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Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide
Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on November 29, 2022.
The introduction to a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:
- Present your topic and get the reader interested
- Provide background or summarize existing research
- Position your own approach
- Detail your specific research problem and problem statement
- Give an overview of the paper’s structure
The introduction looks slightly different depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument by engaging with a variety of sources.
Table of contents
Step 1: introduce your topic, step 2: describe the background, step 3: establish your research problem, step 4: specify your objective(s), step 5: map out your paper, research paper introduction examples, frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.
The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook.
The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic. Think of an interesting fact or statistic, a strong statement, a question, or a brief anecdote that will get the reader wondering about your topic.
For example, the following could be an effective hook for an argumentative paper about the environmental impact of cattle farming:
A more empirical paper investigating the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues in adolescent girls might use the following hook:
Don’t feel that your hook necessarily has to be deeply impressive or creative. Clarity and relevance are still more important than catchiness. The key thing is to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas.
This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is taking.
In a more argumentative paper, you’ll explore some general background here. In a more empirical paper, this is the place to review previous research and establish how yours fits in.
Argumentative paper: Background information
After you’ve caught your reader’s attention, specify a bit more, providing context and narrowing down your topic.
Provide only the most relevant background information. The introduction isn’t the place to get too in-depth; if more background is essential to your paper, it can appear in the body .
Empirical paper: Describing previous research
For a paper describing original research, you’ll instead provide an overview of the most relevant research that has already been conducted. This is a sort of miniature literature review —a sketch of the current state of research into your topic, boiled down to a few sentences.
This should be informed by genuine engagement with the literature. Your search can be less extensive than in a full literature review, but a clear sense of the relevant research is crucial to inform your own work.
Begin by establishing the kinds of research that have been done, and end with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to respond to.
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The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses.
Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance
In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument.
Empirical paper: Relate to the literature
In an empirical research paper, try to lead into the problem on the basis of your discussion of the literature. Think in terms of these questions:
- What research gap is your work intended to fill?
- What limitations in previous work does it address?
- What contribution to knowledge does it make?
You can make the connection between your problem and the existing research using phrases like the following.
Now you’ll get into the specifics of what you intend to find out or express in your research paper.
The way you frame your research objectives varies. An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer).
Argumentative paper: Thesis statement
The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for. It can be presented in one or two sentences, and should state your position clearly and directly, without providing specific arguments for it at this point.
Empirical paper: Research question and hypothesis
The research question is the question you want to answer in an empirical research paper.
Present your research question clearly and directly, with a minimum of discussion at this point. The rest of the paper will be taken up with discussing and investigating this question; here you just need to express it.
A research question can be framed either directly or indirectly.
- This study set out to answer the following question: What effects does daily use of Instagram have on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls?
- We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls.
If your research involved testing hypotheses , these should be stated along with your research question. They are usually presented in the past tense, since the hypothesis will already have been tested by the time you are writing up your paper.
For example, the following hypothesis might respond to the research question above:
The final part of the introduction is often dedicated to a brief overview of the rest of the paper.
In a paper structured using the standard scientific “introduction, methods, results, discussion” format, this isn’t always necessary. But if your paper is structured in a less predictable way, it’s important to describe the shape of it for the reader.
If included, the overview should be concise, direct, and written in the present tense.
- This paper will first discuss several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then will go on to …
- This paper first discusses several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then goes on to …
Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.
- Argumentative paper
- Empirical paper
Are cows responsible for climate change? A recent study (RIVM, 2019) shows that cattle farmers account for two thirds of agricultural nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These emissions result from nitrogen in manure, which can degrade into ammonia and enter the atmosphere. The study’s calculations show that agriculture is the main source of nitrogen pollution, accounting for 46% of the country’s total emissions. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.1% each, the industrial sector for 1%. While efforts are being made to mitigate these emissions, policymakers are reluctant to reckon with the scale of the problem. The approach presented here is a radical one, but commensurate with the issue. This paper argues that the Dutch government must stimulate and subsidize livestock farmers, especially cattle farmers, to transition to sustainable vegetable farming. It first establishes the inadequacy of current mitigation measures, then discusses the various advantages of the results proposed, and finally addresses potential objections to the plan on economic grounds.
The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls. This correlation has received significant academic attention: Various empirical studies have been conducted into Facebook usage among adolescent girls (Tiggermann & Slater, 2013; Meier & Gray, 2014). These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. Despite this, highly visual social media (HVSM) such as Instagram have yet to be robustly researched. This paper sets out to address this research gap. We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls. It was hypothesized that daily Instagram use would be associated with an increase in body image concerns and a decrease in self-esteem ratings.
The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:
- A hook to catch the reader’s interest
- Relevant background on the topic
- Details of your research problem
and your problem statement
- A thesis statement or research question
- Sometimes an overview of the paper
Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.
This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .
The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .
A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.
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- Research Process
What is a Problem Statement? [with examples]
- 5 minute read
- 312.8K views
Table of Contents
The statement of the problem is one of the first things that a colleague or potential client will read. With the vastness of the information available at one’s fingertips in the online9 world, your work may have just a few seconds to draw in a reader to take a deeper look at your proposal before moving on to the next option. It explains quickly to the reader, the problem at hand, the need for research, and how you intend to do it.
A strong, clear description of the problem that drew you to your research has to be straightforward, easy to read and, most important, relevant. Why do you care about this problem? How can solving this problem impact the world? The problem statement is your opportunity to explain why you care and what you propose to do in the way of researching the problem.
A problem statement is an explanation in research that describes the issue that is in need of study . What problem is the research attempting to address? Having a Problem Statement allows the reader to quickly understand the purpose and intent of the research. The importance of writing your research proposal cannot be stressed enough. Check for more information on Writing a Scientific Research Project Proposal .
It is expected to be brief and concise , and should not include the findings of the research or detailed data . The average length of a research statement is generally about one page . It is going to define the problem, which can be thought of as a gap in the information base. There may be several solutions to this gap or lack of information, but that is not the concern of the problem statement. Its purpose is to summarize the current information and where a lack of knowledge may be presenting a problem that needs to be investigated .
The purpose of the problem statement is to identify the issue that is a concern and focus it in a way that allows it to be studied in a systematic way . It defines the problem and proposes a way to research a solution, or demonstrates why further information is needed in order for a solution to become possible.
What is Included in a Problem Statement?
Besides identifying the gap of understanding or the weakness of necessary data, it is important to explain the significance of this lack.
-How will your research contribute to the existing knowledge base in your field of study?
-How is it significant?
-Why does it matter?
Not all problems have only one solution so demonstrating the need for additional research can also be included in your problem statement. Once you identify the problem and the need for a solution, or for further study, then you can show how you intend to collect the needed data and present it.
