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A Level History Coursework Help

Hello! I'm starting year 13 in a week and I'm taking history (edexcel exam board) and one of our requirements is coursework. My coursework question is "Historians disagree on the causes of the Russian Revolution, what is your view?"

We're supposed to do a lot of reading on historians like Richard Pipes, Sheila Fitzpatrick, etc. and basically pick a perspective (Western liberal, Marxist or Revisionist....I'm leaning towards the Revisionist side) however, I'm having a lot of difficulties. I don't feel confident writing this coursework at all, my points and analysis are weak. I do have many quotes from the historians but i'm very unsure of what to say about them

So, here's my question and call for help in these times of desperation. What are your arguments on this topic? How would you write this coursework if you were me? Any useful arguments/points that I can mention or talk about? Any help or guidance is appreciated!
I can't be helpful with the topic itself, just with the process of writing - it's really hard to write good coursework, but you'll get there. The first draft will be little like the last draft, and it will gradually take shape. Focus on what the mark scheme prioritises :smile:
Original post by bianca_2003
Hello! I'm starting year 13 in a week and I'm taking history (edexcel exam board) and one of our requirements is coursework. My coursework question is "Historians disagree on the causes of the Russian Revolution, what is your view?"

We're supposed to do a lot of reading on historians like Richard Pipes, Sheila Fitzpatrick, etc. and basically pick a perspective (Western liberal, Marxist or Revisionist....I'm leaning towards the Revisionist side) however, I'm having a lot of difficulties. I don't feel confident writing this coursework at all, my points and analysis are weak. I do have many quotes from the historians but i'm very unsure of what to say about them

So, here's my question and call for help in these times of desperation. What are your arguments on this topic? How would you write this coursework if you were me? Any useful arguments/points that I can mention or talk about? Any help or guidance is appreciated!

Whilst I can't provide any guidance on the topic itself, I can help answer your second question.

There are different ways of tackling structure but in my opinion, the best way would be to split your coursework into three main bodies:

1) Introduction

Paragraph 1: Set a timeline for the Russian Revolution (so 1917-1923) so you have a clear definition. Outline the criteria that you are going to use to judge what is considered to be a true 'cause' of the Russian Revolution. Briefly explain why your three selected historians disagree (it will be best to have a firm understanding of the arguments of your core historians before tackling these sentences).

Paragraph 2: Summarise the differing perspectives of the historians that you have looked at (I would advise looking at three historians with differing perspectives in detail for the coursework itself, and then use other historians to support/refute their arguments)

Paragraph 3: Briefly explain which historian you find convincing and why (remember to link back to the criteria you outlined in para 1)

2) Split the core body of coursework into three sections:

Section 1: three paragraphs covering three different arguments that one historian is making, perhaps this historian will take the Western Liberal perspective. Refute their points using your own knowledge and criteria. Be sure to explain why they have come to their conclusion and what factors they have failed to take into account which thus makes their argument unreliable.

Section 2: Repeat section 1's structure with another historian with a differing view. Now start to compare the historians' views and how/why they differ.

Section 3: You guessed it: repeat the previous structures. It's best to end with the historian that you agree with the most (so if you're leaning towards the revolutionist side, find a historian that holds a similar perspective.

3) Conclusion: this is essentially an extended paragraph where you focus on your own view, and how it differs from all of your other historians. Use your own knowledge and the criteria that you outlined in your introduction to highlight why your argument is the most convincing.

History coursework is a tickbox exercise. Make sure you have a clear structure and that you are constantly referring to the assessment objectives.
Reply 3
Original post by aconstanthamlet
Whilst I can't provide any guidance on the topic itself, I can help answer your second question.

There are different ways of tackling structure but in my opinion, the best way would be to split your coursework into three main bodies:

1) Introduction

Paragraph 1: Set a timeline for the Russian Revolution (so 1917-1923) so you have a clear definition. Outline the criteria that you are going to use to judge what is considered to be a true 'cause' of the Russian Revolution. Briefly explain why your three selected historians disagree (it will be best to have a firm understanding of the arguments of your core historians before tackling these sentences).

Paragraph 2: Summarise the differing perspectives of the historians that you have looked at (I would advise looking at three historians with differing perspectives in detail for the coursework itself, and then use other historians to support/refute their arguments)

Paragraph 3: Briefly explain which historian you find convincing and why (remember to link back to the criteria you outlined in para 1)

2) Split the core body of coursework into three sections:

Section 1: three paragraphs covering three different arguments that one historian is making, perhaps this historian will take the Western Liberal perspective. Refute their points using your own knowledge and criteria. Be sure to explain why they have come to their conclusion and what factors they have failed to take into account which thus makes their argument unreliable.

Section 2: Repeat section 1's structure with another historian with a differing view. Now start to compare the historians' views and how/why they differ.

Section 3: You guessed it: repeat the previous structures. It's best to end with the historian that you agree with the most (so if you're leaning towards the revolutionist side, find a historian that holds a similar perspective.

3) Conclusion: this is essentially an extended paragraph where you focus on your own view, and how it differs from all of your other historians. Use your own knowledge and the criteria that you outlined in your introduction to highlight why your argument is the most convincing.

History coursework is a tickbox exercise. Make sure you have a clear structure and that you are constantly referring to the assessment objectives.

