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Contest Rule Book

All Rules on One Page

What Is National History Day?

National History Day (NHD) is not just one day, but a yearlong program that makes history come alive every day. NHD is an exciting way to study history and learn about issues, ideas, people, and events that interest you. The program lets you express what you have learned through creative and original performances, documentaries, papers, or three-dimensional exhibits. Through NHD you will learn the skills and techniques of the historian and discover new insights. At the competitions you will have the opportunity to meet students from other schools, exchange ideas, and demonstrate the results of your work. Your success in researching and producing an NHD entry may even take you to the national contest held each June at the University of Maryland at College Park.

NOTE: Before you begin work on your entry, you, your teacher, and your parents should carefully read this booklet. This guidebook contains rules that you must follow to compete in any level of the National History Day (NHD) competition. More information on topics, sources, and deadlines are available from your district and state NHD coordinators. This rule book was published in 2002 and will be updated in 2004. Always contact your district or state coordinator to learn if any rules have been revised since publication of this rule book. An on-line version of this book is available on the NHD Website at www.nhd.org.

Definitions

Historical Context

    The intellectual, physical, social, and cultural setting in which events take place.

Historical Perspective

    Understanding a topic's development over time and its influence in history.

Plagiarism

    Plagiarism is using the work or ideas of others in ways that give the impression that these are your own (e.g. copying information word-for-word without using quotations and footnotes, paraphrasing an author's ideas, or using visuals or music without giving proper credit.)

Primary Sources

    The most basic definition of a primary source is: that which is written or produced in the time period students are investigating. Primary sources are materials directly related to a topic by time or participation. These materials include letters, speeches, diaries, newspaper articles from the time, oral history interviews, documents, photographs, artifacts, or anything else that provides first-hand accounts about a person or event. This definition also applies to primary sources found on the Internet. A letter written by President Lincoln in 1862 is a primary source for a student researching the Civil War era. A newspaper article about the Battle of Gettysburg written by a contemporary in July 1863 would be a primary source; but an article about the battle written in June 2001 probably was not written by an eyewitness or participant and would not be a primary source. The memories of a person who took part in the battle also can serve as a primary source. He was an eyewitness to and a participant in this historical event at the time. However, an interview with an expert (a professor of Civil War history, for example) is not a primary source UNLESS that expert actually lived through and has first-hand knowledge of the events being described (Highly unlikely for a Civil War historian!).

NOTE: Primary materials, such as quotes from historical figures and photographs of historical events, can be retrieved from secondary quotation, selecting it from the original sources and used effectively in History Day projects. However, these are not considered primary sources. Check out the "Research Roadmap" on the NHD Website at www.nhd.org for additional help on primary sources.

Secondary Sources

    Secondary sources are usually published books or articles by authors who were not eyewitnesses or participants in the historical event or period and who base their interpretation on primary sources, research, and study. These sources provide context for a historical event. For example, high school history textbooks and other history books about a particular topic are secondary sources. So are biographies, newspaper retrospectives, and reference books such as encyclopedias. This definition also applies to secondary sources found on the Internet.

NOTE: National History Day programs are open to all students and teachers without regard to race, sex, religion, physical abilities, economic status, or sexual orientation. National History Day does not discriminate against or limit participation by physically challenged students. This rule book is available on audiotape from the National History Day office. National History Day staff and state coordinators will make every effort to accommodate students with special needs.

These Rules may be duplicated without permission of National History Day. Duplication for profit is strictly prohibited.

Section I. Program Overview

A. Themes

Each year a broad theme is selected for the National History Day contest. You may select a topic on any aspect of local, regional, national, or world history. Regardless of the topic chosen, your presentation of your research and conclusions must clearly relate to the annual theme. Be careful to limit the scope of your topic to make the research and interpretation of your topic manageable. In other words, narrow your topic to focus on an issue that can be explained and interpreted within the category limits of size and time.

