Links to writing your thesis statements and opening paragraphs:
Hi, this is Tutor Phil and in this video we’re going to learn how to write a historical essay or an essay for a history class.
This is a video on how to structure a historical essay. This is not a video on how to write the opening paragraph.
Well, writing the opening paragraph, which is essentially the thesis statement, is very important and I’m going to post links to other videos and articles below the video so make sure you go and check them out.
In this video you will learn three ways to structure an essay on a historical topic and you will learn how to combine these three way to make the writing process easy and fun.
Now the things you will learn will allow you to:
- Organize your thoughts which is very important.
- It will help you get ideas out of your head quickly.
- You’ll be able to write a well-organized essay without getting stuck.
So there are essentially three main ways to structure a historical essay:
- Chronologically, which means in terms of time
- Thematically, which means in terms of theme
- Comparatively, which means that you will be comparing things.
Now before we dive into structuring our essay, let’s make our theme.
Now, our theme must have a subject.
So essentially when you’re writing an essay, you’re writing an essay about something. Now that something is your subject.
Now you’re going to need a verb, which means what are you saying about this subject?
In addition to the subject and the verb, you need setting which is essentially the when and where of your historical essay.
So let’s pick our subject which will be the antagonism between the US and the UK.
Let’s pick our verb which is going to be “escalated.” Which means the antagonism between the US and the UK did what, it escalated?
Between World War I and World War II which is the setting.
Now, why in the quest for controlling? That’s the context, meaning the setting. The context is part of the setting.
Okay, so what is our theme?
So again, the subject our essay is the antagonism between the US and the UK in the competition for Middle Eastern oil.
And again, for detailed explanation on how to create your thesis statement and how to write the opening paragraph, please check the links below the video.
So moving on, our subject is again the antagonism between the US and the UK in the competition for Middle Eastern oil.
And we’re now in the first way to structure your historical essay which is the chronological structure.
Okay? Chronological structure in terms of time.
Alright, so this is our chronological structure and we’re going to have three main sections in our paper.
As you can see, section one is about the antagonism during World War I.
Section two is the antagonism in the interwar period, meaning the period between the World War I and World War II,
And section three is about the antagonism during World War Two.
So, what makes it a chronological structure?
In section one, we are talking about the period between 1914 and 1918.
In the next section, we’re talking about the period between 1918 and 1941, between the wars.
And the final section is about the antagonism in these two countries between 1941 and 1945.
This makes it a chronological structure. In other words, in this essay you’re going perfectly chronological from 1914 to 1945.
This makes it a chronological structure and please note that we still have three main sections.
It’s not just one chronological line that you’re driving through your essay.
Essentially yes, you are driving one chronological line, but you still have three main sections. Which means that we use the Power of Three.
We have three main sections, World War 1, Interwar Period and World War II. Very important.
So next is the thematic structure and we are going to organize our essay by theme, not in terms of time. Let’s see how this would work.
Section one is going to be about the need for oil.
Section two is going to be about the scarcity of oil.
And section three is about the quest for oil.
As you can see, this has nothing to do with time necessarily. You may still organize your content in terms of time within each section. I will be talking about that in a few minutes, but please know that this is not necessarily chronological structure.
For example in section one, you can answer the question “Why the need for oil began to rise?”
Now when you talk about “why began to rise”, you are simply describing one, two, three or more reasons why the need for oil began to rise and that does not necessarily have to be organized chronologically.
You see that? So it doesn’t have anything to do with time necessarily unless you choose to do it in terms of time.
In section two, you’re going to answer the question “Why does scarcity of oil occur?”
Again, you are answering the question “why” and not “when”.
Now, the question “why” implies that you’re going to have one or more reasons which again implies that this is not chronological necessarily.
In section three, you could discuss the quest for oil in terms of the level of intensity.
So the level of intensity could be the highest, let’s say, during World War II. So you could even start with World War II because of the level of intensity.
Again, you are not going chronologically but you are going in terms of the level of intensity.
If it was the highest during the World War II, you could have even start with World War II. Again, it’s not going to be chronological.
Now please note one very important detail here.