How to Write a Statement of Problem in Research Proposal
It is helpful to begin with your goal. What do you see as the achievable goal if the problem you outline is solved? How will the proposed research theoretically change anything? What are the potential outcomes?
Then you can discuss how the problem prevents the ability to reach your realistic and achievable solution. It is what stands in the way of changing an issue for the better. Talk about the present state of affairs and how the problem impacts a person’s life, for example.
It’s helpful at this point to generally layout the present knowledge and understanding of the subject at hand, before then describing the gaps of knowledge that are currently in need of study. Your problem statement is a proposed solution to address one of these gaps.
A good problem statement will also layout the repercussions of leaving the problem as it currently stands. What is the significance of not addressing this problem? What are the possible future outcomes?
Example of Problem Statement in Research Proposal
If, for example , you intended to research the effect of vitamin D supplementation on the immune system , you would begin with a review of the current knowledge of vitamin D’s known function in relation to the immune system and how a deficiency of it impacts a person’s defenses.
You would describe the ideal environment in the body when there is a sufficient level of vitamin D. Then, begin to identify the problems associated with vitamin D deficiency and the difficulty of raising the level through supplementation, along with the consequences of that deficiency. Here you are beginning to identify the problem of a common deficiency and the current difficulty of increasing the level of vitamin D in the blood.
At this stage, you may begin to identify the problem and narrow it down in a way that is practical to a research project. Perhaps you are proposing a novel way of introducing Vitamin D in a way that allows for better absorption by the gut, or in a combination with another product that increases its level in the blood.
Describe the way your research in this area will contribute to the knowledge base on how to increase levels of vitamin D in a specific group of subjects, perhaps menopausal women with breast cancer. The research proposal is then described in practical terms.
How to write a problem statement in research?
Problem statements differ depending on the type and topic of research and vary between a few sentences to a few paragraphs.
However, the problem statement should not drag on needlessly. Despite the absence of a fixed format, a good research problem statement usually consists of three main parts:
Context: This section explains the background for your research. It identifies the problem and describes an ideal scenario that could exist in the absence of the problem. It also includes any past attempts and shortcomings at solving the problem.
Significance: This section defines how the problem prevents the ideal scenario from being achieved, including its negative impacts on the society or field of research. It should include who will be the most affected by a solution to the problem, the relevance of the study that you are proposing, and how it can contribute to the existing body of research.
Solution: This section describes the aim and objectives of your research, and your solution to overcome the problem. Finally, it need not focus on the perfect solution, but rather on addressing a realistic goal to move closer to the ideal scenario.
Here is a cheat sheet to help you with formulating a good problem statement.
1. Begin with a clear indication that the problem statement is going to be discussed next. You can start with a generic sentence like, “The problem that this study addresses…” This will inform your readers of what to expect next.
2. Next, mention the consequences of not solving the problem . You can touch upon who is or will be affected if the problem continues, and how.
3. Conclude with indicating the type of research /information that is needed to solve the problem. Be sure to reference authors who may have suggested the necessity of such research.
This will then directly lead to your proposed research objective and workplan and how that is expected to solve the problem i.e., close the research gap.
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What is a Research Problem?
Published by Jamie Walker at August 12th, 2021 , Revised On February 8, 2023
Once you have chosen a research topic, the next stage is to explain the research problem: the detailed issue, ambiguity of the research, gap analysis, or gaps in knowledge and findings that you will discuss.
Here, in this article, we explore a research problem in a dissertation or an essay with some research problem examples to help you better understand how and when you should write a research problem.
A research problem is a specific statement relating to an area of concern and is contingent on the type of research. Some research studies focus on theoretical and practical problems, while some focus on only one.
The problem statement in the dissertation, essay, research paper, and other academic papers should be clearly stated and intended to expand information, knowledge, and contribution to change.
This article will assist in identifying and elaborating a research problem if you are unsure how to define your research problem. The most notable challenge in the research process is to formulate and identify a research problem. Formulating a problem statement and research questions while finalizing the research proposal or introduction for your dissertation or thesis is necessary.
Why is Research Problem Critical?
An interesting research topic is only the first step. The real challenge of the research process is to develop a well-rounded research problem.
A well-formulated research problem helps understand the research procedure; without it, your research will appear unforeseeable and awkward.
Research is a procedure based on a sequence and a research problem aids in following and completing the research in a sequence. Repetition of existing literature is something that should be avoided in research.
Therefore research problem in a dissertation or an essay needs to be well thought out and presented with a clear purpose. Hence, your research work contributes more value to existing knowledge. You need to be well aware of the problem so you can present logical solutions.
Formulating a research problem is the first step of conducting research, whether you are writing an essay, research paper, dissertation , or research proposal .
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Step 1: Identifying Problem Area – What is Research Problem
The most significant step in any research is to look for unexplored areas, topics, and controversies . You aim to find gaps that your work will fill. Here are some research problem examples for you to better understand the concept.
Practical Research Problems
To conduct practical research, you will need practical research problems that are typically identified by analysing reports, previous research studies, and interactions with the experienced personals of pertinent disciplines. You might search for:
- Problems with performance or competence in an organization
- Institutional practices that could be enhanced
- Practitioners of relevant fields and their areas of concern
- Problems confronted by specific groups of people within your area of study
If your research work relates to an internship or a job, then it will be critical for you to identify a research problem that addresses certain issues faced by the firm the job or internship pertains to.
Examples of Practical Research Problems
Decreased voter participation in county A, as compared to the rest of the country.
The high employee turnover rate of department X of company Y influenced efficiency and team performance.
A charity institution, Y, suffers a lack of funding resulting in budget cuts for its programmes.
Theoretical Research Problems
Theoretical research relates to predicting, explaining, and understanding various phenomena. It also expands and challenges existing information and knowledge.
Identification of a research problem in theoretical research is achieved by analysing theories and fresh research literature relating to a broad area of research. This practice helps to find gaps in the research done by others and endorse the argument of your topic.
Here are some questions that you should bear in mind.
- A case or framework that has not been deeply analysed
- An ambiguity between more than one viewpoints
- An unstudied condition or relationships
- A problematic issue that needs to be addressed
Theoretical issues often contain practical implications, but immediate issues are often not resolved by these results. If that is the case, you might want to adopt a different research approach to achieve the desired outcomes.
Examples of Theoretical Research Problems
Long-term Vitamin D deficiency affects cardiac patients are not well researched.
The relationship between races, sex, and income imbalances needs to be studied with reference to the economy of a specific country or region.
The disagreement among historians of Scottish nationalism regarding the contributions of Imperial Britain in the creation of the national identity for Scotland.
