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Academics: Resources

Resources for History Students

A history major equips students with skills to communicate effectively. These skills include:

  • formulating a thesis and refining it with gathered evidence
  • articulating a historical argument clearly and effectively orally and in writing
  • citing sources in an appropriate format

Academic honesty and the proper citation of sources are especially important for historians and are required of all history students. We expect our students to exhibit honesty, integrity, fairness, charity, and civility in discussion and debate with others personally and professionally, and to avoid plagiarism and other forms of intellectual dishonesty. Refer to the Student Code of Conduct (page 11) for more information about Calvin's policy on academic dishonesty.

The resources on this page are intended to help students in their research and writing, and to help them develop the skills and virtues necessary to the work of a historian.

Calvin History Department Quick Guides for Writing Papers

These guides are intended as quick references to writing papers according to the Chicago Manual of Style, the authority for academic citation that is most often used in history writing. Many other disciplines use Chicago-style citation, but be sure to check with your instructor about which method (Chicago, MLA, APA, or something else) is preferred in your class.

  • Format and Citations for History Papers: This Quick Guide provides information about how to format your paper in Chicago style, including footnotes and bibliography, along with practical advice on things like inserting images and other visual aids.
  • Sample Citations: This Quick Guide provides examples of Chicago-style citations, showing the format for footnotes and for bibliography entries.

Additional Resources

For tips on writing and research, including many more resources, visit Calvin's Rhetoric Across the Curriculum (RAC) website.

On avoiding plagiarism:

Calvin RAC: Writing with Integrity

Ethical Issues: What Is Plagiarism?

Purdue Online Writing Lab Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism.

On Chicago-style:

Bedford/St. Martin's Press. "Chicago-Style: History." Research and Documentation Online.

The Chicago Manual of Style. 16th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 8th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Citation help:

Calvin RAC: How to Format Citations.

KnightCite citation generator (Reminder: KnightCite provides references formatted for a bibliography only. Footnotes in Chicago-style use a different format.)

Recommended Reading

On historical research:

Corfield, Penelope J. "Why History Matters." Institute of Historical Research, 2008.

Fea, John. Why Study History?: Reflecting on the Importance of the Past. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.

Rampola, Mary. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012.