The best part about being assigned a historical research paper is that the events have already unfolded, leaving the writer with hundreds of resources to build upon for their research paper. Between the hundreds of magazines, books, journals, news stories and personal point of views, history can be retold thousands of times over. History is one of the most important things that people often find themselves repeating. The most important part of writing a historical research paper however is choosing what format to present the paper in. In order to choose the most appropriate format, the following guidelines should be followed:
Several different options exist when it comes to choosing the proper citations for any type of term paper. The most common styles are APA, created by the American Psychological Association, which is used when citing journals and/or books or MLA, created by the Modern Language Association, for use in languages and/or literary works. One of the most commonly used citation styles for a historical research paper, or anything in the social sciences, is that of Chicago style with a numbering system to code individual citations.
When compiling any type of research paper, the most important thing to follow is the teacher’s request, as even an A quality paper can quickly become a D or a F if the student does not used the style the teacher requested for the course. If the course syllabus calls for APA, it is up to the student to research and learn this style no matter what other courses may call for.
As many of these styles can cause overlap, it is in the individual’s best interest to write in the style they are most comfortable with. If a student does not know APA style, they may spend more of their time researching how to properly cite something than actually writing the body of the paper.
The best way to learn how to write a historical research paper is to annotate how others have done it before. If a majority of historical authors are using Chicago, it may be in the student’s best interest for their future endeavors to use the sources already being provided by others. This will help each student as they someday develop these research works into a dissertation or capstone requirement.
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