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September 07, 2006

Research Writing - Asking Questions About Potential Topics


Image Source: http://www.eprri.org/images/master/research_questions.gif


Today, in research writing, we tried an exercise that practiced our abilities to generate ideas about potential research topics by asking questions.

First, the students arranged their desks into a large circle. Each student was assigned one of the following topics. (They were completely random) . . .

1. controversies
2. drugs
3. people
4. places
5. trends
6. technologies
7. history
8. American families
9. immigration
10. recreation
11. media
12. government
13. race
14. gender
15. health
16. food
17. Indiana
18. the environment
19. education
20. politics
21. your own hometown
22. IUP
23. careers
24. organizations
25. pop-culture

All students wrote their assigned "word" on a sheet of blank paper. They had to decide what the word meant to them personally. Then, they asked themselves a question about the word. Any question that came to mind about something that they'd like to know about any aspect of the word was fair game. For example, if the word was “sex,” their question might have been, “what makes people sexy or not?” Or, if the word was “religion,” their question might be “why is religion generally a touchy subject?”

So, they were given a moment to examine their word come up with one sincere question about the word that they were assigned. Afterwards, everyone in the class was asked to pass their sheet of paper to the left in the circle. The process was then repeated. They looked at the word of the "new" sheet in their hands, read the questions of the writers before them, and developed their own questions about the new word. This procedure was repeated until their own papers came back to them through the circle exchange

After everyone got their own paper back, I asked them to examine all of the "new," additional questions on their sheet and to choose the most interesting one (it did not have to be their own question).

By interesting, I meant, which of these did they NOT already know and would you like to know the most? They underlined or circled this question. I then asked each student to first share their “word” and then share their favorite question from the list with the rest of the class.

Below are the results of this exercise. I have asked each student to publish their own "sheet" as a comment to this blog post. The original word they were assigned should be listed first and below should be all of the questions about that word generated and later shared with the class in a class discussion.

Thanks to Bruce Ballenger, author of The Curious Researcher (5th ed.), for the idea. It was a synthesis of several of his own exercise suggestions.

Students, feel free to bounce of these ideas when deciding on a topic for our next class meeting and your eventual research question. Remember, there will be at least "two" full comments for each word below, so look at them all. For example, there will be different entries on "food" or "government" from different students in different section numbers.

Best, as ever,

Lee Hobbs

Posted by lhobbs at September 7, 2006 04:59 PM

Readers' Comments:

"GOVERNMENT"

Why do people think that George Bush is a good president?
What makes a good government?
What is the definition of government?
How does the government make laws?
Why is congress trying to have Donald Rumesfeld fired?
Why are we the strongest nation in the world with an incompetent government?
Why don’t people play a bigger role?
Why does the government censor things from the public?
Why does the U.S. think that it is its job to police the world?
Why did Bush feel the need to risk our family and friends in foreign countries if we are not making good head way anymore?

Amber K.
Section 023

Posted by: Amber K. at September 8, 2006 12:24 AM

"FOOD"

How are regulations place on restaurants?
Why is food such an important part of our lives?
Why do people think food is an easy thing to learn about?
Do people realize what it takes to prepare elegant food?
Do people respect/admire people who make the food?
What's the addiction to/from it?
Why do major corporations spend money to mass produce food and then ship it all over the U.S. and waste fuel and take all the business away from the little guy?
What is it about food that just tastes fo good?
Why is it that we eat so much more in the U.S. than anywhere else?
How much food does the U.S. consume daily or yearly?

Andrea N.
Section 023

Posted by: Andrea N. at September 8, 2006 11:17 AM

"ENVIRONMENT"

How does the environment we live in influence us?
Why do people mistreat the environment and not take care of it?
What will our environment be like in a few years?
Do we treat our environment like we do our homes?
When was the last time the average person spent a day away from society?
What will happen when we run out of space for land fills?
Will we ever over use our environment’s resources?
What can we do to help replenish out planet’s resources?
Why are the patents to clean fuel cars held by big corporations who sue those who attempt to produce these engines?

Courtney P.
Section 23

Posted by: Courtney P. at September 8, 2006 12:09 PM

"INDIANA"

How did this town come about?
Are there any intersting history facts about Indiana?
The state or this town? And why is Jimmy Stewart such a big icon here?
Why was a college put in this town?
Why does this town suck?
What came first, the town or state?
Do a lot of people live in Indiana?
Why is Indiana such an overwhemingly republican town?
Are there tourists excited about visiting Indiana, PA?

Ashley O.

Posted by: Ashley O. at September 8, 2006 12:16 PM

"RECREATION"

What types of recreation are most popular for reducing stress?
What do people do for recreation?
How does recreation make our lives better?
Does everyone take part in some kind of recreation?
Does recreation involving sports have a positive or negative effect on children?
Why is recreation so popular?
What type of recreation is the best for you?
Is golf a type of recreation or a sport?
What are some common places that recreational activities can be done?
Does getting children involved in recreational activities help their minds mature?
What types of activities are considered recreation?

Rich L.
Section 027

Posted by: Rich L. at September 8, 2006 02:31 PM

“POLITICS”

Why are politics important?
What makes all politics so controversial?
Why are politicians inherently liars?
What do we need politics?
Why do people feel so strongly about politics?
How come anytime someone brings up politics its ends up with an argument?
Will there ever be a 3rd major political party in America?
Who are the dirty politics and what is the worst thing they have done?

Jennifer T.
Sec. 023

Posted by: Jennifer T. at September 9, 2006 01:18 PM

"AMERICAN FAMILIES"

How are children from divorced American families succeeding in life?
How many single parent families are there?
What makes a good family?
How many mixed American families are there?
What is the definition of an American family?
Is the husband still considered the "money maker" in American families?
Do American families spend enough time together in front of the TV?
Who are the predominant American families today?
Does the idealistic family exist anymore?
What's the new stereotype of an American family?
What is the history of American families?
Why are the Kennedy's considered the "American Dynasty"?
Does the stereotypical suburb family really exist?
Are American families better off?

Heather H.
Section 027

Posted by: Heather H. at September 9, 2006 01:58 PM

"RECREATION"

What is an extreme sport that is totally unique?
What makes people want to do any extreme sport?
How is recreation important to a full life?
What are the best places to visit in the winter/summer?
What makes an activity recreational?
How does recreation effect health?
Can only activity be considered recreational?
Do people/ others make money for doing extreme sports?
Do people have enough recreation in their lives?

