Writing Resources for Historians

These links and books will help you with specific aspects of historical research and writing.

History Department Style Sheet

Online guides for writing research papers

How to read articles, books, and primary sources

Online guides to style and grammar

Online guides to argumentation

Online reference works for writers

Writing Resources at UMass

Writing Centers at other colleges and universities

Plagiarism--what it is and how to avoid it

Some useful books on writing and reading

  • Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. ISBN 0-226-06584-7. An excellent guide to research from the perspective of rhetoric; treats research and writing as mutually interacting activities.
  • Mann, Thomas. The Oxford Guide to Library Research. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-195-12313-1. User’s manual for the academic library.
  • McCoy, F. N. Researching and Writing in History: A Practical Handbook for Students. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974. ISBN 0-520-02621-7. A useful handbook for the beginning researcher. Some of the specific techniques are out of date (cf. Mann), but the book as a whole provides an overview of what goes into research, with more specific tips for historians than Booth, Colomb, and Williams.
  • Turabian, Kate. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 6th ed. Revised by John Grossman and Alice Bennett. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. The nuts and bolts of formatting papers, writing footnotes, using abbreviations, etc. Some courses may require that your papers be formatted according to Turabian.
  • Williams, Joseph M. Style: Toward Clarity and Grace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. ISBN 0-226-89915-2. An excellent guide to improving your writing style. The textbook edition, published by Longman, has useful exercises but omits the detailed discussion of coherence that the Chicago edition contains.

-- Compiled by Alice Nash and Brian Ogilvie