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Senior Essay in History: Citing Your Sources

Welcome to the YUL guide for the Senior Essay in History! Click on the link below to schedule an appointment with your research librarian, and take a few minutes to look at the resources and tools highlighted on these pages as you start your research.

Chicago Manual of Style

Documenting the sources you use in your senior essay is a key part of the research and writing process. Complete and accurate citations to the books, journal articles, primary sources, and other items you use will allow readers to verify your sources and explore them further if they'd like to learn more about the issues you've raised.

In the field of history, the standard citation style is the Chicago Style, and you will want to consult it to find the proper format for citing sources in your footnotes as well as at the end of your paper in your bibliography. Here are the main links for referring to the Chicago Manual of Style:

Also there is Kate L. Turabian's encapsulation of the Chicago Style: A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers.

In addition, the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) offers a helpful overview of the Chicago Manual of Style.

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS)

The key chapter to consult in the CMOS is Chapter 14, Notes and Bibliography, where you will find guidance on citing sources both in your footnotes and in your bibliography. Many examples of citations are provided throughout the chapter, but keep in mind that sometimes you may be citing a source that doesn't exactly fit within the chapter's models. In these cases, the main thing is to maintain a clear and consistent style, and to reach out to a librarian or your faculty advisor if you have any questions.

The guidance you'll find in Ch. 14 will offer direction on such general matters as:


Citation Management Tools

You may already have a software program or a system for keeping track of your sources, but, if not, you will want to think about what way of organizing your research will work best for you this coming year. The Yale University Library has licenses to certain citation management tools, and there are also free tools on the web for managing your citations. Probably the two most useful tools to consider are:

  • RefWorks 
    • This is a resource licensed by the Yale Library; you will need to use your Yale e-mail address to create an account.
  • Zotero
    • This is an excellent tool that's used by many historians. The same organization that created it also makes available a research photo management tool - Tropy.

For more information and an overview of several of the resources that are available, see our citation management guide.