B. Topics

Effective National History Day entries not only describe an event or a development, they also analyze it and place it in its historical context. Ask yourself the following questions about your topic:

  • How is my topic important?
  • How was my topic significant in history in relation to the National History Day theme?
  • How did my topic develop over time?
  • How did my topic influence history?
  • How did the events and atmosphere (social, economic, political, and cultural aspects) of my topic's time period influence my topic in history?
NOTE: You should ask questions about the topic's development over time and its impact in history. Your answers to such questions will help you draw conclusions about your topic's significance in history.

C. Rewards For Participation

At each level of competition, outstanding achievement may be recognized through certificates, medals, trophies, or monetary awards. A number of special prizes may be given at the regional, state, or national level. The most important rewards are the skills and new knowledge that you will acquire as you move through the National History Day program.

D. Divisions

The National History Day competition has two divisions based on school grade:

  • Junior Division - grades 6, 7, and 8
  • Senior Division - grades 9, 10, 11, and 12.

Entries in each division are judged separately at all levels of competition.

NOTE: Some states sponsor participation in 4th and 5th grades at the state level. Check with your state coordinator for more information.
NOTE: Students in non-graded schools must check with the National History Day office to determine in which division they should register for the competition.

E. Contest Categories

You may enter one of eight categories:

  • paper (individual only)
  • individual exhibit
  • group exhibit
  • individual performance
  • group performance
  • individual documentary
  • group documentary
  • individual web site
  • group web site

Each category in each division is judged separately. Groups may include 2 to 5 students. Group participants do not have to be in the same grade to compete together.

NOTE: Choose a category in which you can make the best use of your own special abilities, talents, and interests. Be careful to choose the most suitable category in which to present your research and conclusions and take into consideration the availability of equipment and resources.

F. Important Notices For Contestants

All contests are held in public areas, and you are solely responsible for the security and safety of your own equipment and artifacts. National History Day program officials and sponsors will not be responsible for the loss of or damage to exhibits, equipment, or personal belongings during the program activities.

G. Program Materials

Each year program materials such as topic suggestions, videos, and bibliographies are available upon request from National History Day to help teachers and students participate in the NHD program. The materials may be duplicated for classroom use. A glossary of program materials is available on the NHD Website at www.nhd.org. For further information or to order materials, contact your district or state coordinator or the National History Day office.

Section II. Rules For All Categories

A. GENERAL RULES FOR ALL CATEGORIES

Rule 1: Annual Theme
Your entry must be clearly related to the annual theme and explain your topic's significance in history.

Rule 2: Contest Participation
You may participate in the research, preparation, and presentation of only one entry each year.

NOTE: Do not share research with other students unless you are members of the same group and creating one entry together. It is not acceptable to have a common pool of research from which several entries are created.

Rule 3: Individual or Group Entries
A paper, individual exhibit, individual performance, or individual documentary must be the work of only one student. A group exhibit, group performance, or group documentary must be the work of 2 to 5 students. All students in a group entry must be involved in the research and interpretation of the group's topic.

Rule 4: Development Requirements
Entries submitted for competition must be researched and developed during the current contest year that begins following the national contest each June. Revising or reusing an entry from a previous year — whether your own or another student's — is unacceptable and will result in disqualification.

Rule 5: Construction of Entry
You are responsible for the research, design, and creation of your entry. You may receive help and advice from teachers and parents on the mechanical aspects of creating your entry:

  1. You may have help typing your paper and other written materials.
  2. You may seek guidance from your teachers as you research and analyze your material, but your conclusions must be your own.
  3. You may have photographs and slides commercially developed.
  4. You may have reasonable help cutting out your exhibit backboard or performance props (e.g., a parent uses a cutting tool to cut the board that you designed).
NOTE: Objects created by others specifically for use in your entry violate this rule. For example, a parent takes photographs or an artist draws the backdrop for your exhibit or performance. You may receive reasonable help in carrying and placing props and exhibits.

Rule 6: Contest Day Set-up
You are responsible for setting up your own exhibits, equipment, or props at the contest. You may have reasonable help carrying them, but set-up must be completed by you (and your group members if applicable) alone.

