Choosing a Topic
• Pick a historic period, event, place or person that interests you.
• Make sure your topic relates to the annual theme.
• Narrow your topic enough to cover in a History Day project. You can narrow your topic by time, geography or people involved. For example: Women's suffrage is a broad topic. It can be narrowed to: Carrie Chapman Catt's 1916 "Winning Plan" for Suffrage Victory.
Choosing a Type of Project
• Are you dramatic? Do you love getting into character, building sets, making costumes? Does your topic lend itself to scenes and dramatic portrayals? Then a performance is a great choice!
• Does your topic have lots of images, video clips and/or interviews associated with it? Do you enjoy filming and creating video? Then try a documentary!
• Do you love technology and design? Are you a web guru? Can your topic be illustrated with text, graphics and video? A website may be the way to go!
• Do you enjoy creating a visual story? Are you artistic? Is your topic better presented through still images and text? Try out an exhibit!
• Do you enjoy writing? Are you a born author or journalist? Will your topic work best as a narrative? Sounds like you're a paper writer!
Where to Find Sources?
Read our 10 Tips for Research.
• Be sure to evaluate the internet sources
• Wikipedia can help you learn some basics, but should not be cited in a scholarly bibliography. Look at the notes or references section and the external links.
• Look at the list of reliable internet sources
identified by NHD-OH.
• Many archives, libraries, universities and historical societies have online digital collections. Know how to read the web address. Government agencies tend to use the url .gov; Colleges and Universities use.edu, and non-profit organizations use.org.
• Need help? Ask your school or public librarian. They know how to find good sources of information!
There are many locations in your own backyard to conduct research! Local libraries, historical societies, archives, museums and university libraries all have information waiting to be discovered.
Find an archive or an organization in your area or around the state where you can go do research. Check out our History Day Research List!
Know Before You Go
• Sometimes archives are only open for limited hours on certain days of the week. Call ahead of time to make sure that they will be open when you plan to visit.
• You will not be able to check out material. Most items in an archive are rare or one-of-a-kind. Bring plenty of paper for note taking and a pencil!
• Don't forget to bring money for admission and photocopying!
• Research takes time. Expect to stay at the historical organization for a while.
• Come prepared. It is a good idea to do some research even before you go to a historical society or museum. Check out books from your school or local public library to find out general information about your topic before you go looking for the details.
• Need help? Ask the archivist or librarian. They know how to find information in their collections, and may know where you can find more!