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Oct. 2007 School Article #4

Helping Students Pick a Research Topic

Identifying a topic is one of the most difficult aspects of the research process. Students need topics that are realistic in their scope, relevant to their assignment and compelling enough to keep them interested. Effective topics also require students to use their critical thinking skills.

Consider some of the following topics. Look for others in the Hot Topics link on your NewsBank product menu page.

Science Research Topics

Disappearance of Honeybees: A large percentage of the U.S. honeybee population has disappeared, and scientists are baffled.
• Why are honeybees important?
• Who noticed their dwindling numbers, and how?
• What has been the result of their absence?
• What is being done to determine the reason for their disappearance?
• Is there anything that can be used to stimulate honeybees to continue pollinating?
• Have there been similar disappearances of insects or animals that have baffled scientists?

Warmest Year on Record: Explore this recent conclusion.
• Which year was declared the warmest on record?
• Where was the warmest weather?
• Who produced this theory?
• What has been the affect of higher than normal temperatures on your part of the world?
• What are the reasons given for higher temperatures?
• How do local temperature patterns compare to those of other countries around the world? Where are they highest? Lowest?
• What are the reasons for differences in temperatures between countries?
• What, if anything, can be done to regulate the temperature of a specific area?

Social Studies and History Research Topics

World Leader Elections: Countries hold elections for their leaders at different times. However, the results of these elections can have a measurable affect on the country.
• Find articles from the last two years focused on elections in different countries that resulted in a leadership change.
• Select three of these countries.
• Determine for each country:
-- the former and new leader
-- the beliefs or platform of each leader
-- the differences and similarities between them
• what has stayed the same?
• what has changed in the country because of the new leader?
• what is the reaction of the public to these changes?

Becoming a Citizen: Australia recently issued a new test for people wanting to become citizens in that country.
• Find out what must be done to become a citizen in your country.
• Find out what must be done to become a citizen of a country on a different continent than your own.
• What is unprecedented about the Australian citizenship test?
• Compare the citizenship requirements of three countries. Are they different? Why or why not?
• What are the reasons for their respective requirements?

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October 2007

Volume 2, Issue 2

In this issue:
1. Why are Primary
    Sources so Valuable
    to the Research
    Process? - A Student
    Activity and Project Plan

2. News Quiz: Science
    & Technology

3. Historically Speaking
4. Helping Students Pick
    a Research Topic

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