Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Library
If you have any questions, see
Mr. Padgett, Ms. Taylor, or Mr. Previti
OR email us at
We're here to help!
The History Essay: a Research Guide
A useful step-by-step guide written by Mr. Greg Hawes (2005)
Sample Chicago Style Paper
This resource from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) shows a sample paper in the Notes and Bibliography format of the Chicago Manual of Style, 17thedition.
Your Research Process
Using this guide effectively
If you need to find a topic, take a look at the first tab, Find a Topic, where we highlight individual library databases that are arranged to help you find a topic that interests you.
Once you have found a broad topic that interests you, start your research with Online Reference Sources where you will find a broad overview of your subject. This will allow you to better understand where the specific information you find later fits in the bigger picture.
Next, dive deep with Books and eBooks, also known as monographs or secondary sources. These ebooks will have more specific information about aspects of your topic. Sometimes there will be an entire book on your specific topic, sometimes you may have to assemble information from multiple monographs. They will generally have a bibliography of resources recommended by the author.
Find and interpret Primary Sources: Primary sources are things produced in the historical time period being studied. These can range from the written word, to artwork, coins, tools, and even everyday household objects. Interpreting primary sources will require the background knowledge gained through your reference and monograph research.
Journal Articles are also secondary sources. They are essentially research papers written by scholars, and are published in academic journals. They will include references to resources the author used to research the topic.
If you are working off-campus you will likely need to sign in via proxy.
This only needs to be done once per session, and will give you access to all the resources and databases you would typically have while on-campus at Taft.
See the graphic below for a reminder of how to log-in:
If you're off-campus and you can't open an article you had found previously in a Taft online subscription database, you need to create a proxy link for the article by copying and pasting the following at the beginning of your article's permanent URL: http://lib2.taftschool.org:2048/login?url=