Sam H.
Section 023

Posted by: Sam H. at September 9, 2006 02:10 PM

"GOVERNMENT"

Why is government such a debatable subject?
In what ways are politics important to present times?
Why does the government lie to us so much and how can we find the truth?
What are they developing behind the scenes?
Why do we have the kind of government we do?
Why do so many people dislike our government?
Is the government slowly gaining more power over the public?
Why is there so much mystery to how the government functions?
Why are people so afraid of the government?
Why is government gaining more power?
Is government corrupt?
Why are people so strong for their party?
Why do people complain so much about the government and not do anything about it?
Who is the main decision maker in the government?
Is the government out to get us?

Katie L.
Section 27

Posted by: Katie L. Section 27 at September 9, 2006 09:02 PM

"EDUCATION"

Is a college education necessary to succeed in life?
Is home schooling a child a good life choice?
Is home schooling better than public schooling?
Are public schools teaching their students enough for college?
What is the success rate of college freshman finishing in four years?
Why is the U.S falling behind in education?
Is it fair that some schools receive more funding than others?
Why is the cost of education going up?
What qualifies as a “good” education?
Does standardized testing effect education?
Do general education classes really help us in the long run?
Is it smarter to just go to a trade school?
Why is education so respected?
Is education really beneficial to all careers?

Katie M.
Section 027

Posted by: Katie M. at September 10, 2006 12:29 PM

"PLACES"

What brings people to a certain place?
What decides someone's vacation spot?
Why are some places made bigger than others?
What kind of place do you go to if you want to relax?
Does the place you grow up in effect your personality?
Why are there emotional attachments to certain places?
Why are some places more interesting than others?
How does location effect someones choice for college?
Whats the best stadium?
Why are certain cities more populated than others?
Why are some places more expensive than others if there is no difference in location?
Does place really matter?
What is the best place to vacation?
Is location really important?
Why does everyone seem to have a "special place"

Danny D
Sec 027

Posted by: Danny D. at September 10, 2006 12:33 PM

"HEALTH"

Will developing science increase longevity substancially in my lifetime?
Will there be a cure for diseases such as AIDS in the future?
Why are people living longer now than 50 years ago?
Is the way we live our lives in America going to make us die at a younger age?
How much exercise is necessary?
Why is America becoming obese?
How can you stay healthy?
Is it possible to eat whatever you want if you work out?
Why are vaccinations such a vital part of our health?
Why is obesity such a big problem in the U.S.?
Why are some cultures or areas more healthy than others?
Why do people get cancer?
What is the best diet?
Why don't people exercise and eat right instead of using fad diets?
Can staying healthy now really help your life in the long run?

Cody M.
section 027

Posted by: Cody M at September 10, 2006 01:36 PM

"GENDER"

Why does the male gender normally get a better salary?
Why has there never been a female president?
Why are men chosen before women in some occupations?
Why do males feel that they can't be sensitive?
What is the difference between sex and gender?
Do males or females make better teachers?
Why do men have to register for the draft and women don't?
Why are women more sensitive?
What are the real differences between men and women?

Dawn L.
Sect. 023

Posted by: Dawn L. at September 10, 2006 03:02 PM

"POP CULTURE"

How does pop culture influence young teens?
How does pop culture influence senior citizens?
What is pop culture and who defines it?
How uncensored can pop culture get?
Why does pop culture exist and how did it start?
Who is the king of pop culture?
Why is pop culture so popular?
When does pop culture demonstrate model behavior?
How has pop culture influenced us?
What makes pop culture so interesting?

Whitney W.
Section 27

Posted by: Whitney W at September 10, 2006 04:57 PM

"YOUR OWN HOMETOWN"

Why do people move away from or stay in their hometown after graduating college?

Is a small or large hometown a better place to live for finding a job?

How are people affected from moving from the small town to the big city or vice versa?

Why can't I get OUT of my hometown?

How many jobs are available in your own hometown and why?

What is the history of your own hometown?

Why do people feel like they are outcasts after returning home after spending 4, 5, or 6 years in college?

Why are young adults in such a hurry to move out from home after graduation?

Vince W.
section 023

Posted by: Vince W. at September 10, 2006 04:58 PM

“CAREERS”

How do people pick their careers?
What career is best for me?
Why are some careers paid higher than others?
Why are men paid more than women for the same job?
Are people really discriminated against when applying for jobs?
Why do people get so stressed/nervous when applying for a job?
Why is it so hard to get a job? Do employers really know what they want?
Is it possible to be self sustaining with the environment and not need a job?
Why is there such a demand for some jobs more than others?

Sophia W.
Section 23

Posted by: Sophia. W Section 23 at September 10, 2006 07:03 PM

"IUP"

-Why are some majors so popular that the students enrolled in the major do not get to take the classes when they need them becasue of students who randomly picked these classes fill them up first?

-Why do textbooks cost so much?

-Why pay fees to just pay more money for the same thing you pay for fees for?

- Why does everyone conform to drinking and partying?

-Why do they need to hand out parking tickets so much?

-what is the need to have a preacher in the oak grove?

-Why can't we find a mascot?

-Can we question the qualifications (ability to teach) of our professors?

-Why has Atwater tried to ruin all of the fun for everyone?

Valerie W.
Section 202 023

Posted by: Valerie W. at September 10, 2006 07:33 PM

"HISTORY"

What makes history interesting?
Does history repeat itself?
What events have had a great impact on the world?
What history event is the most important in your generation?
Why is history important?
Was Vietnam a necessary war to fight?
Have we learned from our mistakes?
Who is the most important figure in American history?
Is history really important?
Why does history repeat itself?
What is the single most important event in U.S. history?
What qualifies something as history?
What makes someone important enough to be written down in history?
What makes history, history?
History itself is interesting, but why is history class so boring?