Rule 7: Supplying Equipment
You are responsible for supplying all props and equipment at each level of competition. All entries should be constructed keeping transportation, set-up time, size and weight in mind (e.g., foam core v. solid oak exhibit or antique desk v. folding table for a performance). Projection screens for documentaries and performances may be provided if requested. Check with your contest coordinator about availability of equipment. VCRs (VHS format only) and monitors are available at the national contest for the documentary category only. Students must provide their own computers and software. Pianos and Internet access are not provided.

NOTE: Be prepared: bring extension cords if needed and check with your contest coordinators about the availability of equipment.

Rule 8: Discussion with Judges
You should be prepared to answer judges' questions about the content and development of your entry, but you may not give a formal, prepared introduction, narration, or conclusion. Let the judges' questions guide the interview. Ultimately, your entry should be able to stand on its own without any additional comments from you.

NOTE: You should be prepared to explain the design, research, and creation of your entry if questioned by the judges. Judges need to know that your entry is the result of your own work.

Rule 9: Costumes
You are not permitted to wear costumes that are related to the focus of your entry during judging, except in the performance category. If you are entering the performance category, you may rent or have reasonable help creating your own costumes (e.g., a parent helps you to use the sewing machine).

Rule 10: Prohibited Materials
Items potentially dangerous in any way — such as weapons, firearms, animals, organisms, plants, etc. — are strictly prohibited. Such items will be confiscated by security personnel or contest officials. Replicas of such items that are obviously not real are permissible. Please contact your teacher and contest coordinator to confirm guidelines before bringing the replica to a contest.

Rule 11: Title
Your entry must have a title that is clearly visible on all written materials.

B. REQUIRED WRITTEN MATERIALS FOR ALL ENTRIES

Rule 12: Written Material
Entries in all categories except historical papers must include three copies of the following written material in the following order:

  1. A title page as described in Rule 13.
  2. A process paper as described in Rule 14 (process papers are not part of historical paper entries)
  3. An annotated bibliography as described in Rule 15. These materials must be typed or neatly printed on plain white paper and stapled together in the top left corner. Do not enclose them in a cover or binder.

Rule 13: Title Page
A title page is required as the first page of written material in every category. Your title page must include only the title of your entry, your name(s) and the contest division and category in which you are entered.

NOTE: The title page must not include any other information (pictures, graphics, borders, school name, or grade) except for that described in this rule.

Rule 14: Process Paper
A “process paper” is a description of no more than 500 words explaining how you conducted your research and created and developed your entry. All categories except historical papers must include a “process paper” with their entry. The process paper should include the following four sections: (1) explain how you chose your topic, (2) explain how you conducted your research, (3) explain how you selected your presentation category and created your project and (4) explain how your project relates to the NHD theme. Go to www.nhd.org and in the Contest section click on Creating a Process Paper to view sample process papers.

Rule 15: Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography is required for all categories. It should contain all sources that provided usable information or new perspectives in preparing your entry. You will look at many more sources than you actually use. You should list only those sources that contributed to the development of your entry. Sources of visual materials and oral interviews must be included. The annotations for each source must explain how you used the source and how it helped you understand your topic. Annotations of web sites should include a description of who sponsors the site.

For example:

  • Bates, Daisy. The Long Shadow of Little Rock. New York: David McKay Co. Inc., 1962.
  • Daisy Bates was the president of the Arkansas NAACP and the one who met and listened to the students each day. This first hand account was very important to my paper because it made me more aware of the feelings of the people involved.

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

Rule 16: The Separation of Primary and Secondary Sources
You are required to separate your bibliography into primary and secondary sources.

NOTE: Some sources may be considered as either primary or secondary. Use your annotations to explain your reasoning for classifying any sources that are not clearly primary or secondary.
Rule 17: Style Guides
Style for citations and bibliographic references must follow the principles in one of the following style guides:
  1. Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
  2. Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 5th Edition.

Regardless of which manual you use, the style must be consistent throughout the paper.

Rule 18: Plagiarism
You must acknowledge in your annotated bibliography all sources used in your entry.

Failure to credit sources is plagiarism and will result in disqualification.

C. CONTEST PARTICIPATION

Rule 19: Entry Procedure
At each contest level you must submit a complete, accurate, and legible entry form and meet specific deadlines and procedures established by your contest coordinator.

