Research Paper Topics

When trying to decide on a research argument, topics that I have an interest in should obviously be explored. Arguments that involve sports, cultural diversity, and public health are probably more down my alley so my topics deal with these three areas of research.

Question 1: Should universities have such a large portion of funds invested in athletic programs?

This topic is brought up very frequently because of the issues of student debt and quality of education that surround it. Students are upset because numerous schools put money into sports that are drawn from their tuition. There is also the converse argument that the athletic programs are generating a profit, so ultimately it benefits the university.

Motivation: Too often I hear people complain about how easy the student athletes have it. They receive a full scholarship and then just take the easiest classes. I think about it differently. A lot of recruited student athletes desperately need the scholarship. Athletics can be their only way out of poverty. Also, maintaining a balance of commitment to both education and athletics is very difficult. I want to explore this because I also value both athletics and education.

Information and Arguments: I hope to find information and statistics that display the statistics for money placed into athletics programs at major colleges. Ideally, data on the revenue that these schools receive would be very effective in backing my argument on the productivity of emphasis on athletics for schools as a business. Another argument I could include is the idea that placing too much money into athletic programs hinders the educational quality of the university. This cannot be true since there are so many schools that are sport great educational programs as well as athletic programs (Examples include Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, and many more). My major points will probably be the three stated.

 

Question 2: To what extent does race influence opportunity?

This topic is one we hear typically in the debate for equality between men and women, however, there still may be a prevalent disparity between the hiring or acceptance of people of certain races or religions. This is a very touchy topic, but it is still very important because the overall goal for society should be that every individual regardless of race, gender, or religious receives identical opportunities.

Motivation: This topic is important to me because I am a person of color and I am saddened whenever I hear stories of discrimination. As a college student, I want to receive similar opportunities for success as my peers of other races or faiths. The hard work I put in should be rewarded and the same goes for all students.

Information and Arguments: As of now, I don’t know how great the difference is between the races in hiring and such opportunities, but hopefully I can find some data that presents this information and the differences will not be negligible. I could also mix gender into the argument as well, so a total analysis of racial and gender differences could vividly paint the picture of the situation. I would make the argument that people of color perhaps don’t receive identical treatment as other do when it comes to the work force. Additionally, I would argue the reasoning behind this and how certain races are stereo-typically veered towards jobs that ‘suit’ them.

 

Question 3: Should all campuses be smoke free zones?

Smoking whether it be cigarettes or any other drug is harmful for the user, but it can also be detrimental towards those around them. Secondhand smoking is a contributor to health issues. Society is so much more accepting smoking, but it can still have repercussions for people in the proximity. In close packed areas, inhaling smoke from cigarettes can also trigger asthma attacks and other breathing issues. Additionally, smoking can lead to addiction and addiction to anything is usually negative.

Motivation: I am completely against smoking because of how detrimental it is to the human body, but more than that, growing up with asthma made me very conscious of when people were smoking around me. On campus, I see countless people smoking and numerous cigarette butts lying around in the sidewalks. This is bad for the environment as well as public health.

Information and Arguments: The most necessary statistics to pursue this topic would be effects of secondhand smoking on people. This is crucial because the ‘public health’ issue is concerned with the people around the smoker. Additionally, it would be helpful to know about other campuses that have implemented a smoke free policy and how that has changed both the environment and the public health of the school. My key arguments revolve around the consequences of smoking both for the user and the public. As stated before, secondhand smoking is a thing and should be a major concern for everyone, but most importantly those with breathing conditions such as asthma.