Sylvia G.
Section 027

Posted by: Sylvia G at September 10, 2006 08:45 PM

"PITTSBURGH"

What is the culture like in pittsburgh?
What is in pittsburgh's future?
Why is pittsburgh based off a triangle layout?
are the penguins going to stay in pittsburgh?
Why is the primanti's restaurant in pittsburgh so much more delicious than on Rt. 51 or westmoreland?
Why doesn't pittsburgh have a chinatown?
Why are the Giants better than the steelers?
Why are the eagles better than the steelers?
Where did the name "pittsburgh" come from?
What group of people originally settled in pittsburgh?
How will the steelers do this year?
How can pittsburgh's economy be improved?
Why are they still the steelers if the city doesn't produce alot of steel anymore?
why are the steelers the best NFL team ever?
Are there more pittsburgh fans or more philly fans?

Matt R.
Section 027

Posted by: Matt R. at September 10, 2006 11:34 PM

"RACE"

How are people so different from eachother but still equal?
Why is race an issue when getting a job?
Is race still an issue today?
What is the most discriminated race in America?
Why do race barriers still exist?
Does race pertain only to color of skin stereotypes?
Does race effect some teacher's grading?
What is the most populated race in the world?
Why is their affirmative action?
Why is race such a controversial issue?
Who established race?

Nick L.

Posted by: Nick L at September 11, 2006 10:13 AM

"PEOPLE"

How many people are there in the world and how different are they?
What's to hate, if we are all people?
Who are the people who are going to shape America in the future?
How are people so unique?
What makes a person unique?
Who is your favorite person?
Why do the jerks get the girls?
Are there other people in different planets?
Why are people so different?

Carrie B.
Section 023

Posted by: Carrie B. at September 11, 2006 11:04 AM

Gasoline Prices

Why are prices so high?
What causes increases and decreases in price?
Who is responsible for these prices?
What can be done to bring prices down?
Will more refineries lead to better gas prices?
Will prices ever go below $1.50 again?

Posted by: Chris D at September 11, 2006 12:35 PM

Education

Do students in public schools receive less of an education than private schools?
Does “main streaming” help students?
Why are special needs kids looked down on?
Does the size of a course effect the students learning?
What determines if a student is accepted as “gifted” in a core subject, instead of a subject such as music?
Why do we need a college education?
Why do we pay for education?
Why do SAT scores play such a big role in getting into college?
Why do professors put time limits on exams?
What are the benefits and disadvantages of home schooling?

Bethany P.
Section 23

Posted by: Bethany Peck at September 11, 2006 12:39 PM

“TECHNOLOGIES”

How advanced is our American’s technology compared to the rest of the world?
Can the technologies of today harm people?
Why are technologies ruining our attention span and work ethic?
Are technological advances ever going to replace our jobs?
Is technology always a good thing?
Are technologies allowing people to become lazy?
Does technology have an effect on the lack of reading that children do?
Does the Internet increase copyright infringement?
Do cell phones really cause cancer?

Posted by: Angie F. at September 11, 2006 12:44 PM

"PEOPLE"

How much is our population?
What makes people famous?
What makes people interesting?
Why do people have all different characteristics?
Why are people today still racist?
Why is there a saying men are from Mars and females are from Venus?
Why are some people's cultures so different?
How many people are in Indiana?
Who is your favorite person?
Why are some people famous for not doing anything?
Why do people act a certain way?
What is the most important figure in history?
What are people?
What makes poeple different?

Brian B.
Section 027

Posted by: Brian B. at September 11, 2006 01:11 PM

"Places"

What places are vacationed the most?
What are some of the most remote places with human inhabitants?
Where are the most dangerous places?
What place in the world is the most developed?
What place in the world is the most educated?
How can people buy their own islands?
What are the top 100 vacation places?
Is Disney World better each time you go?
Is Niagra Falls really worth the trip to Canada?

Ashley C.
Section 23

Posted by: Ashley C. at September 11, 2006 02:38 PM

"GENDER"

What makes females personalities different from men’s?
Why are men considered superior by some?
Are men still the decision maker in the house?
Does gender effect people, subconsciously?
Do gender barriers still exist?
Are gender barriers in the work force?
Is there really such a thing as being a "girl" trapped in a "boy’s" body?
Is there a benefit to being one gender or another?
Why are men less emotional than women?
Will we ever have gender equality?

Jake M
Section 027

Posted by: Jake M at September 11, 2006 03:54 PM

"RACE"

Does race affect job opportunities?
Why is there racism?
Is racism still a problem today?
Are there race issues in other countries?
Is Affirmative Action used subconsciously?
Is one race prove to have more illness than others?
Will racism ever end?
Is there racism at IUP?
When will people realize that there are no genetic differences between races?
Is Affirmative Action used as a crutch?

Matthew K.
Section 023

Posted by: Matthew K at September 11, 2006 04:35 PM

"TRENDS"

What makes something a trend and who decides to make it so?
Why are trends so impressionable to people in the U.S.?
Are cell phones considered trends?
Will wireless internet be available everywhere at some point?
Why do people follow trends?
How long does a trend last?
Does a trend hurt the economy or help it?
How do trends come about?
Who chooses between a good trend or a bad one?
What is the biggest trend in the year 2006 so far?
Why do certain kind of people follow certain kinds of trends?
Why is the fashion industry such a huge factor in deciding new trends?
Do trends come back?
How do trends make it into stores?

Posted by: Jackie DePietro at September 11, 2006 05:49 PM

History:

Why did we fight in the Korean War?
How can we define a topic as History?
What was the most successful thing we as Americans accomplished in history?
Why do they say, “History repeats itself?”
Why do we have to learn history in school?
Do some people even care about what happened in the past or are they more worried about the future?
Why can history be so boring sometimes? Why are we forced to learn about things that don’t matter or apply to us?
Why did “Europeans” invade foreign lands and enslave people? Why didn’t those people who were enslaved fight back?
Is it possible to change history?

Matt G.
Section 23

Posted by: Matt G. at September 11, 2006 06:06 PM

Organizations

Why do people form organizations?
How much work is involved in organizing an organization?
Do organizations hold that much influence in our society?
Do organizations always have to be good?
What organizations are available at IUP?
Are there organizations that you can hold memberships in your profession?
Why are there so many organizations? Are they needed?
Why are membership fees so high in many organizations?
Why do people join organizations?
Why are there membership fee?

Nicole W.

Posted by: Nicole Worthington at September 11, 2006 07:24 PM

"American Families"

What differences are there between the families in America today?
What are the stereotypes about American families?
How do American families differ from those in other parts of the world?
Why is it so easy for American families to fall apart these days?
Are families spending less and less time together? Why?
What is the standard?
What is the best way to run a family?
Why is there an increase in divorce rates?
What is an "American family"?

