11. Capital Punishment. Capital punishment is an emotional issue, which you must try to evaluate objectively. Try to narrow the topic so you won’t be overwhelmed with information and so that you present both sides of the issue. Possible subtopics are:
- Is the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment?
- Does capital punishment deter murder?
- What is the purpose of the death sentence: prevention or punishment?
- Are a disproportionate number of blacks sentenced to death?
- Is it inhumane to hold a prisoner on death row for years?
- Should women be on death row?
- How likely is it that an innocent person could be executed?
12. Cashless Society. Money has evolved. In the past, we had bartering, coins of valuable metals, paper representing those metals, and most recently paper based only on trust. Are we now headed for a moneyless society, in which financial wealth will be imbedded in a microchip? Has the electronic age influenced this development? Possibilities for narrowing your topic:
- Debit Cards, Credit Cards, E-money
- Cash Cards, Smart Cards, ATM
- Electronic Commerce, Digital Cash
- Electronic Funds Transfer
- Electronic Benefit Transfer
- Cashless Society
13. Changing Job Market. Downsizing and changes caused by technology and tenure are reshaping the face of the U.S. workforce. A thriving profession may become saturated with trained workers, forcing some to find a new field. The lines between blue-collar and white-collar workers are graying. In a short paper, select a single issue to write on or argue. Newspapers and journals will be the best source, although many books have good background information and statistics. Suggestions for narrowing your topic:
- Blue Collar/White Collar Workers and Change
- Employment) and Security/Tenure/Scheduling
- Technology and Jobs and Change
- Work Force and Effects of Social Change
14. Child Care. Some studies suggest that good, quality child care can be more beneficial to children than staying at home with their mothers.
- What constitutes good, quality child care?
- Do employers have a stake in child care?
- Family and Medical Leave Act 1993
- How much work time and productivity are lost when there is a lack of child care?
- Might corporate downsizing affect employer-supported day care?
- What are some alternative courses businesses can take to make child care easier for working parents?
Use statistics such as the percentage of single parents and dual-worker families, the changes in juvenile delinquency, standardized test scores, and absenteeism.
15. Child Labor. Children in some Third World countries are spending long hours making soccer balls and action figures for children in the United States to play with. They may sit at a sewing machine or stand at a loom all day for pennies, making designer clothing or carpets.
- What is our responsibility to these children?
- Are we helping them or harming them by buying the products they make?
- Should the United States refuse to do business with countries using child labor?
- Should individuals learn which companies employ child labor and boycott them?
- Are children being required to work here in the United States to help migrant farm families or those who do piece work at home?
16. Cloning and Genetic Engineering. Genetic research is a multifaceted, controversial topic of growing concern. Although it applies to plants, human beings, and other animals, it becomes particularly controversial when applied to humans.
- What are the ethical, moral, legal, and social issues to consider?
- Do we make genetic modifications using modern biotechnology just because we can, or are we “playing God?”
- Where should we draw the line: genetic engineering testing and cloning to cure or prevent diseases?
- Will this result in more abortions or more suicides when someone is told they carry the gene for a terrible disease?
- Will there be unfair discrimination based on differences such as sex, race, or income?
17. Community College Standards. Are community college standards as high as those of four-year colleges? Find statistics on the drop-out or success rates of community college students who transfer to a four-year college. Do all credits transfer? Should they? The criteria will vary by state. What should be the purpose of a community college? What do you see as the future of the community college in the next century? You might want to include the reasons for choosing a community college rather than a four-year college:
- Family obligations
- Availability of courses
- Bridge for high school underachievers
- Certificate courses
18. Crime in the Neighborhoods or Suburbs. This is a great narrowed topic (from crime). There are many resources, and you can find out what is going on close to home. The main body of materials will come from journals and newspapers, mostly because you want to get the newest information. Let’s forget about gangs and deal with other crime. This would be an opportunity to telephone your local mall manager and ask how mall security copes with crime, especially at busy shopping times of the year. He or she may be able to give you statistics. Watch the holiday papers for the list of hints shoppers can follow to keep from becoming victims:
- What kinds of crimes are businesses experiencing?
- What is management doing to make life safer for their businesses and for the customers who shop there?
- How can we keep from being victims as we walk to our cars?
You can interview someone at your local police department about residential crime.
- Ask about trends and prevention and arrest rates.
- Ask what kinds of crimes neighborhoods are contending with.
- Ask how they are dealing with these crimes.
19. Crimes against the Elderly. The elderly are at a higher risk of victimization by both strangers and family. Strangers perpetrate scams, assault, robbery, and rape. Crime or abuse by persons known to the elderly can be psychological, physical, material, or financial. These crimes are committed generally by members of the family or by caregivers. Is failure to give adequate pain medication to the elderly considered to be abuse? Decide on the focus your argument or research will take; then select keywords. There is plenty of information on all aspects of this broad topic. Suggestions for narrowing your topic:
- Elder Abuse (Physical, Mental, Psychological, Material, etc.)
- Scams and Elderly
- Violent Crime and Elderly (might use a specific crime, like Aggravated Assault)
20. Criminal Psychology. Consider the how, why, who, background, and causes for behavior of criminals. What makes one person become an upstanding citizen, while another in seemingly identical circumstances turns to crime? Forensic psychology is a relatively new field of study that examines questions like these. Related topics:
- Causes of Crime
- Forensic Psychiatry
- Forensic Psychology