The National History Day Contest Rule Book guides the classroom and statewide implementation of the Minnesota History Day program. Projects at all Regional contests should to follow the general rules for all categories as well as category-specific rules. Please review the National History Day Contest Rulebook on our website.
Minnesota History Day has developed guidelines and procedures to implement the program and administer contests and events. If you would like to know more, please visit our website.
National History Day is an inter-disciplinary research project for students in grades 6-12. History Day teaches students to:
- Conduct in-depth research
- Use primary and secondary sources
- Read a variety of texts
- Analyze and synthesize information
- Write and present historical content
Students choose a topic that relates to an annual theme, research that topic, and present their research in one of five presentation categories: Research Paper, Exhibit, Documentary, Performance, or Website. Students may then enter their projects into History Day competitions at school, regional, state, and national levels.
This contest is one of twelve Regional/District contests in Minnesota. Top entries from this competition will be recognized as State Qualifiers and eligible to advance to State History Day. Judges can also identify Honorable Mentions in each category, in recognition of outstanding work. Honorable Mention entries are not “runners up” and are not eligible to advance to State, even if a State Qualifier drops out of competing at State.
National History Day in Minnesota is a partnership of the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota.
Event information will be available on our website in mid-February. This information will include a general event schedule, map, and directions.
Tentative Presentation Schedule: A schedule of student presentations will be posted on our website one week before the event. Please check this schedule for errors, omissions, or schedule conflicts and notify the event coordinator immediately.
Final Presentation Schedule: The final schedule of student presentations will be posted on our website two to three days before the event. Students will also receive their specific judging time and location when they check-in on the day of the contest.
Results and event photos will be posted on our website within approximately 48 hours. Minnesota History Day staff will be unable to stream Regional event award ceremonies on social media.
About History Day Judging
The goal of National History Day is to provide you with a high-quality, educational experience—whether or not you win a prize. The judges’ evaluations are part of the learning and skill building process of NHD.
The judges’ evaluations help you to improve areas or skills and provide positive feedback for the hard work you have put into producing your project. The judges’ 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.
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.
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 panel of 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 contest and category and are within the discretion of the contest officials.
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 to assure accuracy in the evaluation process. As a final step, the judges will assign each entry an overall rating.
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 grammatically correct and accurately spelled). But judges must also evaluate interpretive aspects of your entry that 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.
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.
- Historical Quality (60%): The most important aspect of the entry is its historical quality, which covers research, analysis, interpretation, and historical context. This, along with the relation to theme, puts the “history” into National History Day!
- Relation to Theme (20%): The entry must clearly explain the relation of the topic to the annual National History Day theme and the topic’s significance in history. These elements must be in the project itself, not just in the interview.
- Clarity of Presentation (20%): Although historical quality is most important, the entry must be presented in an effective manner. It is important to remember that the NHD criteria specify clarity of presentation, which does not necessarily mean a flashy presentation. Judges should be careful to look beyond glitz in projects for organization, neatness, etc.
- 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.
Plagiarism and revising or reusing an entry from a previous year – whether your own or another student’s – is unacceptable and will result in disqualification.