CCA Step 1 (background notes and worksheet)

By , October 8, 2012 8:00 am

Great ready to become an awesome researcher and writer!

Start by choosing your topic to suit your interests.

CHY4U_Essay_Habits_of_mind_2018-19 (START HERE if you really want to learn to do this entire process WELL)

Here are the requirements for Step 1  

CHY4U_CCA_Essay_Step1_2020-21 (this is the assignment for step 1)

Two Components of Step 1:
1. Take notes from an encyclopedia (online – see YM Databases page), textbook (or equivalent general source), and a specific online source from a database.

2. Fill in Background Worksheet (see samples below).


Sources_Current_Events (reference books you should consider)

YM Wiki (Mr. Keogh’s suggested databases)

Link to Global Issues in Context Database:

YM Databases

SAMPLES (please note – most of the past samples are NOT reduced content and the format is somewhat different. However, I have reformatted step 1 to fit your needs)

*** NEW ***    Ms_G_Step1__Sept__2020 (Kurds – new format) *** 

Ms_G_Step1__March_2019 (Yemen – old format). 

MsG_Sample_CHY4U_CCA_Essay_Background_Notes_2015-16 (1) (Income inequality in China – old format)

MsG_Sample_CHY4U_CCA_STep1_Worksheet__2017-18-1 (Boko Haram – old format)




Documentation_for_history_essays_REVISED (how to use Chicago style)


CHY4U_CCA_Essay_Step3_2020-21 (instructions on note-taking)

Choose one method for note-taking: print a template and take notes by hand. All notes will be collected (share on google classroom)

CHY4U_CCA_Note-taking_Template (use this!!!)

Column Method of Note-Taking

Indentation Method of Note-Taking

Ms. G’s Notes:

Ms_G_Kurds_Notes_2020 (a lot more than needed but I enjoy researching)


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 database has been extremely useful for me (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 three years ago, I searched “Qing Dynasty”, “Opium Wars” and “Taiping Rebellion” and came up with good overview articles. For my essay topic two years ago, I searched “Boko Haram” and “Nigeria” on both Global Issues in Context and EBSCO History Reference Centre and got lots of material. For my last year’s topic, I searched Global Issues in Context under the term “Yemen” and Britannica Schools under “Yemen.” This year, I searched “Kurds” on Global Issues in Context and came up with all kinds of general articles on Kurdish Resistance, Kurdish territory, etc.

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. Sometimes online Britannica Schools has pretty up to date information, too, on some topics.

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.

A note on Wikipedia. Though I do not want you to use it as a source, you may get sources through its footnotes. I got some interesting Google Books sources through footnotes on a Wikipedia article.

If you’d like to search the West and World textbook, please let Ms. G know. You can borrow a copy.

Though this seems like a lot of work to do now, it will set you up very well for the future essay. That is, if you take your notes in your own words. If you do not take notes in your own words, you are always risking a plagiarism charge and a zero. Please don’t do this.


Please don’t forget about all the great reference sources in the school library (on our cart):

  • World Eras
  • Europe: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire
  • Colonialism
  • History of World Trade
  • Encyclopedia Britannica (use electronic)
  • Encyclopedia of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Please don’t HOG books. When you’re done, return them to the library.
  • 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.

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