Metahistory Presubmission checklist

Below are some last things to check before you submit your final pull request. At this point, your writing is essentially done, so these are all detail-oriented items that help prevent your essay from looking sloppy. Having a lot of inconsistencies and errors makes your essay less trustworthy, even if the writing and research is otherwise strong.

Check the basics

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Make sure you are meeting the BASIC REQUIREMENTS and following the READABILITY checklist as outlined in the writing guide.

So What Question

Now that your writing is basically done, and the writing process has helped you figure out what to say and how to say it, make sure your essay both very near the beginning and at the end makes it very clear what the reader is meant to take away as the main point(s). In other words, make sure your essay needs to very obviously answer the SO WHAT question. How did your person/time period/change the writing of history.

Narrative Thread

As we discussed for the peer reviews, make sure your essay has a clear narrative thread. An easy way of improving this is to make sure first or second sentences of paragraphs indicate what the paragraph is for and how it contributes to the so what question. You should be able to follow the basic story from just those first sentences all the way through the essay.


  • Make sure the filename of your essay is similar to the title—and NOT YOUR NAME.
  • Make sure the filename of your essay is in ALL LOWER CASE and uses HYPHENS INSTEAD OF SPACES.
  • Make sure your essay title (not filename) uses Title Case. All non-article words should be capitalized—just make your title look like the others on the sidebar.
  • Double check all the other metadata (stuff between the three dashes at the top) is accurate.
  • Although not strictly metadata, make sure you have short and punchy abstract at the top of your essay underneath the metadata, just as in the starter page.

Table of Contents (toc) fields

  • Make sure your essay is appearing on the sidebar using the toc-section variable—otherwise it will be invisible!
  • Decide on an image already in your essay to display on the Metahistory table of contents page, and COPY AND PASTE the image filename from your image code block into the toc-image field.
  • Write a MAX 50-word blurb (a super short abstract), for the toc-blurb field.

Images & Captions

  • Make sure all your images are showing up!
  • Make sure you have informative captions that explain the significance of what the image shows.
  • Make sure your [source] links actually work.

Double check your citations

In-text citations

  • Use the format of (Author-last-name, page-number). No p. or pg. or pp. or any other abbreviations; just indicate the page number if there is one.
  • Make sure the author’s name is spelled correctly!
  • Make sure the name you cite in the text is listed the same way in the bibliography.
  • The citation goes INSIDE the period for the sentence.
    • EXAMPLE: Here is my sentence (Breisach, 96).


  • Be sure you’re using standard Chicago style citations for your bibliography. See the bibliography entries at the Chicago Manual of Style Online.
  • DO NOT include URLs or DOIs, unless the original is only online and there is no print version. In this case, you should provide a hyperlink (not just a URL) to the text.
  • EXAMPLE: Breisach, Ernst. Historiography: Ancient, Medieval, & Modern. University of Chicago Press, 2007.