note that you are not limited to the subjects
on the following list. They are ideas to think about and consider for your
project. If you have other ideas you would like to try, or any variations on one
of the suggestions below, you can discuss them with me.
Keep in mind that all
research projects need prior approval before you begin work.
•Children's sports: Little League baseball, Pop Warner football,
peewee hockey. There is much controversy
over whether children up to adolescence should be involved in major sports
competition. Do these sports encourage
good values and develop skills, or do they cause psychological and physical
harm? With this subject, be sure you
research reliable and factual evidence, not merely personal opinions.
•Getting unwired! Many people today are experimenting with
avoiding all electronic devices --- computers, IPods, cell phones, beepers ---
and just spending a day, a week, or some period of time completely unwired. Do you think this is a good idea? Are people too tightly connected and too
dependent on electronics? What might be
learned or experienced from at least a brief respite? Or does life in the twenty-first century
simply require 24/7 connectivity?
•Special education: are school programs that fall into this
category necessary and deserved by the children who use them? Are their costs impacting regular education
too much? How should eligibility for
these programs be determined, and who, or what agency, should make these
Senior citizens: how do we assure quality of life for the
increasing numbers of senior citizens in this country? Should they be allowed to drive (retain
driver's licenses) indefinitely? Is
their care primarily a family issue, a public health issue, a medical or social
issue? Explore any part of this huge
field that you find of interest.
•Safety issues for professional
athletes. Could rowdy fans, fans running
onto playing fields and general fan behavior that interrupts games threaten the
safety of professional athletes? What
responses or actions could or should sports franchises and stadium owners and
personnel take to prevent trouble? Are screening devices or additional security
staff needed now? All of these steps
could increase ticket prices. Would fans
willingly pay higher prices if safety became more of a concern?
•Feminism gone wild! Many people, especially in academics and the
field of education in general, are concerned that the so-called “Women’s
Movement” has gone far beyond its original goals. Now, some people fear, it is all developing
into bashing and demonizing men. If so,
this trend could have far-reaching and tragic results such as making it
difficult for children to admire and respect their fathers as well as their
mothers. Do you think this problem is a
real concern? What might be some of the
signs that it is, and what could happen or be done to correct it?
•The future of public education.
Does public education have a viable future in this new century? Or, do parents
have good reasons for wanting their children in private schools? (For example,
safety, smaller classes, focus on religion.) Should parents be allowed to use
school vouchers to send their children to private schools?
•Cyberbullying. A growing concern. Cases are reported of young teens committing
suicide in their deep despair over vicious personal attacks by
cyberbullies. People are evidently
willing to say things online that they would not say to a person’s face, and
both false rumors and personal information has been posted online and created
havoc in people’s lives. Explore the
issues around this troubling problem.
How can it be addressed without compromising individual freedoms?
•Women police officers: should women be accepted and assigned as
police officers in exactly the same ways as their male counterparts?
•Internet issues: should employers
have the right to fire workers who overuse the Internet during working hours?
Should colleges eliminate free Internet access for students, and, instead
charge a separate fee - which some colleges think is necessary to keep tuition
costs in line?
•Mandatory school prayer: still a
controversy. Examine the issues.
•The crime rate among women. What
are the statistics, and why? Who are the women who become criminals, and is
their profile different from that of men criminals? Do they commit the same
kinds of crimes? What about their children?
•Child criminals. What drives
children to commit crimes? Are their parents responsible for any part of the
picture? Is a too-permissive culture getting what it deserves? (Red Alert:
avoid this topic if you feel the urge to say that "society" is to
blame. You need a specific, not a general, direction with this topic
•Is baseball still the national
pastime? Why, or why not? Explain, using a variety of sources of opinion. (i.e.
you'll need to go beyond Sports Illustrated.)
•Hazards of prescription drugs. Does
the public really understand the dangers involved? Or are dangers overstated?
•Abuses of consumer credit. Are
credit cards too easy to get? Are too many people after instant gratification?
Are credit card issuers contributing to a national problem with credit by
making cards too easy to get? What are the responsibilities of cardholders?
•Credit cards and college
students. Should colleges restrict
credit card companies' access to students?
The Attorney General of Massachusetts has considered imposing
restrictions which would make it more difficult for credit card issuers to
reach students through lists of names, for example. Is this step needed, or is it an intrusion
into the rights of an individual to make independent decisions?
•College athletics. Is too much
money being spent on them? Not enough?
