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AC2 Research Paper

Resource guide for the AC2 research paper.

The Research Question

Your research question

  • Is specific and open-ended 
  • Can be answered in multiple ways
  • Does not have a simple yes or no answer
  • Focuses your research
  • Helps you find, critically read, and evaluate your sources 

Your preliminary thesis statement

  • Identifies the topic you are researching
  • May be refined or changed as you continue your research

Your thesis statement 

  • Answers your research question
  • Reflects your informed opinion
  • Is supported by the evidence gathered and cited during your research 

Step 1: Keywords 

Who, What, Where, When

Who? Gender, age, class, race, nationality, political or religious group, key historical figure
What? Specific event, cultural idea, innovation, treaty, law, political movement
Where? Country, region, empire
When? Time period or era, reign, specific date

Step 2: Viewpoint and Approach

How, Why

Viewpoint Culture, society, politics, economy, military, art, race, gender, religion, revolutions, science and technology, legal, colonialism
Approach Compare and contrast; Analyze cause and effect; Consider the relationship between two or more factors

Step 3: Questions

Rule 1 Produce as many questions as possible
Rule 2 Do not stop to judge, answer, or discuss any questions
Rule 3 Write down every question exactly as you state it
Rule 4 Change any statement into a question
Rule 5 Categorize questions into open or closed
Rule 6 Identify the most promising and interesting questions

 

Topic: The Salem Witch Trials

Step 1: Keywords 

Who? Puritans, Cotton Mather, Tituba, Giles Corey, Women, Putnam family, Porter family
What? Malleus Maleficarum, Court of Oyer and Terminer, Mass hysteria, Spectral evidence, Witch cake, Puritanism
Where? Mass Bay Colony, Hartford, Salem village, New England
When? 17th century, 1600s, 1692, Colonial America

Step 2: Viewpoint and Approach

How, Why

Viewpoint Culture, society, politics, economy, military, art, race, gender, religion, revolutions, science and technology, legal, colonialism
Approach Compare and contrast; Analyze cause and effect; Consider the relationship between two or more factors

Step 3: Questions

What role did gender play during the Salem Witch Trials?
Were there actual witches in Salem?
Were any men accused, found guilty, and executed for being a witch?
Why did some of the accused confess to being witches, and others did not?
What was the public response to the Salem Witch Trials (throughout New England and in England)?
Why did the Salem Witch Trials last for so long and spiral out of control?
To what extent did conflict with Native Americans impact the Salem Witch Trials
How did the events in Salem change court proceedings in Colonial America?
How did the 16th and 17th century witchcraft trials in Europe effect Salem?
What was the relationship between the church (led by Reverend Parris) and the rest of the community?
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