Please note the need, the scarcity and the quest for oil are three very distinct subjects. They are very distinct ideas. They are very different from one another.
The need is very different from scarcity and the scarcity is different from quest.
And this is important because again, you have three main sections that are very different from one another and the thematic structure allows you to do that very effectively.
Next, comparative structure. How does this work?
Well in section one, you can talk about the US in terms of the Middle East and in section two, we’re going to talk about the UK in terms of the Middle East.
So it’s the US again versus the UK. You’re comparing the relationship between US and the Middle East with the relationship between UK and the Middle East in terms of the antagonism. This is how you explore the antagonism between US and UK.
Now this is not the most efficient way to do a comparative structure.
So watch the video until the end. At the end of the video, I will show you the best way to use the comparative structure. Okay? So please make sure watch until the end.
So these are the ways to identify the main sections. Now let’s see how we can combine them to get a deeper structure.
So let’s go back to the chronological structure. The subject is again the antagonism, and the main three sections are during World War I, in the interwar period and during World War II. Again, it’s chronological.
Now you can subdivide each section thematically. So you’re going to have a thematic structure within each section of your chronological structure. Let’s see how this would work.
Let’s go back quickly to our thematic structure just to see what it looks like again.
We have three sections: the need for oil the scarcity for oil and the quest for oil.
Now, you can use the structure within each main section of your paper. Let’s see how this would work out.
So we’re back to our chronological structure.
The antagonism is our subject.
Again, we have three main sections: World War I, interwar period and World War II.
And now within the first section, we’re going to have three subsections: the need for oil, the scarcity for oil and the quest for oil.
You see? So we’re using the thematic structure within each main section of our chronological structure. See how this works?
And we’re simply going to repeat the process in every section.
Section two, we’re going to talk about need for oil, the scarcity and the quest in the interwar period and we’re going to do exactly the same in section three during World War II.
Now, in our thematic structure. What can we do in our thematic structure?
Now within your thematic structure, you can organize content within main sections chronologically. And let’s see how that would work out.
In section one, when you talk about the need for oil, you’re going to talk about the need for oil during World War I, during the interwar period and during World War II. You see this works?
And you can do the same thing in section two and you can do the same thing again in section three. Just repeat the process.
Next, in our comparative structure. What can we do?
You can organize content within main section chronologically or thematically.
In section one, you can talk about chronologically during World War I, interwar period and World War II.
You can do the same thing in the second section and again you can use the thematic structure within your comparative structure and do the need for oil, the scarcity of oil and the quest for oil in section one in terms of US and the Middle and you can the same thing for the second section with the UK and the Middle East.
Alright. Now I’m going to show you the best way to use the comparative structure.
Now, what is our subject? Our subject is about the antagonism between the US and the UK.
So we’re essentially comparing. We can compare the US and the UK in terms of different things, in terms of need, scarcity and so on. But we can do it within each section of our chronological structure.
Now, what do we have here? We have here are chronological structure within each section.
Now within each section of the chronological structure, you can have a comparative structure! Just like this.
So you’re going to talk about US versus the UK. In section one, you’re simply going to compare the US with the UK in terms of whatever the scarcity, the need for oil and so on.
And you can do the same thing in the interwar period and the same thing during World War II. Makes sense?
Now let’s take a look at our thematic structure.
This is our thematic structure, and this is how we’re going to use the comparative structure within our thematic structure.
Again we’re going to compare the US versus the UK in section one, US versus UK in section two, and US versus UK in section three.
I hope this is clear because remember, the most important thing in writing your essays is clarity.
Clarity, clarity and clarity.
This is the most important thing and this is exactly how you get and this is exactly how you give it to your professors, to your teachers. Okay?
I hope this was helpful.
And again, you’ll find the links to related videos and articles below the videos, please check them out especially videos and articles about how to write a thesis statement and an opening paragraph.
Okay, I realized there’s a lot going on in this video, so I want you to ask more questions.
I’m going to answer your questions in the comments and I also might make additional videos based on your questions. So please make sure to ask questions.
Thanks for watching, and I’ll talk to you soon.