•College athletics II: Some people
think that college teams should be able to include professional players, paid a
salary, as part of their teams. These
teams often make huge amounts of money for their schools, and college coaches
are given lucrative pay/benefits packages.
Should some of the money involved be spent on the inclusion of pro
players to help teams win?
•The free agent system in
professional sports. Is sheer greed replacing the striving for excellence among
players? Is there any such thing as team
loyalty any more? Or, can professional
players simply not afford to be loyal to one team?
•The free press. Should there be
limitations placed on the intrusiveness of the press? Do celebrities have a
point when they complain of constant harassment by the media, or is the
public's right to information in a free society too valuable to compromise?
•Compensation for crime victims.
Shouldn't criminals pay in dollars, as well as in time served, for the harm
they cause? Some think that prison time
is punishment enough; others argue that paying in money is also needed.
•Traditional American Indian
medicine: a viable part of alternative medical care?
•Alternative medicine: In addition
to Native American medicine, many other areas of alternative medical treatment
are becoming widely known and practiced.
Choose any aspect of this wide area that you find of interest.
•The hugely profitable fast-food
industry. Are quick burgers and fries making too many people fat and unhealthy?
Or should the consumer be taking more responsibility for complete freedom of
•DNA sampling. Should the government be allowed to mandate
the collection of DNA samples from Federal employees, members of the military,
and in other situations where people now must be fingerprinted? Some argue that a DNA databank would greatly
assist law enforcement; others say it is far too dangerous an intrusion by the
government into personal privacy.
•Pesticide use and the so-called
"Circle of Poison," which refers to the way that pesticides banned in
the U.S. are exported by their manufacturers to other countries where these
chemicals are not banned. The recipient
countries then spray the pesticides on crops and resell the crops back to the
U.S. Should we ban imports from
countries that use pesticides? Would
such a ban be enforceable?
•The case for OR against married
mothers working. (Choose one side or the other of this issue.)
•Day care. Is it a necessary service for working
parents, as some claim? Or, do parents
owe their young children, especially preschoolers, having one parent (either
one) at home until they start school? Is
day care actually damaging to children, or is it beneficial?
•Home-schooling. How well does it
work? Who uses it, and why? Do parents
have the right to government support if they choose to educate their children
•Player quality in professional
sports. Some people make the argument
that the expansion of the number of professional franchises in this country has
meant that players who in the past would, for example, have stayed in AAA
baseball, are now playing in the major leagues.
The result, the argument goes, is that players who are not major-league
quality are harming baseball and other major league sports. Is this view justified?
•The need for a farm system for
professional football. Unlike baseball,
pro football uses colleges as their "farm system," often leading to
difficult, stressful and unethical practices in college football. Examine the issues behind this problem.
•Fathers and their role in their
children's lives. With the increase in the numbers of single mothers and
working parents, and the widespread use of day care for small children, fathers
are often seen as having only marginal importance. Yet study after study
reinforces the reality that fathers as strong, positive role models are crucial
for their children. How can fathers be returned to the central role they have
had in family life?
•The status of women in the
military. Despite the gains made by competent women in military service, there
is still strong opposition to the idea of women participating in active combat.
Is this a reasonable point of view? Why or why not? Explain and use credible
source material to support your viewpoint.
•College for everyone. Should every
American citizen have a guarantee of the opportunity to attend college? Or, are
some people just not suited to college, or able to become educated in other
ways? Some think that the American taxpayer is already overburdened, and should
not have to shoulder this additional financial responsibility. Others think
everyone deserves at least a chance. Explore the issues.
•Divorce: is it too easy to get a
divorce today? Some religious groups now
require a period of pre-marital study and counseling before a couple can marry
within those religions. Should this be a
general policy that applies to civil marriages, also? Should there be stricter legal requirements
•The current crisis in health
care. Is universal health care a
realistic goal in the United States today? Or should the government be
responsible only for those who are completely unable to pay for their own
•Children's sports. There have been far too many incidents of
parents acting out of control at their children's sporting events, notably the
infamous case against hockey dad Thomas Junta. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Junta].
What can or should be done about these parents?
Do they have an absolute right to attend their child's games, or does
that right depend on behavior? What
standards of behavior make sense?
•Overpopulation: still a
problem. Despite many suggestions,
philosophies, and even legal measures taken, the world's population is still
growing exponentially. Explore the
different issues in this troubling area.