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Step 2: Understanding the Research Problem
The researcher further investigates the selected area of research to find knowledge and information relating to the research problem to address the findings in the research.
Background and Rationale
- Population influenced by the problem?
- Is it a persistent problem, or is it recently revealed?
- Research that has already been conducted on this problem?
- Any proposed solution to the problem?
- Recent arguments concerning the problem, what are the gaps in the problem?
How to Write a First Class Dissertation Proposal or Research Proposal
Particularity and Suitability
- What specific place, time, and/or people will be focused on?
- Any aspects of research that you may not be able to deal with?
- What will be the concerns if the problem remains unresolved?
- Who are the benefices of the problem resolution (e.g. future researcher or organization’s management)?
Example of a Specific Research Problem
A non-profit institution X has been examined on their existing support base retention, but the existing research does not incorporate an understanding of how to effectively target new donors. To continue their work, the institution needs more research and find strategies for effective fundraising.
Once the problem is narrowed down, the next stage is to propose a problem statement and hypothesis or research questions.
If you are unsure about what a research problem is and how to define the research problem, then you might want to take advantage of our dissertation proposal writing service. You may also want to take a look at our essay writing service if you need help with identifying a research problem for your essay.
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Research Paper Guide
Research Paper Topics
250+ Interesting Research Paper Topics for 2022
22 min read
Published on: Dec 5, 2017
Last updated on: Jan 23, 2023
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There are a number of tasks you will have to face when you enroll in a college. Most students feel stressed and tired, particularly when it comes to writing a research paper.
Some say the hardest part of drafting a text is to get started. However, selecting good research topics even precedes the starting point. This practice takes a lot of time and creativity. Therefore, exploring this complete guide will give you plenty of topic ideas in no time.
Most of the time, the instructors assign a list of topics to the students. While sometimes, they give you the freedom to come up with the topic of your choice.
This is where our list of best research paper topics will come in handy. The essay experts at MyPerfectWords.com have collected impressive ideas for your paper. We will assist you in turning an average research paper into an exceptional one.
How to Find a Good Research Paper Topic?
There are some special techniques you should follow to pick the right research paper topic. Follow the easy steps below to find good research paper topics.
1. Conduct Background Research
The first step is to conduct detailed background research by reviewing the existing literature. It will help to identify the history of a well-defined research problem. Similarly, it will also assist in developing research questions and a thesis statement .
2. Brainstorm Topic Ideas
Brainstorm research topic ideas and make a list of the general subjects. Narrow down to a specific field of study and choose the one that interests you the most. It is the key to producing an interesting and impressive writing piece.
You can further take help from your professor to identify a unique idea to write a research paper. Remember, it would be better to avoid controversial topics for research papers if you are not confident about justifying them.
3. Find Relevant Information
The next step is to find relevant information about your chosen topic. For this, read different points of view available on the internet. Also, consult scholarly sources like books and peer-reviewed articles to keep the facts straight and referable.
4. Use Keywords
Try to come up with a keyword and reach the best-suited topic according to your subject and preference. For example, the keyword ‘violence’ can provide you with a number of choices. It may include gun violence, domestic violence, and other essay topics related to abuse.
This step serves as a crucial strategy to grab the reader’s attention.
5. Keep Your Audience in Mind
Always keep your target audience in mind. It is another important element in selecting your high-school or college research paper topics.
For this, a writer must strictly comply with the instructor's preference and requirements. Make sure your topic gets approved before you begin with the writing process.
What is a Good Topic for a Research Paper?
A good research topic is the one that has the following characteristics;
Specific and Solid - the aims of research and expected results should be clear.
Original and Unique - a good research topic should be original. And the research should be aimed to be unique and never done before.
Extremely Important - It should be significant for the society, community, or to a field of study.
Relevant - It should be relevant for the readers.
Trending - These kinds of topics are the ones that spark interest among the readers and keep them interested.
What are the 6 Types of Research Questions?
Here are the 6 important types of research questions that you should know about when creating it for your research paper.
- Exploratory Questions - These questions are designed to explore the question in detail.
- Predictive Questions - These questions are used to predict the results of the research.
- Interpretive Questions - Interpretive research is conducted in the participants’ natural setting. These questions interpret how a group shares experiences.
- Descriptive Questions - It is a basic kind of question and it describes the main research topic in detail.
- Comparative Questions - Comparative questions compare one thing or occurrence with another.
- Relationship-based Questions - These questions are about understanding the relation between different variables.
Best Research Paper Topics 2022
Here are some impressive and easy research paper topics to write an extraordinary paper.
Research Paper Topics on Marketing and Business
- Explain workforce rules and regulations in Texas.
- How can we stop corporate abuse?
- Small business innovations to grow your business setup.
- Ways to reduce taxes in small businesses.
- Effective tips for women in business.
- How has marketing etiquette changed in the last few years?
- Why are stock markets becoming more popular?
- What are the positive effects of relationship marketing?
- How globalization impacts brand marketing?
- Can women prove to be better marketing experts than men?
Research Paper Topics on Economics
- Discuss Balanced vs. Unbalanced growth.
- How to improve the quality of life in developing countries?
- Ways to measure and manage inflation.
- Demand and supply analysis - A complete guide
- History trends in Income disparity.
- An easy guideline for property rights.
- Standards versus taxes as policy instruments.
- Explain the difference between private and public finance.
- Understanding the dynamics of economics and culture influence.
- Immigration and its impacts on the economy
Research Paper Topics on Current Affairs
- How has feminism changed over the years?
- Has the “Black Lives Matter” movement reduced racism in the United States?
- Are we moving towards World War 3?
- Has China decided to tackle its pollution problem?
- India: A poor nation or a superpower?
- Is the U.S. economy becoming stronger or weaker?
- How important is it to reduce the Federal budget deficit?
- How can police departments minimize the danger to officers from shooters?
- How can Chicago reduce the amount of violence and murders in the city?
- Should it be easier for people to become United States citizens?
Research Paper Topics on Education
- Should American students take a gap year between school and college?
- Discuss the concept of homeschool along with its benefits.
- Education and funding - A complete overview.
- Pros and cons of standardized tests - Discuss briefly.
- Do college students make more money?
- Should education be cheaper?
- How will modern technologies change the way of teaching in the future?
- The creation of particular learning methods for blind children.
- Benefits and risks of social networking in school.
- The role of technology in lesson planning.
Research Paper Topics on English Literature
- Similarities and differences between Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.
- Do you believe that Dickens failed after turning to serious and romantic novels?
- Examine controversies associated with Shakespeare.
- Literature as an instrument of propaganda.
- The American Dream in the 20th century’s literature.
- Religion and literature in a secular age.
- Discuss the works of Hemingway.
- Why did “Harry Potter” become so popular?
- Classify artificial languages in literature.
