Scientific Change and Society - An Introductory Research Module

A Blue Team Interdisciplinary Project for World Studies & (Honors) English Nine

Background: The Italian Renaissance of the 1300s, and the Reformation of the 1500s (World Studies, Chapter 6) marked a time of great change in Europe.  Social, political, and economic patterns in Europe began to take the shape of modern society, and new ideas challenged traditional approaches to religious thought and the individual’s role in society.  During this same era, new ways of studying and understanding the natural world brought about a scientific revolution (World Studies, Chapter 7).  Revolutionary scientific advances brought Europe from a world of magical explanations to mathematically based theory.  While most scientists during this time period experienced opposition from those people in society who were unwilling to accept change, determination brought about a new era of scientific advances.  Your research paper will chronicle the development of a scientist’s new idea from its origins through its legacy.

The Task: Use the Research Cycle to come to an informed and justified conclusion about the effects a scientific change can have on society as well as those society can have on scientific change. 
The Product: You will present your findings in a 4 - 6 paragraph, MLA style research paper.


Learning Processes
You are evaluated for effectively following all steps of the Research Cycle and reflection each day throughout the project.

Writing Processes
Your notes, paper outlines, peer reads, drafts, and revisions can all receive points for completeness & effectiveness.

Final Paper Rubric
Use this rubric for your final paper evaluation.

The Process

Research Cycle
The methods we will use to conduct high-quality research.
Planner and Notetaker
Paper Organizer

MLA Style
The way we write all our formal papers at Hilliard Davidson.


Process Schedule
Step 1 Step 2  Step 3
Step 4 Step 5

The Scientists

Nicolaus Copernicus
Isaac Newton
Rene Descartes
Gottfried Liebnitz
Robert Boyle

Roger Bacon
Galileo Galilei
William Harvey
Antoine Lavoisier
Johannes Kepler Andreas Vesalius
Francis Bacon
Antoni von Leeuwenhoek  
Step 1: Questioning and Planning
English Class and HW Day 1

For this research module, we have created your essential question and provided highly structured sub questions to guide you to quality research.  Keep in mind that you will move progressively closer to forming your own questions throughout the school year.

Essential Question: How did the major players of the Scientific Revolution create lasting effects for society?

Subsidiary Questions: Consider the questions below as you plan your research and paper.  Feel free to reword and add questions as needed.

  • Who was the scientist?  When and where were they from?
  • What did they invent or theorize?
  • How did the invention or theory come about – did they spring from unexpected findings?  Was the original intent different from what was invented or found?  Did they build upon someone else’s work or in collaboration with others?
  • What tools did they use?
  • What were society’s traditional beliefs before the invention or theory?
  • What was the nature of the resistance to the invention or theory, if any?
  • Besides societal resistance, what other obstacles did the scientist face?
  • How did societal resistance or other obstacles limit the progress of the invention or theory?
  • Do we still use this invention or believe this theory today?
  • What do you see in the future for that invention, theory, or area of study?
  • How do you conduct quality research?
  • How do you use MLA to present your research correctly?

Planning: Complete the Research Planner and Notetaker Prep Work before beginning research tomorrow.  Sources you can choose from are listed in Step 2 below.

Step 2: Gathering, Sorting, and Sifting
World Studies Days 2 & 3

During your World Studies period today and tomorrow you will gather, sort, and sift information in the media center using our sources list.  Note that both electronic and traditional print sources will be used.

Sometime today, be sure you have a Research Planner and Notetaker Prep Work checked.  If you don't have this, your research will not receive credit.

When your prep work is ready, continue to the gathering stage from the resources list below.  Use the Research Planner and Notetaker to record all your MLA information, notes, and comments.


Pay Attention: You will need at least six sources - three must be traditional print resources.

Helpful Hint: Encyclopedias are a great place to start.  They provide a great basic background so that you know what else to look for in your search.  In fact, they can give you an excellent vocabulary to use for your keyword searches online.

Electronic Resources
-Click to Use-

Access Science Directions for using Access Science
Oxford Reference Online - Premium Directions for using Oxford Reference Online
Sirs Webselect Directions for using Sirs Webselect
Student Resource Center Directions for using SRC
Textbook Online Resources Directions for using Textbook Online Resources

Print Resources
-Shelf Location Included-

World Book Encyclopedia   REF 031 WOR

Gale Encyclopedia of Science  REF 503 GAL
McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology   REF 503 MCG Timetables of Science   REF 509 HEL
Biographical Dictionary of Scientists   REF 509.2 BIO Great Scientists   REF 509.2 GRE
Encyclopedia of Events that Changed the World   REF 902 ING Chronicle of the World   REF 902.02 CHR
Encyclopedia of the Renaissance   REF 940.2 BER Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment   REF 940.2  ENC
Any content specific books you find via the Media Center card catalogue.  
Step 3: Synthesis and Evaluation
English Class & HW Day 3

After you have gathered a significant amount of research and sorted and sifted through it, it's time to stop and "take inventory" of what you have.  Get your ideas organized and answer the questions below; then, move to the next step.  You will receive specific help in English class today for how to organize your information for your final paper through the completion of your Paper Organizer.

  • Which questions are well answered? 
  • Which ones require further investigation? 
  • Any new questions or ideas?  
  • What will you do next?
Step 4: Gathering, Sorting & Sifting, Synthesizing and Evaluating Part II
World Studies & English Day 4

Repeat the Gathering, Sorting, and Sifting step based on what you decided still needed to be done during the Synthesis and Evaluation stage yesterday and last night.

Your Paper Organizer will be checked today in English.

Once done, synthesize and evaluate once again to make sure you have all the information you need and it is in the proper order - use another Paper Organizer if you need to.  If you need to tie up any loose ends, do so now or complete for homework.  You must be ready to write and finish your final paper tomorrow.

Step 5: Finish Synthesis and Evaluation & Prepare Final Paper
World Studies & English Day 5 - English Day 6 if necessary

Use your Notetaker and Organizer to draft, revise (with peer reading as appropriate), and polish your paper for submission.  Keep in mind that the paper is designed to be about four paragraphs, but if you find you are trying to cram too much info into your body paragraphs, you may decide to split them in two.  If that happens, your paper could be up to six paragraphs long.  Finally, don't forget to check your paper over using the Rubric we'll use for grading.

Turn in when done: FC, RRD, Paper Organizer, and Research Planner and Notetaker.