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Historical Research: Writing and Citing

Citing Sources

Chicago (or the closely related Turabian) style is the most frequently used style for the discipline of history.  It allows you to use either footnote or parenthetical author-year citation -- ask your professor which style they prefer. 

There is a brief online guide to citation using the Chicago style at the University of Wisconsin Writing Center.  The University of Georgia has produced a brief online guide to the Turabian style.

Page Library also has copies of the latest edition of both guides in the Faye T. Carter Reference section, at the Circulation desk and in the General stacks.

Cover Art
Call Number: Z253 .U69 2003
ISBN: 0226104036

Cover Art
Call Number: LB2369 .T8 2007
ISBN: 0226823369

Writing History Papers

Here are a few ways to write an interesting paper:

1)     Trace a change in a state of affairs and make a stab at explaining the change.

2)     Relate an unofficial version of an "official story."

3)     Contrast real life with a common stereotype or popular image. (Cowboys in film vs. cowboys in historical court documents)

4)     Compare a real-life situation or event with a theory of social life or change. How much (or little!) does this theory account for what happened?

5)     Distill a pattern of thought or action shared by people in a time period out of the historical record. (Marriage was treated in X manner in B set of documents, but in Z contradictory manner in C set of documents)

6)   Make up a typology, or finite set of categories, that makes complex data easier to comprehend. (wilderness tourists, sports fishing tourists, historical tourists, family/leisure tourists as categories of visitors to a national park during a given time period)

7)   Compare and contrast two groups of people or two events that seem at first glance to be either very similar to each other or completely unrelated/different. Show what makes them similar and different.(ex.: Reformed and Catholic sacraments in 16th-Century German life)

In general, emphasize the unexpected: something appearing monolithic at first glance is really complex; something that seems to have "always been that way" actually evolved; a religion or government appearing to function from the top down actually experienced change from the bottom up; something appearing to be an effect is really a cause; something that appears as a cause is merely a correlation.

Using Microsoft Word Resources

Some of the greatest tools available for writers of research papres are the bibliographic and reference functions of Microsft Word. These implements can make the mechanics of your paper much easier. Adding footnotes or endnotes has been simplified and the bibliogrraphy no longer needs to be feared!

Check out an easy to follow tutorial on these Microsoft Word functions here:

Microsoft Word Tutorial

Need Some Help?

If you feel that your text could use a little exta help as far as mechanics are concerned; do not dispair! The Center for Academic Enrichment can assist you in your writing assignment.

Some of the services the CAE offers are professional tutoring in writing and mathematics.  Students may schedule individual appointments for one-on-one tutoring for any Lincoln University writing assignment and/or for any mathematics course work.  Group tutoring workshops and exam reviews are also available.

Call ahead to make an appointment.

Center for Academic Enrichment:

317 Martin Luther King Hall

7:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. MTWR; 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. F