Students, we have compiled a big list of resources to help you dig deep into National History Day (NHD) projects.
Understanding NHD Projects
- Explore the categories. Click the orange buttons to learn more about each category.
- Scroll though the Contest FAQ.
- Watch the Evaluation Forms video.
- Review the CMHF “Students Become Historians” PowerPoint.
- View award-winning projects from previous contests.
- Ask your teacher if they have examples of high-quality student projects from previous years.
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.
- Read the 2023 Theme Book—Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.
- Watch the 2023 Theme Introduction Video on YouTube or Vimeo.
- Discuss how the theme of Frontiers in History relates to people, places, events, technologies, and issues you’ve learned about earlier this year and in previous years and make a list of topics that interest you.
- Free write about what the theme means to you personally or to someone you know.
- Complete the NHD 2023 Theme Graphic Organizer. fillable PDF
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
- CMHF Guide to Developing Questions
- CMHF Thesis PowerPoint.
- CMHF History Fair Thesis: What’s it all About activity
- CMHF How to write a thesis worksheet and sample Thesis Rubric
- MNHS Narrowing your topic & incorporating the theme video
- Thinkport Writing a Thesis Statement self-paced learning module
Researching your topic
- NHD Guide to Research & Historical Argumentation
- Review the CMHF Research Journey PowerPoint
- Historical Context
- NHD Quick Tip Video: What is Historical Significance?
- NHD Historical Context graphic organizer
- CMHF History Fair Note-Taking Guide with Fill-ins
- CMHF History Fair Notes Worksheet
- Digital Research videos
- NHD Research & Writing workshop webinar video recording
- Thinkport Creating a Research Project self-paced learning module
- NHD Guidelines for Conducting Interviews
Selecting & using sources
- 2023 sample topic resources
- What Are Primary Sources?
- Selecting Sources: Tertiary, Secondary, Primary
- Selecting Primary Sources for Research Projects
- Using the Library of Congress Online: a Guide for Middle and High School Students
- Thinkport Digging for Historical Sources self-paced learning module
- Thinkport Evaluating Sources self-paced learning module
- Thinkport Analyzing Political Cartoons self-paced learning module
- Thinkport Analyzing Charts, Graphs, and Tables self-paced learning module
- Historical Thinking Skills, Part 1: Sourcing and the Three Cs NHD video
- Historical Thinking Skills, Part 2: Perspective, Agency, and Hindsight NHD video
- NHD Quick Tip Video: Why Include Multiple Perspectives?
- To Interview or Not to Interview video
- Ask an NEH Expert: Evaluating Sources
- Tech Tools: Citation Tools
- Citing Digitized Sources from the Library
- Thinkport How to Cite the Right Way self-paced learning module
- Creating an Annotated Bibliography
- Thinkport Annotated Bibliography (Chicago style) self-paced learning module
- NHD Quick Tip Annotated Bibliography Videos
Putting it all together
- NHD Quick Tip Video: Student Voice
- Historical Thinking Skills, Part 3: Evidence, Counter-Evidence, and Arguments NHD video
- Historical Thinking Skills, Part 4: Organizing an Argument NHD video
- Historical Argumentation for Students 2022 NHD video
- Navigating the Historical Argumentation Webinar Series
- NHD Guide to Research & Historical Argumentation
- Organize Your Argument (.pdf)
- Argumentation Plan (.docx)
- Ask an NEH Expert videos
- Every NHD Student Is a Writer video