The Student Room Group

A level History NEA Coursework

Hi, I would like to know if anyone had any tips and advice when having to research the 3 historians work. I find reading their books lengthy and difficult so any tips on how to manage that would be helpful!
Original post by Maeen
Hi, I would like to know if anyone had any tips and advice when having to research the 3 historians work. I find reading their books lengthy and difficult so any tips on how to manage that would be helpful!


It can help to read reviews of their work, or articles about any historical debate they were involved in.
Original post by Maeen
Hi, I would like to know if anyone had any tips and advice when having to research the 3 historians work. I find reading their books lengthy and difficult so any tips on how to manage that would be helpful!


You can also focus on the introductions and conclusions and skim the intervening details.
Reply 3
Original post by ageshallnot
It can help to read reviews of their work, or articles about any historical debate they were involved in.

Thank you although I'm not sure if I can do that as my teacher has stressed the importance of attaining research from the historian's book itself but nonetheless thank you for your help!
what topic are you writing it on?
Reply 5
Original post by history tutor
what topic are you writing it on?

The question is: "Historians have disagreed about the significance of German imperial ambitions in the origins of the First World War." With reference to three chosen works:

1.

Analyse the ways in which interpretations of the question, problem or issue differ

2.

Explain the differences you have identified

3.

Evaluate the arguments, indicating which you found most persuasive and explain your judgements.

Original post by Maeen
The question is: "Historians have disagreed about the significance of German imperial ambitions in the origins of the First World War." With reference to three chosen works:

1.

Analyse the ways in which interpretations of the question, problem or issue differ

2.

Explain the differences you have identified

3.

Evaluate the arguments, indicating which you found most persuasive and explain your judgements.


Which historians are you using?
It's a great question so here is how I would answer it. Firstly you absolutely have to locate your essay around the arguments of a guy called Fritz Fischer - a German historian who in 1961, laid the blame firmly at the door of Germany saying in essence, there was always a grand plan to try to grab territory from its neighbours. It did cause uproar amongst his fellow German academics who firmly disagreed with it.

So the thing to do is then find another historian who takes a very different view point (there are several) and contrast his/her views with Fischer.

This article gives you a fantastic overview of the historiography that Fischer was rejecting so you could pick any historian from here who promoted the 'Germany was acting in self defense' line of argument or 'the great powers sort of stumbled into war by accident' thesis which Fischer was arguing against:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/492292?read-now=1&seq=4#page_scan_tab_contents



Finally you might want to take a very recent analysis like Chris Clarke's 'Sleepwalkers' and contrast where he lays the blame ....'mainly Serbia' ..........but his approach is an update on the 'stumbled into war' theory prevalent in the immediate post WW1 years (until Fischer).

In terms of how you go about researching it, here is a useful article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historiography_of_the_causes_of_World_War_I

I would also buy yourself a copy of this book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Origins-First-World-War-Controversies/dp/0582418720/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2VDGE6GQMU6UA&keywords=The+Origins+of+the+First+World+War%3A+Controversies+and+Consensus&qid=1700746112&sprefix=the+origins+of+the+first+world+war+controversies+and+consensus+%2Caps%2C82&sr=8-1


It is heavily focused on the historiography of the subject and basically answers the question for you. There is nothing wrong with emailing professional historians and writing a 60 word summary of your argument and then asking them.......'what do you think'?

Another great tip is to read the introductions on google books or amazon (they almost always show the introductions) of academic works relating to WW1 as introductions to academic works tend to give an overview of the historiography.

Happy to guide further if you want to suggest a 60 word summary of what your core argument.

A final top tip........when you are analysising your 3 historians, always try to place their work in the context of the time i.e. what was going on at that time that might have shaped their opinions as to who was to blame. That will nudge you into 'wow' territory. That needs quite a bit of reading though so those introductions to academic works will often explain the context.
(edited 3 months ago)
Just to add to the post above, you can get the Mombauer book for about a third of the Amazon price via bookfinder.com.
Reply 9
Sorry for the late reply, this all seems like very useful and relevant advice that I will certainly apply when working on my coursework. Thank you so much for taking up your time to help me! Very appreciative :smile:
(edited 1 month ago)

Quick Reply