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The Legacy of Mesoamerica: ANTH / LAS 2098 / HIST 3096

Find resources for information literacy assignments and final research paper

How to choose a research topic?

There are several ways to approach choosing a research topic. The following techniques have been shown to help students move from having no topic or only a very broad and general topic to a manageable research question:

  • Personal Interest: Concentrate your efforts on an aspect of Mesoamerica that personally interests you. Are you interested in the pre-contact period (95% of human occupation), the Colonial Period (c. 1519-1820), or the National (Modern) Period? Personal interest increases motivation, which in turn often predicts success!
  • Brainstorm: It often helps to begin by identifying synonyms for major concepts, e.g. "Aztec Empire" = "Mexica Hegemony." Then search for those terms via Library Search to see the types of books and articles that have been written on the topic.
  • Explore Background Sources: Use the online reference books in the Find Background Information tab to get a brief overview of Mesoamerican topics that may be of interest.

Paper Topics from Past Semesters

Here are some of the paper topics from previous students in this course. This list may help you begin thinking about possible topics, but you should choose your own research topic based on your interests, using some of the other techniques described on this page.

  • History and Significance of the Virgin of Guadalupe 

  • The Zapatista Movement: An Analysis on the Political Successes of an Indigenous Uprising

  • The Fight to Maintain Maya Identity through Bilingual Education

  • The Past and Present Mesoamerican Maize Culture: Women’s role in the cultivation of Maize and the production of Maize Based-Foods 

  • The Muxe’: The Third Gender Survives 

  • Of Trade and Tribute: The Aztec Economy

  • Maya World: Tourists and Hosts

  • The Effect of Tourism on Maya Cuisine 

  • The Cargo System:The Effect of Emigration 

  • Psychotropics in Precolumbian Mesoamerican Culture

  • Stone vs. Steel: Analysis of the Military tactics and methods of the Aztec Empire during the Conquest

Video Tutorials on Choosing a Topic