Skip to Main Content

National History Day: Required Written Materials for Entries

Required Written Materials for Entries

  1. Title Page (all categories)
  • Title
  • Name(s)
  • "Junior Division"
  • Category

     2.  Process Paper (excluding historical paper category)

  • How you chose your topic
  • How you conducted your research
  • How you selected your category and created your porject
  • How your project relates to the NHD theme

     3.  Annotated Bibliography (all categories)

  • How you used the source
  • How it helped you understand the topic
  • Separate Primary & Secondary Sources
  • MLA Style

Annotated Bibliography Informatioin and Sample

A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, websites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "references" or "works cited" depending on the style format you are using.

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. An annotated bibliography is required for all categories.

Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources used to develop the project. An annotation is normally 1-3 sentences.

All National History Day projects must include an annotated bibliography. The annotations for each source must explain the following:

  1. How the source was used? 
  2. How it helped you understand the topic? 
  3. Why the source was categorized as primary or secondary?

Sources must be alphabetized by author's last name.


Source (example):

Bates, Daisy. The Long Shadow of Little Rock. 1st ed. New York: David McKay Co. Inc.,


Annotation (example):

Daisy Bates was the president of the Arkansas NAACP and the one who met and listened to the students each day. This first-hand account was very important to my project because it made me more aware of the feelings of the people involved.

How to Create an Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography Worksheet

Thesis Statement

Thesis Development Worksheet

NHD resource for building a thesis

Develop a Thesis Statement

NHD projects should do more than just tell a story. Every exhibit, performance, documentary, paper and web site should make a point about its topic. To do this, you must develop your own argument of the historical impact of the person, event, pattern or idea you are studying. The point you make is called a thesis statement. A thesis statement is not the same as a topic. Your thesis statement explains what you believe to be the impact and significance of your topic in history.

The thesis answers the question, “So what?” The thesis is the significance of the incident that you are  describing. The thesis is what the given information adds up to, your explanation of it, your purpose in presenting it. The thesis is the point you are trying to prove. A thesis is a promise, fulfilled in the project.

Try to state your thesis in one sentence.  It will help you to stay focused.

Topic: Battle of Gettysburg
Thesis Statement: The battle of Gettysburg was a major turning point of the Civil War. It turned the tide of the war from the South to the North, pushing back Lee's army that would never fight again on Northern soil and bringing confidence to the Union army.


Process Paper Information and Sample

A process paper is a description of no more than 500 words explaining how you conducted your research and created and developed your entry. You must conclude your description with an explanation of the relationship of your topic to the contest theme. A title page is required as the first page of written material in every category.

Your title page must include only the title of your entry, your name(s) and the contest division and category in which you are entered. Do not include your age, grade or school name.

  • The first section should explain how you chose your topic.
  • The second section should explain how you conducted your research.
  • The third section should explain how you selected your presentation category and created your project.
  • The fourth section should explain how your project relates to the NHD theme.

Sample Process Paper