Rule 20: Entries to National Competition
Each state is limited to no more than two entries per contest category in the national contest. Ties at state contests will be resolved at the state level.

Rule 21: National Competition Attendance
Individual students and groups must be present for an entry to be judged at the national contest. Substitutions can be made with the approval of the National History Day Staff upon review of a written request.
Section III A. Papers
A paper is the traditional form of presenting historical research. Various types of creative writing (for example, fictional diaries, poems, etc.) are permitted, but must conform to all general and category rules. Your paper should be grammatically correct and well written.

Part II, Rules for all Categories (except for Rule 13), applies to papers.


Rule 1: Length Requirements
The text of historical papers must be no less than 1,500 and no more than 2,500 words in length. Each word or number in the text of the paper counts as one word. The paper category 2,500 word limit does not apply to: notes, annotated bibliography, illustration captions, and supplemental/ appendix material. Appendix material must be directly referred to in the text of the paper. Extensive supplemental materials are inappropriate. Use of appendices should be very limited and may include photographs, maps, charts, graphs, but we strongly suggest no other supplemental materials.

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 to your paper.

Rule 2: 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 II, Rule 16, for citation styles. Please note that an extensively annotated footnote should not be used to get around the word limit.

Rule 3: Preparation Requirements
Papers must be typed, computer printed, or legibly handwritten in ink 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 with no more than 12 characters per inch or no less than 10-point type. Papers must be stapled in the top left corner and should not be enclosed in any cover or binder. The title page should have no illustrations.

Rule 4: Number of Copies
Four copies of the paper must be submitted with the appropriate entry form by the deadline established for the contest. Winning papers are sometimes published by contest officials; you must be prepared to give permission for such publication.

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

Category Checklist

Individuals only.

  • 1,500-2,500 words, excluding notes, annotated bibliography, and title page
  • Title page with only the required information
  • Annotated bibliography, separated into primary and secondary sources
  • Paper addresses the theme
  • Citations
  • 4 copies (plus one for you)
  • Organization shows clear focus and progression
  • Entry card, papers, and fee mailed by deadline
  • Prepare to answer judges' questions at the contest (remember that formal narratives are not appropriate responses to questions)
Section III B. Exhibits

An exhibit is a visual representation of your research and interpretation of your topic's significance in history, much like a small museum exhibit. The analysis and interpretation of your topic must be clear and evident to the viewer. Labels and captions should be used creatively with visual images and objects to enhance the message of your exhibit. Part II, Rules for all Categories applies to exhibits.

Rule 1: Size Requirements
The overall size of your exhibit when displayed for judging must be no larger than 40 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and 6 feet high. Measurement of the exhibit does not include the table on which it rests; however, it would include any stand that you create and any table drapes. Circular or rotating exhibits or those meant to be viewed from all sides must be no more than 30 inches in diameter.

display

Rule 2: Media Devices
Media devices (e.g., tape recorders, projectors, video monitors, computers) used in an exhibit must not run for more than a total of 3 minutes and are subject to the 500 word limit (see below). Viewers and judges must be able to control media devices. Any media devices used must fit within the size limits of the exhibit. Any media devices used should be integral to the exhibit—not just a device to bypass the prohibition against live student involvement.

NOTE: For example, a brief excerpt from a taped student-conducted oral interview or a dramatic reading might be appropriate, but taped commentary or analysis is inappropriate.

Rule 3: Word Limit
There is a 500 word-limit that applies to all text created by the student that appears on or as part of an exhibit entry. This includes the text you write for titles, subtitles, captions, graphs, timelines, media devices (e.g., video, slides, computer files) or supplemental materials (e.g., photo albums, scrapbooks, etc.) where you use your own words.

NOTE: Reminder: Words in timelines or scrapbooks do count toward the limit if they are student composed.
NOTE: Be careful that your message is clear and contained on the exhibit itself; judges have little time to review supplemental material. Extensive supplemental material is inappropriate. For example, oral history transcripts, correspondence between you and experts, questionnaires, and other primary or secondary materials used as sources for your exhibit should be cited in your bibliography but not included as attachments to your bibliography or exhibit.

