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Page history last edited by Rob Darrow 2 years, 11 months ago

Writing Your Process Paper

Some wording borrowed from Wisconsin State History Day.


A process paper describes how you conducted your research and created your entry. It gives your judges a better idea of how you went about creating your project. If you had a unique research experience or an interesting reason that you chose your topic, highlight it in your process paper in order to explain this to your judges.


When to Write Your Process Paper

Most students write it toward the end of their process. Since the paper describes the process you went through to do your research and create your entry, you have to be far enough along in your project to write it.  This means you need to know your topic and thesis, have most of your research done, and know how you are presenting your topic. 

Note: You will need at least 3 copies of the process paper and the annotated bibliography for the history day contest to give the judges.  


Important Requirements

Category Requirements

  • Exhibit, documentary, performance, website and poster categories require one process paper for each entry. 
  • The Historical Paper category does not require a process paper.


Group Entry Requirements

  • If you are working in a group, you only need one process paper per entry.
  • Group process papers must be written from the perspective of all group members and contain words like "we" and "our" to reflect that everyone in the group contributed to the project.


Writing Style

The process paper doesn't need to be as formal as the project itself. It’s okay to write in first person and use words like "I" and "we" when talking about your project. You should use  proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Your process paper is one of the few things the judges get to take with them after they are done viewing your project. Leave them with a good impression!

Note: Make sure you have several adults read your process paper to make sure it makes sense and has no errors prior to the contest. 


Writing the Paper

The process paper has a title page and four sections (one page for the title page. It should be in an easy to read 12 point font such as Arial or Times New Roman (do not use script of any type because they are difficult to read)  The process paper allows you to share your research process with the judges (Note:  You will need 3 copies of this printed and stapled with your annotated bibliography for the history day contest). 


Length: No more than 500 words. 12 point font in Arial or Times New Roman printed on white paper with black ink on  (No printing in color). 2 pages in length. 


Format: The process paper should be written in a narrative style, incorporating all of the sections.


Title Page (Page 1)

Your title page is the first page and must include 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.  (e.g. Conflict and Compromise in the Civil War, Susan Vang, Junior Division, Individual Performance


Process Paper (Pages 2 and 3)

Section 1 - How I chose my topic

The first section should explain how you selected your topic.


Section 2 - How I conducted my research

The second section should explain how you conducted your research. For example, was it difficult to find primary sources for your topic? Where did you go to find your sources?


Section 3 - How I selected my presentation category and created my project

The third section should explain how you selected your presentation category and created your project.


Section 4 - How my project relates to this year’s theme

The fourth section should explain how your project relates to the NHD theme and why is your topic significant in history. How did you develop the ideas of your thesis to make it fit the theme? Make sure that your theme connection and thesis are clear in your project itself, as well as in your process paper. This paragraph is often the most important part of your process paper.


See samples of Process Papers.



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