Media Resource

Ask an NEH Expert: Building an Argument

Margaret Hughes, Associate Director for Education at Historic Hudson Valley, discusses how to build an argument and support claims with evidence from primary sources.

This video is one in a three-part series about historical research and writing. See also: Validating Sources and Writing and Editing.

Questions for Analysis and Comprehension

These questions can be used before viewing the video to brainstorm ideas and review the concepts discussed in the interview, or after watching as a way to reflect on the interview.

  1. What is a primary source? A secondary source?
  2. What is the difference between description and analysis?
  3. What makes a strong thesis statement?
  4. What does it mean to support a claim with evidence? What are some ways to incorporate evidence into a paper? A presentation? A video?
Interview Questions with Timestamps
  1. What should we keep in mind when we design and revise research questions? What are the components of a good research question? (2:25)
  2. What is a historical argument? (5:30)
  3. How can a historical argument make two projects about the same topic different? (7:55)
  4. How do you go about crafting your argument and carrying it through the project? (9:00)
  5. How do you use historical evidence to support your argument? What role do primary sources play? (11:45)
  6. How do you create a conclusion that is more than just a restatement of the introduction? (16:30)