CCA Step 1 (background and current event)

By , October 8, 2012 8:00 am

Great ready to become an awesome researcher and writer! Start by choosing well.


CHY4U_Essay_Habits_of_mind_2017-18 (START HERE if you really want to learn to do this entire process WELL)


Now here are the requirements and tip sheets for Step 1

CHY4U_CCA_Essay_First_Set_Notes+Worksheet_2017-18 (this is the assignment for step 1)

Sources_Current_Events (reference books you should consider)

YM Wiki (Mr. Keogh’s suggested databases)

CHY4U_Essay_Product_Process_2017-18 (a list of all the steps in the process – very important for planning your research time)

MsG_Sample_CHY4U_CCA_Essay_Background_Notes_2015-16 (1) (sample assignment done by Ms. G – has been revised to meet the current marking scheme)

MsG_Sample_CHY4U_CCA_STep1_Worksheet__2017-18-1 (I did the first step in my research process on Boko Haram. I also took notes from many sources. I put 2 full days of work into the research and writing).


CHY4U_CCA_Research_Notes_Instructions_2017-18 (instructions on note-taking)

Documentation_for_history_essays_REVISED (how to use Chicago style)

Choose one method for note-taking: print a template and take notes by hand. All notes will be collected.

Column Method of Note-Taking

Indentation Method of Note-Taking


Two Components of Step 1:
1. Take notes from an encyclopedia (print or online), textbook, and two specific sources. This includes notes on the current event AND the background history (the roots of the current event).

2. Fill in Background Notes and Historical Context/Current Topic Overview Worksheet (see samples above).


Worksheet Hints:

Detail is what gets you good marks! Listing isn’t very helpful. The more you put into this now, the more you’ll be rewarded in the end; you’ll have the ability to write a great essay. I have asked for page references.

Global Issues in Context has been extremely useful for Ms. G. Through it I have found articles in more specialized encyclopedias. They are general enough for starting out a research project but also very informative if you don’t know much about the background of an issue. For my essay topic two years ago, I searched “Qing Dynasty”, “Opium Wars” and “Taiping Rebellion” and came up with good overview articles. For my essay topic this year, I searched “Boko Haram” and “Nigeria” on both Global Issues in Context and EBSCO History Reference Centre and got lots of material.

General Googling is not helpful at this point. You will get lost in a sea of information. Why not start smaller with a focused search of the database (Global Issues in Context).  If you need really general historical information, start with Encyclopedia Britannica.

The hardest part of research is starting. Sometimes you feel like you don’t know where to begin. So begin with the current event. Find four things about what has been happening in the last five years or so. Then you can start trying to figure out the origins of the current event: where did this come from? What happened in the past that contributed to this? How far back do I have to go? You will start seeing patterns and trends in the information. At this point you need enough to fill in the worksheet.

Notes and Worksheet Due Fri. Oct. 27.


Please don’t forget about all the great reference sources in the school library for the HISTORY portion of the notes:

  • World Eras
  • Europe: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire
  • Colonialism
  • History of World Trade
  • Caxton’s
  • Encyclopedia Britannica (macro and micropedia)
  • Encyclopedia of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Please don’t HOG books.You may want to visit Don Mills, Fairview, or North York Central libraries. The reference library at Yonge and Bloor is also an option but please note that books cannot be taken out from there.

I have some additional textbooks in my classroom if there’s nothing in our textbook on your topic AND its background.




Feedback on Step 1

Oct. 29, 2017

Those who did good research (a combination of notes on the current issue and background leading to it) tended to do well on the worksheet. That’s because the notes provide the details that are needed for the worksheet.

Some of you really don’t know enough about your current issue. That makes it hard to figure out what to look for in terms of background.

Others have a good grasp of the current issue but don’t have a sense of the multiple background events that could have affected it. In particular, long-term background tends to be a weak area. The course goes back to 1450 and you should try to find at least some long-term roots. These are things that set the stage or built a foundation for something. They aren’t direct triggers. One of the reasons students don’t have a lot of long-term background is that they haven’t fully searched the textbook (ours or another) for relevant events/issues.

There were a lot of errors on the note-taking format. Full citations in Chicago style (bibliographic form) are needed at the top of all notes. Notes should be in point form, not in full sentences. Notes from books require page numbers. Notes should include headings of your own making – not a list of bullet points down the side of the page.

You were not supposed to be using regular websites yet. If you used one or more, please do a CRAAP test (on the blog) and submit it with your revisions. CRAAP test analyzes the reliability of a website. At this level, you should not be using a website just because it came up on a Google search. You have to assess its reliability.

Speaking of sources, they should be cited individually on the worksheet. Embedded citations follow information that you got through research. The embedded citation goes after the relevant piece of information, not at the bottom of the section.

CCA Step 1 will teach you so much about independent researching, finding your way through an inquiry, and learning to pick and choose what is really relevant in an inquiry. Remember, research/inquiry is a trial and error process. By now you should be getting the hang of it. If you aren’t, read my comments carefully. That is why I will allow for revisions. …


I will find ways to reward you if you go back and fix errors or omissions. Re-submission is possible. Last date possible for re-submission is Friday Nov. 3. However, you must move on to the next CCA Step – the working bibliography, due Thurs. Nov. 9, as well. Don’t worry, it’s easier. Step 3 is something else you should be working toward – the rest of your notes, due Fri. Nov. 24.  Please set aside the proper amount of time.

Ms. G


Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy