This handbook is intended to give you a handy resource to completing a history course in the most effective and productive way possible. The guidelines and advice written here apply to high school history classes, undergraduate survey courses, and even graduate level courses. The degree to which you implement and handle each of these skills and techniques will depend on your personal capability and the level of the course. This is by no means comprehensive, nor is it the absolute best source on this (there are many), but some of the targeted advice and techniques are designed to address weaknesses in student work that I have noticed in my career as an educator.
Understand this Handbook
This resource provides you a series of articles on different social studies related skills and techniques. Understand how it's organized so that you can find what you need when you need it. Explore this handbook before you have an essay due in twenty minutes, because that's not the time to try to figure out if you wrote a thesis right or if you did your footnotes correctly. Take a look at the page hierarchy below, or use the list of pages to the right to navigate. The articles can be read sequentially or you can jump around as needed.
- Reading-Related Skills
- Note Taking
- Analysis and Questioning
- Writing-Related Skills
- Writing a Thesis Statement
- Writing a History Paper
Check the footnotes. Throughout this handbook you will find resources that reinforce what's stated in the articles. Take a look at the footnotes for further examples, justifications, or related websites and articles that you might find useful. Read for depth and understanding; checking the footnotes is a quick way to understand what you're reading better.
A note on style. As you likely have already noticed, this handbook is written in somewhat informal language and addresses the reader throughout. Though this handbook attempts to guide students through the process of reading and writing history and directs the student to avoid non-academic language, a conscious choice to include the reader was made here to make this guide more accessible to high school students.
This handbook is written and compiled by Mr. Erfurth with input from other members of Soldotna High School's Department of Social Studies. Policies apply to our school, but other guidance applies everywhere that history is studied.