possible research paper topics

The three topics I’ve been able to narrow ideas down to are reducing carbon emissions, how sexual assault cases are handled on college campuses, and protecting natural lands.

Topic one: reducing carbon emissions

Why is it important to reduce carbon emissions, and how can the US move toward lowering carbon emissions at the local and national level, including the effect of college campuses becoming more involved?

The motivation behind this idea is just that the US generally uses many dirty sources of energy, and with this Administration, there is a good chance the country won’t be taking very many steps to become more environmentally-friendly.

Information I’d be looking for is the effect of carbon emissions on climate change, health effects of air pollution, the effects of a cap on carbon emissions, current government regulations, how regulations can be improved, and the benefits of transitioning to cleaner sources of energy that produce less carbon. I’d also be looking for ways college campuses can make changes to emit less carbon, and the impacts of many colleges across the country taking these steps.

Arguments I’d expect to find would be the cost of transitioning to different forms of energy, the fact that many people disagree with the government placing regulations on things such as carbon emissions, and the cost-vs-reward for companies and colleges to take the steps to reduce their carbon emissions.

Topic two: sexual assault on college campuses

How is sexual assault handled on most college campuses by the different types of people there (professors, counselors, those in leadership positions, students, etc.), and how can it be improved?

The motivation behind this idea was seeing how many people chose sexual assault as a topic for either their website or other blog posts, articles we discussed in class, and also experiences of those close to me. Another motivating source was having someone point out that everyone on a college campus knows the severity of the consequences for academic dishonesty because of how much it is stressed, but how the severe consequences for assaulting someone are very rarely spoken about.

Information I’d be looking to find are some well-known cases, such as Emma Sulkowicz with her mattress, of sexual assault on college campuses, how the school handled the case, and how students reacted. I’d also be looking for possible reasons why many students don’t report what happens to them, and how the typical person on campus can make it less intimidating for victims to report the assaults, or at least more comfortable moving on with their lives afterwards, with or without reporting.

Arguments I’d expect to find is that many cases are a he-said/she-said, sometimes with very little evidence. There are also people who are quick to assume accusers are lying, which is a problem in and of itself that people will more easily defend the accused than someone who might have been assaulted. There also might be arguments between where the school’s responsibility ends and where the city police department’s responsibility begins. There are also problems with schools trying to protect their image by trying to brush these cases under the rug, or protecting high-profile students, like athletes. Another problem is a lack of serious punishment for such a serious crime, like with Brock Turner.

Topic three: protecting natural lands

Why is it important to protect natural lands?

The motivation for this idea is the backlash the EPA received from Trump for talking about environmental concerns, and some of the social media accounts that popped up in response. It is also because I have a personal interest in protecting natural lands and protecting wildlife, and I’ve heard about the possibility of some of these lands being sold for purposes that would degrade the land.

There is a lot of information I’d be looking to find, because I don’t really know too many details about the topic. I’d be looking for the importance of some specific ecosystems and why they need to be protected, the services that these lands provide, the impacts of destroying these lands, and the potential effects on surrounding lands from degrading land near it.

Potential arguments I’d expect to find are that people can do what they want with land, and it shouldn’t be reserved for a specific purpose, that there could be important resources in the land that would make a lot of money for specific companies or industries, and that the land might serve better purposes in the short-term, regardless of the long-term impacts.


5 thoughts on “possible research paper topics

  1. All your ideas are really interesting and would be great topics to explore! Personally, I think the most interesting one is reducing carbon emissions. I think this would be an interesting topic to explore in reference to college campuses. I think it would be a good idea to look into what UD’s policies are and how clubs on campus that promote green activity are affecting change in the carbon emissions realm. I think since a lot of people talk about the environmental effects of carbon emissions it would be interesting to delve into the argument about the cost of implementing the policies more. You could talk about not only the monetary cost to switching over but also the social transition accompanied with it. I like how you focused your question to just the US because it will help you focus your paper because this paper could easily be too broad and general if you spent too much time trying to cover the global issues with policies and such.


  2. The two topics that you wrote about that I find most interesting are decreasing carbon emissions and protecting natural lands. You are very passionate about the environment and seem to have a good background about what can be done and why it’s important. I think the topic of decreasing carbon emission will tie more into college campuses and advocacy because there are clubs here that push to be environmentally friendly and discuss the idea of green buildings (which we also mentioned in class). This will allow you to tie in local ways that we can accomplish your goal here on campus (as well as on other campuses across the nation) in order to live a more environmentally-friendly life. I also like the decreasing carbon emissions topic specifically because there are many aspects to it including financial means, ethical means, and social means. These varying branches of that topic will allow you to explore it more in depth and find real solutions. However, the protecting natural lands is also a great topic and will focus on similar aspects to the decreasing carbon emissions as well. Overall, great job!


  3. While I appreciate all three topics, my preferred topic of focus is the one of sexual assault. I think that the issue of sexual assault i one that is incredibly prevalent on today’s college campuses and is often overlooked or not fought hard enough against by school authorities and legislation that punishes the perpetrators. Personally, I focused my website (LetsEndIt) on the fight against rape culture and sexual assault on college campuses and I have gained tremendous insight about the issue and what is being done to stop it. Through a research paper, I believe that you could delve even deeper into the topic and also look into its history and personal accounts.
    -Katie K.


  4. While all three topics are extremely thought provoking, I think the most interesting topic of focus is sexual assault on college campuses. While the topic is rarely spoken about, the extent of issues associated with the topic are seemingly endless, and you highlighted that well in this post. I too noticed that many people chose to talk about sexual assault for their websites and blog posts, and I think this interest is because it it is considered taboo to talk about and thus makes people curious about its intricacies. I also liked how you compared the awareness of the consequences of sexual assault to the awareness of consequences of academic dishonesty. It puts into perspective how uncomfortable people feel acknowledging the subject. Something to consider when discussing this topic is the sensitivity associated with it, and you would have to choose your words very carefully in order to not offend anyone accidentally.


  5. All of your topics are very interesting and could definitely generate very powerful arguments, but in my opinion, the topic on reducing carbon emission stands out most. The idea of climate change is very broad as there are many different aspects that affect it. Carbon emission is a specific issue that also holds a big burden on climate change all around the world, so researching different actions that can be taken against it would be beneficial to the environment on a national level.
    Sexual assault is also a very powerful topic that most people try to avoid writing about because of the nature of the topic. If you feel strongly about it then I feel it could definitely be a great choice for your research paper. The areas of research you’ve already targeted make a good stand so you seem to have a very good general direction on this topic. Because this topic is very sensitive, the manner at which you would convey the information would need to reflect that. That is the only concern I have with this topic. Other than that, everything is looking good.


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