Second, and most importantly, is the quality of research that the paper exhibits. Again, the History Day judging criteria offer a good guide. My fellow judges and I consistently look for a wide, but not padded range of primary and secondary sources, and a balanced effort to seek out opposing points of view. This year’s theme “Conflict and Compromise” is a natural for striking that balance. A paper on Connecticut’s conflict over women’s right to vote, for instance, might seek out the views both of state residents opposed to woman suffrage as well as those in favor, and indeed disagreement among residents on the pro-suffrage side. Moreover, judges are looking for a good understanding of historical milieu out of which historical events came, as well as their impact on history, background that too often gets neglected in History Day papers. A paper on Connecticut woman suffrage, hence, ought to discuss both the state’s long historical heritage for that cause and the conservative local Republican political environment in which it emerged.
Donald W. Rogers, Ph. D is a part-time Lecturer in History at Central Connecticut State University, University of Connecticut-Storrs, and Housatonic Community College. Don has become one of our repeat Connecticut History Day judges, and is often at multiple Regional Contests as well as the State Contest in April.