on the topic thinking of it critically taking into consideration the facts of where the author comes from originally, the time he/she has been working, used methods and approaches. It will be helpful on the way to understanding the arguments they give.

Overall, your paper needs to be cohesive. Make sure all the information flows smoothly like a river using transition words and phrases, and you might come up with new questions based on a researched topic to keep on researching its historical points. The sources should be trustworthy, written by historians, “speak” to one another, being similar so there was something to contrast and compare. Book reviews, articles on history, encyclopedias and textbooks written for general audience are rather bad idea to use for your historiographical essay.

It will be quite helpful to find and read other people historiographic essays on the topic you selected for yours. In addition, there are different approaches to writing a historiographical essay, namely historiographical evolution approach, rival schools approach, different aspects of a problem approach, a thematic approach. Then as now in some details, historiographical evolution approach works when comparing the two secondary works, which deal with questions related closely showing an evolution in points of view over time clearly; a rival-school approach is about presenting some interpretations of an issue, which are major; different aspects of a problem approach is about extracting various pieces of the problem from different sources, how they flatter or contradict each other; and, finally, a thematic approach, which is about a division into sections each of which would explain the choice of the books you discuss and how they are related precisely.historiographicessay

Focus in a historiographical essay or how it is called a historiographic review is not on a person or a problem but on the ways this person or problem is depicted, the ways of its interpretation (-s). Do not forget to give a title, which would sound memorable, catchy, original, new. Yes, from a perspective of a professional historian it will be rather difficult to remain original in your writing but everything is possible. Everyone has a writing style of his/her own and only due to that, your working piece will be differ from others. Make sure you included a bibliography with proper citations, endnotes and footnotes are acceptable in the text. Narrow down your topic but bibliography cannot be narrowed. Include monographs published recently establishing in the way a larger context for your theme.

Monographs and journal entries may be written in either narrative or analytical writing style. Narrative writing style means descriptive way of writing where paragraphs are structured to tell in an organized manner, logically from the beginning, middle part and the end of course. A thesis is simplistic but it is there and even though this style is more associated with amateurs, historians who are professionals also use this writing style.

As for analytical writing style, argument goes ahead despite narrative writing style to be still present within analytical one. It is easier to recognize a thesis statement here as long as it is placed in the introduction paragraph, preface, articles conclusions, monographs and its chapters.

history essayThere are difficulties, which are common. No thesis statement, over-generalization, history writing instead of historiography, failure in analysis of a historical works context, no analysis at all but a report of an interpretation, meaningless topic sentences, paragraph structure, which is incoherent, failure to do any explanation of where further research goes, no requirements are met.

Historiographical essay is a dialogue between the past and the present and you as a writer go to mediation in this deal of sorts. It is not a bibliographical paper in which strong and weak sides are summarized and given an evaluation but a paper where you are to present an argument of your own. There is no need to be afraid to speak through your essay so your voice was heard. Everyone has something to say.