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History Skills and Fundamentals

Remembering factual information is a small but important part of academic History. Students often confuse the learning of history in talks, books, and documentaries, as the study of history. But History, as an academic discipline is a dynamic, ever changing interpretation of the past. Academic History is the creation of arguments about the past which are then presented in talks, books, documentaries, and papers. Students are, therefore, historians-in-training learning the skills to be successful interpreters of the past. 

Therefore, one must approach history as a set of skills AND a collection of information. Only with the dual mindset will one be successful in an upper-level history course. Simply finding and then remembering factual information are only the first two steps in a climbing the ladder of historical inquiry. 

The Skills of History Class

and their evaluations

Preparation for the History IA during the Junior Year

Timeline of History IA Research Project:

History IA Guidelines and Tips 

Research Flow Chart to develop a good research focus

research flow chart.png

Sample History IAs with Moderator Marks from IB

Some of these samples are not double spaced or place the citations in a sentence rather than at the end of the sentence. Additionally, not all of them follow Chicago/Turabian citation style and include phrenetical citations. Just because an example is listed here and scored well, does not mean that a student should follow the formatting exactly. History papers for this class should follow Chicago/Turabian citation style (quick reference found here), and should be double spaced. 

Student work with a score of 22/25 according to the moderator marks

*This example is the strongest of the three. However, the student does not correctly use Chicago./Turabian citation. Additionally, he could have used more primary sources, Yet, the argument is based on the limited primary sources as the base because it uses statistics as a key component of the argument. The key for this investigation is that is it not about the impact of WWII on female employment; it is about a long-term consequence. I would argue that the student is assuming that the post war years from 1947-1950 constituted the beginning of  a long-term trend. The IB moderator agreed with the student. But remember, that history and grading is subject to bias. Therefore, anytime a reader suggests that your argument is making an assumption, you should take it seriously and not just rely on a "formula" that you think may be illustrated in any of these examples.   

Student work with a score of 20/25 according to the moderator marks

*This example has a weak question, but the student is not really analyzing the extent of Hitler developing totalitarianism, rather, he is analyzing the historiographical arguments about it over the years. The IB moderator recognized this, and scored him well, but does seem a little generous in his marks.

*However, this is a good example of doing an IA using secondary sources rather than building strongly on primary sources.  

The IB History External Assessments

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