Writing Essay Introduction History Comparison Contrast Thesis
It follows from all of this that — that is, answers which fall outside the field of possible solutions or which fail to take account of received evidence — even though there is no 'absolutely right' answer.
Essential steps: select a question; identify the subject of the question; what are you being asked to do - that is, what kind of information will you need to answer the question, and how will you have to treat it?
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.
'Compare-and-contrast' questions demand the identification of similarities and differences.
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.
Circling the key words in the question is sometimes a helpful first step in working out exactly what you need to do.
The following outline is intended as to provide one example of how to write an essay.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.Plagiarism is thus not merely a matter of theft, it involves an entirely unacceptable subversion of the learning process.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).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.Essays test understanding by asking you to select and re-organise relevant material in order to produce your own answer to the set question.An undergraduate essay need not be particularly innovative in its approach and insights, but it must be the product of the student's own dialogue with the subject.There are, however, limits to the field of possible solutions, since they must fit in with 'the evidence'.Of course, exactly what constitutes 'the evidence' is almost invariably one of the issues under discussion among the historians who are most deeply engaged with the problem, but in general for each historical question there will be a body of evidence which is recognised as being relevant to it.