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Northwest Missouri State University


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Hot Topics for Research Papers and Speeches

The purpose of this page is to offer ideas for students writing informative, position or persuasive papers or speeches. This is particularly helpful for assignments in English 111/112 and Fundamentals of Oral Communication. Some professors limit topics, such as abortion and capital punishment, so it is best to check with your specific teacher regarding topics chosen from these pages.


The "Find a topic" link in CQ Researcher is a good source for finding a topic. To refine a topic use the "Browse a topic" link.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context offers links to current topics, as well as graphics and other useful tools for speeches and papers

Search Points of View, offered by EBSCOhost, by looking at the list of topics provided or searching keywords.

Student Research Center, powered by EBSCOhost, offers at topic list to search or can also be searched by keyword.

Abortion Farming Obama, Barack
Affirmative Action Foreign Policy Online Dating
AIDS Gambling and Lotteries Police Work
Alcohol on Campus Gang Violence Politics
Alcohol and Driving Gay Rights Population Explosion
Animals Generational Conflict Pornography
Athletes Government Regulation Prison Overpopulation
Birth Order Green Movement Prostitution
Capital Punishment

Gun Control

Presidential Debates
Censorship Hate Crimes Political Advertising
Child Care Hazing Racial Discrimination
Clinton, Bill Health Religion in Politics
Clinton, Hillary Healthcare Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
Cloning Hoarding Sexting
College requirements Homeless Sex on Television
Computer Crimes Human Trafficking Sexual Harrassment
Copyright Hunger Space Shuttle
Cosmetic Surgery Illegal Aliens "Stand your ground" Law
Crime, Violent Immigration Stalkers
Cyber Bullying Interpersonal Communication Student Loan Debt
Date Rape Middle East Surrogate Mothers
Day Care Juvenile Criminals Taxation
Drug Abusers Marketing Practices Terrorism
Drugs Maternity/Paternity Leave Texting
Eating Disorders Medical Treatment Veterans
Education Medical Experiments Violence on Television
Environment Military Policy Welfare
Family Violence Natural Disasters Women

These other links may help you to develop a topic:

