Dido Elizabeth Belle’s true story told in Belle movie

Based on an inspiring true story, Belle hits theaters on May 2nd. (Credit: IMDb)

Based on an inspiring true story, Belle hits theaters on May 2nd. (Credit: IMDb)

In 2013, two award-winning films highlighted the black historical experience in America. Chiwetel Ejiofor played Solomon Northup, a free man from upstate New York who is sold into slavery, in the Oscar award winning 12 Years a Slave. In director Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Forest Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines, who served as a butler in the White House over the course of eight presidential terms.

And in 2014, Amma Asante’s Belle movie tells the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, an illegitimate daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral and an African slave woman. But rather than being brought up as a second-class citizen in England, her childless aunt and uncle, Lord and Lady Mansfield, raised her as a legitimate child and an aristocrat.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw brings the role of Dido Elizabeth Belle to the screen in a film that highlights race and class issues in Georgian England, and theorizes that Belle may have inspired Lord Mansfield’s opposition to slavery. Read more

Research topic: Is Divergent seen as a feminist movie?

The big screen release on March 21, 2014, of the first book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth tells the tale of teen heroine Tris, played by Shailene Woodley, making her way in a dystopian world. Both the book and movie provide excellent areas of research to discuss cinema and feminism. The topic of women in film, seems to be hot, once again, and many are asking if this latest teen novel-turned-film will finally turn the tide on how female-centered movies are perceived.

A movie still from Veronica Roth's Divergent film. (Credit: Shelley Johannes)

A movie still from Veronica Roth’s Divergent film. (Credit: Shelley Johannes)

Explaining gender constraints

One thing that the Divergent trilogy does well, according to blogger Teresa Johnson is offer a “compelling metaphor for young girls’ journey into feminism.” Read more

Hollywood success of biblical movies as a research topic

Biblical movies, like Noah, make for great research topics.

Biblical movies, like Noah, make for great research topics.

Hollywood has long made biblical movies: Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956), Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur (1959), and many more. A little research shows that these films were able to achieve success financially in Hollywood, particularly during the 1940s and 50s, but in recent years religious-based movies have proven to be more controversial and not as lucrative.

Christians stay away because the films don’t adhere closely enough to the Bible, while the non-religious can view the films as less entertaining than the latest action flick. Will Darren Aronofsky’s Noah the movie, which stars Russell Crowe and comes during a year of biblical movies, change that trend?

The film has faced a history of difficulties, according to a November 18, 2013, post on iCitations by Alana Joli Abbott, “The Bible in film: Darren Aronofsky and Russell Crowe bring Noah to the big screen,” and the box office will be its latest challenge. Take a look at these critical views of biblical films if you are looking for a good research paper topic in film studies or religion. Read more

Muppets Most Wanted: Perfect film studies research topic

Scene from Muppets' latest film Muppets Most Wanted. (Credit: YouTube screen shot)

Scene from Muppets’ latest film Muppets Most Wanted. (Credit: YouTube screen shot)

The Muppets have been around since the 1950s, and they became household icons in 1976, when The Muppet Show hit the air. Follow that with feature films, Webby-award winning YouTube videos, and a return to feature films with 2011’s The Muppets, and you’ve got more than sixty years of Muppet history. On March 21, 2014, the latest entry into the Muppet canon hit theaters with Muppets Most Wanted, starring (alongside the Muppets) Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and Tina Fey.

Like the many Muppet films before it, Muppets Most Wanted continues to rely on self-referential humor and breaking the fourth wall, engaging the audience as participants in the story rather than just watchers. Read more

Enter The Finals Countdown Blogging Contest for a chance to win $250!

The countdown to finals has begun! In order to help us count down the days until college finals we’re looking for college students to offer their best advice on homework help, research paper advice, tips and best practices for finals preparation. Enter our blogging contest and show us–and your fellow students–what your writing skills are made of for a chance at a published article and by-line on the Questia blog Citations, PLUS a $250 Visa gift card!

How to enter the blogging contest

  1. Submit your article via the submission form below anytime before April 25, 2014. One submission per person.
  2. Our editorial team will select 3 finalists to have their blog posts published live on the Questia blog – permanently.
  3. Next, it’s up to the public to vote on their favorite of the 3 finalists. Vote on your favorite blog post by commenting, “Vote!” as often as once per day before May 9, 2014.
  4. The writer of the post with the most votes will win a $250 Visa gift card!** We’ll announce the winner of the blogging contest on the Questia Facebook page on or after May 12, 2014.

