Evidence—the facts and quotations you extract from your sources—is the foundation of historical writing. Sometimes students imagine that quotations are to be plugged into to the essay after-the-fact, to support conclusions they’ve already arrived at. In reality, however, carefully choosing and mulling over key citations from the primary sources should be the starting point of your writing. The first video in this series introduces a simple method for “working the evidence” in the first stages of the assignment, before your formal draft is due. The second video, “Integrating Quotations,” focuses on the skills of editing, introducing, and blending quotations smoothly with your own words. It should be viewed later in the writing process, when you’re composing a formal draft of your essay.
In the supplementary, printable materials for this topic, you’ll find samples of an “Assert-Cite-Explain” Evidence Card and of integrating a quotation into an essay, as well as a Citation Guide explaining when and how to use footnotes in history writing.