Although it was written in 1787, the U. S. Constitution has not remained a static document. Over the years, there have been a number of constitutional amendments, including those in the Bill of Rights, which were released almost in tandem with the original document itself.
If you are looking for research paper topics in U. S. Constitutional history, consider taking a look at the original document itself, the Bill of Rights and any of the subsequent amendments, or the way that the U. S. Constitution is ruled on by the Supreme Court.
The U. S. Constitution
To get a grasp on the U. S. Constitution, you can visit Questia, which has a topic header in the library devoted to the subject, as well as an introductory article from The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Scrolling down the list of resources, you can also read the original Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America among Questia’s primary sources.
The Questia library also offers a number of related topics to narrow your research, including:
- First Amendment
- Freedom of the Press
- Right to Bear Arms (Second Amendment)
- Due Process (5th and 14th Amendments)
Selecting a narrow enough topic
There are so many potential areas of study when discussing U.S. Constitutional History and Issues, you may find it difficult to come to an appropriately narrow topic. Questia offers a quick tutorial on how to “Narrow your topic.” For example, if you start off a search with “U. S. Constitutional history,” you’ll find that Questia has over 13,000 books and articles that fulfill those keywords. By narrowing your search to “U. S. Constitutional history and its impact on women,” you can reduce your resource pool to approximately 150 sources available in Questia based on this search. Among the resources on this topic are:
- Women and the United States Constitution: History, Interpretation, and Practice by Sibyl A. Schwarenbach and Patricia Smith, published by Columbia University Press, 2003
- “Who Framed the Women? Measuring the Public Relations Impact on the Media’s Framing of the U. S. Supreme Court Nominees,” by Katherine Fleck in Advancing Women in Leadership, January 1, 2013
- Christina M. Dieckmann’s winter 2011 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law article “Equal Pay for Equal Work? — the Distributional Effects of the Assignment Policy for Military Women”
- “How to Interpret the U. S. Constitution,” by Ralph Scharnau, from the October 2, 2016 Dubuque, IA Telegraph Herald
Seeing the sources that are already available on a topic can also help you frame your idea. Rather than repeat the work of another researcher directly, look for holes that remain unwritten about in the focus area. Scan longer sources to see areas where the writers have touched but not covered in depth. Look for recent news articles related to the subject area, then interpret the recent coverage from the perspective of an earlier scholar.
Need more help?
Questia’s Writing Center can offer additional help by offering you a step by step process in designing and writing your research paper. Because you can limit your searches to primary sources or peer reviewed journals, and because you can store all of your research in one place, then access it from any computer, you can use Questia to organize your research and make your writing process easier.
What topics do you think would be interesting to study in U.S. Constitutional history and issues? Tell us in the comments, and find more resources on Questia.