Possible Research Topics and Questions

IDEA, the international debate education association

Paper Topics,California State University Long Beach

Pros and Cons of Controversial Issues

Global Issues

Topics
Issues Under Debate
Abortion
See also
"Population Explosion"
  • What limits are responsible?
  • What limits are realistic?
  • How to protect abortion doctors, pregnant women and the unborn protection of abortion clinics vs right to protest
  • Partial birth abortion
  • Scientific evidence vs definition of viability
  • Stem cell research
  • Unborn victims of violence
Affirmative Action
See also "Racial Discrimination"
  • Relative equality has been achieved vs serious inequities continue
  • Can racial balance in business, education, military be achieved without policies that promote Affirmative Action
  • Reverse discrimination
  • NOW, National Organization for Women
AIDS
  • Rights of the individual vs community safety (or campus safety)
  • Funding for research
  • U.S. obligation to third world countries
  • Manufacturing of generic drugs vs U.S. pharmaceutical companies
  • How contagious diseases "jump" from animal hosts to human
Alcohol on Campus
  • Limits for campus safety vs personal freedom
  • Implications on violence and crime
  • Issues with binge drinking
Alcohol and Driving
  • Leniency because of condition vs community safety
  • Revoking drivers license vs being able to attend classes and work
  • The inequitity state by state of convictions
  • Age discrimination of violators
Animals
  • Animal rights vs medical research
  • Humane treatment of animals vs factory farms
  • Animal welfare in slaughter houses
  • Animal protection vs business, employment interests
Athletes
  • School prestige vs academic standards
Birth Order
  • Correlation to academic achievement? behavior problems? creativity?
Capital Punishment
  • Fear of mistake vs demands of justice
Censorship
  • Needed in public school library/curriculum?
  • Needed in entertainment industry?
  • Needed on the Internet?
Child Care
  • Business vs parental responsibility
  • Right to privacy of a child with AIDS vs safety of other children
Clinton, Bill
  • Democratic kingmaker, influence on political succession
  • Impact of global initiative
  • Influence on fundraising
Clinton, Hilary
  • influence as Secretary of State
  • foreign policies
  • Influence on women
Cloning
  • Potential benefits vs potential abuses
  • Ethical issues
College Requirements
  • ACT or SAT score requirements
  • Promotional techniques, such as 1st time scholarships
  • 4 year vs 2 year colleges
Computer Crimes
  • Online porn vs freedom of speech
  • Stalking, invasion of privacy vs reasonable access
  • Hacking crimes--workable solutions?
Copyright
  • Is downloading of media (music, videos, software) infringing on the rights of media producers and causing economic hardships on media creators?
  • Should media producers prosecute students and individuals that they suspect of downloading copyrighted materials?
  • Programs such as Spotify and Pandora
Cosmetic Surgery
  • Age limitations on surgery
  • Addiction to surgery
  • Demand for beauty by society
  • The dangers of breast implants for teenagers
  • The cost of cosmetic surgery
Crime, Violent
  • Victim's rights vs rights of the accused
  • Should hate crimes be a separate category?
Cyberbullying
  • Negative texting, instant messaging, email
  • Is cyberbullying as bad as face-to-face?
  • Kinds of punishment for cyberbullying
  • Media response
Date Rape
  • Mutual consent vs exploitation
  • Campuses with "no touch" policy
  • Drugs associated to Date Rape
Day Care
  • Government support vs parental financing
  • Benefits vs harmful effects
  • Elder Care
Drug Abusers
  • Punishment vs treatment
  • Family reactions
  • Social acceptance
Drugs
  • Community safety vs legalization
  • United States military involvement in Colombian drug trade?
Eating Disorders
  • Causes? society's portrayal of women
  • Statistics
  • Bulemia
  • Anorexia
Education

Parochial

  • No government support vs fairness to parents who pay twice for education
  • Separation of church and state vs religion's contribution to the public good

Policy

  • Placement by age vs placement by academic ability
  • Mainstreaming students with disabilities vs special classrooms for their special needs
  • Required standardized tests for advancement vs course requirements only
  • National standardized tests vs local control of education
  • Multicultural/bilingual education vs traditional basics
  • Teacher competency tests vs degree requirements only
  • Teacher's needs/demands vs teaching as a service profession

