World CivilizationsResearch

Please contact us with feedback such as suggestions for further research topics your students might enjoy.

You may also nominate student essays for web publication. Simply click 'nominate' and attach the student's essay in Word or WordPerfect format. The following information must be included for a nomination to be considered: your student's name; your name; your institution; the course your student is taking; your student's age or year in college. Selected submissions will appear linked to the corresponding research project as "winning student essays".

Click on a research topic and you will be taken to a suggested project. Each project features a collection of links which pertain to that topic, and put you in contact with some of the world's finest colleges and libraries. The projects are designed to teach certain skills, from writing to analysis, and will help you learn to "do history".

These research Link Collections lend themselves to a variety of projects. Use them to investigate any of the following topics which you find interesting. Your professor may also assign them for use in other types of projects, such as oral reports, short papers, in-class discussions, etc. Remember the instructions on the page are merely suggestions, your professor will probably make his own assignments.


Projects and Papers
The Darkness, the Water, and Breath c. 8000 B.C.E.
Each civilization has its own stories about how the world was created. These myths teach us about what was most important to our ancient human ancestors. Fire. Water. Life and Breath. Elements such as these recur in creation myths from all over the world. [Skill: Analyzing literature as primary source material; comparing cultures; speculating about differences using supporting evidence.]
(Ch. 2-6 : Compare and Contrast Paper)
Mummies and Magic c. 3000 B.C.+
Explore the fascinating world of ancient Egypt. Mummies, skeletons, and gorgeous artwork are featured in this collection of research links. [Skill: Exploring artifactual evidence to learn about a culture; choosing evidence well; recognizing difference between primary and secondary evidence]
(Ch. 3: Research Paper)
Lady of the Court 11th century Japan
Part of the fascination of history is discovering what it was like, to live, work and dream in a culture very different from ones own. Explore a Japanese woman's private thoughts, carefully recorded in her diary. Learn of her world. [Skill: extracting historical information from a personal record; using that information to support a point; appreciating differences in culture]
(Ch. 11: Position Paper)
Medieval Life, Medieval Death 3rd century to 14th century
Explore the records of nuns, kings, wives, and soldiers during the middle ages. This particular archive has a superb collection, with tremendous research opportunities. [Skill: Exploring primary sources; narrowing a topic]
(Ch. 10-15: Research Paper)
The Mind of the Conqueror 16th Century Latin America
How much do you know about Montezuma? Cortés? About the conquest of Mexico? You probably know the names, but do you really understand? Read the records written by the men who were actually involved. [Skill: comparing primary sources; analyzing social/economic factors which affect a series of events; appreciating cultural differences]
(Ch. 19: Research Paper)
Perspectives 1600 - 1776
Two authors have prepared a history of the America. Excerpted here are chapters on the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods. Analyze these two tales for content, bias, and continuity. Are there differences in each story? What are they? In your opinion, what accounts for the differences? [Skill: Reading critically, comparing and contrasting two versions of a history, analyzing differences, evaluating sources.]
(Ch. 19 - 20: Position Paper)
A Warring World late 19th/early 20th century
World War I significantly changed the world, indeed it ushered in the modern era. Technology, religion, art, literature, social assumptions were all radically altered by this conflict. What precipitated it? Prepare a timeline of significant events, persons, and treaties; you will develop a better understanding of the function and power of diplomacy and its impact on the world. [Skill: Identifying important factors, events, dates; understanding significance of historical events; organizing chronologically.]
(Ch. 30: Position Paper)
History in Revision c. 1940
Historians are constantly reexamining evidence in an effort to determine what really happened. Some "revisions" spark more controversy than others. Explore the Holocaust revisionism controversy, then read some primary source accounts from this horrifying period of warfare and inhumanity. [Skill: Comparing two versions of history; analyzing the quality of an argument; using primary source material to draw conclusions.]
(Ch. 35-36: Position Paper)
Students and Soldiers c. 20th century
This conflict is not a recent development, but has been brewing since the controversial Balfour Declaration of 1917. Explore the historical roots of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, decide for yourself if what you've always believed is accurate. [Skill: Analyzing primary source evidence; evaluating historical basis for current events, recognizing personal bias.]
(Ch. 34, 35, 38: Research Paper)
This project allows you to discover for yourself the historical resources of the World Wide Web. If you're comfortable with the technology, this project an opportunity to explore a historical topic that has personal meaning. If online exploration has been a rather new experience for you, the helps, explanation of search procedures, and favorite archive link collections will lead you to a greater appreciation of the wealth of information available at the click of a button. Use the skills you've learned all semester and prepare a paper on the topic of your choice. [Skill: Narrowing the topic, focusing the discussion; selection and quality of evidence; research skills; ]
(All Chapters: Research Paper)


World Civilizations

RESEARCH: Ralph'sWorld Civilizations
Page created by Thomas Pearcy, Ph.D and Mary Dickson.
We welcome your comments. Please contact Steve Hoge, Editor.
Last revised July 5, 1997
Copyright (c) 1997. W. W. Norton Publishing. All Rights Reserved