Posted by: AlyshaG at September 11, 2006 07:32 PM

Environment

How does pollution affect the environment ?
Why do we need trees?
How can we make changes everyday to help the environment?
What chemical harms the environment the most?
Is the environment really in danger?
If we know destroying the environment is bad, why do we continue doing it?
Why do some people hug trees?
Is our environment really slowly disappearing?
Why does it seem that everyone who loves the environment is a hippie?
Is there a benefit to keeping the environment clean?
Is global warming really happening?
Is the world really about to end?
Is oil really dried up on Earth?
Where will we go when Earth dies?
What are the largest environment issues?

Posted by: Scott Moore at September 11, 2006 07:36 PM

Controversy:
Why are there so many controversies about educating children?
Are there still a lot of racial controversies?
What are the controversies about seniors and prescription drug plans?
Why is there controversy?
What controversies are we facing today?
How are some controversies solved?
Is controversy necessary?
Can people overcome controversy?
Can people spell controversy?

Posted by: Marlene B at September 11, 2006 07:53 PM

"Media"
How much money can you make in the media field ?
Why are people so obsessed with celebrities?
How can you get in the media field?
Is the media a dangerous field to work in ?
Does the media influence our decisions?
Is the media good or bad?
Why is the media a huge factor in life?
Are media writers people we can trust?
How many people are bias in media?

Posted by: Nathan L. at September 11, 2006 08:18 PM

"IUP"
What is the most popular major at IUP?
Party school or not?
What is the STD rate?
Why are there so many gays?
Are the renovations going to change the reputation?
What is the future for IUP relating to the construction?
Tony Atwater- like or dislike?
Why is IUP a dry campus when all people do is party?
How old is IUP?
What's up with the new dean?
Why do people enroll at IUP, to party or learn?
Is IUP good for me?
Is a Penn State degree really more valuable than an IUP degree?
How does IUP keep tuition lower than other public schools?
Are some colleges really better than others?

Posted by: Lauren S. at September 11, 2006 08:29 PM

"DRUGS"

1. Who, among the people in the United States, are the most likely to be come addicted drug users?
2. What is the most popular drug of choice in the United States today?
3. How do people become drug dealers?
4. Why do people use drugs other than for the medicinal effects they have on us?
5. What drug is the easiest to obtain?
6. Why does the United States spend so much time and money fighting drugs?
7. Why do drug users feel it is okay to do drugs that have a negative effect when they are illegal?
8. Will drugs become more or less prevalent in the future?
9. If the consequences of using illegal drugs are well known, why do people still use them?

Amber B.
Section 023

Posted by: Amber B. at September 11, 2006 08:49 PM

"Indiana"

How did such a country-like town become the home of a fairly large college campus?
Where did Indiana get its name?
Did Jimmy Stewart really live here?
What is the population of Indiana?
Were there indians in Indiana, PA?
What impact, economically, does the university have on the community?
What makes people want to live in Indiana?
How bad does the economy dip when classes aren't in session?
Why do the cops in Indiana suck..Should the policies be changed?
Why is Indiana the way it is?
Why is Indiana so boring?
Why do people automatically think that IUP is in Indiana state?
How long has IUP been a campus?
Why is the only thing to do in Indiana is drink?
Why is Indiana cooler than anywhere else?

Posted by: Brittany M. at September 11, 2006 09:20 PM

"DRUGS"

When were drugs made illegal?
What makes someone want to do drugs?
Why are some drugs legal and other illegal?
Why is peer pressure such a huge factor for those who have never done drugs?
Why do people turn to drugs?
What effect do drugs have on the body?
Why are drugs expensive?
Should weed be legal?
Where do many drugs originate?
Why do people use drugs?
What is the most commonly abused drugs?
Is marijuana really that bad?
What effect do drugs have on the past-present-future?
Why does doing drugs bring so many people closer together? Is that really so bad?
Is marijuana good for glaucoma?

Posted by: Miki B at September 11, 2006 09:54 PM

"Controversies"

What is the most feared controversy in society?
What is the biggest controversy with steroids in baseball?
Why do people like controversy so much?
Why is George W. Bush so contraversal?
What is considered controversy, an argument or a fight?
Who really killed Kennedy?
Why is racism so controversal?
Why is sex considered controversal?
Why don't the Eagles like the Steelers?
Why do controversies make good news?
Why are we still at war?

Posted by: Ace at September 11, 2006 10:30 PM

"FOOD"

Why can't we provide enough food for everyone?
What is America's favorite food?
Who likes healthy food?
Why does food comfort people?
What if I didn't eat anything but Fluffer Nutters?
Why do humans live to eat instead of eat to live?
What types of food do other cultures eat?
When is food too much?
Why do we as Americans, feed the whole world?
What makes one type of food better than the other?
Does the IUP cafe food contain laxatives?
Are we going to die young because of the chemicals in food?
Can we change our diet and lose weight effectively?
What is the most popular food among college students?
Why do we waste so much food?


Britain M.
SEction 027

Posted by: Britain.M at September 11, 2006 10:40 PM

Health

Why is America so unhealthy?
What defines "good health"?
Why are we forced to take health classes in college?
What defines "bad health"?
Why is health insurance so expensive here?
Do fad diets work?
Why is America the fattest nation?
Will I ever get to use insulin in forms that do not include needles?
Why do parents make kids eat every thing on their plates when they know their child is fat?

Bryan M.
Section 023

Posted by: Bryan M at September 11, 2006 11:14 PM

Careers

What are the most highly paid careers?
Who occupies the lowest paid careers?
Why are careers so essential?
What other careers can you get with as an English major?
What careers are popular in our society?
Can exotic dancing be considered a career?
How do I get into a career that drives Ferraris everyday?
Why does a career define who you are to some people?
What career will benefit me the most in twenty years?
Why do people get careers they have no interest in?
Why are careers so hard to pick?
How many people work in a given field?
How can you find out what career is right for you?
Can we decide what career we want at an early age?
What is the most popular career?
Do people choose a career for money?

