Tips for succeeding in National History Day

March 12, 2013
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Tips for succeeding in National History Day
• Be sure to pick a topic that interests you so the research will not feel like a chore
• Finding a variety of sources will be extremely beneficial (ex: books, websites, newspaper articles, and interviews; do not use only e-sources).
• Always annotate sources along the way. Do not save annotations for later!
• When annotating sources, be sure to include critical analysis.
• Whatever project type you choose, whether it's an exhibit, paper, documentary, performance, or website, always begin to finalize your work in advance. I suggest at least a month for the project itself; the actual research takes multiple months. Do not procrastinate!
• Although it is difficult to accumulate primary sources for certain topics, it is very important to have at least a couple.
• Throughout your research, always make sure your topic relates to the theme of that year.
• The more sources you have, the better.
• Deciding on a topic a year in advance is very helpful because this will allow more time for research.
• Remember to bring your bibliography to the competition! Five copies are needed: one for you, one for your teacher, and three for the judges.
• For exhibits, performances, and documentaries: when being interviewed, speak in a clear and concise manner. You know your topic because you have been researching it, but make sure the judges know that you understand the topic, too.
• When answering questions, always incorporate analysis to display a deeper understanding.
• Be confident and amiable toward the judges to make the interview a pleasant experience for both you and the judges.
• If possible, make a personal connection with your topic; that can work in your favor.

And most importantly, have fun! This project is not about whether you win or lose, it is about how you play the game.

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