A-level History, Historical enquiry (AQA) Watch

cocopopscastle
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Hi! I thought that I should just start a thread about the Historical enquiry essay for AQA A2, just about thoughts and ideas, or questions thats all! or just to see if theres anyone else out there!!!! :eek:
I think I want to one about Peter the Great but have no idea about a title! Any ideas????
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TSR Learn Together
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Hey there. While you're waiting for a reply to your post, we thought we'd give your thread a timely bump.

But don't twiddle your thumbs in the meantime! Kick off your revision and study time by heading to our Learn Together section.

In Learn Together, you'll find interactive study tools to help make your revision quicker and easier. We've also got thousands of handpicked assignments analysed by great teachers, so you can learn from top-marked work. And there's tons more too: get started on Learn Together now!
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SeanToBeWild
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Sorry for the late reply. Personally I hated the coursework unit as the teacher was very boring despite being a specialised in Russian history.
Our title was "Within the framework of Russian political development in the years 1905-2007, how significant was Stalin’s leadership of the Soviet Union between 1929 and 1941?" which I am confident would have been far more interesting if we had a different lecturer.
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Asterisk49
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Im doing the irish question


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Rebecca1403
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(Original post by Asterisk49)
Im doing the irish question


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Hi! I'm also doing the Irish Question, would you be interested in reading my essay?!
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Bombadil
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Not a very popular thread for some reason... I'm doing the French Revolution. We got free choice of any topic to do although the FR was strongly advised because our teachers believe it to be the easiest. Quite worried because not sure where to start or how much research I should do over the summer, etc...
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blondelocks
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(Original post by doommiinniikky)
Not a very popular thread for some reason... I'm doing the French Revolution. We got free choice of any topic to do although the FR was strongly advised because our teachers believe it to be the easiest. Quite worried because not sure where to start or how much research I should do over the summer, etc...
--
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Elisha Rebekah
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(Original post by doommiinniikky)
Not a very popular thread for some reason... I'm doing the French Revolution. We got free choice of any topic to do although the FR was strongly advised because our teachers believe it to be the easiest. Quite worried because not sure where to start or how much research I should do over the summer, etc...
I'd strongly advise choosing a topic from the list of AQA exemplar topics as there are suggested headings- which you can make your notes under- and suggested 'themes, issues and debates' which you can use to formulate a title. If not, scroll to Page 20 of the AQA document I linked you, as it goes over the protocol for picking a new topic. Good Luck and if you have any questions feel free to ask; I did HIS4X last year
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Elisha Rebekah
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(Original post by blondelocks)
Can I ask why you strongly advise using a set question as opposed to your own?
Taken from the 2014 Examiner Report for HIS4X:

As in 2013, many centres know that for students to succeed, they must have a sound title that has been validated and approved by an adviser and refined during the preparation and progress of the enquiry. Time at the end of AS exams and the first few weeks of the autumn term trying to set up realistic titles is time well spent. If a title is a good one, then the answer is invariably good. It remains a truism that students cannot access the higher levels of the mark scheme with a poor question. Inexplicably, some centres do not seek advice and the result usually is that the focus is unclear and the student struggles.

As there are four assessment objectives (AOs) to address, it is critical that the enquiry is coherent and fluent, supported by precise evidence, aware of a 100 year context and full of debate and interpretation.

AQA have published the exemplar topics as support material; their suggested note-headings and areas of debate are tailored with the 100 year context and the level of debate/interpretation needed for higher levels in mind. It is unlikely that a topic you choose of your own accord will be as perfect for the enquiry as this, though not impossible. But then why make it any harder for yourself than it already is? Sure, it's tempting to show off and choose a really daring topic, but there is the complication that your enquiry will suffer for it:

There were fewer ‘highly demanding’ titles this year, which is a positive sign as there isn’t an academic tariff on question titles and disadvantaging a student with an inappropriate title is counter-productive.

Is there any help I can give you? Which topic are you thinking of doing?
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EmmaHorrigan
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I did the Boer war and it was horrendous.
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Elisha Rebekah
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(Original post by blondelocks)
Interesting. I am aware, due to my teacher only allowing a few students to research their own period of history, and that in previous years independent inquiries have gone badly wrong, that exploring your own topic has its risks. However, my teacher also said that for those seeking top marks, an independent enquiry is probably better to avoid very generic answers that get stuck around the A/B boundary.Help you can give me would be advice on taking notes! How long did you spend on taking notes and writing up the final draft? Where did you have problems etc. Many thanks!!
I'm not sure about that. You can show originality in a lot of ways and this does not have to involve choosing a radical topic. We were told we were to do The Wars of the Roses exemplar topic. Our teacher gave us all a copy of the suggested note-headings and we were required to work in pairs and do presentations for the class on all of these sub-topics, two lessons a fortnight. By January, we had learnt the topic and it was time to choose a question. Six people, including me, chose to do a question on the role of leading magnates in the lengthy duration of the wars; three people chose to do a question on foreign policy and how this contributed to the 100 years+ of civil disturbance. I completed mine by February, it was marked and internally moderated a number of times and I was told it was full marks.