Category Checklist

Individual and Group (2-5 students)

  • No larger than 40 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and 6 feet high when displayed
  • 3 copies (plus one for you) of written materials: title page with required information; 500 word description of the research methods used (a judging team may retain one copy for review)
  • Annotated bibliography, separated into primary and secondary sources
  • Exhibit addresses the theme
  • Title is clear and visible
  • Labels, captions, and titles include no more than 500 words
  • Has visual impact and shows interpretation
  • Names and addresses of all group participants listed on entry card
  • Entry card and fee mailed by deadline
  • Prepare to answer judges' questions at the contest (remember that formal narratives are not appropriate responses to questions.)
Section III C. Performances
A performance is a dramatic portrayal of your topic's significance in history and must be original in production.

Part II, Rules for all Categories applies to performances.

Rule 1: Time Requirements
Performances may not exceed 10 minutes in length. Timing starts at the beginning of the performance following the announcement of the title and student name(s). Any other introductory remarks will be considered part of the performance and will be counted as part of the overall time. You will be allowed an additional 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to remove any props needed for your performance.

NOTE: You should allow several empty seconds in your performance to account for unplanned pauses (e.g. applause, forgotten lines, etc.).

Rule 2: Performance Introduction
The title of your entry and the names of the participants must be the first and only announcements prior to the start of the performance.

Rule 3: Media Devices
Use of slides, tape recorders, computers, or other media within your performance is permitted. You must run all equipment and carry out any special lighting or sound effects.

Rule 4: Script
The script for the performance should not be included with the written material presented to the judges.

Rule 5: Costumes
You may have a costume produced for you, but the design, choice of fabrics, etc. must be your own. Or, you may rent a costume. Remember: simple is best.

Category Checklist

Individual and Group (2-5 students)

  • 10 minutes maximum for performance
  • Maximum 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to take down
  • 3 copies (plus one for you) of written materials: title page with required information; 500 word description of the research methods used (a judging team may retain one copy for review)
  • Annotated bibliography, separated into primary and secondary sources
  • Performance addresses the theme
  • All props and equipment are student supplied
  • Only student entrants run equipment and are involved in the performance
  • Extra supplies and materials in case of emergency
  • Names and addresses of all group participants listed on entry card
  • Entry card and fee mailed by deadline
  • Prepare to answer judges' questions at the contest (remember that formal narratives are not appropriate responses to questions)
Section III D. Documentaries
A documentary should reflect your ability to use audiovisual equipment to communicate your topic's significance, much as professional documentaries do. The documentary category will help you develop skills in using photographs, film, video, audio tapes, computers, and graphic presentations. Your presentation should include primary materials but must also be an original production. To produce a documentary you must have access to equipment and be able to operate it.

Part II, Rules for all Categories applies to documentaries.

Rule 1: Time Requirements
Documentaries may not exceed 10 minutes in length. You will be allowed an additional 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to remove equipment. Timing will begin when the first visual image of the presentation appears and/or the first sound is heard. Color bars and other visual leads in a video will be counted in the time limit. Timing will end when the last visual image or sound of the presentation concludes (this includes credits).

NOTE: Use your set-up time to focus slides, adjust volume, etc.

Rule 2: Introduction
You must announce only the title of your presentation and names of participants. Live narration or comments prior to or during the presentation are prohibited.

Rule 3: Student Involvement
You are responsible for running all equipment and carrying out any special lighting effects.

Rule 4: Student Production
All entries must be student-produced. You must operate all equipment. You must provide the narration, voice-overs and dramatization. Only those students listed as entrants may participate in the production or appear on camera.

Rule 5: Entry Production
Your entry must be an original production. You may use professional photographs, film, slides, recorded music, etc. within your presentation. However, you must integrate such items into your presentation and give proper credit within the presentation as well as in your annotated bibliography. Slides may be professionally developed. You must operate all editing equipment used in the production of your presentation.

NOTE: Using objects created by others specifically for use in your entry violates this rule, but using photographs, video footage, etc., which already exist is acceptable.

