homework assignment ideas

Controversial Topics For Research Argument Paper

Controversy is guaranteed to generate interest and engage your reader. It is however, something of a tightrope. You are walking the academic line between what provokes productive thought and discussion over an issue, and what may offend or alienate your audience. Pick your topic carefully. But don't be afraid to ruffle some feathers, and start some serious discussions.

There are very few topics that you should consider unworkable. But there are some that are best avoided. Some examples:

  1. Avoid topics that relate directly to personal taste, fashion or recreational choices. For example, it is a difficult and fairly pointless essay the tries to convince the reader that baseball is better than basketball. A rib eye steak served rare is superior to one made medium. These are arguments best saved for the dining room, not for your dissertation.
  2. Some issues are just too volatile and emotional to be worth trying to approach academically. Also, the have usually been done to death. Examples? Abortion. Illegal immigration. Capital punishment, and anything to do with eliminating or supporting one religious school of thought over another. Your essay should be about much more than beating a dead horse (issue wise).
  3. “No contest, no controversy” topics. For example; child pornography is a growth sector of the entertainment industry and should receive government subsidies. Good luck with that. Drunk drivers should be rewarded with newer, faster cars and free booze. Ditto.

That is not to say you cannot stir the pot and generate some meaningful discussion. Consider these...

  1. Ethical questions in the field of medicine. We are living longer and better than ever before in developed countries. However quality of life is of greater importance than length of life to many individuals. Doctor assisted suicide and the right to die is a grey legal area in most nations. What is your position? How would you defend it?
  2. Anything to do with government spending is likely to provoke a response. Around the world countries are fighting to balance budgets and rein in overspending. What services should be reduced, or cut altogether? Why? How would this benefit society overall?
  3. Anything to do with government regulation usually works too. Is there a place for spy cameras and drones hovering at the windows of London apartment buildings? What if the occupants have previous terrorism convictions? Is it justified then? Who keeps the tapes of whatever was going on inside?
  4. Animal rights and testing has long been a hot topic and looks set to continue as such. Battery cages are truly brutal prisons for chickens that would naturally want to root around in a farmyard. But free-range eggs and meat cost more to produce. Should we ban battery hens even if that means forcing everyone (including low income families) to pay more at the shop?

If you are still struggling with a topic, browse through the latest newspapers, magazines and research journals for who is saying what. Play the devil's advocate, and take an opposing position to the current wisdom. Just be prepared to deliver a great defense of your thesis!

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