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National History Day in Colorado

Project: Paper

For an example of a student paper that competed in a previous contest, click on the links below:

Man, Myth, and Icon: The Life and Legacy of Che Guevara​ by Joyce Xu (Second Place, Senior Paper)

Pivotal Politics, The Marshall Plan: A Turning Point in Foreign Aid and the Struggle for Democracy, by Alexander Weissman (First Place, Junior Paper)
The Great Railroad Strike of 1877: A Catalyst for the American Labor Movement, by Jessica Piper (First Place, Senior Paper)

Research Papers

A research paper is the traditional form of presenting historical research. Various types of creative writing (such as fictional diaries, poems, etc.) are also permitted, but must conform to all general and category rules. Your paper should be grammatically correct and well written.

Please Note: Groups may not submit a research paper. Only individual students can submit an entry in the research paper category.

The written work should consist of four parts:

  1. An introduction stating the thesis of the work
  2. A main section addressing the theme
  3. A conclusion flowing logically from the thesis statement and body of the paper
  4. An annotated bibliography divided into primary and secondary sources

Word Limit

The paper must be between 1,500 and 2,500 words in length -- typically six to ten pages.


Citations -- footnotes, endnotes or internal documentation -- are required. Use citations to credit the sources of specific ideas as well as of direct quotations.

Process Paper

A process paper is NOT required for the research paper category.

Rules for Papers

Click here to view the rules for the Paper category from NHD.

New Rules for 2015

Students must document the word count for projects in all projects. Refer to the Contest Rule Book for category word limits as well as guidance on determining word counts in each category. Paper contestants must include the total number of words in the paper on the title page.

All the Details

Read the student contest rule book carefully and follow its guidelines. Also visit Creating Historical Paper Entries on the National History Day site for more information.