Research Paper Topics

Topic 1: Affirmative Action

Question 1: Are ethnicity / gender specific scholarships and recruitment for majors with a lack of diversity to create equal opportunity in effect creating more discriminatory practices? The wording of this question is poor but gets across my idea, I believe.

Why this topic?: Being a woman in engineering and a benefactor of a woman in engineering scholarship, I am aware that I am benefiting from the inequality in genders in STEM fields.  Are these benefits and extra effort put towards diversifying fields discriminatory against others? Or are they aiding in creating a better field.

Arguments: As effort and time is placed into creating more diversity are others becoming ignored and thus discriminated against.  I would like to explore how college campuses have sought to create a more diverse society in which students work and how effective these programs have been.  I also want to see if these programs are doing more good than harm to the programs and societies that they seek to change.

Topic 2: Body Image

Question 2: To what extent are body positive social media accounts changing the way college age women view their own bodies?

Why this topic?: Social media and media campaigns are becoming increasingly focused on creating a more wholesome or diversified view of women in social media representation.  I want to explore the impacts of this change in media on college age women as I am a college age women.  In my opinion, college age women are among the populations of people most effected by social media and it’s portrayal of women. At this point in our lives we are moving away from the teenager and towards a more defined self that will be portrayed to future employers.  Body Image correlates with Confidence which effects a person’s future.

Arguments: I would like to explore how the change in media portrayal has impacted college age women and in what ways college women have sought to change the ways in which women are portrayed.  I would also like to explore the effectiveness of these healthy body positive campaigns.

Topic 3: Women in 3rd world countries

Question 3: To what extent can those with excess provide economic empowerment to third world countries specifically third world women without forcing western beliefs and practices on these women.

Why this topic?:  Those who seek to help others often mean well but there intentions and efforts can cause issues and harm.  As an attendee of an all girls school with a sister school in El Salvador, I was taught a lot about and worked with a group that sought to help their school.  After researching the “girl effect” I became aware of why my school was sending money for food and specific types of donations.  By only providing money for food we were able to help the economy of the area by paying local workers to farm which provides food for the students so that they have energy to learn and their families who are often the farmers have an income so that they can send their children to school.  This economic empowerment seemed to me the most effective way to aid this town.

Arguments:  While I understand the importance of economic empowerment specifically micro-loans, I want to explore how the western nations work to aid others and to what extent this causes an enforcement of western ideals upon these areas.  Smaller towns have smaller economic circulation and a large influx of economic aid could cause an unhealthy boom in addition to changing the way in which the town works and nearly forcing it into a more western ideal.  To what extent does this benefit the community or cause harm.




2 thoughts on “Research Paper Topics

  1. Emma, I really like the idea of examining the role of social media in relation to the promotion of positive body image ideals. I think that a lot of the time people criticize the media for promoting unrealistic body expectations. Although this is in some part true, there has definitely been a diversification of women in the media these past few years as you mentioned in your post. I actually researched this same topic for my junior research paper in high school, and was surprised by how many companies are trying to make their brands more representative of all women. Some brands that come to mind are Dove, Aerie, and Sports Illustrated. Overall, I think that this topic could lead to a very interesting researched argument.


  2. Hi Emma! I think all your topics are great choices, but I find your last one about women in 3rd world countries extra interesting. I think you make a very important point that it is very easy to think you are helping out a developing country and in reality you are destroying their economy. Empowering the women to start actively working in their economy can create such a lasting impact. I think that there are so many ways you can go with this topic, but if you want to connect voluntourism with women empowerment in developing countries. There is so much to discuss in that broad topic. I have heard it said again and again how once you start educating women that is when the economy of a country is able to finally take off. You could connect this to a college campus by looking into clubs that already exist or even trying to find people who were able to come to college from a 3rd world country.


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