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A Pocket Guide to Writing in History


A Pocket Guide to Writing in History Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A portable and affordable reference tool, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History provides reading, writing, and research advice useful to students in all history courses. Concise yet comprehensive advice on approaching typical history assignments, developing critical reading skills, writing effective history papers, conducting research, using and documenting sources, and avoiding plagiarism — enhanced with practical tips and examples throughout — have made this slim reference a best-seller. Now in its sixth edition, the book offers more coverage of working with sources than ever before.

About the Author

MARY LYNN RAMPOLLA (Ph.D., University of Toronto) is associate professor of history at Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C. Her scholarly work focuses on medieval and early modern Europe, and her publications include articles in Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies and entries in the Dictionary of the Middle Ages. She is active in the fields of history and composition.

Table of Contents



1. Introduction: Why Study History? 

Historical questions 

How this manual can help you 

2. Working with Sources

Identifying historical sources

         Primary sources

         Secondary sources

         Primary or secondary?

         Uses of primary and secondary sources

Evaluating sources

         Evaluating primary sources

         Tips for Writers: Evaluating Text-based Primary Sources

         Tips for Writers: Evaluating Nonwritten Primary Sources

         Evaluating secondary sources

         Tips for Writers: Evaluating Secondary Sources

         Evaluating online sources

         Tips for Writers: Evaluating Web Sources

3. Reading and Writing in History: Some Typical Assignments

Reading actively in history

         Tips for Writers: Writing as You Read

Writing about reading


         Annotated bibliographies

         Critiques and Book Reviews 

         Film reviews

         Single-source Analysis

         Historiographic essays

Taking history exams

         Preparing for an exam

         Answering identification questions

         Taking an essay exam

4. Writing History Papers

Approaching a history assignment

Thinking like a historian

Developing a thesis

Tips for Writers: Testing your Thesis

Constructing an argument

         Supporting your thesis

         Responding to counterevidence and anticipating

            opposing viewpoints

Organizing your paper

         Drafting an introduction

         Writing clear and connected paragraphs

         Writing an effective conclusion

Revising for content and organization

         Tips for Writers: Questions for Revising: Content

            and Organization

Editing for style and grammar

         Choosing appropriate language

 Choosing the appropriate tense

 Using active voice  

 Knowing when to use the pronouns I, me, and you

5. Writing a Research Paper 

Moving from topic to research question

         Choosing a topic

         Focusing on a research question

Developing a research plan and a working thesis

         Gathering and managing sources

          Developing a working thesis

Conducting research

          Consulting human resources

          Locating primary sources

          Using the librarys online catalog

          Using print and electronic reference sources

          Using print and electronic periodical databases

          Tips for Writers: Electronic Databases

          Finding Internet sources

          Distinguishing among electronic sources

Taking effective research notes

Making an outline

Revising and editing your paper

6. Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Avoid It

What is plagiarism?

Avoiding plagiarism

          Citing sources to avoid plagiarism

          Paraphrasing to avoid plagiarism

          Tips for Writers: Avoiding Plagiarism 

          Downloading Internet sources carefully

Plagiarism and the Internet

7. Quoting and Documenting Sources

Using quotations

          When to quote

          How to quote

Documenting sources

          Footnotes and endnotes


          Documenting nonwritten materials

Documentation models

Directory to Documentation Models

          Formatting notes

          Formatting bibliography entries

          Models for notes and bibliography entries

Sample pages from a student research paper

Appendix A. Writing Guides of Interest to Historians

Appendix B. Selected Print and Online Resources

  in History


Product Details

Rampolla, Mary Lynn
Bedford Books
General History
Composition & Creative Writing - Academic
Reference-Student Writing Guides
Edition Description:
Sixth Edition
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
8.4 x 4.26 x 0.355 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » General
Reference » Writing » General
Reference » Writing » Nonfiction

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