Posted by: Adam V. at September 11, 2006 11:30 PM

"Trends"

1.What motivates an individual to follow a particular trend?
2.Of what origins do trends derive?
3.What is the definition of a trend?
4.How and why do trends often go out of style?
5.Have many trends been adopted by American society from other cultures?
6.What are some of the trends displayed by other countries?
7.How many of the trends which have been inducted into American society have become permanent and how many others have served only as “fads” in recent years?
8.Which of these trends are considered to not only be strange or deviant, but a complete contradictions of American social normalcies?
9.Is society willing to accept, and maybe even embrace a trend that is deplorable, due to its popularity in other countries?
10.What aspect of media evokes the highest amount of trends in conveyed to the public, and what industry is the largest trend setting?
11.Are individuals who are not prone to conforming to trends treated as outcasts?

Posted by: C.Duncan at September 12, 2006 03:03 AM

“Organizations” was the word given to me and here are the questions I received.

-What are some big organizations?
-What organizations are fun to do?
-Why join an organization?
-What is your favorite organization?
-What is the biggest organization at IUP?
-Does joining an organization help you get a better job?
-Does belonging to an organization in college help you obtain a better job once you graduate?
-Do organizations control the government?
-Do organizations and clubs really keep “kids off the streets?”
-Do colleges expect you to get involved your first year?
-What is IUP’s most popular organization?
-Why is being involved in organizations so important on resumes?
-Do organizations help you get a job?
-What would be the most beneficial organization to join in a particular major?

Posted by: Michelle W. at September 12, 2006 07:24 AM

Politics

Why does the government lie so much?
Why do politics cause so much controversy?
Why is politics a touchy subject?
What are some different political parties and their views?
How are lobbyists ethical?
Why do people want to be involved in politics?
Why is politics a big deal?
Is it a good thing that the government hides the truth sometimes?
Why are politics so important to society?
Why are politics so corrupted?
Why vote?
Why isn't the president getting paid enough for his job being so demanding?
Did the government cause 9/11?

Posted by: Nathan Perry at September 12, 2006 08:42 AM

For my research topic, I chose 'The Percussive Arts Society International Convention.'

I chose this topic because intitially, I wanted to do something similar to my major (music education, percussion, because I intend on doing graduate and doctoral work in the same area so I thought this might be good practice getting used to doing some sort of scholarly work in this discipline) as well as something I'm interested in. I found both in the convention (known also as PASIC, an international percussion convention held at a major city in the USA yearly). To determine this topic I just began thinking of things about the percussion industry that I wondered. I did a fair amount of brainstorming, but a great majority of finding this topic was done by just thinking and asking myself questions. I knew that I wanted the subject to involve music, then began thinking about what interested me that I did not yet know. I attended the 2005 PASIC in Columbus, Ohio, so my curiosity about this event was still pretty high, as it was my very first exposure to this major percussion event. After I discovered the topic, I soon found that there was a wealth of accessible information available in a variety of places, including a great PAS and PASIC website, as well as a journal published quarterly. I'm still formulating a research question, but I think I have a pretty good start and can forsee the direction that I'll be going next. I'm starting to think that the research question may explore in some way how PASIC might compare to other music conventions, and if me and my collegues view of this convention is similar to the views of students of other instruments regarding their respective conventions.

-Vince W.
ENGL 202-023

Posted by: Vince W. at September 12, 2006 10:16 AM

My research topic began as: "The effects of the recent steroid controversies on teenagers"

I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions: What motivates teenagers to ignore the known risks of steroids? What motivates teenagers to want to perform at such a high level? Can pressure parents put on teenagers push them to steroid use?

This is how I narrowed my topic down to something more workable: "Outside forces such as parents and athletic scholarships push teenagers to use steroids"

I will try to develop a unique research question based on this modified topic.

Cody M.
Section 027

Posted by: Cody M. at September 12, 2006 07:30 PM

My research topic started out as: Juvenile delinquency and learning disabilities
I asked myself the following questions: Can undiagnosed learning disabilities lead to school dropouts?, Are learning disabilities and juvenile delinquency really a problem?, Can a person with a learning disability function in society?
I narrowed my topic down to an undiagnosed learning disability can lead to delinquent behaviors. With the proper support, the person can be successful.
Marlene Bayer
Section 23

Posted by: Marlene B at September 12, 2006 07:44 PM

The topic of my paper started out as "body images and the media."

I narrowed down my topic by asking myself the following questions: Is anorexia and dieting linked to the media and celebrities? How many people have suffered from an eating disorder after being bombarded with unrealistic body images? Do celebrities and models promote an unhealthy body image? Does the media manipulate young adults into buying an unrealistic body type?

I have narrowed down my topic to: obsession with beauty and the effects in has on young women via the medias influence.

From this topic, I will next form and develop a workable research question and thesis.

Posted by: Katie L. section 27 at September 12, 2006 09:14 PM

My research paper started out with the topic, "The problems families have."

I then narrowed the problem to a certain problem which most families have is divorce. Divorce was still a bold topic so i thought of who was effected the most by divorce and I thought if the children.

So, the topic I came up with for my paper is "The effect of divorce of children."

Nick L
Section 027

Posted by: Nick L at September 13, 2006 10:13 AM

My research topic began as “Sports Psychology”

I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions: How does sports psychology differ from each level of competition? Does sports psychology really affect how an athlete performs? Do teams with sports psychologists do better then teams without? When and how did it become known that psychology played an important role in sports?

This is how I’ve narrowed my topic down to something more workable: “Sports Psychology: How it Affects the Athletes of Today.”

I am now trying to develop a unique research question based on this modified topic.

Angie F.
ENGL 202-023

Posted by: Angie F. at September 13, 2006 11:53 AM

My topic started out as Music Education.

To narrow my topic down I asked myself the following questions: What are the benefits of music education at an early age? What are the benefits of instrumental education at an early age? How can music help children with special needs? How does music help children with autism?

So I have narrowed my topic from music education to the effect of music on children with autism.

Andrea N.
Section 023

Posted by: Andrea N. at September 13, 2006 01:36 PM


My research topic began as: “heroin (and synthectic herion) addiction”.

While researching the topic I began to ask myself questions like, “How many addicts are involved in crimes after begin addicted? How long were they addicted before becoming involved in crimes, how serious are the crimes? How many addicts realize the effect their addiction plays on their family, and how does it really effect the family”.

