Starting Your Paper: Loched in On Scotland

Posted by Duncan Whitmire on 9/17/14 11:55 AM

Starting Your Paper, Topic Pages


Dunskey Castle, near Portpatrick, Scotland

On the eve of the Scottish vote for independence, we're taking a look at resources one might use to start a paper on anything from Scottish history to its fascination with mythological creatures. We understand the temptation when thinking about Scotland to procrastinate by watching a Willie-centric Simpson marathon, or practicing your Sean Connery impression, but you have to stay strong. Aye, there will be time for impressions later.

Scotland - The habitation of Scotland by the Picts originated before historic times and endured even the ambitious grasp of the Roman Empire. Known for its beautiful green highlands (nourished by 180 inches of rain per year), its piercing bagpipes, and one of the world's most enigmatic lake creatures, Scotland has proved fertile grounds for the imaginations of writers, artist, and filmmakers for generations.

Highlands - Perhaps the best word to describe these mountains is "rugged," which may be why they have proved such copious inspiration for romance novelists. While we're at it, this is a good time to point out that while exhaustively researched, no, you may not use Diana Gabaldon novels as sources for your paper.

Unicorns - These mythical creatures are, no joke, the official animal of Scotland. Their blood is said to have magical healing capabilities, and some think they're able to fly fueled solely on the dreams of hopeful children. It makes sense that they're often depicted next to rainbows, given the volume of precipitation most parts of Scotland experience throughout the year.

Penicillin - Discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, this wonder drug started the anti-bacterial revolution and changed the face of medicine. It was, however, unable to cure non-Scottish people of their revulsion to haggis.

Adam Smith - One of Scotland's most famous thinkers, Smith basically shaped the way all of us think about economics today with his seminal treatise, The Wealth of Nations. He coined the term, "the invisible hand of the market," still in heavy rotation today.


Flag of Scotland: By none known ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dunskey Castle, Portpatrick, Scotland, ca. 1900, By Detroit Publishing Co., under license from Photoglob Zürich [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,_Portpatrick,_Scotland,_ca._1900.jpg


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