Rule 6: Credits
At the conclusion of the documentary, you should provide a general list of acknowledgments and credits for any featured music, images, film/media clips, interviews, or other sources. These credits should be a brief list and not full bibliographic citations. All sources (music, images, film/media clips, interviews, books, Websites) used in the making of the documentary should be properly cited in the annotated bibliography.

Rule 7: Displays
Added exhibits of visual or written material are not allowed.

Rule 8: Computer Entries
A student-composed computer program is an acceptable entry. You must be able to run the program within the 10-minute time limit. Interactive computer programs and web pages in which the audience or judges are asked to participate are not acceptable; judges are not permitted to participate in your presentation by operating any equipment. Students must provide and be able to run their own computers and software. Internet access will not be available.

Category Checklist

Individual and Group (2-5 students)

  • 10-minute maximum for presentation
  • Maximum 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to take down
  • 3 copies (plus one for you) of written materials: title page with required information; 500 word description of the research methods used (a judging team may retain one copy for review)
  • Annotated bibliography, separated into primary and secondary sources
  • Documentary addresses the theme
  • Live student involvement limited to giving name and title and operating equipment
  • Names and addresses of all group participants listed on entry card
  • Entry card and fee mailed by deadline
  • Extra supplies and materials in case of emergency
  • Prepare to answer judges' questions at the contest (remember that formal narratives are not appropriate responses to questions.)
Section III E. Web Site

UPDATE: Please read!

NHD weebly portal

Beginning the 2009-2010 school year, National History Day will require web site projects to be created using the NHD web site editor. This change occurred since the printing of this guide, so please note that certain information on software and templates is no longer current for use with your NHD project.

Below is some basic information about the NHD web site editor. Also, please check our website, www.nhd.org, for all up-to-date information about the web site category and rules.

To participate in the web site category, students will need to build their sites on NHD’s Web Portal. To be clear: STUDENTS MUST GO THROUGH THE NHD PORTAL TO ACCESS THE NHD WEB SITE EDITOR — THEY CANNOT GO DIRECTLY TO WEEBLY.COM.

A full suite of site-building tools will be available with the NHD web site editor. While third-party tools may be used to develop objects and components for an entry, the final code must be uploaded with the NHD web site editor. All objects or components constructed with third-party tools (e.g. Dreamweaver, iWeb, MS Expression) must be portable to and function correctly with the NHD web site editor.

All hosting will be performed by NHD servers. The 100 MB size restriction on entries will remain. Students are free to begin building their entries as early as September, and will work on the same NHD web site as they advance through levels of competition. With the NHD Web Portal, students are free to access and work on their sites at any time other than judging periods, periods during which their sites will be closed to any editing.

Four hard copies of the home page, a process paper, and an annotated bibliography will still be required for submission.

The web site category is the most interactive of all NHD categories. Therefore, a web site should reflect your ability to use web site design software and computer technology to communicate the topic’s significance in history. The historical quality, analysis, and interpretation of the topic must be clear and evident to the viewer through the content and navigational structure of the site. In designing the entry, you should include elements that actively engage the audience in learning about the topic. These elements do not have to be technologically complex, but they should let the audience participate in exploring the topic, rather than passively viewing information. The presentation should include primary materials, but must also be an original production. To produce a web site, you must have access to appropriate software and equipment and be able to operate it.

Part II, Rules for all Categories applies to web projects.

Rule 1: Entry Production
All entries must be original productions constructed using the NHD web site editor beginning at the school level. You may use professional photographs, graphics, video, recorded music, etc. within the site. Such items must be integrated into the web site, and proper credit must be given within the site as well as in the annotated bibliography. The student must operate all software and equipment in the development of the web site.

NOTE: Using objects created by others specifically for use in your entry violates this rule. However, using graphics, multimedia clips, etc. which already exist is acceptable.

