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Guide or Instruction

Sample Interview Questions to Ask Students at NHD Competitions

National History Day in Wisconsin

Sample Interview Questions to Ask Students at NHD Competitions | Wisconsin Historical Society

Your job as a History Day judge is to evaluate student entries on the basis of historical quality and depth, demonstration of the relationship between topic and theme, and effectiveness of presentation. 

At the end of each presentation you will have the opportunity to ask students questions about their entries. Use this opportunity to inquire about the decisions they made in developing their project, the roles of group members, their understanding of the subject and/or the theme, or any other topic that will help you evaluate their work.

Sample Starting Interview Questions

Begin by asking students an easier question that they may have already discussed with their teacher. This will build their confidence and make them more comfortable during their interview. Some examples of "icebreaker" questions are:

  • Why did you choose this topic?
  • Could you explain to me how your project relates to this year's theme?
  • What was your favorite primary source? Why?

More Sample Interview Questions

Move on to more challenging questions that will prompt students to analyze their topics and relate them to broader themes in history. Examples of higher-level questions are:

  • Did you find conflicting information in your sources? If so, how did you deal with this?
  • While researching, what sources did you find the most valuable and why?
  • How did your thesis evolve?  Did it change from the time that you started your research to the point when you actually started assembling your project?
  • What improvements can you still make on your project?
  • How did you find primary sources? Did using primary sources change any opinions you had about your topic?
  • How do you think your topic influenced history?

If you are familiar with the topic the student selected, we encourage you to add your own questions to this list that are appropriate for the topic at hand.

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