Master of Liberal Studies Research Papers

Date of Award


Document Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)


Among the most important skills middle school students need to develop are analyzing and developing a critical perspective about what they read. This research project shows how A Night to Remember, Walter Lord's account of the sinking of the Titanic, along with other resources appropriate for the various reading levels found in grades seven through nine, can help students develop these critical reading skills. The research focuses on the actions of two men who were intimately involved in the tragedy: Captain E. J. Smith of the Titanic and Captain Stanley Lord of the Californian. Students will be challenged to explore the many different perspectives which have developed over the 97 years since Titanic sank, then form their own judgments about the men's actions, supporting them with evidence drawn from their own research. In doing so, students will learn to evaluate their sources for validity and accuracy. Finally, students will learn the unavoidable fact that no matter how much research they do, they can never quite learn the entire true story, because facts can be interpreted in different ways and because participants in the disaster had their own unique perspectives which often contradict each other.


Copyright 2009 Danton McDiffett


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