- What is the role of mythology in English literature?
College Research Paper Topics
- IELTS vs. TOEFL - Discuss the similarities and differences.
- College admission policies and criteria in the United States.
- How to plan for paying college tuition?
- Elaborate on ACT vs. SAT.
- Benefits of Distance learning.
- Impacts of China's one-child policy.
- Do students learn better in same-sex classrooms?
- Effect of the No Child Left Behind Act.
- Analyze the history of the relationship between the United States and North Korea.
- Should people be able to donate organs in exchange for money?
High School Research Paper Topics
- Discuss methods to prevent bullying at high schools.
- Study the ways to plan for high school tuition.
- How to handle diseases like AIDS?
- Future of science: Expectations vs Reality.
- Discuss political issues in the Middle East.
- Discuss the personality of Bill Clinton as a politician.
- Critically analyze the revolution of terrorism in the modern world.
- Developing relationships on the internet must be avoided. Why?
- How natural disasters have affected developing states?
- Examine Barack Obama’s life before and after the presidency.
Research Paper Topics on Health
- Effects of Fast-food culture on regional cuisines.
- Should there be a minimum weight limit for models?
- Unique school lunch ideas for kids.
- Should steroids be legalized?
- Should indoor smoking be banned by the government?
- The politics of climate change in Canada.
- Deafness and other communication disorders in children.
- Eye disease, vision health, and blindness - Major symptoms and causes.
- A detailed guide to Global health security - Threats and opportunities.
- Effects on household air pollution on human health.
Research Paper Topics on Abortion
- Critical analysis of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
- How to protect abortion clinics and the rights to protest?
- Facts of the Partial-birth abortion.
- Can abortion be viewed as murder?
- Is it right for abortion clinics to profit from terminating pregnancies?
- Adverse psychological effects on families that decided to do an abortion.
- Abortion as an ethical problem.
- Correlation between religion and abortion.
- The number of abortions may affect the birth rate - Discuss?
- The prohibition of abortion may have dreadful consequences.
Psychology Research Paper Topics
- Causes of depression among youth.
- Define Memory and its types.
- Why do we dream?
- Criminal psychology vs. Forensic psychology.
- Child abuse - Ways to prevent it.
- The relation between obesity and watching TV.
- Discuss the psychological reasons for mental stress.
- Elaborate on the link between mental health and child obesity.
- Are later mental health issues related to childhood trauma?
- Divorce – The influence on children
Related: Psychology Research Topics - 200+ Interesting Ideas
Research Paper Topics on Adoption
- Foster care: Issues and Concerns
- An overview of children with special needs.
- How is cross-cultural adoption raising sensitive issues?
- Psychological issues faced adopted children.
- Standard procedures of same-sex couples looking to adopt.
- Adult adoption - Discuss complete processes and laws.
- Positive and negative aspects of DNA profiling.
- Discuss the problems after adopting a child.
- Open adoption is the biggest lie. Discuss.
- Should adopted children be allowed to contact their real parents?
Research Paper Topics on Information Technology
- Instant messaging affects literacy. Discuss the reasons?
- Violent video games are the reason for juvenile delinquency.
- Best Spotify and related apps you should try.
- Discuss the long-term effects of living in a technological world.
- How has social media helped to solve world problems?
- Information technologies and the internet has made work from home the norm. Explain.
- Impacts of digital learning on schools and education.
- How technology is impacting globalization and the global economy?
- How can people use information technology to change the world?
- The Internet does need control and censorship. Comment.
Research Paper Topics on Media and Communication
- Say NO to online censorship.
- Ways to detect bias in the news media?
- Impacts of advertising on children.
- Reality TV - How it works?
- Freedom of speech - Why is it an important right?
- Explore the examples of political correctness.
- Significance of media in war against crimes.
- Examine the concept of freedom & rights of expression in a democratic state.
- Describe the conflict between Media and religion.
- Discuss the history of the film industry.
Research Paper Topics on Computer Science
- Open Source software and its importance.
- Everything you need to know about Blockchain.
- A beginner’s guide to SEO basics.
- Is Mac safer than windows?
- Is Artificial Intelligence the right thing to do?
- Neuron networks and machine learning.
- What is the importance of big data analysis?
- All about computer assistance in support services.
- Concept of database architecture and management.
- Digital security vs private information.
Sociological Research Paper Topics
- Overview of Gun laws in the United States.
- Hate crime - A brief review.
- How to prevent identity theft?
- Discuss the causes and types of Poverty.
- Trends and patterns in interracial marriage.
- Airline safety tips - A beginner’s guide.
- Impacts of social media on youth.
- 5 Types of Birth control options.
- A critical analysis of youth cultures.
- Class Conflict in the 21st century
Related: Interesting Sociology Research Topics & Ideas for Students
Research Paper Topics on Religion
- Discuss the popular new age religions.
- How do religions influence morality?
- Elaborate on the concept of freedom of religion.
- Briefly discuss the world's religions with no god.
- The rise of modernism in Religion.
- Christianity and the global economic order.
- What is the role of the Church in the 19th century’s social action?
- American’s view of Church sex abuse scandals.
- Ways to handle religion in the workplace.
- Discuss the relationship between world religions and science.
Research Paper Topics on Bullying
- Top punishments for bullying.
- Cyberbullying and how to stop it.
- Types and consequences of Individual bullying.
- Should laws be enforced to stop bullying?
- Can bullying be a cause for murder?
- What should school authorities do to fight to bully?
- How to identify and manage workplace bullying?
- What does it feel like to be bullied?
- Do bullies specifically choose their targets in school?
- Do people abandon unwanted behavior when they graduate school?
Research Paper Topics on Culture
- Explore the evolution of rap music.
- Is Ethnic conflict avoidable?
- Does religion influence culture and to what extent?
- How do different cultures deal with deaths?
- Culture of my community - A detailed overview
- Gender roles in different cultures - A cross-cultural perspective.
- Discuss the History of cultural revolutions.
- 10 most prominent cultural events of the 20th century.
- Struggles of Interracial Relationships
- The power of Mentoring minorities in the workplace.
Argumentative Research Paper Topics
- Who is to blame for homelessness?
- What should the ideal age for alcohol consumption be?
- Curfews for young adults - Discuss the reasons and consequences
- Can a family survive on the US minimum wage?
- Money itself isn’t the cause of evil but how you choose to use it.
- The death sentence should be activated in every country of the world.
- Smoking in public places has to be banned.
- Should court proceedings be documented for television?
- Why should we lower the voting age?
- Pros and cons of globalization
Persuasive Research Paper Topics
- Kids should be allowed to have their own pets. Elaborate on the reasons.
- Reasons why junk meals must be banned from schools.
- Analyze the productive ways to spend money.
