Tips of the Day

By , March 10, 2020 6:11 pm

Hopefully Helpful Hints

1.  If you want to borrow a textbook, please ask Ms. G. There’s lots of background historical information on a number of topics. The book is called The West and the World. It is not gigantic.  It could be useful for step 1.

2. It’s okay to feel unsure of where you’re going when you start to research the historical background of your topic. As you look at more sources you will start to see certain events written about over and over. That’s a pattern and it’s telling you where to focus. Research is a trial and answer process. Everyone feels unsure at the start! Even people like me who have been researching for over 30 years!

3. To figure out what background information is, think about the topic from the perspective of a person who knows absolutely NOTHING about it. Therefore, you’d require the most basic things (always including dates). For example, if I were researching the history of nuclear power, I would not start with the first nuclear reactors; I’d try to go further back and look into the first research about atoms; I’d research when scientists first gained knowledge of anything related to atoms, in fact. In other words, try to go as far back on your topic as you can, noting that this course begins in 1450.

4. Take good notes. The process is as important as the final product. Those who have good notes absolutely do better on the essay. Notes aren’t meant to be drudgery. They are the thing that opens up your world to an understanding of your topic. Write little reminders to yourself if something you take a note on sparks a thought or a suggestion of where to look next. Use the column note-taking method to help you with this. If you value your notes, you will get more out of them. If you seem them as an annoyance, you’ll tend to end up with little to work with for your essay. And thus a poor essay.

5. Things you should always have in your history notes:

  1. dates of events
  2. descriptions of who people are (name dropping is not helpful in history – if you include someone’s name in your notes you need to know who they are. More importantly, your reader will need to know who they are).
  3. HTC connections – especially causes and consequences

6. Mine each general source for as much information as you can by varying your search term. Think you looked up your topic on Encyclopaedia Britannica? There are so many other ways to find more information in the same source just by switching up what you’re looking for. There are key people, key events. Remember, you’re not done when your notes reach the end of the page. You’re done when your notes are thorough.

October 6.

Submit your work on the Google Classroom today or as soon as it is done. Include photos of your notes. I thank you very much and you should thank yourself for investing in your research and writing future.

– Ms. G

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