Great leaders, scientists, civil rights leaders, and artists have paved the way for modern day civilization. History books outline political lines drawn out after bloody battles and peace treaties, the progression of women’s rights and equal access to opportunity, the contributions of minority groups that have gone without praise for far too long.
When discerning where to begin your dissertation proposal in history, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. You’ll have to answer questions about what time period to start in, in what corner of the world, and with what relevance historical events have to the world we live in today. Most importantly, you must keep your focus clear and thoroughly address social and political issues of the time.
Narrow Your Focus
Choose a topic that you can write at length about, in depth and from a fresh perspective. For example, writing about The American Revolutionary War is not a specific enough topic and does not assert a specific opinion. Rather, you could choose a topic like, “The Effects of the American Revolutionary War on Modern-Day Patriotic Sentiment in the United States”. Think about focal points that will grab the readers’ attention and keep them wanting more.
Keep in mind that your purpose is to tell a story. Every story is complete with descriptive scenery and characters that come to life. Although the dissertation must also prove your general knowledge and understanding of the topic you choose, it should not become weighed down with facts and figures that will ultimately alienate your readership. Instead, for every number and statistic you provide, explain how this most closely affects those characters you have chosen to include in your essay.
Do Your Research
As a history writer, you most definitely must gain creditability with your audience, so do your research. Turn to a variety of primary and secondary resources that talk about your historical figure, event, etc. with new insight. Use a variety of media as well, not only websites. Look at encyclopedia entries, photographs, and original newspapers. Depending on the topic you choose,
you can even interview people who lived through that time or that particular event. Firsthand records will far supersede distant interpretations retrieved from online.
Of course when it comes to history, unbiased accounts are almost impossible to come by, but not necessarily the point either. Your goal is to gather as many opinions as possible that will, in total, prove your validity.
Build A Skeleton
Staring at a blank screen never did much good for anybody, so don’t put yourself through that either. Control the flow of your essay early on by shaping the skeleton of your essay. Outline a thesis statement, supporting ideas, and proof you will use in the form of quotations or other primary documents.
Lastly, tie in your findings with present day. Talk about how history has affected that world of today, and what you think this will mean for the future. You can use examples of history repeating itself to illustrate how some cycles pervade.
Here’s one great resource you can turn to when it’s time to dig into your next essay.