NHD 2023: Topic Selection, Research, Sources & More

Students NHD 2023

Students, we have compiled a big list of resources to help you dig deep into National History Day (NHD) projects.

Understanding NHD Projects

Exploring the theme

Each year NHD chooses a particular theme that must be the focus of student projects. Before doing anything else, make sure you understand the theme.

Investigating & narrowing topic choices

  • Review the CMHF History Fair and You handout.
  • Flip through newspaper and magazine articles about current events that you find interesting or concerning and then consider the historical and local angles to those topics. (Remember, your project may not be about a current event.)
  • Browse through a history textbook.
  • Check out local and state historical sites, museums and websites.
  • Investigate these 2023 sample topic resources.
  • Search the Primary Source Nexus for additional topic ideas (from the top menu bar, right).
  • Watch the Thinkport Inquiry Kits for History Day Students video to get some ideas.
  • Find your state affiliate and look for local resources, like the ones below.
  • Create an outline or mind map of topic ideas that interest you.
  • Consider refining your topic according to the following sequential steps: theme, interest, broad topic, narrow topic, thesis.
  • Complete these CMHF worksheets.
  • Review your topic choice by asking yourself the questions below.
    • Does the topic relate to the 2023 NHD) theme—Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas?
    • Does the topic relate to local or state history?
    • Does the topic really interest you?
    • Do you have a personal connection to the topic? (It’s not necessary, but it can be a good thing.)
    • Will you be able to find enough primary and secondary sources to thoroughly research the topic?
    • Why is this topic important?
    • What will people learn from your project?

Getting started on your project

Researching your topic

Selecting & using sources

Citing sources

Putting it all together