Here are some helpful hints on how to provide analysis for your National History Day project.

Narrowing your Topic:

If you started your research focusing on a broad theme, such as “The American Revolution” or “The Civil Rights Era,” that is far too large for a single project, it will be necessary to narrow the focus of your topic.  For the examples given above, you could narrow your focus to “The Liberty Paradox in the Founding Documents” or “The Montgomery Bus Boycott.”

To narrow your topic, pick a specific event, group of individuals, or theme from your broad topic that captivates your interest the most.  Remember, that a good project for National History Day will be concise and clear.

Providing Historical Context:

Your project should explain the circumstances, facts, and important background information surrounding your topic.  This is called providing historical context.  By providing this information, you will give the people you present your project to a basic understanding of the period of time that you researched.   Some questions to answer when trying to provide historical context are:  What was the world or life like at the time of your topic?  What were the challenges that the historical actors in your project faced?

Utilizing Primary Sources:

Primary sources are documents which give us a first-hand look into the time period under study.  They are created by people who have witnessed events or recorded events that occurred during their life.  These can include text such as newspapers and diaries, or they can be photographs and videos from the time period of your project.  Using primary sources gives your thesis authority from people who experienced your topic.  Primary sources are essential to the study of history.

For more information please contact Maine NHD State Coordinator:

John Taylor Phone: 207-474-7133 Email: