After exploring any number of research paper topics you eventually settle on one idea for your paper. But you’re not finished yet. Now you have to narrow your research paper ideas and find a way to focus your topic. If you fail to do this then you’ll find that your writing process quickly goes out of control. Here are a few ideas to help you streamline your research project by narrowing your topic.
Narrow your topic
Part of the research paper writing process involves finding an angle or an approach that is interesting to both you and your readers.
A dry riverbed in California. (Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
With 2014 just one month underway, Federal officials already have designated parts of 11 states as natural disaster areas due to lack of rainfall. The California drought is causing a great deal of concern, particularly for farmers and ranchers who have, and will continue, to bear the brunt of the lack of water. Researching California’s past struggles with drought may yield insight into the current problem, but historical reflection may not yield answers to the current problem. Climate change is also likely to be affecting the rainfall amounts in the West. All of this may leave you wondering—is California’s drought just the beginning of America running out of water?
Justin Bieber is one celebrity whose name frequently makes news headlines. (Credit: chrissyrose70)
We all enjoy hearing the latest celebrity news and gossip. But things got weird on January 24, 2014, when MSNBC interrupted an interview with a U.S. congresswomen to air breaking news about Justin Bieber’s latest brush with the law. It’s one thing for people to follow celebrity antics but when a major news outlet acts like a giddy teen every time a celebrity is spotted doing something outrageous, you have to wonder if society is suffering from celebrity worship syndrome.
Celebrity worship syndrome
There seems to be a name for every personality quirk, so it comes as no surprise that an exaggerated interest in celebrities qualifies as a psychological disorder. Nicole Plumridge provided background on celebrity worship syndrome (CWS) in a May 12, 2013, post for PsychMinds.com titled, “Celebrity Worship Syndrome.”
“20 Feet from Stardom” is up for Best Documentary Feature at the 86th Academy Awards. (Credit: RADiUS-TWC)
Documentaries have a long and sordid history with the Academy Awards. It’s a highly contested category, and the rules of Oscar nominees’ eligibility have changed a number of times. This year, topics include genocide (“The Act of Killing”), backup singers for pop stars (“20 Feet from Stardom”), the toppling of the Egyptian government (“The Square”), the artist marriage of the Shinoharas (“Cutie and the Boxer”) and U.S. covert operations (“Dirty Wars”). Any one of these could offer a good research paper topic in psychology, political science or entertainment. And, lucky for at-home viewers, most are easily available to watch before the 86th Academy Awards ceremony on March 2.
Posted in Communication and Journalism, Law, News and updates, Psychology, QTA Blog, Research Paper Help, Student resources
Tagged 20 Feet from Stardom, Academy Awards, Cutie and the Boxer, Dirty Wars, Oscar nominees, research paper topics, The Act of Killing, The Square
Pete Seeger teaching William Boyce “Alleluia” round in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. (Credit: Jim, the Photographer)
For more than 70 years, singer Pete Seeger championed folk music, highlighting the genre’s important place in musical heritage. Seeger also served as an inspiration and mentor for the numerous revivals of folk music, dating from the 1950s and 60s to present day. Along the way, he guided many famous musicians, including Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, and supported a wide variety of causes and political movements. His influence can be heard in current musical groups such as Mumford & Sons. Seeger died on January 28, 2014, at the age of 94.
Musician and singer Pete Seeger
The death of a legend can challenge the future of any movement, but folk music had no greater champion than Pete Seeger. Born in 1919 to musical parents, Seeger’s first musical instrument was the ukulele.
Taking the time to perfect your research paper is well worth it to receive the grade you want.
Having good research paper topics is not the only thing that’s important when writing your college research paper. There are many other considerations, including narrowing your topic, meeting deadlines, citing sources correctly, using secondary sources badly, staying on topic, and avoiding plagiarism. Here are some common errors and how to avoid them.
The basics: Deadline, proofreading and presentation
Your ideas might be the best ever, but teachers also consider presentation, format and readability.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the freedom movement, PBS will air “Freedom Summer” on June 24, 2014.
Do you have a course project related to Black history month? This is a good year to put your attention on African Americans who have made a difference in American history. Throughout the year, Americans will be celebrating Freedom Summer in remembrance of the advances in voting rights that were won during the summer of 1964. It was landmark legislation then and it is still an issue at the forefront of American politics as we fight to maintain the right to vote without impediments.
Klondike features true events from the Yukon gold rush of the late 1800s.
Discovery Channel’s first scripted programming was the recently aired Klondike, a six-hour mini-series showcasing the struggle, determination, entrepreneurial spirit and often brutal life of men and women during the Yukon gold rush of the late 1890s. For your history paper, you can research the best history books and American literature to find material on a variety of topics highlighted in the program: Canadian history, Klondike gold rush and even American literature author Jack London, who makes an appearance.
Klondike based on true events
Based on true events, Klondike features characters based on real people who dug for gold in Canada’s Yukon Territory, adjacent to Alaska. After the gold rush panned out in the California and Colorado regions in the late 1800s, trailblazers and adventurers, as well as grifters and murderers, headed to the Yukon.
Posted in History, Literature, QTA Blog, Research Paper Help, Student resources
Tagged American literature, best history books, Canadian history, Gold rush, good research paper topics, history, Jack London, Klondike
Lyubov Orlova in 2000, when she was still cruising Antarctica. (Credit: Jerzy Strzelecki)
Ghost ships and cannibal rats don’t immediately bring to mind good research paper topics, even in folklore courses. They bring to mind bad films (such as the critically panned 2002 Ghost Ship movie, or the 1943 film of the same title). But the recent social media buzz about the fate of the rat infested Lyubov Orlova ghost ship, which may shipwreck off of Ireland or the UK, brings up possible research paper topics in ocean conservancy – as well as anthropology courses. Check out the facts behind Lyubov Orlova, stories about ghost ships, and the real world problems of abandoning vessels and other garbage at sea.
Posted in History, Humanities, Literature, News and updates, QTA Blog, Research Paper Help, Sciences, Student resources
Tagged ghost ship, ghost ship movie, Lyubov Orlova, ocean conservancy, shipwreck