National History Day tips?

I’m doing a group entry for the senior division (10th grade), most likely for website next year. I did NHD in 8th grade but I only got to county. Any tips on how to get passed county and onto state, possibly nationals?

Also tips on getting interviews with the professors?

so actually be at competition… like last time i did it, i missed both regionals and states, and as a result, ended up as an alternate :frowning: also the free t-shirt i got was way too big

@RinTohsaka that’s still really cool! What category did you enter in?

Hey I love NHD! I got 3rd place at nationals in senior individual website category this year so I can definitely help you out. For getting past the regional competition, I would say begin your work as early as possible. This year I picked my topic and what books I was going to read in September and I started my research in October. When you start working on the project you should make a timeframe for when you want to be researching, creating the site, revising the site, and making last minute “polishing” changes. If you’re doing a group project, be sure to divide the work evenly so that you are all experts on the topic (don’t have one person do the research and one person do design or anything like that). Also start your bibliography early! Cite your sources and write a brief annotation every time you add an image to your site… it will save you so much time when you’re ready to revise your bibliography!! I like to use noodletools. When I start making the site I like to write on notecards (I create one for each page I think I’m going to make) and that really helps me organize my site.

Those are some basic tips but I could seriously go on forever… are there any specific questions you have?

@16elir yeah that’s really cool! I was wondering on how you were able to get more primary sources as well as getting contact from professors. Last year I emailed about 20 professors and one of them was able to reply, but I was in a quandary of how I should initiate an interview. Did you find a place to interview them or did you just do it through email? Also, how did you fit so much information in just 1200 words? Did you try to utilize as many quotes as possible, or did you try to do it in captions or video?

@raffie When you’re reading your secondary sources, if a primary source is referenced or mentioned and it sounds interesting, look it up! Most of my primary sources are things I have seen as footnotes in books or pictures I have found during the website-making phase. I’ve never actually conducted an interview (I plan to do some next year!), but I have some experience with arranging interviews for other projects. I would just make sure that the people you are emailing are really relevant to your topic (especially find people who have written books on your subject) and who are likely to respond to your email… by which I mean that it’s better to have a professor at the tiny school down the road give you a great interview with specific information than to email hotshot professors at schools like Harvard who get 100s of requests each day. If the person is located near you, then try to meet them in person (ask if you can interview them in their office). If they are far away or they are famous, then try writing them a letter or an email. There were some people at nationals who had gotten letters from people like Jimmy Carter or Sandra Day O’Connor because they wrote them a letter.

The word count is very, very tricky. I have gotten very good at cutting down my website from two or even three times the limit so that it complies. When you’re writing When cutting words, cut everything that isn’t essential to the telling of your story. I use a LOT of quotations because they don’t count and they are often more effective than my own words. I usually use videos as a supplement because people don’t always watch them. And it’s tricky to fit info into captions, but if you can, then do. So if you can caption an image “so-and-so winning an Oscar, 2015,” then you don’t have to say that they won an Oscar. Just be careful that you aren’t going too far with sneaking info into captions.

@16elir Hi again! thank you so much by the way, this is so helpful. I was wondering again, how many sources should we end up with? I only have one other group member, but I don’t want to have significantly less than other groups