Journalism and the Fourth Estate for your next research paper

In a course on mass communication you’re likely to cover topics such as broadcast journalism, news media and investigative journalism. Journalism is also known as the fourth branch of government, or the Fourth Estate, because it plays such an important role in our democracy. In order for the public to make decisions when voting, they must be well informed on the issues.

Learn more about the history of journalism. (Credit: Wannabe Reporter)

Learn more about the history of journalism. (Credit: Wannabe Reporter)

The news media wields great power in its ability to shape public opinion. For this and many other reasons, the history of journalism would make for an interesting research paper topic. Read more

Community college and rising college tuition and fees research paper topic

On Friday, January 9, 2015, President Obama announced his proposal to make a community college education free to anyone who attends at least half-time and maintains a 2.5 grade point average. Average college tuition and fees have increased at an annual rate of 7.1 percent each year since 1981.

President Obama announces proposal for free community college education for all. (Credit: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President Obama announces proposal for free community college education for all. (Credit: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

If passed, the proposal would save each student about $3,800 per year in college costs. This might be a good time to think about a research paper on college tuition costs.

High college costs

It’s no secret that the cost of a college education has exploded over the past thirty years. This high cost is rapidly placing a degree beyond the reach of many Americans at a critical time when more education is needed, not less.

Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman explained how rising college costs exhibit the same market behavior as other industries in their book, Why Does College Cost So Much? available at Questia.

According to the authors, the main culprit is economic growth itself. Forces that have pushed the cost of college tuition higher include the changing wage structure of the U.S. economy. Education is a service industry and like other service industries its costs have increased. These costs are not as easy to control as those in manufacturing or agriculture where technological advancements have lowered costs of production.

The authors refer to this as the “cost disease” phenomenon. They say that the artisan nature of higher education accounts for the continuing rise in costs. It relies on a highly educated workforce. Although the technology of distance education could lower costs, people value the student-teacher interaction in an on-site classroom. As long as this is the case, costs of an education will continue to rise faster than inflation.

“If our policy goals are built around increasing access to higher education so that a greater fraction of the population can acquire the skills that come with a high quality education, then we must build those policies with a clear understanding of the broader social and economic forces that limit access,” Archibald and Feldman said.

President Obama proposal

Perry Bacon, Jr. covered the story, “Inside Obama’s Proposal to Make Community College Free and Universal,” for NBCNews.com on January 9, 2015.

According to Bacon, the President’s plan is built on a model used in Tennessee and in the city of Chicago. Under the plan, the federal government and states would contribute to paying the entire cost of two years at a community college.

It is estimated that 9 million people would benefit from the plan, which would save each student about $3,800 each year in college costs.

“It would probably benefit middle-class students more than the very poorest, who qualify for federal Pell grants that usually cover the cost of community college. People of any age would be eligible for the program,” Bacon said.

Community college tuition plan

Considering the fact that the U.S. Congress is primarily Republican now, what are the chances that the president can push this plan through? According to Devin Dwyer in his January 9, 2015, article for ABCNews.com, “Obama’s Free Community College Idea May Be Hard Sell.”

Both the Republican congress and the states would have to get on board with a plan that would cost an estimated $60 billion over ten years. The costs would be split with the federal government paying three-fourth and the states paying one-fourth of the cost.

So far the response has been less than supportive. Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee opposes the plan because it involves the federal government. He prefers that states champion their own programs.

“Still, the notion ‘free’ community college is tantalizing to many. Democrats envision a system akin to free the nation’s public high school system which is funded jointly by state and federal governments,” Dwyer observed.

President Obama has been touring the country and talking about his proposal on college campuses. The White House said that the president will describe more details in his State of the Union address on January 20 and in his budget request which is due on February 2.

You can read more about higher education and community colleges at Questia.

How are you handling the rising costs of college? Tell us in the comments.

Midterm elections 2014 for your research paper

Taking place every two years between presidential elections, the midterm elections voting results can shape the future of the presidency. It is at this time that all members of the House of Representatives are up for re-elections and the 2014 Senate races will determine the membership of one-third of the Senate.

