A good topic
• Interesting and important to you.
• Something you would like to learn more about.
• Something on which you ...
Some types of claims that are
arguments
• Taking a stand on a controversy
– The goal of bilingual education should be to p...
Some types of claims that are
arguments
• Evaluating something
– The sequester has helped to reduce the deficit but at
a g...
Some types of claims that are
arguments
• Proposing a solution
– Mandatory premarital counseling and a waiting
period of s...
Some types of claims that are
arguments
• Arguing for a particular interpretation or way of
understanding something or exp...
Interpretations etc.
• One of the main contributors to the rise of eating
disorders among young women is the distorted ide...
Where to get ideas
• The media
• Your academic interests
• Your personal interests
Online sites for ideas where you can
read both sides
• Procon.org
• Opinion sections of news and cultural magazine
sites-o...
Some periodicals that have
substantive articles
• Atlantic Monthly
• Commonweal
• Harper’s
• National Geographic
• New Yor...
Some news and commentary
websites with opinion sections
• CNN
• Huffington Post
• Newsweek
• Salon
• Slate
• Time
Ideas for academic topics
• Expand on something you worked on previously
(Give me a copy of your old paper)
• Ask a profes...
Pitfalls to avoid
• If you choose an academic topic be sure it
– is not too technical or complex
– does not require too mu...
Over the next 2 weeks
• We will do several activities designed to help
you explore topics.
• For example, today we will wo...
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A good topic

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Suggestions on finding a research paper topic

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A good topic

  1. 1. A good topic • Interesting and important to you. • Something you would like to learn more about. • Something on which you can keep an open mind. • Something argumentative—people might disagree. • Narrowed so that you can explore it in detail in about 3000 words.
  2. 2. Some types of claims that are arguments • Taking a stand on a controversy – The goal of bilingual education should be to preserve the student’s first language while building skills in the target language. – Stem cell research should be allowed on embryonic cells that would otherwise be destroyed, but we should not purposely create cells for research.
  3. 3. Some types of claims that are arguments • Evaluating something – The sequester has helped to reduce the deficit but at a great cost to the economic recovery. – The Hawaii Convention Center, while architecturally successful, is unlikely to be an economic success. – The Common Core Standards will improve public education. – The rise of social media has had more positive than negative effects.
  4. 4. Some types of claims that are arguments • Proposing a solution – Mandatory premarital counseling and a waiting period of six months between applying for a license and getting married would help to decrease the number of divorces. – To decrease the shortage of health professionals, programs that pay for medical school or nursing school in exchange for service in underserved areas should be expanded.
  5. 5. Some types of claims that are arguments • Arguing for a particular interpretation or way of understanding something or explaining its significance or causes when other possible interpretations exist. – Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was successful in reaching a female audience because it appealed to her readers’ maternal instincts and religious values. – More examples on next page
  6. 6. Interpretations etc. • One of the main contributors to the rise of eating disorders among young women is the distorted idea of beauty represented in the media and by the fashion industry. • The current cultural fascination with Zombies is a reflection of our fear that the human race is destroying itself with overpopulation, pollution, global warming and other dangers we are helpless to reverse.
  7. 7. Where to get ideas • The media • Your academic interests • Your personal interests
  8. 8. Online sites for ideas where you can read both sides • Procon.org • Opinion sections of news and cultural magazine sites-or you can browse in the library • Site with a list of potential topics-but no background: http://www.midway.edu/library/topics
  9. 9. Some periodicals that have substantive articles • Atlantic Monthly • Commonweal • Harper’s • National Geographic • New Yorker • Pacific Standard • Scientific American
  10. 10. Some news and commentary websites with opinion sections • CNN • Huffington Post • Newsweek • Salon • Slate • Time
  11. 11. Ideas for academic topics • Expand on something you worked on previously (Give me a copy of your old paper) • Ask a professor for suggestions. • Browse through some journals in your field. • Type your area of interest and “controversy” into a search engine.
  12. 12. Pitfalls to avoid • If you choose an academic topic be sure it – is not too technical or complex – does not require too much time to research • If you choose a subject of personal interest – Be sure it can be discussed in relation to a variety of electronic or print sources not just your own experience • Plagiarizing from other students, term paper mill, Internet etc. leads to failing the course.
  13. 13. Over the next 2 weeks • We will do several activities designed to help you explore topics. • For example, today we will work on an interest inventory. • Your goal is to pick a topic by Feb. 6 and spend some time investigating it by Feb. 9 when your proposal is due.

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