Rule 2: Size Requirements
Web site entries may contain no more than 1,200 visible, student-composed words. Code used to build the site, and alternate text tags on images do not count toward the word limit. The word limit does not include words found in materials used for illustration such as documents, artifacts or graphs not created by the student, or quotations from primary sources such as oral history interviews, letters, or diaries, photos of artifacts with writing, or other illustrative materials such as reoccurring menus, titles and navigation instructions that are used as an integral part of the web site. Brief text crediting the sources of illustrations or quotations included on the web site do not count toward the 1,200-word limit. The entire site, including all multimedia, may use up to 100MB of file space.

Rule 3: Navigation
One page of the web site must serve as the “home page.” The home page must include the names of participants, entry title, division, and a main menu that directs viewers to the various sections of the site. All pages must be interconnected with hypertext links. Automatic redirects are not permitted.

Rule 4: Multimedia
Each multimedia clip may not last more than 45 seconds and may not include student composed narration. There is no limit to the number of multimedia clips other than the file size limit. Voiceover of material not composed by students is allowed. If an entry uses any form of multimedia requiring a plug-in (for example, Flash, QuickTime or Real Player), you must provide on the same page a link to an Internet site where the plug-in is available as a free, secure, and legal download. Judges will make every effort to view all multimedia content, but files that cannot be viewed cannot be evaluated as part of the entry.

Rule 5: Bibliographic Sources
The annotated bibliography must be included as an integrated part of the web site. It should be included in the navigational structure and does NOT count toward the 1,200-word limit. Refer to Part II Rules 15-17, for citation and style information.

Rule 6: Stable Content
The content and appearance of a page cannot change when the page is refreshed in the browser. Random text or image generators are not allowed.

Rule 7: Viewing Files
The pages that comprise the site must be viewable in a recent version of a standard web browser (i.e. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari). Students are responsible for ensuring that the entry is viewable in multiple web browsers. Entries may not link to live or external sites, except to direct viewers to plug-ins.

Rule 8: Submitting Entry for Judging
Four hard copies of a title page, a process paper, and an annotated bibliography must be submitted in advance by the established deadline. For access to the NHD web site editor and up-to-date submission procedures, please visit www.nhd.org/WebSite.htm.

Category Checklist

Individual and Group (2-5 students)

  • Contains no more than 1,200 visible, student-composed words
  • Home page includes names of participants, entry title, division, and a main menu
  • All pages are interconnected with hypertext links
  • Web site uses no more than 100MB of file space
  • The content is stable and does not change when the refresh button is hit
  • Annotated bibliography, separated into primary and secondary resources
  • Web site addresses the theme
  • 4 copies (plus one for you) of written material: title page with required information; 500-word description of the research methods used and required written material
  • Entry submitted by deadline
  • Prepared to answer judges’ questions at the contest (remember that formal narratives are not appropriate responses to questions)
Section IV. How Will Your Entry Be Judged?
Participating in a National History Day contest is the exciting culmination of your work, a chance to share your knowledge of your topic with others. One of the most stimulating aspects of the contest is getting to interact with the judges and receive their feedback. Sometimes, however, the judging process may seem a little mystifying, especially to first-time participants. To help you understand the process, the following description will explain how National History Day judging works. This is a description of the usual judging process; the details may vary at your local contest.

A. Benefits of the Evaluation Process

The goal of National History Day is to provide you with a high-quality, educational experience—whether or not you win a prize. The judge's evaluation is part of the learning and skill-building process of NHD. The judge's evaluations help you to improve areas or skills and provide positive feedback for the hard work you have put into producing your project. The judge's comments also can provide you with ideas for revisions and enhancements as you move from one contest level to the next. Remember, regardless of how your entry is ranked, by participating in National History Day you will benefit from the experience. You will gain research, thinking, and presentation skills which will last your whole life. You will become an expert on a topic of interest to you and to others. You will acquire poise and self-confidence and will learn to manage your time. You are a winner.

B. Who are the judges?

Historians, educators, and others interested in history and education serve as judges at each level of the National History Day competition.

C. How does the evaluation process work?

At official National History Day contests, each separate National History Day division and category is usually judged as a whole by a team of three judges. Time constraints, due to the number of entries, often require that some categories be evaluated initially by several teams of judges. Finals then become necessary. In such cases, the entries judged best by each team of initial judges are re-evaluated by a new team of judges to determine the winning entries in the category. The number of entries in finals and procedures for judging vary by contests and category and are totally within the discretion of the contest officials.

