Writing in History

As a discipline that documents and interprets continuity and change through time, CI’s History Program prepares students to search into the human experience, as well as to communicate and analyze historical interpretations and ideas, verbally and in the written form.

Types of Assignments

The range of history courses offered is widespread, and so are the types of writing you may encounter. In any given course you might be expected to write some combination of assignments, including research papers, analyses of primary or secondary sources, reflection papers, journals, or in-class essays.

In your writing, you'll be expected to master a variety of elements, including creating and supporting a thesis, handling historical evidence, writing clearly and analytically, and using proper structure and mechanics (spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc). You also are expected to cite appropriately and properly in all assignments.

Advice for Writing in History

Strong writing demands time and care. Assignments may vary in length, but in many cases honing a short essay in order to leave the solid, essential core can be as hard as writing a longer paper. In all cases, you are expected to write and revise several drafts before turning in any assignment, leading to the best possible paper. Tutors at the University Writing Center (Broome 2360) are available to help you draft, revise, and edit your writing.

Finally, realize that each and every history instructor is willing to help you with your writing, and you should see the faculty as a valuable resource. Please take advantage of office hours and time outside of class to work with them. We look forward to seeing you, both inside and outside the classroom.

Samples