Research Papers

History Fair Research Paper Rules

The research paper allows students to develop a historical argument in a lengthy written form.

RULE 1: Individuals only.

RULE 2: Papers may be 1500-2500 words in length.

RULE 3: The paper is preceded by a cover page (title and student name only), thesis statement, and outline. It concludes with an annotated bibliography which is divided by primary and secondary sources. These pages are not included in the word count. Students do not submit Summary Statement Forms.

RULE 4: In addition to the annotated bibliography, citations must be included as either endnotes, footnotes, or in-line notes.  Either Turabian or MLA styles are acceptable so long as the style is consistently followed.

RULE 5: Project topics must be based in Chicago or Illinois-even if the national theme is being used. Non-Illinois topics will be evaluated but will not be eligible to advance.

RULE 6: Plagiarism is not accepted, and constitutes grounds for disqualification.

RULE 7: All work must be conducted in the current school year for which the paper is submitted.

PENALTY POINTS (High School only)
Exceeds word/page limitations: Minus 2 points for each full page over 11 pp
No Outline: Minus 5 points
No Thesis Statement: Minus 5 points
Bibliography not annotated: Minus 5 points
No citations: Minus 5 points
No bibliography: 0 points in sources category

Research Paper Guidelines

  • Appendices are not required. Only maps, charts, photographs, transcribed oral histories or other types of evidence directly addressed in the text may be included in the appendix. Extraneous or supplemental material will not be credited. Do not send original sources-CMHEC cannot be held responsible for any loss of originals.

  • A Summary Statement Form is not required for research papers. Instead, students will be expected to submit a thesis statement, outline, and footnotes. (See Rules above.)

  • Submit three copies of the paper to the History Fair. Each copy should have a cover sheet containing the title and student name. Only one cover sheet should give the name of the school.

  • The judging process for research papers follows a different evaluation schedule than other History Fair projects. Students need not be present at the competitions, but will be notified of advancement via History Fair communications to the teacher. Papers are eligible for all awards and scholarships.


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