- Parents should be more engaged in the educational process. Why?
- Vaccines have more negative effects than positive ones. Discuss.
- Patients with chronic diseases should be sent to mental hospitals.
- Why is it important to stop the production and selling of weapons?
- What are the major reasons to remain honest in life situations?
- Hobbies do help people with their careers. How?
- Why is an effective time management strategy important for jobs?
History Research Paper Topics
- Cause of the decline of the Mughal dynasty.
- How did the Roman Empire fall?
- Effects Julius Caesar had in Rome.
- How did Genghis Khan conquer Persia?
- Discuss the use of weapons in Ancient Civilizations.
- Bridal Ceremonies in Ancient Rome - A brief overview.
- Social Relationships in Medieval Europe - A case study.
- Understanding the impacts of Apartheid.
- Describe the main causes of the Thirty Years War.
- History of gender bias in England.
Research Paper Topics on Arts
- Differences in the Italian Renaissance and Northern Renaissance.
- Impacts famous artists had on the world.
- Explain the art of Ancient Egypt.
- Art therapy is used to heal people. How?
- Is photography an art?
- Discuss the history of the Bauhaus Movement.
- Discuss the concept of censorship in art.
- Digital art and its rise.
- Hollywood vs. Bollywood.
- Fine art vs. Folk art.
Easy Research Paper Topics
- Steps involved in making a music video?
- Discuss the factors that can stop sexual harassment.
- The negative impacts of feminism on the employment culture.
- How to deal with personality orders?
- Why white-collar jobs losing their significance?
- Discuss the consequences of homeschooling.
- Effects of using plastic bags.
- How to solve the issue of gender discrimination at workplaces?
- Factors that can influence the behavior of an individual.
- Impacts of social networks on mental health
Research Paper Topics on World Problems
- Discuss the examples of human rights violations.
- Consequences of the shortage of natural resources.
- What is the difference between global warming and climate change?
- The crisis of water pollution and shortage.
- Violence and Conflict Resolution in the changing world order.
- World Trade and Tourism - A global agenda for sustainable development.
- How can we overcome the challenge of corruption in governance?
- Discuss the brief history of space exploration.
- What are the effects of migration on the urban population?
- Discuss top wild animals’ endangered species.
Research Paper Topics on Criminal Justice
- Should the police use body cameras?
- What is White-collar crime? Discuss examples.
- Penalties for DUI (Drinking Under the Influence) should be made stricter. Why?
- Discuss laws that protect animal rights.
- 10 facts about hate crimes.
- Causes of Sexual harassment in the workplace.
- What action should the government take to address police brutality?
- Ethics of Assisted suicide.
- Is it possible to cure a serial killer?
- What can we do to curb domestic violence?
Funny Research Paper Topics
- How companies can improve their odds by becoming a unicorn?
- Pop art vs. lady gaga.
- The art of erasing bad memories and only remembering good ones.
- Can chicken feathers determine the speed of tornados?
- Harry Potter and the world of wizards.
- Do You Love Using Your Surname?
- Why Do Most People Love Watching Funny Animal Videos?
- Do You Know What Your Pet Dog Is Thinking?
- All Men Know How To Pick The Right Clothes.
- School Dropouts Are The Best In Our Society.
Good Research Paper Topics
Here are some good research paper topics for you to choose from for your paper.
US History Research Paper Topics
- The American Revolution
- The American Civil War
- The US Constitution
- The American West
- US Presidents
- US Foreign Policy
- The Cold War
- Civil Rights in America
- Latin America and the US
- The Environmental Movement in America
Research Paper Topics on Social Media
- Social media and its effect on human behavior
- The impact of social media on society
- Social media and marketing
- Social media and cyberbullying
- The rise of social media
- Social media and privacy
- Social media addiction
- How social media is changing the way we communicate
- The pros and cons of social media
- Social media and democracy
Research Paper Topics for English Linguistics
- The history and evolution of the English language
- The different dialects of English and their origins
- The influence of English on other languages
- The impact of technology on the English language
- The role of the media in shaping the English language
- The challenges of teaching English as a second language
- The importance of English in the global context
- The future of the English language
- The impact of globalization on the English language
- The role of English in education.
Controversial Research Paper Topics
- Religious freedom
- Violence in media content.
- The limits of self-defense
- Psychological effects of hate crimes
- Gender equality will never exist.
- The medical tourism issue.
- Bloggers are not journalists.
- Is politics always a dirty game?
- Religion is not based on science
- The ethical issues of human cloning.
Nursing Research Paper Topics
- Causes of childhood obesity
- Psychiatric patient ethics
- Common measles complications in children
- Features of the classification of nurses.
- What is epidural?
- How does alcohol addiction happen?
- Proper treatment of sleep disorders
- Major causes of Type II diabetes.
- Drive-thru pharmacy
- Ethical rules on infertility
Research Paper Topics in Chemistry
- Acids properties
- Lewis structure study
- Gas laws application
- The future of inorganic chemistry
- Define and describe steroids
- What is enzyme kinetics?
- Photons and physical chemistry
- Chemistry in everyday life
- Metal oxides in electronics
- The main stages of gasoline production
Ethical Research Paper Topics
- Is donating organs morally justified?
- Ethics and homeless people treatment.
- Is it legal for judges to lie?
- Is assisted suicide not the same as murder?
- The basic notions of ethics
- Bias among employees
- Is it mandatory to give flu shots to kids?
- Role of ethics in friendship
- The issue of truth in ethics
- The correlation between ethics and philosophy
Environmental Research Paper Topics
- Water management
- The scientific standpoint for climate change
- Noise and light pollution
- History of environmental studies
- How and why does acid rain forms?
- Can humans survive without bees?
- Reinforcing the ozone layer: is it possible?
- Evaluate what is meant by urban ecology
- Noise pollution and modernization
- Long-term repercussions of plastic pollution.
Politics Research Paper Topics
- Election ethics
- The interdependence of modern leaders
- The impact of political scandals
- News coverage media bias
- China-US relations in 2022
- The Swedish immigrant crisis
- How did the Afghanistan war start?
- Chinese political thought
- Children soldiers in Africa
- The foreign policy of your country.
Science and Technology Research Paper Topics
- Evolution of war technology
- 5 major fields of robotics
- How to eliminate stalking?
- The impact of digital learning on schools
- Discuss the internet of things story
- How can the internet be improved?
- Types of software security
- IT project management
- Can technology help people quit smoking?
- Cloud computing vs. artificial intelligence
Law Research Paper Topics
- The different types of crime
- Business laws in Africa
- Environmental and wildlife crimes
- The pros and cons of federalism
- Is it time to reform US family law?
- Women and religion
- How does the law regulate drugs?
