Sunday, September 27, 2009

Question from Analisa - Research paper topic suggestions

Hello! I love this website and all of the people that contribute, so thanks in advance for all your help :)

I am taking my first college class (though I am still in high school) and I have to do a research paper. (its English 131 for those who are curious)

I need a very narrow research topic. I will have access to a large university library system, so sources shouldn't be a problem. I want to do something related to Henry VIII or Elizabeth I.

Any suggestions?



  1. Hi Analisa -

    Good for you to take a university course while still in high school. the number of topics available is wide - to say the least.

    The best place to start is to think of something that just fascinates you - something you have questions about that you just don't seem to find answers to.

    Any research project takes undying interest in order to get you through. How long is the paper supposed to be?

    Let us know....

  2. The paper is supposed to be between 10 and 14 pages long.

    I am interested in the religous turmoils of the Tudor era, which doesn't narrow down the topics very well. :)

    I honestly have no real ideas. The one that my teacher recommended was: "How did Henry VIII's closing of the monasteries effect the local village economy."

    Thanks again for the help!

  3. Henry VIII's takeover of the monasteries is not my strong suit. Perhaps someone else can point you towards some appropriate sources.

    I would say that it is a good suggestion for a research paper but requires a bit of digging to understand how village economies worked BEFORE the monasteries were appropriated by the crown, as well as how they worked after. Seems a big topic to me but perhaps because economics is not my main interest.

    You might consider comparing Henry VIII's defense of the Roman Catholic papacy against Luther (he wrote a pamphlet attacking Luther) and his subsequent rejection of the authority of the papacy.

    There are several good texts about the English Reformation that you could look at. I would suggest though that you not try to read every page of every book but instead use the table of contents and the index to read those bits that are relevant to your interests. You'll find yourself reading a few chapters from a variety of books which will give you a broader understanding of the the topic (and a bigger bibliography).

    See if the library has "The Reformation" by Diarmaid MacCulloch. this will give you a good overview of the issues and then you can focus on the bits that are Tudor related. Or perhaps "The Reformation:How a monk and a mallet changed the world" by Nichols - I haven't read it but I just looked at the table of contents.

    You might also consider the role women played in bringing reformation ideas to England. This would let you touch on Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Parr, Jane Grey, Elizabeth I - just to name the queens.....

    Perhaps the best thing to do at the moment is to dive in and start reading some stuff so you can develop your ideas.

  4. Thanks for all the help kb! I will definatly use your tips :)

  5. Hey, I'm doing a research paper for my English class too (I'm not in a college course yet, but I'm in Honors, so when I'm a senior I'll be taking college courses)! What a small world!
    Anyways, I'm doing mine on Henry VIII and his primogeniture towards his wives and children... Being a girl, I'm all about the 'equal treatment' thing (GIRL POWER!!)... I'm almost done with my rough draft and it's actually quite easy to write about seeing as he disowned all of his female heirs and then chopped of his wife's head when she didn't give him a boy... haha...
    But like kb said: "the best place to start is to think of something that just fascinates you". Obviously, people chopping off other people's heads fascinates me...
    Good luck on your paper! I hope you get an A! (Actually, I hope I get an A... yikes!)

  6. Mimi - Good luck with your paper as well!


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