This lead me to my final topic which is: “The Moral Effect of Heroin Use on Addicts and Their Families”.


Amber K.
section 023
Tue/Thur 8:00-9:30am

Posted by: Amber K. at September 13, 2006 02:17 PM

1. My topic is women's fashion, and how it has been influenced and changed over the past century.

2. To narrow it down I went through a few steps:
My topic started as the history of fashion.
I then wanted it to be major trends of fashion, and who is responsible for creating them. But then I thought I would have to get into too many specific designers, and there would be too many trends for me to follow for both men and women, because clothing has been continuing to change and adapt over hundreds of years. Therefore I broke it down to the past one hundred years, and narrowed it down further to just women's fahion.

3. Some questions about my topic could be:
How do the older looks vary from the new looks?
Have certain trends over the past century repeated themselves?
Who are the retail buyers responsible for translating these fashions into clothing we as a society can buy?
What events in history have influenced the clothing we wear?


Lauren S.
Section 27

Posted by: Lauren S. at September 13, 2006 02:31 PM

My research topic began as: Prescribing privileges in a nurse practitioner. I later began to think that my topic isn’t going to keep me interested enough to write a research paper about it. So I decided that I am going to begin my topic on eating disorders in Hollywood.

I narrowed my topic down by asking questions: Why do celebrities want to be so thin? Why does size matter in Hollywood? What makes celebrities go to the extremes when losing weight?

I then narrowed by topic down even more by stating: How does the pressure of being a celebrity effect body image and why must they take it to the extreme?

I am working to put all of my ideas together to come up with a final topic.

Whitney W
Section 027

Posted by: Whitney W at September 13, 2006 03:38 PM

My research paper started out with the topic of cloning.

I began to narrow my topic down by asking myself questions such as: What benefits will cloning have for people in the future? What ways will cloning be utilized to enhance and prolong people's lives?

This is how I narrowed my topic down to "Stem cell research and its beneficial effect on people's lives".

I will try to create a solid research question branching off from this topic.

Adam V.
Section 27

Posted by: Adam V. at September 13, 2006 03:55 PM

My Research Topic Began As: College Textbook Prices

I narrowed it down by asking these questions:
Who is benefiting? Will they ever lower them, since tuition is already expensive? And is it fair?

This is how I have narrowed my topic down:
College Textbook Prices Can't Be Beat.

CarrieB
Section 023

Posted by: Carrie Berkey at September 13, 2006 04:28 PM

Initial Topic: Gay Culture and it's growth in recent years

My Questions:
What is gay Culture?
Does gay Culture Influence people?
Where does gay culture Influence people?
Is Gay Culture in the Media?
Is the Portrayal of gay culture in the media Accurate?
Why is gay Culture in the media so much recently?


Final Question:

Why is gay culture in the media so much recently?

Matt R
syvm
Section 27

Posted by: Matt R at September 13, 2006 05:10 PM

My research topic began as: "The affect on the environment by everyday products"

I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions: What have we done to make products environmentally safer? Are we going in the right direction? What has been a result of these improvements positively and negatively?

I narrowed my topic down to something more workable:"The affect each product has on a certain aspect of the environment from past to future"

I will next try to develop a unique research question based on this modified topic.

Brian B.
Section 27

Posted by: Brian B. at September 13, 2006 05:54 PM

My research topic began as "gas prices."

I narrowed my topic down further by asking:

"Why am I interested about gas prices?"

"What can be done to bring gas prices down?"

"If gas prices are so high, why are oil companies having banner years?"

I have now narrowed my topic down to "What can be done to bring gas prices back down to below $1.50/gallon."

I will now search for answers to my question.

-Chris D.
Section 27

Posted by: Chris D. at September 13, 2006 05:56 PM

My research topic began as: “pharmaceutical drugs”

I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions: Is the cost of medicine financially manageable with the average consumer? What is the cost of medicine for a cancer or aids patient? Why do some low income families get denied for health care assistance? What are the side effects to some drugs? Do the negative side effects outweigh the positive? Why is buying medicine online illegal? Are some over the counter medicines just as affective as the prescribed ones? Is giving young children antidepressants more dangerous than not? Are there any known cases of mental illness due to drug experimentation?
By exploring my subject, I came up with a more workable topic: “ The effects of pharmaceutical drugs”.
My next step is to develop a research question that pertains to my subject.

Dawn L. sect. 023

Posted by: Dawn Longenecker at September 13, 2006 06:00 PM

My topic started off with the military’s special forces.Then I tried to figure out which special forces group I wanted to research. So I decided to research a group that I did not know much about and decided the Navy SEALs. I worked with a couple of SEAL members while I served in Iraq, and the military did not utilize our best trained soldiers to their capabilities. Instead they were used to train Iraqi soldiers. I wandered why the Navy was using the SEALs in this manner? Then I asked what kind of training do these guys have to go through to become a SEAL team member? And finally I narrowed it down to the Navy SEAL teams being the most trained and deadly asset the military has.

Ashley C.
English 202-023

Posted by: Ashley C. at September 13, 2006 06:25 PM

History of the NHL

How has new technology changed players performance on the ice?
How have rule changes effected the game?
Has the salary cap effected the franchises?
Did the lockout effect the fans in anyway?
where did hockey originate ?
How has salaries for players changed over the years ?
How have expansion teams effected the league ?

These questions helped me narrow my topic down to how rule changes and salary caps have effected hockey for both players and fans.

section 27

Posted by: Nathan L at September 13, 2006 07:16 PM

My research topic began as: “The Great Depression"
I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions: How did the Great Depression affect people?
How were families before and after the Great Depression?
Did the Great Depression affect people in various areas differently?
This is how I’ve narrowed my topic down to something more workable: “How the Great Depression effected families in Western Pennsylvania."
I will next try to develop a unique research question based on this modified topic.

Heather H.
Section 027

Posted by: Heather H. at September 13, 2006 07:19 PM

My general topic was “Shakespeare.” I asked myself the following questions to narrow down my topic:

1. How has Shakespeare’s works become so well-known?
2. What are the Bard's most popular works taught in secondary schools?
3. Why is Shakespeare’s English so much harder to understand than ours?
4. What words and phrases did Shakespeare coin that we still use today?
5. How is Shakespeare’s English different from ours?
6. Is Shakespeare’s language in his plays all serious or are there some jokes and puns mixed in?
7. Is there an easy way to read or "decode" the old English version of Shakespeare?
8. How does the use of punctuation come into play when reading Shakespeare?
9. Can modern dictionaries help with the meaning of Shakespeare’s words?
10. Is it okay to use Shakespeare’s words in formal writing even when they’re uncommon to most people?

