Whether you have been creating NHDI projects for a while or are looking at creating your very first project, we have all the tools you need for success. We will guide you through the steps of creating a project, from learning about the annual theme, to research, to designing your project and presenting at a regional contest.
You can also take a look at some example projects from previous contest years. See what Indiana students have created in exhibits, performances, documentaries, websites and papers. Use them for inspiration, explore your interests, then begin your own project!
Each year, the National History Day offices select a theme to guide project creation. The annual theme is broad enough for you to pick a topic from any time period of place. The theme helps guide you to look for the impact and significance of your topic in history.
The 2021-2022 theme is Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, and Consequences.
Some projects might include a situation where only debate OR diplomacy was involved. Regardless, you must determine whether one or both are present in your topic, identify how they transpired, and identify the successes, failures, and consequences of your topic.
When we think of debate, the most common form that probably comes to mind is a presidential debate. Each general election year, presidential candidates engage in debate with each other to propose, discuss, and challenge each candidates’ positions on various issues. There are often points of disagreement. A disagreement is what ignites a debate.
Keep in mind that disagreements don’t always have to exist between two people, they can exist among groups of people and even different countries. Debates can develop over issues behind legislative policies, religion, media, land, trade relations, the rights of people, and more. In order to come to a resolution in the event of a debate, people will turn to diplomacy.
You may have heard the term “diplomatically.” When we think of something being resolved diplomatically, we often associate that with using tact, being careful, and considering all sides of an issue. Diplomacy, simply put, is resolving conflict diplomatically. Take, for example, the Treaty of Versailles, one of the most notable acts of diplomacy in history. The Treaty was not without controversy, and its results may not have been permanent, but it still acted as a peace agreement that helped to end World War I.
Keep in mind that the effects of diplomacy may not always last or immediately makes things better, but they are a significant step to resolving debates among people.
Don’t forget to look at topics that are at least 20 years old; you want to have a topic where there is enough time to gain some historical context. You also want to choose a topic where you can find enough information through primary and secondary sources to adequately explore your topic.
Brainstorming and exploring your interestsLearn More
Suggestions and strategies on research and analyzing your researchLearn More
Piecing it all TogetherLearn More
How to make an argumentLearn More
Figuring out what's right for youLearn More
How to tell your storyLearn More
What do NHDI projects look like?Learn More