8 Tips on Structuring Your History Thesis
So, you’ve finally made it to writing your dissertation? Congratulations! Now comes the hard part: planning and organizing your research. This can be even more difficult than doing an entire semester’s worth of work on the thesis in one go. Once you’ve done that initial research, you need to figure out how to structure it into a persuasive argument with academic merit.
Most college students are familiar with the thesis statement used in essays. But it’s not the same as writing a thesis. Your dissertation should be an argument that you can support with evidence from your research.
As such, the process of writing a history thesis can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By hiring a professional writer from EssayHub, you can create a strong and cohesive argument that will impress your professor. Whatsmore, it will make the process a little less intimidating.
Here are some tips which should help you develop a well-structured and compelling argument.
Know Yourself, Know Your Topic
Don’t try to write the ‘definitive’ history of something before you know enough, at least in outline form, about what has been written on your topic. This means that you need to go beyond reading secondary sources and begin with primary source research.
This can even include archival research in the early stages of your studies if your topic is extensive or not very deep yet. In short, get yourself out from behind the library desk and see your topic from a wider angle than just bookshelves!
Establish Your Contribution
In the introduction of your thesis, you need to clarify the novelty of your research. How does it move forward existing historiography on this topic? If you had not written about this topic, would anyone be writing on it now?
Be Aware of Current Debates and Intersections Between Different Fields
Make sure that the wording in the early chapters conveys that some important literature exists both within history itself and outside it. For example, lots of international history draws on many sources, including social science methodology. So, know which side of the fence your contribution falls on!
Map Out the Structure of Your Argument
Decide how you will approach your primary source material and plan this in advance. For example:
Your argument will probably develop along the way, so get an outline of your main chapters and sections together before you start writing anything!
Structure the Introduction
Your thesis should begin with a clear introduction that explains your topic and sketches out your argument. It should not just be a summary of what happens in each chapter! You need to tell the reader why this research is interesting and relevant to existing historiography on the subject.
This is where you can ‘sell’ yourself by explaining how your background prepares you for researching this topic. For instance, you may be very familiar with primary sources in German because of past studies. Or you may consider aspects of your research that may be of interest to a non-specialist audience (e.g., policy or political history).
Arrange the Historical Chapters
Most history students will include some kind of chronological element in their thesis. Whether through the use of a thematic chapter structure within a specific time period(s) or by using ‘transitions’ between periods and themes so that they flow in and out of each other in an ordered fashion.
The best way to consider how your information should be presented chronologically is to look at examples from other history dissertations, which you can find on the internet via Google! Try writing brief summaries/synopses for three different structures before making your final decision. This will help you reflect on which way of organizing your material will make for the most cohesive argument.
Shape the Conclusion
Your conclusion should not simply summarize what has gone before but instead bring together (in some form) all of the different strands of evidence/argument which have developed in your thesis and place them within a wider historiographical context, outlining what other historians have written on this topic.
Where does your work fit into existing understandings? How do you see it developing further? This should be interesting to anyone who has read the whole thesis because it explains how each chapter relates to another. These links can helpfully be drawn up in advance as an outline or diagram so that they are easy to follow!
The importance of writing a clear conclusion cannot be stressed enough. Many students forget to do this, so their chapters each stand on their own. But a thesis should be written as a whole unit, not just in terms of information.
Create a Bibliography
Your bibliography will usually fall into two sections – primary and secondary sources – which are separated by a line with round brackets on either side.
Secondary sources might include historiography/theory or any other kind of ‘background’ reading relevant to your topic. For example, if you were writing about 20th-century German history from an international perspective, you might use this space to list publications on diplomacy and foreign affairs (e.g., Jarausch).
Primary sources should be listed chronologically, and often there is room for extra notes on the sources (e.g., if you think some are especially useful or relevant).
Are you struggling with how to structure your history thesis? You are not alone. Many students struggle with this issue. The good news is that there are ways to overcome it. You can look through writing services reviews on NoCramming to find a reliable writing service for your thesis. This way, you’re assured of crafting a masterpiece!
In order to write a successful history thesis, it is important to structure your argument in a clear, concise, and logical manner. Your thesis should present a specific argument and be backed up by evidence from scholarly sources. The more time and thought put into the process before starting to write, the easier it will be to get started with your paper.