European History Research Paper Ideas For Teachers

General History Web Sites and Resources

PBS Online
PBS has a great source for information on a myriad of historical events and personalities. PBS’s assorted and diverse web exhibits supplement specific individual television series and generally include a resume of each episode, interviews (often with sound bites), a timeline , a glossary, photos, and links to relevant sites. Categories include American History, World History, History on Television, and Biographies. Go to the PBS Teacher Source for lessons and activities.

Center for History and New Media
CHNM produces historical works in new media, tests their effectiveness in the classroom, and reflects critically on the success of new media in historical practice. CHNM’s resources include a list of “best” web sites, links to syllabi and lesson plans, essays on history and new media, a link to their excellent History Matters web site for U.S. History, and more. Resources are designed to benefit professional historians, high school teachers, and students of history .

The Schools of California Online Resources for Educators (SCORE) project is a terrific resource for teachers and students alike. Here you’ll find reviews of education and history-related web sites, lesson plans, maps, and much more — all arranged by grade level and content area. A must see.

Digital History
A great new site that includes: a U.S. history e-textbook; over 400 annotated documents, primary sources on slavery, Mexican American and Native American history, and U.S. political, social, and legal history; short essays on the history of film, ethnicity, private life, and technology; multimedia exhibitions; reference resources that include a searchable database of 1,500 annotated links, classroom handouts, chronologies, glossaries, an audio archive including speeches and book talks by historians, and a visual archive with hundreds of historical maps and images. The site’s Ask the HyperHistorian feature allows users to pose questions to professional historians.

BBC: History
BBC’s History section offers an impressive array of exhibitions, activities, games, photo galleries and other resources. Major categories include: Ancient History, Archaeology, Church and State, Science and Discovery, Society and Conflict, War and Culture, and Family History. There are also sections entitled Multimedia Room, Historic Figures, Timelines, Programmes, Reading Room, Talk History, For Kids, and History Trails.

History Teacher
An impressive, award-winning site from a New York high school teacher. Features many research links and curriculum resources for Global Studies, U.S. AP History, US European History, and American History and Government. Also has quizzes, news links, and more.

History Channel
A companion to the television channel, this commercial site contains a myriad of features and highlights for educators and students alike. Key offerings include: study guides and activities, ideas from teachers, special exhibits, speech archives, discussions, and “This Day in History.” Also, try the UK site at and student site:

The History Place
This informative site features worthwhile exhibits (eg. American Revolution, Holocaust, Civil War),special presentations, essays, homework aids, and a guide to historic American areas.

National Council for the Social Studies
National Council for the Social Studies offers support for social studies educators. Links are categorized by themes of the Curriculum Standards for Social Studies. Teachers share classroom experiences at the site and on the NCSS listserv.

Academic Info: History
Academic Info is a gateway to educational resources; the History Gateway provides links to World History Resources, Country and Regional Histories, Topical Histories, European History, and Additional Sites of Interest.

Smithsonian Education
The site is divided simply into three main categories: Educators, Families, and Students. The Educators section is keyword searchable and features lesson plans — many pertaining to history. The Students section features an interactive “Secrets of the Smithsonian” that teaches about the special collections at the Smithsonian.

Teacher Oz’s History Page
An extensive and up-to-date list of humanities-related web sites covering: Ancient History, United States History and Government, The World, Wars, and Info, Military History Middle Ages, Renaissance, and The Enlightenment, England, France, and Russia, Biographies, Religion, Cultures, and Women and much more. Sites are usually not described or rated, however

Voice of the Shuttle: History Page
Part of an extensive guide to humanities resources that provides numerous links to feature sites, teaching resources, electronic journals, course syllabi, and much more

History Net
Offered by the National Historical Society, this well-organized site covers a diverse set of topics in World and American history. Noteworthy features include a picture gallery, archives, links to full-text historical magazines, eyewitness historical accounts, special features and book reviews

WWW-VL The History Index
The Central Catalogue provides direct links to network sites through its index and maintains a large number of files of pointers for countries, periods, and subject for which there is not yet a member site. A diverse and broad site with links to a multitude of topical historical areas. The scope of the listed categories is impressive, but some topics have a longer reach than others. Maintained by Lynn Nelson, Department of History, University of Kansas

Education World
This worthwhile commercial site contains lesson plans, special features, and is divided into 20 sub-categories including: Documents, Famous People, Women, Classical/Ancient History, Preservation, and more. They have reviewed over 700 web sites and have formulated yearly “Best Of” lists.

Spartacus: History
Run by a small educational publishing company, this website provides free online materials for major history curriculum subjects. Visitors can sign up for a free monthly e-mail newsletter covering web reviews and using technology in the history classroom.

Ask ERIC Virtual Library
Produced by the Education Research Information Center (ERIC) this site is an information clearinghouse on 16 specific subject areas. Of special note is its collection of thousands of lesson plans for varied grade levels and subject areas. There is a question-and-answer section and plentiful educational tips and guides.

Scholars’ Guide to WWW
An extensive and well-organized guide to using the Web for general academic ends. Has an impressive set of history links.

