Research Papers

Atlantia A&S Criteria

An entry consists of a research paper written in an essay format acceptable for a term paper or thesis, including a list of works cited. Authors will score best with original thesis or synthesis papers whose findings apply directly to medieval re‐enactment. Summary research is acceptable. Research notes written in an attractive style or as a newspaper article are not acceptable. Entrants in this category should consult a current term paper or thesis stylebook, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, before creating an entry. Any evidence of plagiarism will disqualify an entry.

Information also available as PDF.

DOCUMENTATION (0‐30 points, SCORED 1‐10 then MULTIPLY BY 3):

Rate the provability of the entrant’s research. Consider the quality of the sources and citations used.

  • 0: No citations or bibliography;
  • 1: Use of citations only; use of bibliography only; use of either in an inadequate form. Source material is of a general nature; no primary sources are used;
  • 2‐3: Acceptable annotation and bibliography; use of secondary sources but minimal on primary sources. Author collects and organizes facts from multiple sources, but does not develop original research;
  • 4‐5: Acceptable annotation and bibliography, following a single standardized format; excellent citation alone; excellent bibliography alone; very good critical sources are used. Author proposes a thesis;
  • 6: Good use of citation and bibliography; citations indicate adequate choice of source materials for supporting the thesis statement;
  • 7‐8: Good use of citation and bibliography; citations indicate very good choice and use of critical source materials for supporting the thesis statement;
  • 9‐10: Superior handling of all phases of documentation. Excellent citation and bibliography; excellent choice of critical source materials, including specialized references directly related to the subject material and/or primary sources incorporated appropriately that fully support the stated thesis.

AUTHENTICITY (0‐20 points, SCORED 1‐10 and then DOUBLE THE SCORE):

Judge the applicability of the paper’s subject matter to other SCA members studying the subject.

  • 0: Subject matter of the paper is out of period or not relevant to an SCA activity;
  • 1‐2: Subject matter of the paper is out of period and has very limited relevancy to an SCA activity;
  • 3‐4: Subject matter of the paper is out of period but is applicable to an SCA activity to some extent;
  • 5‐6: Subject matter of the paper is period, but not written for an SCA audience;
  • 7‐8: Subject matter of the paper is period and an attempt has been made to be as thorough as possible and adapt the subject to the audience;
  • 9‐10: Subject matter of the paper is period and it has relevance to an SCA member. It is written with an SCA audience in mind.

COMPLEXITY (0‐10 points):

Rank the ambition, not the success, of the entry for:

  • Scope of the argument ‐ Does the author set forth their thesis statement and support it within the page limit that they chose?;
  • Thoroughness of the research ‐ How well did the author reasonably pursue information available on the chosen topic? Does the choice of research method fit the topic?;
  • Validity ‐ Did the author use quality source material? What methods did the author use to validate their references? Are sources and methods used correctly? Is any experimental design logically consistent?;
  • Complexity of the subject matter ‐ A paper with a focused, in‐depth topic should score better than a broad‐sweeping generalized paper (e.g., a paper on 16th century Maiolica should score higher than one on Iberian pottery. The paper on Iberian pottery should score higher than one on the generalized subject of medieval ceramics);
  • Extent – Does the author use research methods other than library research, e.g. experimentation, artefact examination, or statistical analysis, where appropriate? Originality – Does the topic cover new research? Does it suggest a new approach to an established topic?; 
  • Detail of the topic – Does the author present adequate supporting material to defend the thesis statement?;
  • Cohesiveness of the paper ‐ Does it flow well from paragraph to paragraph? Are points clearly outlined and explained?

WORKMANSHIP (3‐30 points, SCORE 1‐10 then MULTIPLY BY 3):

How well is the entry written?

  • Accuracy – Are the facts presented accurately? Are quotes taken in proper context?;
  • Concept flow ‐ Is the paper well organized and logical? Did the author develop their thesis and use well‐constructed arguments to prove it? Is there a conclusion?;
  • Clarity ‐ Is it easy to identify, follow and analyze the author’s position?;
  • Level of detail ‐ Is the detail appropriate to size and scope of research?; 
  • Language ‐ Rate the use of grammar, punctuation, spelling, word choice, and sentence structure;
  • Citation of sources in a standard format.


Judge the paper’s overall effect, rating the appeal beyond the technical proficiency. Include effectiveness, uniqueness of presentation, and interestingness of the subject matter.