WORKSHOP THREE--NARROWING YOUR TOPIC AND WRITING A PRELIMINARY THESIS STATEMENT
Understanding the annual theme is an important step to a successful National History Day project. Equally important is narrowing the focus to a topic within that theme that is workable and relevant. Consider the theme “Turning Points in History.” The Civil War is certainly a turning point in American History, but a student could not possibly research and present a project on the entire Civil War within the restrictions of the NHD rules. There is simply too much information. Rather, a student must find a smaller issue within the Civil War on which to focus. Researching and creating a project on the Battle of Gettysburg as a turning point in the war would be much more manageable. But narrowing even further can lead to greater success. Consider a project on how General Robert E. Lee’s own arrogance changed the face of the battle. This is a narrowly focused topic that can easily remain within the confines of the project allowances. This workshop will help students to begin to focus on a manageable topic.