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Win a $500 Prize: The Award Goes to the Best Student History Paper

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David L. O'Connor received his Ph.D. in history in 2000 from Stony Brook University, and is a history teacher at Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, NY. He is a Contributing Editor at HNN. 


The History News Network cordially invites all high school students (grades 9-12) to participate in its inaugural History Research Paper Contest.  We encourage students to submit research papers that they have completed for their history class or papers written expressly for the History News Network’s contest.  Students can submit papers on a historical issue of their own choosing, and will be judged by how well they identify a thesis, explain the historical context of the issue they are investigating, analyze relevant primary and secondary sources, and present a well-organized, effectively written paper.  Going through this process will show students how rewarding conducting research and writing can be. 

Topics  Students should choose topics that are interesting to them.  Papers must analyze a particular historical issue rather than simply offering a broad overview of a historical event.  For example, a paper that explores the American Revolution should not superficially explain the causes, events and results of the Revolution the same way that a textbook would.  Instead, a paper could analyze how the American Founding Fathers were influenced by the Enlightenment, or how women participated in the Revolution.  A paper that assesses the economic reasons why the British followed the policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany in the 1930s is preferable to an overview of the many factors that contributed to British policies in the interwar period.  Topics are not limited chronologically or geographically, so that the paper can be based on work that many high school students are already doing in class.  Though the examples offered above are about a revolution and a war, please feel free to explore cultural, social, and intellectual topics as well.  Papers should be a minimum of 1500 words and a maximum of 2500. 

Sources  All papers must use a minimum of three to five secondary sources and several (four to five) primary sources.  The American Historical Review Citation Style is the preferred method for citations, but MLA style will be accepted.  It is essential that papers avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism. 

Prizes: The winner of the contest will receive a $500 prize and have his or her paper published on the History News Network website.   The second and third place students, along with honorable mentions, will be announced on HNN in April 2018.

Submission  All papers must be done as a Word document or as a pdf and sent as an attachment to: hnnresearchcontest@gmail.com, no later than 10:00 p.m. on February 28, 2018.   Papers should be saved as Student’s Name/Title of Paper.  The paper’s title page should include the following information:  Title, student’s full name, student’s school name and address, student’s email address, and the name of the teacher who guided the student through the process of writing the research paper.  Please direct all questions to hnnresearchcontest@gmail.com



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