For an example of this type of historiographical review essay, see:

The purpose of an historiographic essay is threefold:

Historiographic Essays - REDIRECT to here

The strengths of my argument in my historiographical essay are that I have three distinct themes that are presented in my essay. In which my argument is power, hypocrisy, and self-efficacy are the effects sexual abuse has on the master slave relationship in the antebellum south. I know I need to organize my essays that I make clear connects between my secondary sources in relation to my argument. The feedback that would be beneficial in helping to move forward in the writing process is how can I organize my essay in away that effectively gets each of my points across without going in circles in trying to get my point across. Whether or not their is another why I can think about my topic or the information that I have in a more affective way which each ultimately help with my organization and clarity in the essay. The sources on my topic are very different because one is about the geography & the master slave relationship; another is geography & childcare, another is about power & the gender roles. Maybe just hearing what others have to say about their essay in class will help me with mine.

Here’s an example of a thesis statement for a historiographical essay:

Hints for Writing an Historiographical Essay

Nevertheless, many professors will ask you to include a critical bibliography at the end of your essay. Such a bibliography will do more than provide publication information, but will include a critical assessment of each book: it will describe each book’s thesis and ways in which the author supports that thesis; the position and role of the work vis-a-vis the historiographical debate on the subject it addresses; and the relevance of the work to the particular theme of your historiographical essay.

Researching for a historiographical essay is DIFFERENT from researching for a traditional research paper.

First, I want to congratulate you all for reaching this stage in the course. This course asks a lot from each of you and I have found you all willing to put forth the effort necessary to succeed. It is for this reason that I know you will all do your best on this first essay for the course. Below you will find the guidelines for the historiographic essay broken into three portions: Objectives, Standards, and Hints.

History 650: The Holocaust S2003 Prof. Jeremy Popkin . Hints for Writing a Historiographical Essay


The following sample search strategies in 3 databases of history secondary sources available in EbscoHost (ex. America: History & Life; History of Science Technology and Medicine; Historical Abstracts) are a quick way to find historiographical essays. A historiographic essay thus asks you to explore several sometimes contradictory sources on one event. An might come in handy as you attempt to locate such sources; you should also consult the footnotes and of any text you read on a certain event, as they will lead you to other texts on the same event; if your research is web-based, follow links - always bearing in mind the pitfalls of the - and if you are researching in the library, check out the books on nearby shelves: you'll be surprised by how often this yields sources you may otherwise never have found. is an online journal that publishes historiographic essays. If there is an essay on your topic, it can be an excellent place to start. Caution: if you do not find what you need with your first search, don't choose Edit Search, because you will then be searching all the publisher's online journals. Return to the starting point for History Compass to continue searching just within this journal.You will begin a historiographic essay with a that presents the issue or event at stake, then introduces your sources and articulates, in brief, their authors' perspectives and their main points of (dis)agreement. In the main body of your paper you will elaborate upon and develop this latter point, pulling out specific points of (dis)agreement, juxtaposing quotes (and/or paraphrasing arguments) and subjecting them to analysis as you go along. As you do so, ask (and answer) why you think the authors of your various sources disagree. Is their disagreement a product of personal or professional rivalry, ideological incompatibility, national affiliation? These questions go to the heart of historiography. In your , finally, you will briefly summarize your findings and, more importantly, assess the credibility of your various sources, and specify which one(s) you find to be most compelling, and why. In final conclusion you might articulate in brief the insights you have gained into the event or issue at stake, the sources you have used, and the nature of history itself.The purpose of an historiographic essay is threefold: 1.) to allow you to view an historical event or issue from multiple perspectives by engaging multiple sources; 2.) to display your mastery over those sources and over the event or issue itself; and 3.) to develop your skills as you seek to answer why your sources disagree, and what their disagreement tells you about the event or issue and the very nature of history itself."All scholars build on the work of those who have come before them. Historians are no exception. If you look at review articles in professional historical journals, the introductory chapters of history books (or the first chapter of many Williams history theses) you will find comprehensive overviews of the prevalent debates on a given topic. A historiographical review essay usually summarizes and analyzes the major arguments and debates about a given topic. In your final essay for this course, you will use 5-7 secondary sources (including at least three books) to write a historiographical review of a central debate in Cuban Studies." (Prof. Benson, HIST 149 syllabus, Fall 2009)Let us assume that the subject of your historiographic essay is the Rape of Nanking, an event discussed in some detail in the section. There, we examine the event as it is described and analyzed by Iris Chang in her bestselling book The Rape of Nanking. To this we now add several other sources, all of which are listed in the section at the end of this page, and cited in the text immediately following, which exemplifies, in brief, some of the basic strategies of a historiographic essay.Below please find several examples of historiographical essays. What they share in common is an effort to chart changes in the questions asked by historians of a particular topic or field, or the sort of sources they consult; they also usually seek to explain why new questions have emerged (causation) and to assess the implication of these developments. Historiography is the history of the history of a particular topic. Most of these examples are much larger and more extensive in scope than I am expecting of you. Most are, in fact, historiographical essays assessing the state of a field, such as family history, or a big topic, such as Reconstruction. You could pick some small part of a topic–say immigrant families in 19th c cities–and say you were going to assess how the study of this topic had changed since Ryan’s 1982 RAH essay. But mostly I offer them so that you can see how you need to pick a topic that has enough literature for you to analyze (that is, look for patterns within, and take a stab at explaining why those patterns exist). I am not expecting you to read them word for word, nor will I quiz you on them in class or elsewhere.