School Violence

  • Policing schools
  • School's responsibility vs parental responsibility

Youth Problems

  • Drug and alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide
  • Zero tolerance toward violence vs toughness with flexibility
  • Permit corporal punishment
Environment
  • Global warming
  • Pollution, air, and water
  • Endangered species
  • Rain forests
  • Alternative energy?
  • Excessive burden on industries?
  • Drilling for oil in Alaska in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge)
  • Gasoline consumption vs SUV's popularity
  • Wildlife protection vs rights of developers
  • Clean air and water standards--weakened vs strengthened
Family Violence
  • Protecting victims vs rights of the accused
  • Women who kill abusing husbands vs punishment for murder
  • Marital rape?
  • How to protect children vs respect for parental rights
  • Children who kill abusing parents
  • Child abuse--workable solutions?
Farming
  • Organic farming vs mainline use of chemical sprays
  • How to best protect the environment; conservation
  • Family vs corporate farms
  • Food production costs
Foreign Policy
  • Interventionism?
  • Third world debt and World Bank/International Monetary Fund
  • Military support vs economic development of third world countries
  • Human rights violations
  • European Union in competition with the U.S.
  • Unilateralism
  • Relevance of the United Nations
  • Neocon role in foreign policy
  • Christian right influence on foreign policy
  • Pentagon vs State Department
  • Nation building as a policy
  • Arms control
  • Obama's National Strategy for Counterterrorism
  • Control of al Qaeda
  • Drawdown of U.S. Armed Forces in the Middle East
Gambling and Lotteries
  • Easy way to earn revenues vs social damage
  • Individual freedom vs social damage
  • Do lotteries actually benefit education or is it a scam?
Gang Violence
  • Youth gangs, prison gangs, international gangs--workable solutions?
  • City government initiatives
Gay Rights
  • Marriage rights?
  • Adoption rights?
  • Need special rights for protection?
  • College campus response
Generational Conflict
  • Elderly to share in the tax burden vs government support of elderly
  • Future of social security
  • Job discrimination
  • Child rearing
  • Employment issues
  • Generational differences
Government Regulation
  • Rights of business vs protection of workers, consumers, environment
Green Movement
  • Sustainability of buildings
  • Recycling programs
  • Cost of "green" programs
  • Wind turbines
  • Landfill issues
  • Renewable fuels
Gun Control
  • Community and police safety vs unrestricted right to bear arms
  • NRA (National Rifle Association)
  • 2nd Amendment
Hate Crimes
  • Community safety vs freedom of Speech
  • Punishment inequities
  • Bullying
  • Persecution of alternative lifestyles
Hazing
  • Prevention of hazing
  • Greek organzations and rituals of hazing
  • Statistics of death or injury due to Hazing
  • High Schools and Hazing
Health
  • Low carbohydrate vs low fat diets
  • Benefits of weight training vs aerobics
  • How much weekly exercise is needed to achieve lasting health benefits
  • Health websites give too much information
  • Psychological disorders, such as cutting and self-harm, eating disorders, Autism, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, ADD, Asperger Syndrome
Hoarding
  • Symptoms and treatments
  • Causes
  • Types of Hoarding
Homeless
  • Urban restrictions vs needs of the destitute
  • Workable solutions?
Human Trafficking
  • Definition of human trafficking
  • Child traffficking
  • Statistics
  • Prostitution
  • Organizations to combat trafficking
Hunger
See "Poverty"
  • Food programs
  • Welfare reform
  • Governmental supplimentation
Illegal Aliens
  • Access to public school and public programs?
  • Policing borders--workable solutions?
  • Employment and/or taxation
Immigration
  • Realistic limits vs openness toward people in need
  • English as official language vs respect for diversity

Interpersonal Communication

  • Decline of communication due to technology
  • Online social networks and their influence
  • Impact of texting and cell phones
Middle East
  • International trade
  • Arms control
  • Democratization
  • "Shock and awe"
  • U.S. occupation vs liberation
  • Iraqi run vs U.S. puppet state
  • Oil and Gas prices-Control of resources
  • Effective self-government
  • War on Terrorism
Juvenile Criminals
  • Sentencing as juveniles vs as adults
  • Beginning age for capital punishment?
Marketing Practices
  • Limitations of the media
  • Marketing to children
  • Sexual innuendos in marketing
Maternity/Paternity Leave
  • Parental leave for both parents
  • FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)
  • Bonding time
Medical Treatment
  • Limits on extraordinary, costly treatments vs doing everything possible
  • Nutritional/alternative therapy vs mainstream medical treatment insurance coverage for alternative treatment?
  • Government grants for alternative treatment research?
  • Health superiority of alternative treatments?
  • Assisted suicide vs preservation of life
  • Governmental insurance requirements
Medical Experiments
  • Ethics of experimentation on humans?
  • Ethics of experimentation with aborted fetuses?
  • Ethics of experimentation on animals?
Military Policy
  • Preemptive strike policy
  • Precision weapons
  • Intelligence reliability
  • Afghanistan - a success or stalemate
Natural Disasters
  • Governmental support
  • Preparedness
  • School emergency plans
  • Community warning systems
  • Damage costs
Obama, Barack
  • Domestic policy
  • Separation of church and state
  • Judge nominations and make up of supreme court
  • Congressional opposition to presidential nominees/filibusters
  • Affirmative action
  • Erosion of civil liberties vs protection against terrorism
  • Patriot Act One and Two
  • Health care
  • Tax cut as economic stimulation
  • Needs of the states vs needs of the individuals
  • Budget deficits and deficit spending
  • Rich vs poor
Online Dating
  • Disadvantages or advantages
  • Hazards
  • Societal acceptance
Police Work
  • Police brutality vs dangers that police face
  • Racially motivated brutality?
  • Profiling
Political Advertising
  • Mudslinging
  • Most controversial political ads
  • Media response and public outcry to political ads
  • Campaign funds and their relation to political advertising
Politics
  • Politician's right to privacy vs the public's right to know
  • Campaign financing reform vs reform is unworkable

