CCA Steps 2 + 3 (working bibliography and research notes)

By , November 15, 2011 7:22 pm

START ASAP! Don’t delay

Step 2: Working Bibliography (for 2 sources) due Tues. April 19. A working bibliography is basically my creation – something that allows you to show how useful a source will be to you. I am not a fan of regular annotated bibliographies so I created this new type of assignment to be of more practical use for you. You’ll choose 2 of your new sources for this step (not the same sources as step 1, please).


If you’re using a website (other than a newspaper or encyclopedia), please attach a reliability form: (not needed April 2022) CHY4U_COR_Assessing_Reliability_Websites

Step 3: Research Notes from 4 additional sources due May 6. (Please note: 4 is the minimum – you may require more). These are in addition to your step 1 sources. Use the research questions you created to drive your direction. Note: I will not be officially marking these notes but I will be checking them and I keep this information in the back of my mind for final marks. When you write an essay without notes, you are likely to plagiarize. 


Ms. G’s Sample Working Bibliography:

*** Ms_G_Step2_Oct_2020  (the Kurds)

Ms._G_Step2_April_2019 (Yemen)

MsG_Sample_CHY4U_CCA_Step2_2017-18 (Boko Haram)

MsG_CHY4U_CCA_Essay_Working_Bibliography_2015-16 (China)

Assessing Reliability of Online Sources

Now that you’re able to use websites as sources, it’s important to know how to check their reliability. We will be following the principles of COR (Civic Online Reasoning) brought to us by SHEG (Stanford History Education Group). See this page on my blog for more details. What follows will be an example of Ms. G’s inquiry into a source’s reliability. The reliability form is at the end of this section.

In my research about Kurds in Turkey, I decided to use a Wikipedia article. I didn’t actually read the article (Kurds), I read the footnotes (citations) of the article. I skimmed through them to find some interesting sources: some were in Turkish, some were in English, some had titles that didn’t sound of use to me (too specific), some seemed useful. I linked to one citations that seemed helpful but I still had some concerns about it. So I started my reliability assessment.

Laciner, Sedat and Ihsan Bal. The Ideological And Historical Roots Of Kurdist Movements In Turkey: Ethnicity Demography, Politics. Turkish Weekly. October 15, 2004.

Turkish Weekly is the online publication this article came from (in 2007). Having read a bit about Kurds in Turkey by this time, I was somewhat skeptical of this source because I know there are a lot of biases against Kurds in Turkey, often promoted by the government of Turkey. I kept this in mind as I perused the article. Most importantly I read its footnotes (citations). In them I found a few links to academic books available on Google Books. Some of these books had also been cited on the original Wikipedia article. Once I felt relatively sure of this source (after taking a lot of time to think about whether the account might be totally biased in its opinions on Kurds), I took some notes from it. I later took notes from the books mentioned in the citations. Lastly, I noted  who the authors of the article were (as identified at the end of the article).

Sedat Laciner, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey. Ihsan Bal, Turkish national Police Academy, Ankara, Turkey

This was not enough to make me trust them automatically. I was especially concerned when I saw “police academy” because Kurds in Turkey are often jailed for their views and actions. One other concern was that the authors seemed to dismiss the legitimacy of the PKK, the left-leaning Kurdish political party in Turkey. However, other parts of the article seemed to suggest less bias.

On the whole then, I used this source with a grain of salt. It was useful, however, in that it lead me to other sources where I found better, more detailed information.

Chatty, Dawn. Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Google Books. 

Natali, Denise. The Kurds and the State: Evolving National Identity in Iraq, Turkey and Iran.  Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2005. Google Books. 

For another example of checking a site’s reliability, read this document: CHY4U_COR_Assessing_CFR_Website

Here you will notice that Ms. G has designed a form for you to use while assessing websites. Please fill in a form for each website you use in your research (not for encyclopedia or mainstream media sources such as BBC, CBC, PBS, CNN, etc).


TIPS for Working Bib

It’s time to start using more specific sources, including books. if possible (such as on Google Books). There are many specialized sources on Gale Global Issues in Context.

*****Please see Assessing Reliability of Online Information. If you’re going to be using more specific sources now, possibly including websites, you’ll need to know how to determine if they’re reliable.

When you get your background CCA notes and worksheet back, make sure you read the comments. Take them seriously. They are intended to guide you in the research process while you look for your next sources. Some of you will have to go back before you can go forward because you didn’t do the background research as directed, or you didn’t get a true overview of your topic.

When you are ready to move forward – and this had better be pretty soon – you are going to locate more specific sources that will help you research your topic further (based on the questions you wrote at the end of step 1 and the comments I made on your questions).

Choose your next research sources carefully; they should not be too general (unless you were missing some general info in step 1). Many students will end up choosing repetitive sources. It is not worthwhile reading the same type of source over and over, such as The History of Japan, Japan’s History, Japan’s Modern History unless each has unique information in it.

Fill in your Working Bibliography as you go. You MUST use specific examples if you hope to get good marks. See sample for SPECIFIC evidence.

Please indicate general points and specific examples in your notes (4- column note-taking method).

What Constitutes an Example:

  • details about something specific that happened (who, what, where, when, how, why)
  • primary source evidence (you will need some in your essay – at least one or two examples)


Davey lamp, or Davey safety lamp

  • invented by Sir Humphrey Davy ( chemist) in London in 1815 and first tested in 1816
  • meant to protect coal miners from firedamp
    • firedamp = mixture of methane and air, highly explosive when exposed to open flame
  • miners used open flame to see in the pits
  • in deeper, more dangerous mines needed protection from and detection of harmful gasses (e.g.,  carbon dioxide)
  • lamp had a metal mesh screen around  open flame
  • some miners and owners liked the lamps
  • some didn’t
    • didn’t provide much light and may have detracted from owners directly addressing safety issues in the mines

What Doesn’t Constitute an Example:

  • general information
  • listed information
  • facts minus explanations
    • e.g., the Davey lamp was used by miners in the 1800s.

If, at any point, you don’t know what direction to take, please email Ms. Gluskin. Don’t leave it until the last minute: procrastination is the enemy.

Step 3: Finish note-taking (to a total of 7-10 sources since the start of CCA) Due Fri. April 29, 2002

Things to Consider When Choosing Sources:

Cover the range of types of sources: Sample Topic – Spanish-American War

  • general history of a region or time (e.g., History of Latin America)
  • specific history (e.g., History of Cuba under Spanish Control)
  • specific event (e.g., The Spanish-American War in Cuba)
  • specific person (e.g., Jose Marti and Cuban Independence)
  • specialized encyclopedia (Colonialism, History of World Trade)
  • primary source (not absolutely necessary)
  • if you have been using Britannica, it’s time to move away from encyclopedia articles
  • try Gale Global Issues in Context
  • if internet searching, try to get past the first page of Google search results (look for websites that have references and/or citations, sources that are written by someone knowledgeable on the topic and qualified to write about it)
  • Try Google Books

Fill in “holes” in your notes so far. Do you need more on colonization or decolonization? What is missing. Don’t take more notes on things you already have unless you have been specifically told by Ms. G that your notes are far too general.

Do not use four different books/sources on pretty much the same topic. This is pointless unless they have different information in them.

  • History of Cuba
  • Cuban History
  • Modern History of Cuba
  • History of Cuba in the Modern Age

Best of luck on this research step.

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