Fight Against the Travel Ban

Obviously, movements that developed and spanned earlier in history did not have equivalent access to the Internet and television that current ones have. Movements and activist groups in the recent years are fortunate in the ability to spread their message through the use of websites, social media, and the news. Lucky for me, I am looking into the Travel Ban imposed by President Trump that quite literally dates back to last month. The internet is amazing in that it can connect millions of people without having to leave the comfort of home, but it also displays numerous sources of information for the public. Most of the news about the ban have to do with the onsite protests against the ban at airports, but the internet plays a major role in channeling the negative energy towards the ban into articles, stands, and even memes. The ‘millennials’ have a huge voice now and through social media they voice their issues. All of the negative backlash on social media for the travel ban most likely had a major impact on the decision by the court to put a hold on the ban. Additionally,  Videos and pictures caught at some of the protests circulate around the internet and this cause more and more people to join in the movement because they get to see what is occurring without actually being there to witness.

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A specific webpage should be enticing and really stand out to the viewer. The homepage should immediately grab people’s attention and the page should not let go until the viewer is convinced of the message. Use of videos, audio, and pictures is almost necessary because large spans of text turn the average observer away. For my webpage, I want the visitor to be moved right as the click to the page, so large text saying “No Ban No Wall” would immediately press the concern. Videos of people protesting at airports, I feel, would also really stand out and give the page an initial jump.

Organization is also key to a successful webpage. Similar to the Campaign Zero website, my website needs to have clearly labeled section such as problem, solution, research, articles, etc. I think this user-friendly setup could actually sway people towards the argument at hand because of the fluidity of navigation. All in all, I really want my website to contain  vivid pictures and colors, energizing video clips, and a simple and thought out method of maneuvering throughout the site. End users, or viewers, would hopefully see that and be drawn in and maybe end up supporting the cause.

Conservation of Elephants

An online platform for the movement of conserving elephants will add another voice to the community of conservationists who are already working to save these animals, along with all of the other wildlife conservation efforts. Save the Elephants, an UK organization based in Kenya, was founded in 1993 and is one of the leaders for conserving elephants and their habitats. Their website has details of all of their past, current, and future projects to reach their goal, and contains information that is easy to interpret by anyone who reads it. It contains logical information presented in a way that shows their passion toward preserving elephants. In addition to Save the Elephants, there are other organizations working to protect elephants, African wildlife, and wildlife in general that use online platforms to provide information. Some of these include the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), Save Elephants, and Ninety-Six Elephants. Many of these organizations and websites encourage the conservation of elephants and ending the ivory trade that is pushing them to the brink of extinction. 

Another way this movement uses the online community to build their platform is by selling products. For example, Ivory Ella is a clothing and accessory brand that donates 10% of their net profits to Save the Elephants. With the slogan: “Good Clothes for a Good Cause,” Ivory Ella, in less than two years, has donated over $1,000,000 to Save the Elephants to help them in their projects to conserve elephants. Their products also reach people in their every-day lives and raise awareness for preserving elephants when their customers wear their products. Walking around our own campus, I usually spot a few people every week wearing an Ivory Ella shirt. Ivory Ella creates a branch between the online community of conservationists and people in their daily lives. It also helps because selling a product makes people more likely to donate money. The donation is incorporated into the price of the clothing, so customers don’t really feel like they are spending extra. Because many people are hesitant to hit the “donate now” button, offering a product in exchange makes people more willing to put some of their money toward the organization. Plus, considering some people buy Ivory Ella products as gifts for people they know love elephants, it reaches another audience of people who may actually just be neutral on the subject.

For my own website, I want to portray the information I gather as effectively as some of the other websites I found related to this cause. A lot of the websites incorporate images that support the text on the websites, or that will grab the reader’s attention to make them read that part of the website. For example, Ninety-Six Elephants uses an origami image of an elephant to say, “Join the fold,” making a clever pun for people to join others who already support the cause. They also use an image with police tape to emphasize that wildlife trafficking is a crime, and that we should work to end it. I also want to remind readers that they do not have to make a direct donation to a charity to help this movement, but that they can help by purchasing products that will raise awareness and contribute some of the profits to the cause. I want viewers of my website to have enough information on the issues facing elephants and their habitats, and to know that there is more than one way to help conservation efforts. 

