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Paperback 200 pp.
13 figures; 1 table, 5.5" x 8.25"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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Writing History

A Guide for Canadian Students, Canadian Edition, Fourth Edition

William Kelleher Storey and Towser Jones

Now in its fourth Canadian edition, Writing History continues to provide invaluable advice on researching and writing a wide variety of history assignments, from short book reviews to full-length research papers. Using an accessible and straightforward style, this student-friendly handbook offers step-by-step guidance on all aspects of the writing process, including selecting a suitable topic, interpreting source materials, building persuasive arguments, and polishing the final draft. Thoroughly revised and updated throughout, this engaging resource will help students develop the skills they need to successfully research and write history

Readership : Suitable for History students at all levels.


  • "Very readable. . . . The text itself is an example of good writing style, with clarity of argument, plenty of clear examples, and good advice."
    --Gary K. Waite, University of New Brunswick
  • "[A]n intelligent, thoroughly thought-out, and very useful guide."
    --Mark G. Spencer, Brock University

Preface to the Fourth Canadian Edition
1. Understanding History Assignments
Book and Article Reviews
Historiographical Paper
Primary Document Analysis
Oral History Project
Reading Response Journal
Essay Exam
Research Proposal
Annotated Bibliography
Historical Research Paper
2. Starting Your Assignment
Move from a Historical Interest to a Research Topic
Using Electronic Resources
Using Print Sources
The Academic Library
Sources for Canadian History
Approach Your Topic from a Particular Angle
Distinguishing Primary Sources from Secondary Works
Distinguish Scholarly from Popular History
Form a Hypothesis
Draft a Proposal
Write an Annotated Bibliography
Talk about Your Topic
If You Have to Abandon a Topic, Do it Early
3. Using and Interpreting Source Materials
Ask the Reporter's Questions
Be Sensitive to Points of View
Select the Most Important Information
Take Notes Selectively
Work Systematically
About Facts
About Sources
About Inferences and Arguments
Avoid Unwarranted Comparisons
Avoid Anachronistic Inferences
4. Get Writing!
Narrative and Analysis
Draft Outline of an Analytical Essay
Complete Analytical Outline
Draft Outline of a Narrative Essay
Complete Narrative Outline
5. Reporting Faithfully
Report Sources Carefully
Treat Others' Ideas with Care and Respect
Paraphrases and Summaries
Direct Quotations
Be Fair to Your Sources
Using Quotation Marks
Be Careful Not to Plagiarize
Don't Give Unnecessary Citations
Choose a Citation System that Suits Your Readers
6. Build an Argument
Start to Write a First Draft
Grab Your Reader's Attention, but Do it Gently
State Your Intellectual Interests Early
Build Your Essay with Good Paragraphs
Define Your Key Terms Early
Set An Appropriate Tone
Treat Other Writers with Consideration
Account for Counter-Arguments
Lead Your Readers to an Interesting Conclusion
7. Narrative Techniques
Tell a Story
Write a Narrative to Support an Argument
Chronology and Causation
Get a Sense of Change and Continuity
Select the Participants You Want to Focus On
Find Your Own Voice as a Narrator
Choose Your Own Beginning and End
8. Writing Sentences
Choose Precise Verbs
Make Passive Sentences Active
Use the Past Tense
Try to Avoid Split Infinitives
Write Complete Sentences
Put Your Ideas in an Intelligible Order
Keep Related Words Together
Make Sure that Pronoun References are Clear
Keep Subjects and Verbs Close Together
Begin on Common Ground and Move Towards a New Point
Put the Emphasis at the End
Use Parallel Forms for Emphasis
Break the Rules if You Must
9. Choosing Words
Be Concise
Avoid Jargon
Avoid Both Pretentious and Colloquial Language
Choose Words Thoughtfully
Check for Common Diction Problems
Practice Exercise
10. Revising and Editing
Get Some Perspective on Your Draft
Think about a Title
Revise Your Draft
Proofread the Final Draft
Check Your Formatting
Read Your Paper Aloud
Submit Your Paper
Appendix A: Essay Concept Maps
Appendix B: Citation Guide
Appendix C: Suggested History Resources

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

William Kelleher Storey is a professor of history at Millsaps College.

Towser Jones recently retired from her position as a professor of history at Capilano University.

Making Sense - Margot Northey and Joan McKibbin
The Information-Literate Historian - Jenny L. Presnell
A History of the Canadian Peoples - J. M. Bumsted and Michael C. Bumsted
The Peoples of Canada - J. M. Bumsted
The Peoples of Canada - J.M. Bumsted
A Concise History of Canada's First Nations - The late Olive Patricia Dickason and William Newbigging
Canada's First Nations - The late Olive Patricia Dickason and David T. McNab

Special Features

  • Canadian references, resources, and examples make the material relevant to students in this country.
  • Step-by-step instructions on every step of the writing process--from choosing a research topic and approach to finding and assessing sources, incorporating source material, and writing the paper--give students clear, concise advice on how to write successfully in history.
  • A student-friendly writing style makes the text clear, accessible, and engaging for aspiring historians.
  • Up-to-date coverage of web and electronic resources, including research databases such as Zotero, Citavi, WorldCat, and Oxford Bibliographies.
  • A standalone chapter on other writing assignments such as research proposals, annotated bibliographies, book reviews, historiographical papers, primary document analyses, and more, offers students a practical, authoritative guide to preparing a variety of history coursework.
  • A quick-reference guide to frequently asked questions inside the front cover tells readers where in the book they can find answers to common problems.
  • Enhanced pedagogical features throughout, including bolded key terms, boxed writing examples, end-of-chapter review checklists, and an end-of-text glossary.
New to this Edition
  • Updated coverage on a variety of topics, including primary source analyses, draft essay outlines, oral history projects, note-taking, historiographic essays, and spelling conventions.
  • Newly added appendices--a citation guide (Appendix B) and a list of online resources (Appendix C) provide step-by-step instruction and examples on how to properly cite sources.
  • Brand new tip boxes found throughout the text provide practical, pedagogical assistance to help students craft error-free assignments.
  • New Tip boxes throughout the text.