The Form and Elements of the Research Essay:

You will eventually enroll in a history class in which the instructor requires that you submit a research essay as part of your course requirement. Since the research essay requires some skills that differ from those of the short essay it is best if we spend some time talking about what those different skills might entail. By assigning a research essay, your instructor is asking you to commit yourself to some extended research culminating in a long essay on the order of 20-30 pages. (In advanced undergraduate seminars, you may be asked to write an even longer essay.) The essay must utilize either footnotes or endnotes and must also contain a bibliography.

The Audiovisual Research Essay as an Alternative to Text-Based Scholarship

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Research essay writing help, ideas, topics, examples

Okay, so we've got a number of preliminaries out of the way. It's time to start writing that research essay!

Look, you've got to take a stand. You've got to be bold enough to make some kind of judgment about the subject which you have selected. A research essay which details the early career of say, Karl Marx, is one thing. But to place Marx's early career in the context of history, to illuminate the intellectual trends of his own day, and to suggest how his experiences early in his career might have made him the type of political theorist he eventually became, is clearly quite another. In other words, writing history does not merely mean telling it the way it was. That's called narration. A narration is a good thing. In fact, every research essay you contemplate will be part narration. But unless you also make the attempt to interpret the facts, your essay will fall short of the mark and you will have failed to "do history" properly.