 

A Mass Movement Before the Rise of Social Media

Since my movement took place in the 1960s (Anti-Vietnam War), the online platform was not a part of this movement. The internet was being invented around the same time that this movement was gaining support and strength, so the supporters of the movement had to find another way to spread their message. As I was doing research, I discovered that a big way that this anti-war movement spread and caught attention was through music. Since online platforms like Twitter, Facebook, news sites, etc. didn’t exist to spread a mass message quickly and to a lot of people, many popular artists spread the word through their songs. Some examples of these artists are Jimi Hendrix, Country Joe and the Fish, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon. Many of these artists were prominent figures and constantly had attention from the press as well, which also helped to spread their message.

This particular movement has ended, but there have been many other peace protests and anti-war protests since then, such as the anti-Iraq War demonstrations. Since this movement has ended, I think the purpose of my website will be more to provide information about this historical movement more than trying to get people to join a particular movement/belief. In order to portray a comprehensive view of this movement, I want to incorporate a lot of media into my website. I’m planning to embed multiple videos of popular anti-war songs so the audience can see how music was used heavily as a political tool at the time. It’s quite different to the way music is now. I’m also going to map out this movement in a timeline with pictures so the audience can easily visualize the process of the anti-Vietnam War movement. My website will also include multiple pages focusing on different parts of the movement (Purpose, About, Cause, etc.) so that the information is well-organized and easy to browse through. WordPress also has a helpful tool called Text Widget which allows you to add text or HTML to the sidebar of your site. I was thinking I could use this tool to add links to related resources or links to my other pages.

Although the online platforms were not used at the time of this movement, I can use the accessibility and interactivity of online platforms in order to inform my audience of this particular movement in history.

Student Loan Debt’s Online Platform

An online platform is vital for the movement I am looking at, Student Loan Debt. Given that the most affected group of people are students or recent graduates, the internet is a great way to reach them. Since the statistics surrounding student loan debt are so shocking, pictures that show how much debt people are accumulating based on region or on average are a quick and easy to get the message across. The numbers are undeniable, which is why when you google the movement that is the first thing you see. Another part of their platform is very informal but reaches a large audience: memes and twitter. There are pages upon pages of SpongeBob and Arthur and Disney themed student loan memes that highlight the frustration and pain caused by student loans through humor. The movement reaches their audience in many unconventional ways, but they also use a traditional website. One website is called Rolling Jubilee and it has a very appealing layout. The first thing you see is a current counter that advertises the current amount of money they have raised towards their cause and how much debt they have “abolished” total. They present statistics with easy to interpret drawings that make it more interesting. As already mentioned they take advantage of twitter’s influence on people’s lives, for instance they have a section that allows the viewer to simply click on a premade tweet and post it directly. Another form of media that they use a lot is videos. They have videos that span the range of polished professional recording explaining their plans and stance to home videos of protests and marches to boost morale and encourage action. Something I find really effective is the personal story videos that Student Debt Crisis has on their website. I think it makes the movement more relevant and relatable. I plan to include a variety of the types of media that the movement uses. I think it would be useful to use the more lighthearted memes to grab the viewer’s attention, but then also include the more moving personal story videos to really have the message hit home. I think it is also important to include statistical pictures/diagrams on my website because it helps to show the relevance of the issue. I will also include some audio clips to help show another way people get their information about the issues and the movement. I think NPR does a good job of showing how people seek advice about their student loans and decisions people have to make about savings and loans. I plan to include this variety of media because different viewers learn in different ways and by having different types of media presented in an appealing and easy to use way will reach the whole audience the best.