My narrowed topic is going to be “Shakespearean Linguistics.”

Amber B.
Sect. 23

Posted by: Amber B. at September 13, 2006 07:22 PM

My topic began as hunting, which is a very broad topic and has many aspects, so I began thinking of how I could narrow it down. I decided to just focus on aspects on hunting in my home state of Pennsylvania, since there is a lot of stuff changing about it that I don’t know a lot about.

I asked myself the following questions, hoping to narrow down my topic:
1.What does hunting mean to me?

2.What aspects of hunting have changed from the past to the present?

3.In Pennsylvania what are the primary game animals that are hunted? Which game has the highest harvest numbers?

4.Is the point regulations placed on deer hunters helping or hindering the deer heard population?

5.What does the future hold for hunting in Pennsylvania?

After asking these questions I am hoping to formulate a research question on the subject of game animals that are hunted in Pennsylvania and how new regulations are affecting their population.

Matt G.
Section 23

Posted by: Matt G. at September 13, 2006 07:34 PM

My research topic began as: "Advertising"

I tried narrowing my topic down by asking certain questions such as: What is the social impact on advertising? What are the restraints on advertisments? Why are there restraints on advertisments? Are regulations necessary? Is product placement important?

I have narrowed my topic down to something less broad: " Why are their restraints on advertisments and what are they?

I will try to develop a unique research question from the topic above.

Katie M.
Section 027

Posted by: Katie M. at September 13, 2006 08:12 PM

My topic was first established from the thought of “Health Issues in the U.S.”

I realized this topic needed to be not as broad so I asked myself some questions that may help me narrow it down. These questions included: What are some common health issues in the US? What are the major health issues? How do they affect our country? What problems have to do with Physical Education and children in the schools?

After all of the answers to these questions were found, I narrowed it down to the one I felt most appropriate in my field of study, and one that I found the most interesting, and that is the Obesity Epidemic in the U.S.

Now that I have narrowed it down that far I will now decide on an excellent research topic for my paper.

Miki B.
Section 027

Posted by: Miki B at September 13, 2006 08:36 PM

My research topic began as: “Steroid Use in Major League Baseball”

I narrowed down my topic by asking myself the following questions: How do kids perceive professional baseball players who get caught using steroids? How do sports ethics relate to steroid use? How does Major League Baseball (MLB) check for illegal performance enhancing drugs? Are high school athletes influenced to use steroids after hearing about professionals that do? I generated many more questions from different angles about my topic.

From this, I’ve narrowed down my subject to a more workable topic: “Steroid Use in MLB and its effects on teenage athletes.”

With more exploratory research and critical questioning, I will design a unique research topic based on this idea.

Rich L.
ENG 202.027

Posted by: Rich L. at September 13, 2006 08:42 PM

My research topic began as “Illegal Immigration”

I narrowed my topic down by asking the following questions: Why do people want to illegally cross the boarder? What can the US do to stop illegal immigration? Should illegal immigrants eventually be able to get citizenship? How does illegal immigration affect our country as a whole?

This is how I narrowed my topic down to “The affects illegal immigration has on citizens and can the government come up with a solution?”

Next, I will try to come up with an exceptional research question from the topic.

Jake M
Section 027

Posted by: Jake M at September 13, 2006 08:52 PM

Topic: The affect steroids have on baseball

I narrowed my topic by asking the following questions.

Why is steroids so bad for baseball. Did steroids do anything good for baseball. How are the record books going to be affected by players who used steroids. How does steroids make you a better baseball player. How can the MLB get steroids out of baseball.

I narrowed my topic down to, The negative effect steroids have on baseball.

Scott M.
027

Posted by: Scott M at September 13, 2006 09:03 PM

My research topic began as: "Nursing"

I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions: What is the definition of nursing? What kind of nursing interests me? Are there any current controversies surrounding the nursing profession? What kind of procedures are nurses performing today that they weren't doing years ago? What are these advancements and how do they affect the health care industry?

I have narrowed my topic down to "Pediatric Nursing"

My next step is to develop a research question based on my topic

AlyshaG
section 023

Posted by: AlyshaG at September 13, 2006 09:26 PM

My research initially began as HPV. In order to narrow my topic down I asked these questions:

1.What should people men and women both know about this topic?
2.Is this really a huge problem, which people should be aware of?
3.Who is this virus affecting and why?
I than came up with this topic that is more workable:
The dangers of HPV

Posted by: Sophia. W Section 23 at September 13, 2006 10:15 PM

My research topic began as: Landfills.

I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions; what is a landfill, how much trash is put into a landfill, what happens to all the trash in a landfill, where are there landfills in the U.S. and how many, what do other countries do with their trash, do they do the same thing?

Since these are very specific questions I narrowed it down to: How do landfills work.

Ashley O.
Sec 023

Posted by: Ashley O. at September 13, 2006 10:18 PM

My research topic began as "DRM (Digital Rights Management) and it's effects on economy".
I narrowed my topic by asking:
1) What companies enforce the encryption measures?
2) Does DRM affect the consumer as well as the business?
3) Why is DRM set to become a standard?
4) Do we, as consumers, have to worry about our ability to make backups of our legally bought digital items?
5) Why is this an issue now?
6) What kept companies from "going under" back in the days of LPs and cassettes?
7) Who's really making a profit here and who is getting the short end of the stick, so to speak?

After reviewing what I do know about DRM and what I would like to know, I came up with a more narrowed research question.
At what point (and why) are consumers unable to maintain the integrity of their legally owned/purchased digital data?

Matthew K.
ENGL202-023

Posted by: Matthew K at September 13, 2006 10:52 PM

My research topic started out as “siblings.”

I started asking myself questions such as; what is a sibling? Do all siblings fight? What is sibling rivalry? Do all siblings have this rivalry? How does this rivalry shape the siblings relationship? Does the rivalry between siblings ever go away? Is there a tendency to be rivalry more between same gender siblings or siblings of a different gender?

