Now that you understand the importance of ‘fitting the tiles’ to the rafters you have erected for your roof (summarising the arguments that you have already discussed in detail throughout the main body of your coursework), you need to get a little more expert advice.

03 Conc 03 01

Question

What do we mean by ‘Getting a Little More Expert Advice’?

Answer

At every stage of your ‘build’, you have sought advice from experts, to ensure that your construction is professional and of high quality. In a sense, you have been getting advice from architects who have experience in the field of design and construction.

Question

What do we mean, ‘architects’?

Answer

Architects are experts in the field of building design and construction. Without their advice or input, your building would be too amateurish and prone to criticism and even collapse. In the context of your coursework, the ‘architects’ are those historians and academics who are experts in the topic you are investigating. You have already used the expertise of these commentators throughout your coursework. In order to complete your essay (and your building) successfully, it will be helpful to consult your experts one final time.

N.B.
The mark schemes from your exam boards will use such terms as historiography and historical interpretation. They simply mean, the views of academics (experts) on the topic you are discussing.

Let’s continue to use the same example question, so that you can better see how to employ the advice of your experts (architects) in the conclusion.

Example 1


How far would you agree that the Domino Theory was the main reason JFK became involved in Vietnam?

Example:

When JFK was assassinated in November 1963, he had overseen an unprecedented escalation in US interest in Vietnam, from one that lay primarily in the area of aid and assistance, to one that encompassed military personnel, direct administration of Vietnamese domestic policy, and a strategic view of the country as, “The Place”. As the evidence suggests, the Domino Theory was clearly one of the main reasons behind this escalation of interest, because it provided an apparently sound geopolitical cause of US involvement. This school of thought is pioneered primarily by conservative Cold War historians, such as John Smith who, in a fit of profound oversimplification, commented that, “Eisenhower, bequeathed the theory to JFK who, quite correctly, saw it for what it was: the greatest threat to the free world in South East Asia”. A counter to this argument, and one that is equally oversimplified, emerges from economic historians – the vanguard of which is dominated by Jones and Trevors – who see the Cold War as more of a background issue, and view America’s desire to “…access the raw materials of the countries of South East Asia, as the sole reason” for JFK’s involvement in Vietnam. As a result, these oversimplifications often cloud the arguments from post-Cold War commentators (Watson et al) – who employ more pragmatic and, therefore more valid, arguments –, preferring to resolve the discussions by agreeing that there was “…no single main cause of US involvement, how could there be?”, but that it was a result of myriad causal factors, such as…

Simple!

AND...

You will notice that, in this conclusion, you have also passed judgement on the academics you have quoted (and this is vital). Don’t believe us? Take a look below:

When JFK was assassinated in November 1963, he had overseen an unprecedented escalation in US interest in Vietnam, from one that lay primarily in the area of aid and assistance, to one that encompassed military personnel, direct administration of Vietnamese domestic policy, and a strategic view of the country as, “The Place”. As the evidence suggests, the Domino Theory was clearly one of the main reasons behind this escalation of interest, because it provided an apparently sound geopolitical cause of US involvement. This school of thought is pioneered primarily by conservative Cold War historians, such as John Smith who, in a fit of profound oversimplification, commented that, “Eisenhower, bequeathed the theory to JFK who, quite correctly, saw it for what it was: the greatest threat to the free world in South East Asia”. A counter to this argument, and one that is equally oversimplified, emerges from economic historians – the vanguard of which is dominated by Jones and Trevors – who see the Cold War as more of a background issue, and view America’s desire to “…access the raw materials of the countries of South East Asia, as the sole reason” for JFK’s involvement in Vietnam. As a result, these oversimplifications often cloud the arguments from post-Cold War commentators (Watson et al) – who employ more pragmatic and, therefore more valid, arguments –, preferring to resolve the discussions by agreeing that there was “…no single main cause of US involvement, how could there be?”, but that it was a result of myriad causal factors, such as…

Top Tip 1

When summarising the arguments put forward by academics who have the same opinion, who are known to be part of the same school of thought, or have all contributed to the authorship of the same piece of work, instead of writing all of their names, just write one and then follow it with et al.

In the article, The Dubious Legacy of JFK (Watson, et al.), it is said that...

...et al comes from the Latin ‘et’ (which means ‘and’) and ‘alii’ (which means ‘others’).

What you have learned

This section has shown you the importance of for your conclusion. Using a clear example, we have shown you how to include historiography in your conclusion and, just as importantly, how to make respectful judgements on the opinions of academic commentators. Don’t forget, you have already used detailed historical interpretation (historiography) at every stage of your essay. In your conclusion, you are merely distilling the thoughts of the academics you have already discussed in the main body, and reiterating your criticisms of these thoughts.

Caution: Don’t repeat any quotations you may have used elsewhere in your coursework.

By getting a little more expert advice, you have been able to give your roof the seal of professionalism that any structure requires. Now, apply these skills to your work.

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