- The way biometrics affect cybersecurity.
- Importance of capacity to contract
- Intelligent design
Social Research Paper Topics
- Rise of hate groups in society
- How are secure social networks?
- Class and parenting styles
- How has fast food affected society?
- Political culture in the U.S.
- Socialism and its effectiveness
- Class stratification and inequality
- Impact of bullying on mental health
- Importance of marriage
- What are the benefits of arranged marriage?
The above-given interesting research topics will help you write a perfect research paper.
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Creating the best statement of the problem in research paper.
June 1, 2021
What is statement of the problem in research paper? A problem statement in research paper is a type of writing assignment where you identify a problem and propose a process by which you can solve it through a well-thought and researched approach. The problem statement should be two or three sentences long and appear in the introduction.
An example of statement of the problem in research paper may look like this:
“The current staffing model in a major bookstore does not allow for financial profit and sustainability. Managers are not using staff efficiently or effectively enough to stay in business beyond the foreseeable future.”
A student must state the problem clearly and precisely. There are problem statement examples in research paper you can look at to see how this is best achieved.
Follow the problem statement with a couple of sentences that put it into context. This may be background information, history, or a specific example. Your thesis statement should be your proposed process. The following components follow the same structure as most essays, including body paragraphs that present your solution process and a conclusion that summarizes and synthesizes the information of your problem statement research paper.
How to Write Statement of the Problem in Research Paper?
Writing a statement of the problem in research paper is a lot like writing other types of academic assignments. You need to carefully choose a topic, research the topic, organize supporting points, create an outline, draft a paper, revise a paper, and edit and proofread a paper. Here is a step-by-step process for crafting a great assignment:
- Identify the Problem and State Why It Is Important
In your problem statement for research paper, be sure you concisely contextualize the problem and provide some context by giving relevant background information that demonstrates why it is important. You can address questions like “Who does the problem impact?” “Why did the problem arise?” and “What attempts have been made to fix the problem?”
- Set Your Aims and Objectives for Solving the Problem
If you look at an example of problem statement in research paper, you will see that it has a clear framework that addresses your approach towards solving the problem. You may not have a conclusive solution, but you need to present a process that would lead to a positive outcome. Your aims and objectives must show what you intend to explore and investigate. The section is similar to a methods section of a research paper.
- Research and Outline Your Topic and Argument
Your problem statement in a research paper needs to be researched thoroughly for you to submit a completed assignment worthy of a high score. You can start by doing some background research on the web to get familiar with discussions, issues, and questions regarding your topic. Next, you should do academic research at the library where you have access to government and academic resources. If you need assistance, you can always consult the research librarian to address your inquiries. A research librarian can also introduce you to resources available through interlibrary loans.
- Write the First Draft and then Revise the Paper Draft
When you write the first draft, you should always refer to your research paper outline. It helps keep your argument on track and is a great resource to have as you move from one point to the another. Try to write your first draft as quickly as possible, preferably in one sitting. Don’t worry about mistakes you make along the way.
Set your research paper aside for a few days before you start making revisions. It’s a great idea to do this exercise with a fresh perspective. You need to re-imaging your arguments and presentation. It may be necessary to add, rearrange, and delete everything from sentences to entire paragraphs.
- Edit and Proofread the Revised Draft before Submission
When editing, you must check the core features of the document, including word choice, sentence structure, phrases, and language clarity. When proofreading, you must check for mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It’s a good idea to go through these two exercises separately to increase your chances of finding as many instances to make improvements.
Problem Solution Research Paper Topics
When you write a statement of the problem in research paper, choosing a great topic is extremely important toward putting together a great assignment. You should always be sure you understand the assignment in its entirety so that you are not penalized for not following directions. Choose a topic that is interesting to you to make the work more fun and engaging. Be sure to also consider the scope of the topic to ensure you will find relevant information online and in print. Here are some ideas to consider:
- How can we increase medical services to the homeless community?
- How can colleges change major declaration processes to give students better opportunities?
- How can the government provide affordable housing to lower-income families?
- How can cities encourage people to take more public transportation?
- How can the NCAA find ways to compensate players to deter illegal benefits?
- How can universities and colleges help provide services to survivors of suicide?
- How to motivate college basketball players to finish their education instead of turning pro?
- How can we provide equal pay to female athletes in professional sports?
- What is the best way to deal with legal and illegal immigration?
- How can the U.S. provide universal health coverage to all its citizens?
- How to prevent parents from pushing their kids to be financially successful?
- How can we reduce the number of failing students in our high schools?
- What can be done to prevent teacher turnaround in public schools?
- How can parents effectively monitor their children’s use of social media?
- What can teachers do to encourage students to stay focused outside of the classroom?
- How can penalties help minimize texting while driving?
- How can traffic around your community be improved to minimize pollution?
- How to prepare children that are homeschooled for college life?
- How can parents do to keep their children motivated during the pandemic?
- How to help people when you are aware of their depression?
- What can governments do to help parents care for a child with mental disabilities?
- What can schools do to help students learn about managing their finances?
- What can university and college campuses do to make their communities safer?
- How can students finance their way through college?
- How to decide what college or university to attend when there are multiple options?
The above research paper problem statement can be used for free as written or can be modified to fit personal interests and assignment requirements. You are encouraged to come up with topics that interest you, but if you are having trouble brainstorming or are limited in time, then the ones above should get you one step closer.
If you need more assistance with a statement of the problem research paper, we are an academic writing and editing agency that can provide you with a statement of the problem sample research paper or assist you in other ways. Our experts know how to write and edit academic assignments that earn the highest scores. Contact us via chat, email, or phone 24/7 for help.
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As Putin continues killing civilians, bombing kindergartens, and threatening WWIII, Ukraine fights for the world's peaceful future.
Finding Scholarly Articles: Home
What's a Scholarly Article?
Your professor has specified that you are to use scholarly (or primary research or peer-reviewed or refereed or academic) articles only in your paper. What does that mean?
Scholarly or primary research articles are peer-reviewed , which means that they have gone through the process of being read by reviewers or referees before being accepted for publication. When a scholar submits an article to a scholarly journal, the manuscript is sent to experts in that field to read and decide if the research is valid and the article should be published. Typically the reviewers indicate to the journal editors whether they think the article should be accepted, sent back for revisions, or rejected.
To decide whether an article is a primary research article, look for the following:
- The author’s (or authors') credentials and academic affiliation(s) should be given;
- There should be an abstract summarizing the research;
- The methods and materials used should be given, often in a separate section;
- There are citations within the text or footnotes referencing sources used;
- Results of the research are given;
- There should be discussion and conclusion ;
- With a bibliography or list of references at the end.
