For an EPQ, students are required, with appropriate supervision, to:
- choose an area of interest
- draft a title and aims of the project for formal approval by the centre
- plan, research and carry out the project e.g. a 5,000 word research essay
- deliver a presentation to a non-specialist audience
- provide evidence of all stages of project development and production for assessment.
A list of suggested topics follows.
Part of the assessment of an EPQ is of your effective use of sources that you find for yourself.
Once you have selected a topic, devise your own essay title in the form of a question which you answer by a critical analysis of the evidence base.
The Richard III Society is able to offer advice on these topics and other aspects of the Wars of the Roses and life in 15th century England. Both the UK and US websites of the Society provide useful starting points for research as well (www.richardiii.net , www.r3.org ).
The Missing Princes (History)
Five hundred years after they disappeared we still do not know what happened to Edward V and his brother, Richard Duke of York, sons of Edward IV. Look at the evidence for yourself – what questions can we answer about this?
The Constitutional Crisis of 1483 (History)
The events of the summer of 1483 are among the most hotly debated in English history. After the death of Edward IV in April 1483, his son, Edward V, travelled to London for his coronation. In late June, following several accusations of attempted coups, Edward V and his siblings were declared illegitimate. Their uncle became king instead as Richard III. The fate of Edward V is unknown. That autumn there were rebellions across the south of England against Richard III’s rule. Historians still argue about the real reasons and precise details of these events. Look at the sources, read historians’ opinions and decide what sort of question you could answer on this.
Richard III’s social and economic reforms (History, Economics, Politics)
Richard is not remembered for his role as a just and wise leader yet a number of contemporary sources praise his leadership. Before Richard became King he was the leading magnate in the north of England, entrusted by Edward IV to secure England’s border with Scotland, maintain law and order in the northern parts of England and mediating in land disputes. Assess the evidence and devise a question that will help you to explore this topic.
A critical analysis of Shakespeare’s Richard III with reference to historical sources (English, History, Drama)
Shakespeare created a work of art with his play Richard III and made the central character into a physical and psychological monster. For centuries this depiction of Richard III strongly influenced historians’ opinions. Devise a question that will help you examine Shakespeare’s use and choice of sources.
The use of DNA in forensic investigations. (Biology, Chemistry, Law)
When a skeleton was found under a car park in Leicester, how was it proved beyond reasonable doubt to be that of King Richard III? Fortunately, Leicester University was equipped to carry out a range of scientific tests to do just this.
Portraiture of British Monarchs (Art, Art History)
Every 15th century English Monarch had at least one, if not several, official portraits created from life. You could devise a question investigating the motives or influences for these artworks. You may wish to extend the essay to include portraiture of 15th century queens.
Royal minority rule in medieval England: Henry III, Edward III, Henry VI, Edward V (History, Politics)
Succession to the Crown by a child was regarded with concern in the middle ages due to the potential for political instability and military vulnerability yet these four kings all fared very differently. What questions can you ask to explore this phenomenon.
Individual battles in the Wars of the Roses and their immediate aftermath (History, Politics)
During the period 1455 to 1487 there were many individual battles most lasting less than one day with each one influencing the balance of political power in England.
You could consider one important battle (e.g. 1st St Albans, Wakefield, Towton, Barnet, Tewkesbury) in detail or a series of battles with different victors.
Richard III and the portrayal of physical conditions in the Arts. (Drama, English Lit. Psychology)
Shakespeare chose to cast Richard III as “deformed, unfinish’d”. Lead actors invent new ways to portray these alleged ‘deformities’. Devise a question to examine medieval attitudes and beliefs about physical conditions.
Bastardy in Medieval England (History, Law, Philosophy/RS)
Being born out of holy wedlock was an impediment to inheritance in medieval England, but not necessarily to social advancement. The status of illegitimacy could be changed by both civil and canon law. Devise a question to explore differences in the legal rights of legitimate and illegitimate offspring and the relative strength of 15th century claimants to the throne of England.
Quantitative Measurement in Medieval England (Maths, Physics)
Clocks, calendars, weights and measures, distances, land areas are important for effective communications and for fair transactions in personal and public life.
Explore ways in which these quantitative measures were standardised in the 15th century.
Exhumations and Reburials (History)
Many members of the house of York have been exhumed and reburied over the centuries for different reasons. The records reveal different religious ideas and scientific approaches through the ages. Devise a question that enables you to examine some of these.