How to Write a Good History Research Paper: Getting Down to Crafting Your Paper

You’ve spent hours researching a topic that left you with pages and pages of notes and information. You have a few ideas for your thesis and you’ve pretty much settled on the best pieces of evidence you will use to make your case. But you still need to organize your work in a way that is focused, instead of jumping all over the place.

Here are steps to follow to craft a great history research paper:

  • Create an outline. Great research papers all start with great outlines. Develop a working thesis to guide your topic sentences. An outline should indicate a basic structure for the rest of your paper. Don’t get too detailed at this point, just make sure there is some logic that makes sense to you.
  • Write a rough draft. As soon as you’ve crafted an outline and have a good thesis to start with, it’s a good idea to get right down to it and start writing. Don’t wait for more research if you think you still have gaps. Start writing as efficiently as possible without worrying so much about whether or not you are answering all of your questions. Writing is a craft that requires several drafts on any given assignment. This first draft lets you get all of your ideas down on paper so that you can take the next steps to improve your work.
  • Write a second draft. A second draft is a full revision of your paper. This isn’t a place to make slight grammar or spelling corrections – although you could certainly make them if you spot them – it’s a place to consider rearranging some paragraphs and possibly editing out whole sections in order to give your paper better structure and make your argument much more effective. Mark up your first draft and ask yourself some critical papers. Is your argument clear? Is your evidence effectively used? Be your harshest critic and you’ll see that your paper will greatly improve.
  • Write a final draft. For this third and final draft you’re ready to check for all of the basic rules of good writing. Check your sentence structure, word use and spelling. Also make sure your punctuation is correct and look for any unnecessary awkward or passive noun constructions. Have a look at your transition sentences and see if you could improve them so that the research paper flows better. Be sure that the start of the paper is interesting and that every word serves a paper. Cut out all unnecessary words.