Historical Paper Rules

History fair projects in the historical paper category must follow the general rules which apply to all history fair entries (see link at right). In addition, historical papers must follow all of the specific rules listed below.

A1. Length Requirements

  • Historical papers must be between 1,500 and 2,500 words.
  • Each word or number in the text of the paper counts as one word. This includes student-composed text as well as quotes from primary or secondary sources.
  • 2,500-word limit does not apply to notes, the annotated bibliography, illustration captions, and appendix material. Appendix material must be referenced in the text of the paper. Extensive supplemental materials are inappropriate. Use of appendices should be very limited and may include photographs, maps, charts, and/or graphs only.

NOTE: Oral history transcripts, correspondence between you and experts, questionnaires, and other primary or secondary materials used as sources for your paper should be cited in your bibliography but not included as attachments/appendices to your paper.

A2. Citations

  • Citations-footnotes, endnotes, or internal documentation-are required.
  • Citations are used to credit the sources of specific ideas as well as direct quotations.
  • Refer to Part III (General Rules), Rule 18, for citation styles. Please note that an extensively annotated footnote should not be used to get around the word limit.

A3. Preparation Requirements

  • Papers must be typed or computer printed on plain, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper with 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Pages must be numbered consecutively and double-spaced with writing on one side and in 12-point font.
  • Papers must be stapled in the top left corner and should not be enclosed in a cover or binder. Refer to Part III (General Rules), Rule 14, for title page requirements.
  • See Figure 3 (in the rule book) for an example of a properly formatted page.

A4. Number of Copies

  • Four copies of the paper and annotated bibliography must be submitted prior to the contest, via the appropriate registration process, by the deadline established for the contest.
  • Winning papers sometimes are published by contest officials; you must be prepared to give permission for such publication.
  • You must bring a copy of your paper and annotated bibliography to the contest for your use.

Be sure to keep a copy of your paper for yourself and bring it with you to the contest.

HOTRHF Note: Rules listed on this website have been updated for 2015.