An impressive search engine of reviewed and approved lesson plans, videos, and online resources. Sponsored by the Verizon Foundation, content providers include National Geographic and Smithsonian’s History Explorer.

Education Index
An annotated guide to the best education-related web sites. Reviews of historical sites are useful and comprehensive, though no distinction is drawn between American and World history. Well organized and reliable

World History: HyperHistory
Hyper History Online covers 3000 years of history through timelines, lifelines, maps and graphics. Much is under construction but the site holds promise

Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators
Sponsored by the Discovery Channel, this is a well organized and comprehensive guide for educators searching to make the best use of the web. Has good links in history section.

The Gateway
Contains about 7000 educational resources including lesson plans and curriculum guides. History links are divided by grade level and contain descriptions and reviews
School History is a bountiful online history site that offers huge numbers of freely download-able resources, interactive and entertaining history games and quizzes, interactive online lessons together with comprehensive links to online resources. is free, non-commercial educational web site for educators (as the basis for lesson plans) and students. Stories link to organized primary and secondary source materials found principally at U.S. and other worldwide national archives, museums, libraries, universities, news organizations and government websites. The purpose of the site (including its eight separate, stand-alone channels) is to take visitors on a virtual guided tour of relevant on-line source materials. Be sure to check out Click2History.

The History News Network
The HistoryNewsNetwork was created in June 2001 and features articles by historians on both the left and the right who provide historical perspective on current events. HNN exists to provide historians and other experts a national forum in which to educate Americans about important and timely issues, and the only web site on the Internet wholly devoted to this task . HNN is a nonprofit publication run by George Mason University, is updated daily, and averages roughly 1.5 million hits a month. Those of you who have visited the U.S. History landing page in Best of History Web Sites may have noticed that I link to HNN articles in the U.S. History in the Classroom section.
The site for history fans, enthusiasts and students, eHistory consists of over 130,000 pages of – the site for history fans, enthusiasts and students. eHistory consists of over 130,000 pages of historical content; 4,500 timeline events; 800 battle outlines; 300 biographies; and thousands historical content; 4,500 timeline events; 800 battle outlines; 300 biographies.

History Buff
Produced by the Newspaper Collector’s Society of America, this site includes press coverage of notable events in American history. It also showcases a President’s Library and an Historic Voices Library featuring 12 audio recordings.

The Scout Report for Social Sciences (Wisconsin)
Here you’ll find bi-weekly reports that cover select Internet sites in the social sciences.

The Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel) site provides educational resources, including lesson plans and many links to U.S, world, and general history sites.

Classroom Connect
A respected source for educational resources such as web-linked activities. Has a popular newsletter on educational technology. Paid subscription is required to access most resources.

Footnotes to History
Footnotes to History is an award-winning guide that provides an overview of ephemeral states, micronations, secessionist states, and every other kind of country you never heard of in high school. It features The Atlas of Forgotten Nations as well as links and other resources.
This non-profit, teacher-to-teacher site is a guide for high school teachers of world history and geography, although much of the content is suitable for teachers of other social studies subjects as well. Content includes fundamental information about history teaching, resources, a concise alternative textbook and lesson plans.

Conversations With History
In this UC Berkeley site distinguished men and women from all over the world talk about their lives and their work. They reminisce about their participation in great events, and they share their perspectives on the past and reflect on what the future may hold. Guests include diplomats, statesmen, and soldiers; economists and political analysts; scientists and historians; writers and foreign correspondents; activists and artists.

Understanding the World Today
Understanding the World Today is supported by The International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication. It features links to free resources about long-term changes in social, political and economic systems. It also links to online history books and lectures. This site also includes several reports about sociodemographic changes in the 20th century, and very long term historical world population and economic changes.

CNN: Education with Student News
CNN: Education with Student News provides teachers with instructional materials for integrating current events across the curriculum. A student section keeps students in grades 6-12 aware of the latest news of interest to them. Lesson plans, background material, profiles, links to useful Internet sites, and forums for interaction with other teachers are also included.

TeacherServe (National Humanities Center)
This site is designed to deepen course content by providing convenient access to scholarship tailored to classroom use. TeacherServe consists of a series of instructional guides on important topics in the humanities on the secondary level.

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence(FREE): Social Studies
More than 30 Federal agencies formed a working group in 1997 to make hundreds of Federally supported teaching and learning resources easier to find. The result of that work is the FREE web site.

History Central is offered by MultiEducatory, one of the earliest producers of multimedia software.

Cartoons in History
Focus On Cartoons by Learning Curve (UK National Archives) is an online investigation into the history and use of political cartoons. It includes activities ranging from simple quizzes to in-depth interrogations of cartoons.

History in Focus: What is History?
Focus highlights books, reviews and web sites which examine the nature of history and assess the changes in historical method and practice.

Economics Resources for K-12 Teachers
EcEdWeb is your headquarters for teaching resources for K-12 or pre-college economics. The menus at the top are designed to work the way you work: if you need a lesson or information on a particular concept (e.g. scarcity), start with Concepts.

History of Economic Thought
This website is a clearinghouse of collected links and information on the history of economic thought, from the ancient times until the modern day.