Clearly, I won't know the AQA-moderated mark until Results Day, but I imagine the originality in my argument, originality in the use of dates, originality in the use/range of sources ect plays a part. For example, I chose to argue it was the magnates' fault because of their role as royal favourites and their strength of opposition to the crown. I countered this with it being the monarchs' fault (domestic/foreign policies) and social policy, chivalry and the ruthlessness it, paradoxically, engendered. I concluded it was a mixture of all three. My dates were 1369-1486. I used textbooks, Traditionalist, Revisionist and Counter-Revisionist historians' books, documentaries, podcasts, radio, online articles, contemporary sources ect. Another person chose to argue it was the magnates' fault through listing key personalities and their actions, then countered this with the monarchs' choice of wives and the role of women in society. They concluded it was the role of women in Medieval society. Their dates were 1327-1485. They used different textbooks and sources, plays by the likes of William Shakespeare and Thomas More. What I'm trying to say is that the breadth of the topic- over 100 years- means that no one will produce a "very generic answer" so long as they work hard at trying to make it stand out- in ways that are beneficial for your enquiry and not detrimental. Your Critical Evaluation will also allow for some creativity. No two people achieved the same mark in my class, demonstrating that no two answers were the same.

I think I've answered near enough everything now; just try and get a head-start on finding sources. NUMBER and RANGE (date of publication/type of source) will get you most marks. Best of luck!
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Elisha Rebekah
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(Original post by blondelocks)
Wow, you put a lot of work in! Are you hoping to take history at uni and what is your predicted grade? Sound like an A* student to me.

I totally get your argument, sounds as though you're right to be honest. I am personally going to pursue my own topic because I'm quite passionate about it, have already read four or five heavy academic texts and both of my teachers have approved of the question!

Out of interest, did you read entire books? Also how many sources did you use in the end?

Thanks for the help!
Yeah, I've firmed University of Warwick for History so hoping to get in there, dependent on results. I'm predicted an A; the requirements for Warwick are AAA. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you! If you're at this stage, receiving good advice from teachers and what not, you will be fine. I was worried they'd thrown you in at the deep end! What topic are you doing?

I directly referenced 41 sources in my essay, 21 of which were books. There are going to be two different ways you will need to read- reading for course and reading for historiography. I obviously didn't read all 21 books front to back, but I read about 5 all the way through- three textbook ones, two historians'- just to get a feel of the course and read a few chapters each from the rest. Historiography wise, I would recommend reading excerpts from lots of books rather than knowing a few inside out as this will really show your breadth of research (particularly important in your Critical Evaluation!) and will help you to exemplify your debate. Read the introduction of historians' books to get a feel of their argument and find other useful sources through the bibliographies of good books you have already found. Documentaries/radio programs/podcasts are brilliant if you can find them and show a real enthusiasm for your course. Also try finding two sources that agree/totally disagree so you can compare them in your Critical Evaluation.

Anything else, don't hesitate to ask
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Abzz789
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We're doing the changing nature of warfare 1798-1918. I want to do something along a medical line but my teacher said my original quesion (How far was the improvement of sanitation the most important development in miltary medicine in this time?) is too niche and may be hard, but I can't think of anything else
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MiaG1
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I'm doing the American Civil Rights movement, and was wondering when you started writing your essay? We have been asked to write a 1000 word literature review for the start of term in September but I would like to get a head start if I can. Did you begin with your question then go onto do your source analysis? Thank you!
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Shostakovish
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Thank god I don't have to do this again.
Work hard and get a good score.
I used a markscheme I found online, through endless searching, and I thought I would post it here.
If you need any more help, just message me.
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Abzz789
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Thank you very much
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Shostakovish
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Example candidate answers.

I'll upload the rest separately.


This is a source evaluation
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Shostakovish
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The other documents are too large to upload, message me if you do want them.

One is example Candidate historical enquiry essays.

The other is the marking to them.

Personally, I don't think the essays are very good and they recieve weirdly high markings, but it can give you an insight into starting, I guess.

Happy to help! ^.^
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Abzz789
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Been told to start writing today. Not a clue where to start
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Abzz789
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Got 1395 words done. Pretty sure it's all doo-doo though, we've had so little guidance don't even know how long it's supposed to be
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