History Project Guidelines


The honors thesis in history should demonstrate the student's command of technique in historical research, both in primary and secondary materials and historical argument. Thus, the thesis must clearly define the questions which will be answered -- on the basis of the student's own analysis of primary sources -- and clarify the significance of those answers in relation to the secondary literature. It is expected that theses will make an original, although generally small, addition to the understanding of the past either by changing historians' account of the past, adding to it, clarifying it, or bringing new evidence to buttress the conclusions of other historians.


The poster should present information from the proposal clearly and thoroughly, with an emphasis on visual presentation. Write out the research question and hypotheses in a way that non-historians would understand what you are studying. Provide other information and even pictures to assist viewers in recognizing the details and context of your research.


Proposals, like the theses in which they culminate, should include full citations and a preliminary bibliography of primary and secondary works to be consulted. It will not be unusual for the committee to receive a proposal six pages in length (double-spaced), accompanied by a bibliography of two pages (single-spaced). Proposals will also conform to the general guidelines which cover honors theses in all disciplines.


It is, of course, essential that students provide evidence to support their conclusions, and that this evidence be handled carefully and precisely. In the realm of mechanics, this requires proper citation according to the conventions of the discipline, in the form of end notes or foot notes. Students who need model citations may consult Kate Turabian, The Chicago Manual of Style (any edition) or their advisors. Theses should also include a bibliography of sources cited. If necessary for a general audience, a glossary of technical terms should also be included. It is expected that most honors theses will be about 25-30 double-spaced pages long. Naturally, theses will be grammatical, clearly-written, and carefully proof-read.

A summary of the thesis (with emphasis on the research question, the evidence, and the methodology) should be the basis of your presentation given to the Honors College at the end of the year.