Expect to receive your voting sticker at midterm elections. (Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Expect to receive your voting sticker at midterm elections. (Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Midterm elections 2014 will also decide the fate of 36 governors as well as many important policies. Voting day 2014 is on Tuesday, the fourth of November. Read more

Research topic: Supreme Court decision on gay marriage

With the latest decision, or rather lack of a decision, on gay marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court, the balance of states where gays and lesbians will soon be able to legally wed, is tipping. Five states—Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin—had appeals before the high court to overrule lower courts’ decisions to strike down same sex marriage bans.

The Supreme Court not taking a stance on gay marriage makes for a good topic. (Credit: Getty Images)

The Supreme Court not taking a stance on gay marriage makes for a good topic. (Credit: Getty Images)

One avenue to explore for research paper topics on the ruling includes what is behind the Supreme Court’s dodging of these appeals? Another topic question would be are there consequences beyond the five states involved? Read more

Campus safety topics for your next research paper

Campus safety has been in the news a lot lately as we’ve seen rape victims united in their search for justice. If you have a term paper due soon then consider research paper topics that highlight the issues related to domestic violence and safety on campus.

Awareness of campus safety is vital for all college students. (Credit: amazonaws.com)

Awareness of campus safety is vital for all college students. (Credit: amazonaws.com)

It’s also a good idea to learn more about this social problem because as a student, you are located at the heart of the issue. Read more

Research paper topic on domestic violence effects and prevention

The high profile case of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice has brought the problem of domestic violence to light again.

Pixel Project's "16 For 16" Campaign highlights ways to end domestic violence. (Credit: 16 Days of Activism)

Pixel Project’s “16 For 16″ Campaign highlights ways to end domestic violence. (Credit: 16 Days of Activism)

A good research paper topic for your sociology or women’s studies class might be to provide a definition of domestic violence, offer domestic violence statistics, discuss organizations like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and report on actions to prevent domestic abuse. Read more

Research topic on labor unions: Market Basket strike

In an unprecedented case, the 99% went on strike to help a 1 percenter get his job back. Good research paper topics for your business, economics or labor relations class could involve the case of the New England-based grocery store chain Demoulas Market Basket, which was paralyzed by striking workers demanding that their CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, be reinstated. Labor unions are nervous as non-union Market Basket employees were able to accomplish their goal on their own.

Non-labor unions rally outside a Market Basket, July 25, 2014. (Credit: WBZ-TV)

Non-labor unions rally outside a Market Basket, July 25, 2014. (Credit: WBZ-TV)

Business at the 71-store Market Basket was reduced to a trickle after non-union warehouse workers, clerks, and even store managers walked off the job, picketed, and discouraged customers from shopping at the store. Read more

Make research easier with the new Questia Android app

Constantly being on the go is a feeling plenty of college students can relate to, and Questia understands that. So we asked ourselves, what can we do to make your college life a little bit easier, maybe a little less stressful?

Take your term paper research to the next level wherever you are with Questia’s all-new Android app – built for either your tablet or mobile device. Because, College is hard… Writing research papers doesn’t have to be! Read more

Computer science research topic on Sony hacking

Hackers have been, well, wreaking havoc of late. The latest victims appear to be Sony PlayStation network users who found themselves the target of computer hackers over the weekend of August 23 – 24, 2014.

The Sony PlayStation 4 with the DualShock 4 controller.(Credit: Evan-Amos)

The Sony PlayStation 4 with the DualShock 4 controller.(Credit: Evan-Amos)

While the computer hackers or hacker, who identified themselves with the Twitter handle @LizardSquad, did not attempt to compromise the personal data of Sony PlayStation network’s 53 million users, the hacker did make a bomb threat against an airline flight a Sony executive was traveling on. If you’re looking for a good research paper topic in computer science, consider these recent issues in cyberterrorism and cybersecurity. Read more

Discussing capital punishment in your research paper

Capital punishment, also called the death penalty, is a controversial subject. Many people are fiercely on one side of the debate or the other.

The debate on capital punishment heavily weighs the pros and cons. (Credit: AGN News Editorial)

The debate on capital punishment heavily weighs the pros and cons. (Credit: AGN News Editorial)

Some possible ideas for good research paper topics include:

  • Define capital punishment and discuss pros and cons of capital punishment

Read more