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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Essay and Research Paper Topics

Copyright 2011 by Gary L. Pullman


http://www.fanpop.com/spots/buffy-the-vampire-slayer/images/7817548/title/buffy-tarot-cards-1of-4-photo

Design your own Tarot deck--or the cards of the Major Arcana, anyway. Research the meanings of each card. Then, select celebrities whom you think could represent the figure on each card and explain why. If you want to do so, you may also include (as illustrations embedded into your paper, not as actual cards, images of the cards that you design. However, you may, instead, simply describe the appearance of each card. Since external sources must be used, this topic is suitable for a research paper.



Analyze a full-page magazine advertisement. Consider the metaphor that it is based on (usually indicated by the text, or caption, which is often a pun or play on words), the models and properties (props), color, and other visual and design elements, such as models’ body language and facial expressions, setting, intensity, size, and texture, shape. Explain whether the advertisement is effective in selling the product or service that it advertises and why (or why not). If external sources, such as advertising psychology or artists’ statements are used, this topic is suitable for a research paper.


Analyze a week’s worth of newspaper comic strips, explaining the strip’s appeal to its implied audience, its source of material (for example, is it a family strip, does it feature political satire, does It poke fun at teenagers, does it focus on office workers?), and its techniques for creating humor. If external sources, such as artists’ or critics’ statements are used, this topic is suitable for a research paper.





Read Rachel Bell’s article, “The Death of Marilyn Monroe,” on TruTV’s Crime Library.Write an essay in which you analyze the evidence for the theory that she died as the result of an accident. Write a second essay in which you analyze the evidence for the theory that she died as the result of murder. Write a third essay in which you analyze the evidence for the theory that she died as the result of suicide. Then, write a fourth essay in which you argue that one of these three theories seems most likely to be true, explaining why as you show the merits and demerits of each of the three theories. Since this essay does not call for the use of external source material, other than Bell’s article, it is not appropriate for a research paper; however, you must still cite Bell’s article as a source, both in your essay’s text and on the “Works Cited” page attached to the end of the paper.



Compare a comic strip artist’s early strips with his or her later strips, explaining how the style and tone of the strip has developed or evolved over time and whether the strip, as a whole, seems to have improved. You may consider artwork, design elements, characterization, themes, and storylines. If external sources, such as advertising psychology or artists’ statements are used, this topic is suitable for a research paper.


http://www2.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/freytag.html

Identify a turning point that changed you or someone you know well in a significant way. The change need not be earthshaking, but it should be important. It could involve a change in attitude, belief, behavior, emotion, thinking, or values. In the first body paragraph, describe what the person was like before the life-changing event (the turning point). In the middle body paragraph, describe the turning point. In the third body paragraph, describe what the person is like now, after the turning point. Don’t forget to include an introductory and a concluding paragraph. Since this essay does not call for the use of external source material, it is not appropriate for a research paper.


http://buffy.wikia.com/wiki/Kendra_Young

Watch “What’s My Line,” (Parts 1 and 2) and “Becoming, Part 1” of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Identify the criteria that you believe are necessary for success as a vampire slayer, such as martial arts skills and training, strength and stamina, training, a social support system, a mentor, and a proper attitude, and then, evaluating each character’s performance of her duties as a vampire slayer, argue that one is more effective than the other in fulfilling the responsibilities associated with this role. Since this essay does not call for the use of external source material, other than the episodes themselves, it is not appropriate for a research paper; however, you must still cite the series as a source, both in your essay’s text and on the “Works Cited” page attached to the end of the paper.


Watch the movie Falling Down starring Michael Douglas (William Foster) and Robert Duvall (Martin Prendergast). Consider how the character portrayed by each actor copes with his personal problems: a failed or dysfunctional marriage, the loss of a daughter (one through divorce, the other through death), and social disapproval (one has been fired, and the other is disrespected by many of his peers). Give examples of their attempts (and means) of coping with these problems and explain why their respective strategies are effective or not. Since this essay does not call for the use of external source material, other than the movie itself, it is not appropriate for a research paper; however, you must still cite the movie as a source, both in your essay’s text and on the “Works Cited” page attached to the end of the paper.

Watch the movie Falling Down starring Michael Douglas (William Foster). Consider Foster’s treatment of Asians, blacks, and Latinos. Do his actions toward such ethnic groups indicate that he is a racist or a bigot? Why or why not? Give examples from the film to support and develop your argument. Since this essay does not call for the use of external source material, other than the movie itself, it is not appropriate for a research paper; however, you must still cite the movie as a source, both in your essay’s text and on the “Works Cited” page attached to the end of the paper.

Watch the movie Falling Down starring Michael Douglas (William Foster). Is society really “falling down”; is it falling down only in Foster’s mind, which itself may be “falling down”; or are both society and Foster in some sense “falling down”? Give examples from the film to support and develop your argument. Since this essay does not call for the use of external source material, other than the movie itself, it is not appropriate for a research paper; however, you must still cite the movie as a source, both in your essay’s text and on the “Works Cited” page attached to the end of the paper.


Evian

Imagine that you are an extraterrestrial archaeologist who has unearthed a commonly used, everyday object. What might such an alien scientist imagine the purpose or function of this object to have been? Explain the function of this “artifact,” explaining each of its elements or features, and suggest why its discovery may represent the find of the millennium. You may include a picture of the object, embedded in your paper as an image, if you want to do so. Since this essay does not call for the use of external source material, it is not appropriate for a research paper. However, if you include a picture of the “artifact,” you must credit its source in a caption below the picture--for example: “Figure 1. Oracular Lubricator. Source: Evian.”


http://www.med.miami.edu/50thanniversary/timeline/capsule.htm

Imagine that you are assigned the task of selecting three objects to include in a time capsule that will represent the spirit of your hometown. What objects do you select, and why? How do they symbolize or embody the spirit of your hometown and why will they impress someone who opens the time capsule a hundred years later? You may include a picture of the object, embedded in your paper as an image, if you want to do so. Since this essay does not call for the use of external source material, it is not appropriate for a research paper. However, if you include a picture of the “artifact,” you must credit its source in a caption below the picture--for example: “Figure 1. Las Vegas Memorabilia. Source: Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.”


1 comment:

Jessica Eller said...

These tips gave something new that students can apply to their research essays project.