ENG 101 English I                                                          Suggestions for Research Paper Topics


Your research paper should be based on an opinion that you hold that supports one side of an argument.  You should think about a problem that needs a solution, an issue that we experience in our world or even as a college community, a question that you would like to answer.  Then use your research to offer a solution to the problem, provide an opinion of the issue, or answer the question.  This paper must be at least 1,250 words (four pages) and must include at least four sources, one of which can be from the Internet, but only if it ends in .gov, .org, or .edu.  You must pass this paper with a C or higher in order to pass this class.


Approved sources and Categories:


Print Sources                                                  Electronic Sources


Books                                                              Electronic Databases

Electronic databases                                         Websites (ending in .org, .edu, or .gov)

Magazines or journals                                       Electronic dictionaries  

Dictionaries                                                      Electronic encyclopedias

Song lyrics                                                        E-mails

Encyclopedias                                                  Weblogs or discussion threads



Our textbook                                                   



Remember:  Your must have a minimum of three sources, at least one of which must be a UCC Library Database article.  NO WIKIPEDIA!!!


Some suggestions for topics:  Please note: Abortion is not a valid topic for this paper.


§         Should science pursue cloning (or stem cell research, or DNA research)?  Why or why not?

§         Should we use biological warfare (or nuclear weapons)?  Why or why not?

§         What is the cause of the "mass" shootings in recent years in the US? How can we stop them from happening?

§         Should the US allow Syrian refugees to seek shelter here?  Should they be required to disavow Islam?

§         Should we use biological warfare (or nuclear weapons)?  Why or why not?

§         What is the cause of racial violence in the US? Police? Gangs? The media?

§         Should the US (and the world) continue space exploration?  Why or why not?

§         Should we try to go to Mars or other planets?  Can we succeed? 

§         Is there life on other planets?

§         Should marijuana be legalized?

§         Should the Internet be censored due to explicit and potentially dangerous content?

§         Is the Patriot Act unconstitutional?

§         Does Welfare work?  Should it be reformed, or should we even have Welfare for those who cannot work?

§         Should the use of performance enhancing substances be outlawed from all professional and collegiate sports?  What is at stake is steroids are permitted in the major leagues?

§         Is there such a thing as a just war?  Is our current conflict a just one?  Explain why or why not.

§         Katherine Anne Porter wrote: “man has obviously outreached himself, to the point where he cannot understand his own science or control his own inventions” (196).  Do you agree or disagree?  Why or why not?

§         Is climate change real, or is it a natural condition of the planet about which we should not worry?

§         What worries you most about the future of our planet?  What’s our biggest concern (or what should be)?

§         What is the biggest problem facing high school education?  Drugs?  Bilingualism?  Lack of funding?  Poor teaching?  Tenure? Common Core? Explain.

§         What are the problems facing post-secondary education?  Check out https://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/data/cps/2014/tables.html.

§         How are women, minorities, ethnic groups, young people (some other group) represented in the media (music, television, film)?  Are they represented accurately?

§         Is the sexual revolution over?  Are men and women as equal as they will ever be?

§         Between reality t.v., gangster/crime shows, and sex shows, television has changed.  Is it going down-hill fast, or is what we see on television a good representation of our society?

§         Does birth order matter?  Is a first born more likely to succeed than a last born or a middle child?  Why? Look at Born to Rebel.

§         Are the US legal and justice systems fair to women, minorities, all cultural groups?

§         Is the death penalty a good deterrent to serious crime?

§         Why are there so many minorities on death row? (See http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org)

§         Should animals be used in scientific testing?

§         Minorities and higher education:  minorities make up at least 40% of college students in New Jersey, but when it comes time for graduation, only 20% (at best) of college graduates in New Jersey are minorities.  Why?  What causes minorities to leave college?  Check out http://www.state.nj.us/highereducation/archives/minoritystat.htm.

§         Minorities (women and racial/ethnic minorities) and criminal justice – discrimination against minorities who want to become police officers or who want to be promoted, as well as racial profiling.  Good racial profiling website: http://www.adversity.net/policefire_4_new_jersey.htm

§         Should the US reinstate a draft to increase the armed forces for the current conflict in the Middle East and/or to protect domestic borders?  Why or why not?

§         Immigration is a serious issue in the US today; while many American citizens are concerned by the lack of unity currently expressed across the country (due, perhaps, in part to the melting pot of the US) others, many descended from recent immigrants or immigrants themselves feel our nation should continue to keep its borders open to new people as much as possible.  Should the US restrict immigration and, separately, should immigration laws be tightened to control the presence and activities of illegal immigrants?


Reminder about citation and format:


For help on-line, go to the Purdue OWL site. You can also go to http://www.easybib.com IF YOU HAVE TO, but I’d rather you learned it yourself.  J


Our librarians are all trained and can help, especially Mrs. Bissett, who has printed up MLA Style sheets for your use that you can get in the library.


Use our book (imagine that!), A Writer’s Reference – any question you have about any kind of format style is in there. 


BUT, if you still have any questions about internet sites or electronic databases, here are some samples (you’ve seen these before – just a reminder):


McCracken. Tim. “Struggling with Gender: A Male in Literary Feminism.”  Changing English:


Studies in Reading and Culture. 9.2 (October 2002). Academic Search Premier.  EBSCO


Host.  Web. 13 Nov. 2002



Article from the racial profiling website I listed above:


Kocieniewski, David. “U.S. Wrote Outline for Race Profiling, New Jersey Argues.” The New  


York Times. 29 November 2000.  New Jersey: News Articles about Reverse Discrimination


against Police, Fire, and Municipal Employees Webpage. 22 April 2001. Adversity Net Website. Web.


23 April 2003. <http://www.adversity.net/policefire_4_new_jersey_profiling.htm>.





Articles from Ethnic Newswatch and Genderwatch:


"ADC presents testimony to UN on anti-Arab racism in the United States." Arab American News. x.


481 (November 18, 1994): 7.   Proquest. Ethnic Newswatch. Web. 22 July 2003. <http://enw.softlineweb.com/>.


Pollner, Fran. "Lesbian Dynamics." Off Our Backs. 3.6 (March 31, 1973):7.  Proquest. Gender Newswatch. 


Web. 22 July 2003 <http://gw.softlineweb.com/>.