D. Consensus Judging

Judges will not assign a numerical score to each entry, rather, they will rank the entries in their group. Judges are required to consult with each other in determining individual rankings. Judges are allowed to review the results of their category upon completion of the judging in order to assure accuracy in the evaluation process. As a final step, the judges will assign each entry an overall rating.

E. The Subjective Nature of Judging

Remember: judges must evaluate certain aspects of your entry that are objective (e.g., were primary sources used; is the written material grammatical and correctly spelled). But judges must also evaluate interpretive aspects of your entry which are qualitative in nature (e.g., analysis and conclusions about the historical data). Historians often reach different opinions about the significance of the same data. It is therefore crucial for you to base your interpretations and conclusions on solid research. Judges will check to determine whether you used available primary sources and if you were careful to examine all sides of an issue and present a balanced account of your research and presentation. Your process paper and annotated bibliography are critical to this process.

F. The Decision of the Judges is Final

You, your parents, and your teachers should realize that inadvertent inequities may occur in judging and that contest officials do want to be informed of any problems. The decisions of the judges are final.

G. Evaluation Criteria

  • Historical Quality (60%)
    The most important aspect of your entry is its historical quality. You should ask yourself the following questions to help you focus on your historical analysis:
    • Is my entry historically accurate?
    • Does my entry provide analysis and interpretation of the historical data rather than just a description?
    • Does my entry demonstrate an understanding of historical context?
    • Does my annotated bibliography demonstrate wide research?
    • Does my entry demonstrate a balanced presentation of materials?
    • Does my entry demonstrate use of available primary sources?

  • Clarity of Presentation (20%)
    Although historical quality is most important, your entry must be presented in an effective manner. You should ask yourself the following questions to help you focus on your presentation:
    • Is my entry original, creative, and imaginative in subject and presentation?
    • Is my written material clear, grammatically correct and accurately spelled?
    • Is my entry well-organized?
    • Do I display stage presence in a performance?
    • Is the visual material I present clear?
    • Do I understand and properly use all of my equipment?

  • Relation to Theme (20%)
    Your entry must clearly explain the relation of your topic to the annual National History Day theme. You should ask yourself the following questions to help focus your topic on the theme and its significance:
    • How does my topic relate to the theme? Why is my topic important?
    • How is my topic significant in history and in relation to the National History Day theme?
    • How did my topic influence history?
    • How did the events and atmosphere (social, economic, political, and cultural aspects) of my topic's time period influence my topic in history?

H. Rule Compliance

Judges will take into consideration in their final rankings any rule infraction. Failure to comply with the rules will count against your entry. Rule infractions should be corrected before a winning entry competes in the next level of competition.

I. Sample Judge's Evaluation

Below are sample NHD project evaluation forms. Teachers or fellow students can use this form to help evaluate your project as you work to improve your entry. Blank forms can be found on the NHD Website at www.nhd.org.

eval

All Rules on One Page

NHD NATIONAL CONTEST SPECIAL PRIZES

 
In addition to awards in each of the contest categories and to two outstanding entries per affiliate, the national contest offers 23 special prizes.  Each of these is generously sponsored by an organization that is interested in rewarding student work in an area of special interest.  For the 2014 national contest, the following prize is NEW:
 
The Magna Carta Prize is sponsored by the American Bar Association, a voluntary organization of nearly 400,000 lawyers that, among other goals, seeks to advance the Rule of Law in the world. The ABA Magna Carta Prize is awarded to an outstanding entry in each of the junior and senior divisions that incorporates the Magna Carta as an important building block in the advancement of the rule of law and of individual rights in the United States against the arbitrary exercise of governmental power.
 
This prize is a perfect fit for the 2014 theme: Rights and Responsibilities in History.
 
Students who advance to the national contest are encouraged to nominate their entries for any special prizes for which they meet the criteria. This can be done within online registration for the national contest.
 
See the full list of special prizes for 2014 here.

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