Caution: even though a journal may be peer-reviewed, not all the items in it will be. For instance, there might be editorials, book reviews, news reports, etc. Check for the parts of the article to be sure.
You can limit your search results to primary research, peer-reviewed or refereed articles in many databases. To search for scholarly articles in HOLLIS , type your keywords in the box at the top, and select Everything from the choices that appear next. On the search results screen, look for the Show Only section on the right and click on Peer-reviewed articles . (Make sure to login in with your HarvardKey to get full-text of the articles that Harvard has purchased.)
Many of the databases that Harvard offers have similar features to limit to peer-reviewed or scholarly articles. For example in Academic Search Premier , click on the box for Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals on the search screen.
Review articles are another great way to find scholarly primary research articles. Review articles are not considered "primary research", but they pull together primary research articles on a topic, summarize and analyze them. In Google Scholar , click on Review Articles at the left of the search results screen. Ask your professor whether review articles can be cited for an assignment.
A note about Google searching. A regular Google search turns up a broad variety of results, which can include scholarly articles but Google results also contain commercial and popular sources which may be misleading, outdated, etc. Use Google Scholar through the Harvard Library instead.
About Wikipedia . W ikipedia is not considered scholarly, and should not be cited, but it frequently includes references to scholarly articles. Before using those references for an assignment, double check by finding them in Hollis or a more specific subject database .
Still not sure about a source? Consult the course syllabus for guidance, contact your professor or teaching fellow, or use the Ask A Librarian service.
- Last Updated: Nov 4, 2021 5:18 PM
- URL: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/FindingScholarlyArticles
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Research Paper Examples
Research paper examples are of great value for students who want to complete their assignments timely and efficiently. If you are a student in the university, your first stop in the quest for research paper examples will be the campus library where you can get to view the research sample papers of lecturers and other professionals in diverse fields plus those of fellow students who preceded you in the campus. Many college departments maintain libraries of previous student work, including large research papers, which current students can examine. Our collection of research paper examples includes:
Browse Sample Research Papers
Anthropology research paper examples.
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Crime Research Paper Examples
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Criminology Research Paper Examples
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Culture Research Paper Examples
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Education Research Paper Examples
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Health Research Paper Examples
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History Research Paper Examples
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Leadership Research Paper Examples
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Mental Health Research Paper Examples
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Political Science Research Paper Examples
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Psychology Research Paper Examples
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Sociology Research Paper Examples
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Technology Research Paper Examples
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Other Research Paper Examples
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- Other Sample Research Papers
To Read Examples or Not to Read
When you get an assignment to write a research paper, the first question you ask yourself is ‘Should I look for research paper examples?’ Maybe, I can deal with this task on my own without any help. Is it that difficult?
Thousands of students turn to our service every day for help. It does not mean that they cannot do their assignments on their own. They can, but the reason is different. Writing a research paper demands so much time and energy that asking for assistance seems to be a perfect solution. As the matter of fact, it is a perfect solution, especially, when you need to work to pay for your studying as well.
Firstly, if you search for research paper examples before you start writing, you can save your time significantly. You look at the example and you understand the gist of your assignment within several minutes. Secondly, when you examine some sample paper, you get to know all the requirements. You analyze the structure, the language, and the formatting details. Finally, reading examples helps students to overcome writer’s block, as other people’s ideas can motivate you to discover your own ideas.
A Sample Research Paper on Child Abuse
A research paper is an academic piece of writing, so you need to follow all the requirements and standards. Otherwise, it will be impossible to get the high results. To make it easier for you, we have analyzed the structure and peculiarities of a sample research paper on the topic ‘Child Abuse’.
The paper includes 7300+ words, a detailed outline, citations are in APA formatting style, and bibliography with 28 sources.
To write any paper you need to write a great outline. This is the key to a perfect paper. When you organize your paper, it is easier for you to present the ideas logically, without jumping from one thought to another.
In the outline, you need to name all the parts of your paper. That is to say, an introduction, main body, conclusion, bibliography, some papers require abstract and proposal as well.
A good outline will serve as a guide through your paper making it easier for the reader to follow your ideas.
Ii. estimates of child abuse: methodological limitations, iii. child abuse and neglect: the legalities, iv. corporal punishment versus child abuse, v. child abuse victims: the patterns, vi. child abuse perpetrators: the patterns, vii. explanations for child abuse, viii. consequences of child abuse and neglect, ix. determining abuse: how to tell whether a child is abused or neglected, x. determining abuse: interviewing children, xi. how can society help abused children and abusive families, introduction.
An introduction should include a thesis statement and the main points that you will discuss in the paper.
A thesis statement is one sentence in which you need to show your point of view. You will then develop this point of view through the whole piece of work:
‘The impact of child abuse affects more than one’s childhood, as the psychological and physical injuries often extend well into adulthood.’
Child abuse is a very real and prominent social problem today. The impact of child abuse affects more than one’s childhood, as the psychological and physical injuries often extend well into adulthood. Most children are defenseless against abuse, are dependent on their caretakers, and are unable to protect themselves from these acts.
Childhood serves as the basis for growth, development, and socialization. Throughout adolescence, children are taught how to become productive and positive, functioning members of society. Much of the socializing of children, particularly in their very earliest years, comes at the hands of family members. Unfortunately, the messages conveyed to and the actions against children by their families are not always the positive building blocks for which one would hope.
In 2008, the Children’s Defense Fund reported that each day in America, 2,421 children are confirmed as abused or neglected, 4 children are killed by abuse or neglect, and 78 babies die before their first birthday. These daily estimates translate into tremendous national figures. In 2006, caseworkers substantiated an estimated 905,000 reports of child abuse or neglect. Of these, 64% suffered neglect, 16% were physically abused, 9% were sexually abused, 7% were emotionally or psychologically maltreated, and 2% were medically neglected. In addition, 15% of the victims experienced “other” types of maltreatment such as abandonment, threats of harm to the child, and congenital drug addiction (National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, 2006). Obviously, this problem is a substantial one.
In the main body, you dwell upon the topic of your paper. You provide your ideas and support them with evidence. The evidence include all the data and material you have found, analyzed and systematized. You can support your point of view with different statistical data, with surveys, and the results of different experiments. Your task is to show that your idea is right, and make the reader interested in the topic.
In this example, a writer analyzes the issue of child abuse: different statistical data, controversies regarding the topic, examples of the problem and the consequences.
Several issues arise when considering the amount of child abuse that occurs annually in the United States. Child abuse is very hard to estimate because much (or most) of it is not reported. Children who are abused are unlikely to report their victimization because they may not know any better, they still love their abusers and do not want to see them taken away (or do not themselves want to be taken away from their abusers), they have been threatened into not reporting, or they do not know to whom they should report their victimizations. Still further, children may report their abuse only to find the person to whom they report does not believe them or take any action on their behalf. Continuing to muddy the waters, child abuse can be disguised as legitimate injury, particularly because young children are often somewhat uncoordinated and are still learning to accomplish physical tasks, may not know their physical limitations, and are often legitimately injured during regular play. In the end, children rarely report child abuse; most often it is an adult who makes a report based on suspicion (e.g., teacher, counselor, doctor, etc.).
