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Writing Resources for Historians 

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

History Department Style Sheet

Unless your professor specifies another style guide, use this style sheet for papers in history courses. 

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 Some of the specific techniques are out of date (cf.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. 
  • Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. 8th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 2015. A concise guide outlining the finer details of research and writing for college history courses. 
  • 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. 


Online Resources for Historians

This section is intended only as an entry to the wide range of historical material online and to provide links of local interest. See the first few items for more comprehensive history web guides. If a link no longer works, please inform the webmaster

Starting Points...

Resources for writing history

Sampling of Archival Resources

Cartographic and Demographic Resources

Curriculum Development Ideas (syllabi, projects, etc.)

Local Historical Organizations

Local Academic Programs and Departments

Professional Organizations & Electronic Journals