The research paper will be about a current controversy that is widely

The research paper will be about a current controversy that is widely discussed in the news and on social media.

We will use the left- and right-wing search engines that I have posted on Blackboard to look for controversial research topics.

The term “left” refers to the Democratic party and more generally to liberal, progressive and socialist views. In general, “leftists” support government intervention to reduce inequality in the economy by regulating businesses, taxing the wealthy, spending on social programs and supporting unions for workers.

The term “right” refers to the Republican party and more generally to conservative and libertarian views. The traditional conservatives in the Republican party have historically opposed regulating businesses, higher taxes on the wealthy, social programs and unions. Whereas the left argues that without government intervention our capitalist economy will produce growing inequality, the right argues that allowing the economy to function without government intervention will produce the best results for most people in the long run. However, with the rise of Trump, a new kind of populist conservatism has taken over the Republican party. The Trump conservatives tend to side with the workers against the economic elites, or at least they say they do.

There are complex issues involved. Apart from the economic issues, there are social issues concerning marriage, religion, guns, race, social media and sexuality that divide the left from the right.

Choosing a Topic

I am providing you with a list of search terms to get you started. You should enter the search term in both the left-wing and right-wing search engines. (The link to the search engines is on the sidebar menu.) The left-wing search engine will give you liberal, progressive and socialist sources. The right-wing search engine will give you conservative and libertarian sources (libertarians are conservatives who want to drastically reduce the powers of government). Using these opposed sources, you should develop a sense of the opposing arguments on the topic. Try various search terms to find a controversy that interests you.

I am open to suggestions if you are interested in a topic other than the ones I listed. If you have another topic in mind, search for sources in both search engines and if it looks like you could do a paper on the topic, let me know. I must approve any topic that is not on my list.

Search Terms


January 6

voter suppression

critical race theory

cancel culture

union (i.e., labor unions)

social media


These search terms will give you a range of sources on various issues. You should sift through the articles to get a sense of the controversies by comparing the left-wing sources to the right-wing sources.

Do not only look at the articles on the first page of the results. You will find useful sources on all the pages returned by your search.

Research Statement

The Research Statement should:

Describe the controversy that you will address in your research paper. State some of the arguments on each side of the controversy.

Describe a current news story relevant to the controversy. For example, if you are researching labor unions, you will see stories about unions at Starbucks and Amazon, as these were recently in the news. You can also use regular Google Search to look for recent news stories.

Indicate what research you will do in order to decide which side is correct.

Each of the above should be a separate paragraph and should be checked for grammar and clarity.

The Research Statement is a preliminary document to give me an idea of what you have in mind for your research paper. All Research Statements must be approved by me before you can proceed with your research. I am available to help through all the steps of the research process. If you get stuck, contact me on Slack.

I am giving an extension for the Research Statement until April 18.

Submitting the Research Statement

The Research Statement should be submitted in the appropriate Slack channel. There is a Slack channel for each search term in the list above. When you have decided on a topic and written a Research Statement, find the correct channel on Slack to post the statement. If you do not see your channel, i.e., corresponding to your search term, on the sidebar menu, use the search box at the top of Slack to search for your channel and paste your Research Statement into the text box to upload it.

When your research channel is visible on the sidebar menu, right-click it and star it. Now the channel will remain visible on the sidebar menu.

April 16 (extension: April 18): Research Statement

April 23: Research Question and Research Outline

April 30: Research Paper Draft

May 7: tba

May 17: Research Paper Final