Clash of Steel
A small team of military historians has put together this site to further the study of military actions throughout history. This team is building a database of military engagements and commanders which can be searched for specific entries. It also powers a ‘Battle of the Day’ feature to which visitors can subscribe. This will e-mail daily information completely free on the anniversaries of actions and engagements. Visitors are also invited to contribute to discussion groups, or to add information and entries to the database itself.

National History Day
An organization dedicated to making history come alive for students, the website offers lesson materials, presentations, and media to support curriculum.

Social Studies Central
Lesson plans, presentation materials, and online resources to support social studies curriculum.

The Concord Review
The Concord Review is a respected quarterly journal that has since 1987 published 550 high school history papers by students from 42 states and 34 countries. Its web site offers 51 sample essays, including all the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize (now $3000) winners from the last eight years. The National Writing Board, founded in 1998, offers independent assessment of high school history papers from 22 states, and sends each author a three-page report, with scores and comments. Both the Concord Review and National Writing Board have received much praise from high school and university educators and administrators.

On This Day
Daily historical facts, events, famous birthdays, world history, United States history and music history.

This Day in Alternate History
A daily calendar of alternate history events.

What Is It?

A way to teach students how to develop historical questions. This is the beginning of a multi-step research paper process that encourages sophisticated historical thinking.


It’s no secret that high schools across the country are turning away from the decidedly “old-school” research paper in favor of shorter writing assignments or a variety of “new-school” technology based projects like blogs or webpages. While these types of assignments are great for building historical thinking skills, we firmly believe that the research paper has been around for a long time for a reason: it’s the best way to engage students in sophisticated historical reasoning and prepare them for the academic world beyond high school. We have developed a comprehensive process with clear steps that walk the students through the creation of a research paper. The first step is for students to create a context-based historical question, giving their research a solid foundation and focus.


Our research paper process guides students using a system with a seven-part structure (more detail on the entire process can be found here). In the first part, rather than simply asking students to choose a topic, we ask them to start with a topic of interest, narrow it down to possible subtopics, choose a subtopic, and develop an open-ended historical question to guide their research.

Teacher Preparation

Identify and model the qualities of good historical questions, as described in Handout 1, throughout the course (e.g. as lecture openings, test essays, class discussions, and at the beginning or end of structured debates). As they gain understanding, have students develop good questions as part of classroom activities. When the students seem to have grasped the fundamentals of historical writing, (i.e. thesis, claim, logic, evidence) begin the research paper effort.

Sequence in the Classroom

  1. Each student develops a list of subjects about which she is interested (e.g.     music, politics, arts, family life). The student then browses reference     sources such as textbooks and encyclopedias to identify broad topics of     interest.
  2. The student reads reference sources to establish the basic facts about the     broad topics (who did what, where, and when).
  3. The student narrows the broad topics into manageable subtopics for     which evidence (documents, images, etc.) is likely available.
  4. The student chooses the subtopic that interests her the most but keeps     other subtopics on a list in case the chosen subtopic does not have     sufficient evidence.
  5. The teacher models creating good historical research questions. Students     practice improving weaker historical questions using Handout 2.
  6. Students develop historical questions about their chosen subtopics. They     work in small groups to improve their questions.
  7. Students write a passage that identifies the historical context and the     historical question. These are turned in to the faculty member for     feedback before moving on to locating primary and secondary sources.     Remember: questions can and will change as the student does more     research.


As part of preparing students for Step 7 of the process above, show kids Handout 3 so that they can see a completed template.

Common Pitfalls

  1. Some students will skip the preliminary research step. You can usually tell     that this happened when their topic description is lacking in detail and     specificity. This often results in overly broad questions that will confuse     students later. Don’t hesitate to send students back to Step 2 above and     reinforce the importance of following all the instructions.
  2. Some students will develop cultural history questions that may capture     their interest, but which are difficult to answer with clear evidence. An     example is: “What effects did popular music of the 1960s have on U.S.     foreign policy?” Many students choose this because they like the music of     the '60s, find the anti-war movement interesting, and assume there is a     connection between the music of the era and the choices the U.S. made in     Vietnam. However, if held to a strict standard of evidence and logic, only     the strongest students are going to be able to convincingly argue any     connection between the two. Although it can be a time-consuming     process, requiring students to edit and resubmit Step 7 until it works is     worth it over the long haul. Even slight changes in the wording of a     question will help students avoid dead-ends in their research and     ultimately write a better paper.
  3. Students can be drawn toward modern topics that veer into other social     science disciplines and lack a historical perspective. For example, a     student might come up with the question: “What is the status of women     in U.S. politics?” You might recommend an alteration of this question that     connects to the original topic: “What are the origins of the feminist     movement in the U.S.?” or “What were the effects of the women’s suffrage     movement?”

For more information 

Fischer, David. Historians' Fallacies: Toward A Logic of Historical Thought. London: Routledge and K. Paul, 1971.

Furay, Conal, and Michael J. Salevouris. The Methods and Skills of History: A Practical Guide. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 2000.

Schmidt, John, and Jeffrey Treppa. Historical Thinker.

The Concord Review, an organization that publishes students’ history research papers.

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