A Stepwise Guide to Conducting Historical Research

History writers have to conduct research and write historical papers, especially when they help college students. However, most beginner writers have no clue how a historical paper should appear. Consequently, it can lead to stress or anxiety when they get tasks to write such papers for money. Still anxious about how to go about your historical research? Consider the following steps to develop a brilliant historical piece.

Historical Research Guidelines

  • The historical sources and their richness to back your paper

Every era has a trace that historians can use as evidence for their work. Some sources prove more credible than others, and therefore, you have to become astute at picking the right ones to use. Additionally, you have to understand who developed the historical piece you want to analyze to understand their perspective.

The process of researching history entails sources, which can get categorized as secondary and primary sources. Secondary sources emanate from people who prove absent at the time of the event’s occurrence. Most secondary sources become important in overviewing information, which comes in handy in the subject familiarization process. It also helps when it comes to making comparisons with other historical events. You have to start with secondary sources to refine your research subject, as it helps to identify conflicts and gaps in the available scholarly literature. Such sources include historical dictionaries, encyclopedias, and academic articles.

Primary sources originate from groups or individuals who witnessed or participated in an event. It can prove either during or straightaway after the occurrence. Such includes memoirs, speeches, diaries, telegrams, etc.

  • Historical analysis

In most cases, the type of source never matters as you have to understand the writer’s identity, the period when they wrote the historical piece, and the target audience. Additionally, consider the kind of evidence you examine. Will you inductively follow the evidence path and develop your interpretation premised on accumulated sources? Did you start your study deductively and decidedly without laying your eyes on the evidence?    

Any serious historian has to consider inductively follow evidence, as opposed to deductively starting without laying your eyes on the evidence. Further, history entails perspective, and an overview proves everything. So you should consider this seriously.

  • Thesis, topic, sources

Historical research requires integrity to ensure quality output. Therefore, you have to avoid plagiarism, recycling, or committing a premature cognitive guarantee. The process of writing a thesis begins by picking the right subject. Once you have settled on a topic, read your primary text closely with support from the secondary sources. Try and grow some awareness concerning the exciting qualities contained in the primary manuscript. Pick a title and ask fruitful questions that will assist you in exploring and evaluating the subject. Create a study hypothesis and refine it to have a thesis that you can work with.

You then have to develop a thesis to work with. It includes revising and refining it till you get something workable. However, remember to avoid committing to any hypothesis too soon, and alternatively, use it to inspire yourself when it comes to revising and making the hypothesis better. Thereafter, test your hypothesis to ensure it proves worthwhile, original, not too broad, nor too narrow.

  • Start thinking, researching, and organizing

You do not have to become sequential when it comes to writing a historical research piece. It involves writing, researching, and revising, all intertwined. Therefore, start writing as soon as you can, to avoid wasting time. You have to brainstorm ideas, develop an outline based on the concepts you develop, before synthesizing and making your deduction. Write a thesis, then begin writing the document. It should ultimately prove chronological when it comes to information flow.

  • Draft, revise, write afresh, and rethink

Making revisions of your write-up depends on how well your first draft proves. However, experience shows that on average, you might need up to four revisions. Rectify the tone, passive words, and typos contained in the draft. You don’t want to write your historical piece then sabotage it by compromising it with grammar, typos, tone, and other errors.


Historical research can seem difficult to most college students, but should not be a problem for professional history writers. So if you learn to do it with ease, you will be able to ensure a quality write-up for any writing gig you find.


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