These are the details… Read more

How to self-edit your college term paper

With the right tools and preparation, self-editing can be a simple task.

With the right tools and preparation, self-editing can be a simple task.

Being your own editor is often difficult. You know what your paper is supposed to say, and you tend to skim over your own writing without a critical eye. You need to make a clear thesis, include pertinent supporting information, write clearly and cut extraneous material. For a student advantage in writing term papers, here are some tips for college students for editing your paper into a professional scholarly article.

The basics of editing

As explained in “How to Self Edit (to Improve Writing),” by Dianne Bates in Practically Primary, October 2011, found on Questia.com, there are four major components of editing: adding words, deleting words, changing words and moving words. Read more

Fan-funded Veronica Mars movie: Film studies research topic on inspiring other filmmakers to use Kickstarter

Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars, 2007. (Credit: Tom Bell)

Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars, 2007. (Credit: Tom Bell)

If you missed the news in March 2013 about the tremendously successful Veronica Mars movie funded through Kickstarter, which raised close to 300% of its initial funding goal of $2 million, you can catch it in the newsstands again. Entertainment Weekly features star Kristen Bell (whose voice was recently in Disney’s Frozen) promoting the film, which creator Rob Thomas launched on Kickstarter, making it a highly publicized crowd-sourced, fan-funded film. Thomas’s success has led other filmmakers, including Terry Gilliam (best known as a member of Monty Python), to consider using Kickstarter as a funding platform for future films, including Gilliam’s unfundable project, “Don Quixote.” Considering what crowd-sourced films could mean for the future of Hollywood would be a good research paper topic for a film studies course. Read more

How to develop research paper topics for public relations and marketing concepts

Credit: Fletcher Prince

Credit: Fletcher Prince

If your major is marketing concepts or public relations then you’ll have plenty of possible research paper topics to choose from. Especially now that so much marketing happens online. Add to that the long history of advertising and the sky’s the limit. Whether your interest is in the past, present or future of advertising you’ll find plenty to keep you busy when writing your research papers. Here is a look at just a few ideas and resources to get you started.

Advertising and public relations topics

If you’re interested in pursuing the study of advertising and public relations then let’s take a look at the many topics that you could research. Read more

Researching the 2014 Winter Olympics: A stunning opening ceremony and an American gold medal

American Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal in Snowboard Slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. (Credit: Miami Herald)

American Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal in Snowboard Slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. (Credit: Miami Herald)

Despite many safety concerns, the opening ceremonies at the 2014 Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia, went off flawlessly. This is Russia’s first time hosting the winter games. Descriptions of killing stray dogs and shoddy facilities are matched with the thrill of seeing athletes compete. America’s own Sage Kotsenburg became the first gold medalist of the games, beating out competitors in the new event of snowboarding.

Opening ceremonies

An estimated 40,000 spectators were on hand to watch the two-and-a-half hour spectacle in Fisht Stadium. Thousands more fans viewed the ceremonies on big screens located throughout Sochi. Read more

Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” and “Anansi Boys” as media and literature research paper topics

English writer Neil Gaiman. (Credit: pinguino k)

English writer Neil Gaiman. (Credit: pinguino k)

Neil Gaiman is no stranger to the screen. His novel “Neverwhere” began its life as a BBC mini-series. His novels, “Mirror Mask,” “Stardust,” and “Coraline,” have all been adapted as movies. Gaiman wrote an adaptation of Beowulf for the big screen and, more recently, penned two episodes of “Doctor Who.” So while it is unsurprising that his fiction is being adapted for television, the news that his novels, “American Gods” and “Anansi Boys,” are on their way toward production, by Freemantle Media and Red Productions respectively, is being cheered by Gaiman’s fans. If you are looking for a good research paper topic in media studies or for a speculative literature course, consider speculating on the elements in these novels that will translate well to the screen.

“American Gods”

In “Neil’s odysseys and oddities: Neil Gaiman’s new book is a history lesson for Americans,” Alison Jones of the Birmingham Post called “American Gods,” the novel, upon its release, “a surreal road trip that seems to be part Jack Kerouac, part ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.’” Read more