Final research paper and visual display for presentation

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Middle Ages/Renaissance/Reformation

Research Project

(approximately 1000 AD to 1650 AD)

Final research paper

and visual display for presentation

DUE: Tuesday, May 11

Our end-of-the year research project will give you a chance to learn and use research and writing skills to prepare a report to share with the class on a topic from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance or the Reformation. We have studied the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in class and will be investigating the Reformation before and during this project. You will be doing research in class, at home and in the library.

Below is a list of suggested topics for research (in no particular order.) You may choose your own research topic. Some topics will be familiar to you. Others are new. Please have your topic approved before beginning to do research.
You will select one of these research subjects. After doing preliminary research, you will form a thesis statement and narrow your research to address your thesis. You cannot write a thesis statement without doing research first.

  • Women of the Middle Ages

  • Agricultural practices/changes

  • The Crusades

  • Joan of Arc

  • The Hundred Years’ War

  • Decline of feudalism

  • Changes in warfare after the Middle Ages

  • Aftermath of Bubonic Plague
  • Florence, Italy, a Renaissance town

  • Medici family
  • Humanism

  • Petrarch

  • Machiavelli

  • Miguel de Cervantes
  • Wm Shakespeare

  • Leonardo da Vinci

  • Michelangelo

  • Erasmus

  • Invention of printing press

  • Women of the Middle Ages

  • Women of Renaissance

  • Renaissance literature

  • Renaissance art

  • Renaissance architecture

  • Martin Luther

  • John Calvin

  • Henry VIII

  • John Knox

  • Council of Trent

  • Medical advances during Renaissance

  • Elizabeth I

  • Galileo

  • The Inquisition

  • Hildegard of Bingen

  • Vikings

  • Gothic architecture

  • Power of the church

  • Influence of guilds

  • Treatment of Jewish people during the Middle Ages/Renaissance

  • Richard the Lion-Hearted

  • Scientific revolution

  • Monasticism

  • Protestant movements after Martin Luther

  • Sir Isaac Newton

  • Trade and commerce

Required elements for the project:


You will need to do thorough research and take notes on what you discover.

Thesis statement

You will need to write a concise thesis statement.

Note cards

You will need to prepare note cards with information to support your thesis. This information comes from your research and can be used for your class presentation.


You will prepare an outline for a five-paragraph essay before writing your research report.

First draft

You will need to write a first draft of your report to be edited and revised.

Title page

Your report will need a title page.

Final paper

This is to be a five-paragraph essay and is your final writing project.

Works cited

You will need a works cited page and at least three in-text citations. (Hint: be sure to keep track of your sources as you go. It can be difficult to go back and find them later. You may prepare your works cited on Citation Maker.

Visual (to be done at home)

You will need to prepare a visual representation of your report.

In-class presentation

You will present your research findings and visual to the class.
Your final paper must be double-spaced. It will be graded on proper spelling, punctuation and grammar.
In Social Studies:

April 27 - 30: We will do research using books in school, laptops in class, home computers and outside sources such as the public library.
In Language Arts:

May 3-4: Organize notes, create outline, write first draft.
FIRST DRAFT IS DUE Wednesday, May 5,
In Social Studies:

May 6 - 10: Revising/editing first drafts.
At home:

May 4 to May 10: Finish works cited, finish title page, create visual display for presentation.

  • How does a thesis statement differ from a subject or topic?

Your subject is the “big idea.” From there, you narrow your focus into increasingly specific topics. A thesis statement is a sentence that can be proved or disproved. It is the statement that gives the main idea or focus of your paper or essay on a narrow topic.

Let’s say your subject is “Armor.” In your research you find that armor was no longer used in the Renaissance. A thesis statement would take this idea and expand on it. You would write a statement that can be proved or disproved.

Your thesis statement might be: “Armor was not used in the Renaissance because new weapons made it obsolete.” Your research paper would then strive to support this statement.

  • How do I do the research?

We will work in the library and use books, the Internet and other resources to find information. You will use note cards and Word documents to take notes. You will also need to have citations for each source of information you use. You will produce a BIBLIOGRAPHY page. When you have enough information to prove or disprove your thesis statement, you begin writing your paper.

Remember: You cannot write a good thesis statement without doing some research first!

  • How do I write my paper?

We will use classroom time to organize your notes on index cards. From the cards, you will create an outline. The outline is used to write the paper.

You will write an introduction that grabs the reader’s attention. The last sentence of your first paragraph is your thesis statement.

The next paragraphs will support your thesis statement and give proof and examples found in your research. You will need to include citations for direct quotations and statistics.

Finally, you will write a concluding paragraph that refers to your thesis statement and ties up loose ends.

We will work on the essay in class and for homework.

  • How do I write my Works Cited or Bibliography page?

You will have an example of a Works Cited/Bibliography page to follow. The last page of your paper includes all the sources you used.

  • What do I do for a visual presentation?

You should have something in hand that illustrates or represents your topic. It will help you with the presentation. Your visual project can be a poster, diorama, a collection of books, a puppet, a mobile, etc. This part of the project will be completed at home.

  • What kind of presentation do I need?

Everyone will explain his or her topic and thesis with a three- to five-minute speech. We will review the state requirements for speech and you will be evaluated on them.

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