 

A Platform for Change

As technology becomes increasingly relevant in the twenty-first century, the circulation of thought is increasing in speed and efficiency, allowing ideas to spread from person to person, then state to state, and sometimes, even country to country, within a matter of days. The movement I have chosen to delve into, the anti-rape culture/sexual assault on campus movement, uses the power of online platforms in several ways, one of which is to provide an anonymous way for victims to reach out and speak about sexual assault without disclosing their identity. On platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, victims can discuss their feelings with others who understand what they are going through, and talk about how to cope with post traumatic stress and anxiety that prevent them from reaching out or talking about what happened to the police or school authorities. Another way this movement uses online platforms is to reach out to people about different gatherings, marches, and protests that are happening across the country such as the Anti-Rape Marches and Slut Walks in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, and several other large metropolitan areas. Facebook groups, especially, are conducive to bringing people together for these events because once one person clicks the “Interested” or “Going” buttons, all of their Facebook friends can see this, and the event instantly gains exposure to all of their hundreds/thousands of friends. In this way, the word gets out quickly, and suddenly, after a mere two days of the event’s online fruition, hundreds of thousands of people are exposed to it, and many of them will decide to attend.it.jpg

Media is also incredibly important to my movement, in that humans, by nature, are visual beings, and photographs and videos tend to appeal to their emotions more than just words. Personally, I feel very empowered when I see pictures on Instagram and Tumblr of women holding up signs that say things like, “I was wearing this when I was raped”, while they are dressed in a simple tee-shirt and jeans, implying that rape has nothing to do with the victim’s clothing, provocative or not. It is NEVER the victim’s fault. Because such visuals are so powerful, I will include many on my webpage, especially on the home tab, in order to catch visitor’s attentions and appeal to their pathos the same way that Instagram posts from the marches appealed to mine.

One Love One Memory

The One Love foundation uses a multitude of social media hubs to create buzz around the domestic violence movement.  The One Love foundation focuses their efforts on bringing awareness of the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship to keep relationships from reaching a physically violent level.  Their main social media campaigns are the use of the hashtag #thats not love.  This hashtag is used in conjunction with short videos and photos. The photos display ideas such as “okay for pets not for partners”.  The short videos seek to teach viewers the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship through thought provoking videos and cartoons.  The movement also uses pictographs to display statistics in a more visually appealing way.

 

The movement is able to widen their audience by placing their campaigns on social media as they encourage viewers to spread the information with those who are friends with or follow them on social media.  The use of hashtags allows the movement to combine all of the posts under one tag.

 

My website will utilize pictographs to depict important statistics to show the audience of my website that domestic violence is an important cause that needs more support.  This will make the statistics more interesting and visually appealing.  The campaigns used by One Love are very powerful and I believe they get across the importance of noticing the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship.  These will be placed on the How to Help page which will have information on how to join the One Love team, how to become an advocate for change and resources for those effected by domestic violence.  This use of media will make the information of the website easier to learn.  The goal of the media on my page will be to simplify information and make sure that the audience remember some of what they see.

 

Mapping the Movement: Campus Sexual Assault

Now that I’ve started to build my own website on WordPress, I’ve thought a lot about what an online platform means for the movement against campus sexual assault. One benefit of creating an online platform for this movement is that online platforms are accessible to everyone who has some sort of access to the internet, and are therefore an effective way of publicizing information in a fast and affordable manner. Another benefit of using an online platform for this movement in particular is that it heavily relies on the personal stories of sexual assault victims as well as statistics related to sexual assault, which can both be incorporated in a website format. These stories and statistics both serve as powerful tools in making an impact on readers. The personal stories cause readers to feel compassion for victims, causing readers to want to get involved within the movement in some way. The statistics, on the other hand, provide a certain shock factor for readers. For instance, reading that over one in ten (11.2%) college students experience sexual assault may cause some readers to feel enraged by such high levels of assault, and, as a result, make it an issue personal to them on an emotional level. I plan on using a variety of media sources, including videos of campus protests, graphic representations of statistics, and lots of images on each page in order to make my website an interactive experience for readers. I also plan on organizing my website into distinct pages (i.e. problem, solution, protests, resources) in order to make navigating through the site as easy as possible. Overall, I’m looking forward to the challenge of creating my own website for the movement against campus sexual assault as it’s an issue I feel very passionate about.

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