Population Explosion

  • How serious? Causes? Workable solutions?
  • Funding abortion as a form of birth control in third world countries?
Pornography
  • Limitation of social deterioration vs freedom of speech
  • Definition of Pornography
  • Child Pornography
Presidential Debates
  • Amount of money going into presidential campaigns
  • Views on abortion, gay marriage, and other controversial topics
  • Political debates throughout history
  • Third-party candidates at presidential debates
Prison Overpopulation
  • Building prisons vs alternative sentencing
  • Adjusted sentencing for lesser crimes
  • Community service
  • Diversion Programs for inmates
Prostitution
  • Prostution laws in the US and abroad
  • Benefits and drawbacks to legalizing prostitution
  • Psychological effect on prostitutes and former prostitutes
  • Sex slavery, buying and selling
Racial Discrimination
See also
"Affirmative Action"
  • Protection of victims vs freedom of speech/rights of the accused
  • How to improve race relations
  • Profiling
Rape
See "Sexual Harassment" or "Family Violence"
  • Do harsher punishments mean fewer convictions?
  • Date rape: consent vs exploitation
  • Drugs-Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine
  • Legalization of Date Rape Drugs
Religion in Politics
  • Rights of religious citizens vs freedom from imposition (e.g. prayer in schools)
  • Religious motivation for political involvement vs cultural pluralism
  • Christian Right's influence on foreign policy
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
  • Media coverage--accurate, unbiased, over dramatized
  • World-wide epidemic vs temporary regional health crisis
  • Economic impact
  • Role of health organizations--CDC (Center for Disease Control) & WHO (World Health Organization)
  • Hot spots and new contagious diseases
  • How contagious diseases "jump" from animal hosts to humans
Sex on Television
  • Limits for community good vs freedom of speech
  • Does sex on television increase sexual behavior in teens?
Sexting
  • Pornography or conversation?
  • Legal issues
  • Definition
Sexual Harassment
  • Protection of victims vs freedom of speech/rights of the accused
    campuses with "no touch" policy?
Space shuttle
  • Safety of space shuttles after the Columbia tragedy
  • NASA's future
  • Future of space flight
"Stand your ground" Law
  • Legal rights of the homeowner
  • "No duty to retreat"
  • Castle Doctrine
Stalkers
  • How to protect potential victims vs freedom of movement
  • Rights of victims vs rights of the accused
Student Loan Debt
  • Student loan scams
  • How to avoid student loan debt
  • Managing student loan debt
Surrogate Mothers
  • Helping infertile couples vs ethical abuses
Taxation
  • Progressive vs flat tax
  • Excessive taxes vs worthwhile programs
Terrorism
  • Osama Bin Laden
  • World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings
  • September 11, 2001
  • Al-Qaeda
  • War on terrorism
  • Afghanistan
  • Taliban
Texting
  • Health issues
  • Technological advances
  • Cost
  • Instant Messaging: Short-hand
Veterans
  • Public attitudes toward veterans
  • Health issues caused by service time
  • Organizations for veterans
  • Governmental support for veterans
Violence on Television
  • Limits for community good vs freedom of speech
  • Link to agressive behavior
  • Definition of Violence
  • Graphic displays of violence in the media
Welfare
  • Necessary safety net vs creating dependency
  • Obama's Welfare Reform
  • Social Services
Women
  • Is there a glass ceiling?
  • Obstacles to women running for political office?

 

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