I have narrowed my research topic down to sibling rivalry between genders.

Michelle W.
Section 27

Posted by: Michelle W. at September 13, 2006 11:59 PM

My topic is pirates.

I narrowed down the search by asking myself the question, "what do I really want to know about them?" My curiosity led me to have my topic become the origin of pirates. How did they form, what was their purpose, who were the most influential. Basically, to maybe even see why it fascinates so many people still do this day (ie movies and books).

I'm thinking of using the theme of the day in the life of a pirate and somehow tieing in the perception of pirates today.

Posted by: Brittany M. at September 14, 2006 12:24 AM

Original question: "why do people follow trends"

Why do people try to break away from being trendy?
What does antiestablishment really mean?
Has the punk rock movement become a trend?
What's the punk movement all about?

New topic: "The Punk Rock Movement in America."

Posted by: ace at September 14, 2006 12:27 AM

My research topic began as: “Fashion”.

I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions: What makes a certain fashion popular? Who starts fashion trends? What do stores do to become successful? Does fashion have a negative or positive influence on society? What does fashion say about a person’s personality?

This is how I’ve narrowed my topic down to something more workable: “Success of Fashion”

I will need to develop a research question based on this modified topic.

Bethany P.
section 23

Posted by: Bethany at September 14, 2006 12:56 AM

September 13, 2006

My topic was Natural Disasters for my paper. When I first started thinking about my paper, I wanted to do natural disasters in general
but i narrowed it down to two specific disasters that I am a bit curious about. I narrowed it down by reading about alot of the natural disasters and I want to write about the two that I think cause the most damage and grief for people of the world.
Now I have decided to narrow it down to Tsunamis and Hurricanes. I am interested in finding out the specific causes and the prevention percautions. Also the aftermath destruction and recovery time for the area.

Valerie W.
Section 202 023

Posted by: Valerie W. at September 14, 2006 01:17 AM

My topic was Natural Disasters for my paper. When I first started thinking about my paper, I wanted to do natural disasters in general
but i narrowed it down to two specific disasters that I am a bit curious about. I narrowed it down by reading about alot of the natural disasters and I want to write about the two that I think cause the most damage and grief for people of the world.
Now I have decided to narrow it down to Tsunamis and Hurricanes. I am interested in finding out the specific causes and the prevention percautions. Also the aftermath destruction and recovery time for the area.

Valerie W.
Section 202 023

Posted by: Valerie W. at September 14, 2006 01:22 AM

My research topic began as: "Health"

I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions: What defines bad health? Why is America the fattest nation?

This is how I've narrowed my topic down to something more workable: "The health of America"

I will next try to develop a unique research question based on this modified topic

Bryan M.
Section 023

Posted by: Bryan M at September 14, 2006 01:22 AM

My research topic began as "Platic Surgery"

I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions: What don't people already know about plastic surgery? What are some of the consequences? When plastic surgery goes wrong, can it leave more of a mental damage than physical damage?

This is how I've narrowed my topic down to something more workable: "The universal effects of plastic surgery"

I will next try to develop a unique research question based on this modified topic.

Posted by: Jackie DePietro at September 14, 2006 08:32 AM

My original topic was drugs. I then narrowed that extremely general word to illegal drug use. I asked my self the following questions:

What makes drugs so appealing? Nonappealing?
What role have drugs played in the past, present, and future?
Is drug use a direct result of peer pressure?
Do people reflect the drug they do?

I then decided I want to examine more indepth the history of drugs/using. I want to know when and where drugs surfaced first and their impact on past societies. I want to examine their impact on people today, with the anti-drug campaigns that are everywhere. Lastly, I want to see what drug use in the future will become.

Posted by: Britain.M at September 14, 2006 09:11 AM

My research topic began as: "Afircan American Women"

I narrowed my topic down by asking myself the following questions: Who are these women of our past time? What did they accomplish as women? What doors were opened because of these women? Who are the new women of today?

This is how I've narrowed my topic down to something more workable: "African American Women Who've paved the Way for Us"

I will try to develop a unique research question based on this modified topic.

Laurisa J
Section 027

Posted by: Laurisa Jackson at September 14, 2006 09:24 AM

My topic is pirates.

I narrowed down the search by asking myself the question, "what do I really
want to know about them?" My curiosity led me to have my topic become the
origin of pirates. How did they form, what was their purpose, who were the
most influential. Basically, to maybe even see why it fascinates so many
people still do this day (ie movies and books).

I'm thinking of using the theme of the day in the life of a pirate and
somehow tieing in the perception of pirates today.

Brittany M.
Section 027

Posted by: Brittany M. at September 14, 2006 09:30 AM

Hi Professor Hobbs

My research topic began as AFRICA. I asked myself the following questions to narrow down my topic.

-What do I really want to know about Africa?
-What are the major forces in African culture that makes Africa so different from other countries?
- Why are there so many “problems” in Africa? What can solve them?
- Why is AIDS in Africa such a huge controversy?
- What are the differences in nutrition and food in Africa from the United States?
- What is the center of African Culture?
- How much as Africa developed? If so, how fast is the development process?
- Does Africa attract tourists? If so, why and how many? If not, why not?
- What are the regulations of the preservation of African wildlife?
- What is African Art?

My modified topic is, Africa: people and their nutrition, which I will create a unique research question from.

Jennifer Terek
ENGL 202 sec.023

Posted by: Jennifer T. at September 17, 2006 08:35 PM

*NOTE* Deadline for this assignment has passed. Comments are no longer being accepted for this exercise.

Posted by: Lee at September 20, 2006 11:17 PM

*NOTE: The Assignment Below was Submitted Late to the English-Blog – Comment Processed Manually by Instructor*

9/12/2006

My research topic began as:
“What are the effects of trends on American culture”

I narrowed my topic by asking myself the following questions:
What is a trend?
How is a trend started?
What are the effects of trends on American society?
What effects do other cultures have on American trends?
What cultures have had the most of an impact on American trends?

This is how I've narrowed the topic to something more workable:
“The most prominent trends of our time, and the cultures that have the largest influence on American trends.”

I will next try to develop a unique research question this modified topic.

Chris Duncan
Section 23

Posted by: Chris Duncan - 23 at September 29, 2006 09:54 AM

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