This was really helpful, thank you so much!!
Reply 4
Original post by aconstanthamlet
Whilst I can't provide any guidance on the topic itself, I can help answer your second question.

There are different ways of tackling structure but in my opinion, the best way would be to split your coursework into three main bodies:

1) Introduction

Paragraph 1: Set a timeline for the Russian Revolution (so 1917-1923) so you have a clear definition. Outline the criteria that you are going to use to judge what is considered to be a true 'cause' of the Russian Revolution. Briefly explain why your three selected historians disagree (it will be best to have a firm understanding of the arguments of your core historians before tackling these sentences).

Paragraph 2: Summarise the differing perspectives of the historians that you have looked at (I would advise looking at three historians with differing perspectives in detail for the coursework itself, and then use other historians to support/refute their arguments)

Paragraph 3: Briefly explain which historian you find convincing and why (remember to link back to the criteria you outlined in para 1)

2) Split the core body of coursework into three sections:

Section 1: three paragraphs covering three different arguments that one historian is making, perhaps this historian will take the Western Liberal perspective. Refute their points using your own knowledge and criteria. Be sure to explain why they have come to their conclusion and what factors they have failed to take into account which thus makes their argument unreliable.

Section 2: Repeat section 1's structure with another historian with a differing view. Now start to compare the historians' views and how/why they differ.

Section 3: You guessed it: repeat the previous structures. It's best to end with the historian that you agree with the most (so if you're leaning towards the revolutionist side, find a historian that holds a similar perspective.

3) Conclusion: this is essentially an extended paragraph where you focus on your own view, and how it differs from all of your other historians. Use your own knowledge and the criteria that you outlined in your introduction to highlight why your argument is the most convincing.

History coursework is a tickbox exercise. Make sure you have a clear structure and that you are constantly referring to the assessment objectives.

This is super helpful but what defines proper criteria? Is it how valid the historians evidence is, or a more general set of things to hold the material to/explain why each historian differs in interpretation (like the way in which they use evidence, their purpose for writing,) etc.

Im asking because our school decided to ask a question on our view of the most significant reason for an event occurring, and I thought that I could use evidence to explain why each historian's view about the most significant cause is more/less good, and use criteria such as purpose to explain why each historian interpreted their evidence differently. But my teachers sat that we have to use the 5rs to weigh up whether a historian themselves has the most significant opinion/argument by analysing or refuting the type of evidence they used. No other person it seems has a significance question because I can't find anything online that can help me, and I'm too confused to ask my teachers what they actually mean/scared because ive already missed the internal deadlines theyve put in place so they might not even help me because im so behind and itd seem like i wasnt listening. Or theyd have a short conversation with me that leaves me feeling much morre confused and frustrated about what i have to do. It's even worse because they want the coursework to be structured in a specific way, and we're not allowed to look at examples due to accidental pkagarism. I really don't get the why we have to use rigidly defined, existing significance criteria that make no sense to use unless you apply it to the evidence specifically, instead of just talking about the way historians use their evidence rather than how valid/significant the evidence is. Its doing my head in and I've spent multiple all nighters writing no more than 300 words each time.
My history tutor tells me that I shouldn't have to use the 5rs or anything like that at all, since it's a question about my view on a significant cause as opposed to my view on the most significant and accurate historian, and that its not in the mark scheme. But I honestly don't know what to do. Nothing makes sense to me.

I'm sorry for the rant but I just genuinely have no idea what is going on and the final deadline is steadily approaching. What type of criteria does one use in an edexcel history coursework?
(edited 3 months ago)
Original post by qazws017
This is super helpful but what defines proper criteria? Is it how valid the historians evidence is, or a more general set of things to hold the material to/explain why each historian differs in interpretation (like the way in which they use evidence, their purpose for writing,) etc.
Im asking because our school decided to ask a question on our view of the most significant reason for an event occurring, and I thought that I could use evidence to explain why each historian's view about the most significant cause is more/less good, and use criteria such as purpose to explain why each historian interpreted their evidence differently. But my teachers sat that we have to use the 5rs to weigh up whether a historian themselves has the most significant opinion/argument by analysing or refuting the type of evidence they used. No other person it seems has a significance question because I can't find anything online that can help me, and I'm too confused to ask my teachers what they actually mean/scared because ive already missed the internal deadlines theyve put in place so they might not even help me because im so behind and itd seem like i wasnt listening. Or theyd have a short conversation with me that leaves me feeling much morre confused and frustrated about what i have to do. It's even worse because they want the coursework to be structured in a specific way, and we're not allowed to look at examples due to accidental pkagarism. I really don't get the why we have to use rigidly defined, existing significance criteria that make no sense to use unless you apply it to the evidence specifically, instead of just talking about the way historians use their evidence rather than how valid/significant the evidence is. Its doing my head in and I've spent multiple all nighters writing no more than 300 words each time.
My history tutor tells me that I shouldn't have to use the 5rs or anything like that at all, since it's a question about my view on a significant cause as opposed to my view on the most significant and accurate historian, and that its not in the mark scheme. But I honestly don't know what to do. Nothing makes sense to me.
I'm sorry for the rant but I just genuinely have no idea what is going on and the final deadline is steadily approaching. What type of criteria does one use in an edexcel history coursework?
I feel like your school might want you to look into the influence of a historians provenance (background, education etc.) and how it can impact their interpretation of evidence and then way that factor in into your analysis of their view

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