For Students

Church of St George in Lalibela, Ethiopia.
"Bet Giyorgis church Lalibela" by Armin Hamm. Used under CC BY-SA 2.5. Source:
  • Are you studying History in high school, college, or simply out of personal interest?
  • Do you want to improve your understanding of the subject and improve your results on assessment tasks?
  • Do you wish you could find simple explanations and clear examples for difficult concepts like source analysis and evaluation?

 If so, then History Skills is your most valuable resource. 


History Skills provides you with a wide range of explanations, examples and scaffolds in order to help you get the most out of the subject.


Whether you need to develop your historical knowledge, learn source criticism skills, prepare for essays and exams, understand how to quote and reference sources, or even need to find primary and secondary sources online, you will find everything you need.

So, what do you need help with?

History is something that we have very little personal knowledge of since it all occurred in the past. Most of the time it involved people, places, dates and situations of which we have no familiarity. Therefore, before we can start wrestling with the deeper questions about the past, it is imperative that we first improve our overall knowledge of the historical period we are dealing with.

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Researching for a History assessment piece can often be the most daunting part of the subject. However, it needn't be. Research is a systematic process that, if followed step-by-step, will become a logical and efficient part of your work. There are nine stages of good research.

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All sources, both primary and secondary, are made by people and may be biased (one-sided) and incomplete. Two people can see exactly the same incident and yet remember it differently. So too, modern historians can study the same evidence and reach different conclusions.

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Every essay should be based upon personal research and analysis. Any factual material or ideas taken from other sources must be acknowledged using a reference, unless it is common knowledge.

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Referencing systems are the best way to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism consists of presenting another person's words, research, or ideas as if they were your own. Any part of your work that is plagiarised cannot contribute to your mark. Therefore, the more of your essay that is plagiarised, the harder it is for you to get good marks for your work.

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As you study History, you will be asked to complete a range of assessment types. Understanding what each kind of assessment task requires will help you to prepare more effectively for it.


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Finding good sources can always be difficult and time-consuming. To aid in your research, this part has a collection of online sources, categorised by historical era.

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Why Study History?

Studying the discipline of History is very different from all other subjects. It is not simply the memorisation of facts like dates, people, places and events. If that is all that History entailed, then we could use Wikipedia for everything. However, History is more about critical thinking skills, the research process and creating academic arguments. Wikipedia will never be able to do that for us.


The study of History relies upon a range of specific skills. To get the most out of your study, and to achieve the best marks possible in assessment tasks, you need to understand how to implement these skills. Whilst the thought of mastering these skills may seem daunting at first, the rewards can be enormously satisfying.

Test yourself

How much do you already know about History? Test yourself with the self-marking quiz below. If you get anything wrong, there are links to additional explanations to help you sharpen your skills.

No personal information is collected as part of this quiz. Only the selected responses to the questions are recorded.

Additional Resources

Letting Students ‘Choose Their Own Lesson’

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