National History Day 2016
Bay Farm Middle School participates in National History Day!
Researching your Topic

Find information about your subject from as many different kinds of resources as possible. Use our school library, Alameda Free Library, online museums, regional libraries, and historic sites. Write to a place that may have information to send you; national parks and historic sites are especially good about responding to students.

Seven sources are required; at least two must be primary sources.

Internet Tools

You can find excellent sources by using various databases available at the Alameda Free Library, Google Scholar, the Library of Congress, National Park Service, the list on History Day’s Research Central page, and our Resources webpage, to name a few.

Book, or part of a book--Books usually give more depth and context than shorter sources. These also count toward Independent Reading. (Your textbook does not count as a source, although you should read the relevant portions.) Use our school library and public library. In addition to the books on the shelf, you can request books from other libraries through LINK+ services. A public library card is essential!

 Two required.


 No limit.

Encyclopedia--These may be online or books. You may not cite Wikipedia, although if you follow the links at the bottom of the articles, you will probably find other excellent sources. Several encyclopedias are available through the public library online resources.

 One required.


 Limit: two

Documentary--These provide context and a broad overview. The public library, public television stations, and the History Channel offer many choices.  One required
Periodicals, Magazines, and newspapers--Any publication citing a month and year (or day, month, and year) is a periodical. Cobblestone, Calliope, and other young  people’s magazines often provide useful information for students. National Geographic and Smithsonian are also excellent. Local newspapers may have articles about your topic, or about its legacy today. Some periodicals may also be primary sources!

 One required.

Internet Secondary--Museums, universities, and news organizations (BBC, History Channel) are excellent. National History Day ( lists dozens of links to top-quality research sites. For other searches, use (Internet Public Library), Google Scholar, or Google Advanced Search. Be sure to check out our "Resources" tab and links on this website.

Avoid .com sites; instead, look for .edu, .gov,


 for quality!

Primary Sources(documents and images)--Diaries, contracts, birth or marraige certificates, letters, military records, baptismal certificates, property deeds, newspapers, and magazines are all excellent primary sources. So are portraits and photographs. Do not overlook artifacts like clothing and tools. You may have some within your own family, in museums, online or at the National Archives or State Archives. Thousands of original documents, paintings, and photographs are now available online. The Library of Congress ( has a treasure trove!

 Two required.


Pamphlet--Parks and Monuments usually respond to requests for maps, pamphlets, and other information. You will probably receive a few in response to your inquiry. The National Park Service ( has many pamphlets, as do state parks, some museums, and universities.  Unlimited.
Interview--Telephone or in-person interviews with experts are a huge asset to your research. Contact the expert by email first. Submit your questions in writing; verify a convenient time to talk; follow up by phone or in person. Professors at Cal State East Bay know about this project and are prepared to speak with students.

 Not required, but

 highly desirable.

 Created by Anne Everton, Robbie See, and Karen Carpenter for Alameda County