Even when child abuse is reported, social service agents and investigators may not follow up or substantiate reports for a variety of reasons. Parents can pretend, lie, or cover up injuries or stories of how injuries occurred when social service agents come to investigate. Further, there is not always agreement about what should be counted as abuse by service providers and researchers. In addition, social service agencies/agents have huge caseloads and may only be able to deal with the most serious forms of child abuse, leaving the more “minor” forms of abuse unsupervised and unmanaged (and uncounted in the statistical totals).
While most laws about child abuse and neglect fall at the state levels, federal legislation provides a foundation for states by identifying a minimum set of acts and behaviors that define child abuse and neglect. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which stems from the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum, “(1) any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation; or (2) an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk or serious harm.”
Using these minimum standards, each state is responsible for providing its own definition of maltreatment within civil and criminal statutes. When defining types of child abuse, many states incorporate similar elements and definitions into their legal statutes. For example, neglect is often defined as failure to provide for a child’s basic needs. Neglect can encompass physical elements (e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision), medical elements (e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment), educational elements (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special educational needs), and emotional elements (e.g., inattention to a child’s emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs). Failure to meet needs does not always mean a child is neglected, as situations such as poverty, cultural values, and community standards can influence the application of legal statutes. In addition, several states distinguish between failure to provide based on financial inability and failure to provide for no apparent financial reason.
Statutes on physical abuse typically include elements of physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of the intention of the caretaker. In addition, many state statutes include allowing or encouraging another person to physically harm a child (such as noted above) as another form of physical abuse in and of itself. Sexual abuse usually includes activities by a parent or caretaker such as fondling a child’s genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure, and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.
Finally, emotional or psychological abuse typically is defined as a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance. Emotional abuse is often the most difficult to prove and, therefore, child protective services may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm to the child. Some states suggest that harm may be evidenced by an observable or substantial change in behavior, emotional response, or cognition, or by anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or aggressive behavior. At a practical level, emotional abuse is almost always present when other types of abuse are identified.
Some states include an element of substance abuse in their statutes on child abuse. Circumstances that can be considered substance abuse include (a) the manufacture of a controlled substance in the presence of a child or on the premises occupied by a child (Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia); (b) allowing a child to be present where the chemicals or equipment for the manufacture of controlled substances are used (Arizona, New Mexico); (c) selling, distributing, or giving drugs or alcohol to a child (Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, and Texas); (d) use of a controlled substance by a caregiver that impairs the caregiver’s ability to adequately care for the child (Kentucky, New York, Rhode Island, and Texas); and (e) exposure of the child to drug paraphernalia (North Dakota), the criminal sale or distribution of drugs (Montana, Virginia), or drug-related activity (District of Columbia).
One of the most difficult issues with which the U.S. legal system must contend is that of allowing parents the right to use corporal punishment when disciplining a child, while not letting them cross over the line into the realm of child abuse. Some parents may abuse their children under the guise of discipline, and many instances of child abuse arise from angry parents who go too far when disciplining their children with physical punishment. Generally, state statutes use terms such as “reasonable discipline of a minor,” “causes only temporary, short-term pain,” and may cause “the potential for bruising” but not “permanent damage, disability, disfigurement or injury” to the child as ways of indicating the types of discipline behaviors that are legal. However, corporal punishment that is “excessive,” “malicious,” “endangers the bodily safety of,” or is “an intentional infliction of injury” is not allowed under most state statutes (e.g., state of Florida child abuse statute).
Most research finds that the use of physical punishment (most often spanking) is not an effective method of discipline. The literature on this issue tends to find that spanking stops misbehavior, but no more effectively than other firm measures. Further, it seems to hinder rather than improve general compliance/obedience (particularly when the child is not in the presence of the punisher). Researchers have also explained why physical punishment is not any more effective at gaining child compliance than nonviolent forms of discipline. Some of the problems that arise when parents use spanking or other forms of physical punishment include the fact that spanking does not teach what children should do, nor does it provide them with alternative behavior options should the circumstance arise again. Spanking also undermines reasoning, explanation, or other forms of parental instruction because children cannot learn, reason, or problem solve well while experiencing threat, pain, fear, or anger. Further, the use of physical punishment is inconsistent with nonviolent principles, or parental modeling. In addition, the use of spanking chips away at the bonds of affection between parents and children, and tends to induce resentment and fear. Finally, it hinders the development of empathy and compassion in children, and they do not learn to take responsibility for their own behavior (Pitzer, 1997).
One of the biggest problems with the use of corporal punishment is that it can escalate into much more severe forms of violence. Usually, parents spank because they are angry (and somewhat out of control) and they can’t think of other ways to discipline. When parents are acting as a result of emotional triggers, the notion of discipline is lost while punishment and pain become the foci.
In 2006, of the children who were found to be victims of child abuse, nearly 75% of them were first-time victims (or had not come to the attention of authorities prior). A slight majority of child abuse victims were girls—51.5%, compared to 48% of abuse victims being boys. The younger the child, the more at risk he or she is for child abuse and neglect victimization. Specifically, the rate for infants (birth to 1 year old) was approximately 24 per 1,000 children of the same age group. The victimization rate for children 1–3 years old was 14 per 1,000 children of the same age group. The abuse rate for children aged 4– 7 years old declined further to 13 per 1,000 children of the same age group. African American, American Indian, and Alaska Native children, as well as children of multiple races, had the highest rates of victimization. White and Latino children had lower rates, and Asian children had the lowest rates of child abuse and neglect victimization. Regarding living arrangements, nearly 27% of victims were living with a single mother, 20% were living with married parents, while 22% were living with both parents but the marital status was unknown. (This reporting element had nearly 40% missing data, however.) Regarding disability, nearly 8% of child abuse victims had some degree of mental retardation, emotional disturbance, visual or hearing impairment, learning disability, physical disability, behavioral problems, or other medical problems. Unfortunately, data indicate that for many victims, the efforts of the child protection services system were not successful in preventing subsequent victimization. Children who had been prior victims of maltreatment were 96% more likely to experience another occurrence than those who were not prior victims. Further, child victims who were reported to have a disability were 52% more likely to experience recurrence than children without a disability. Finally, the oldest victims (16–21 years of age) were the least likely to experience a recurrence, and were 51% less likely to be victimized again than were infants (younger than age 1) (National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, 2006).
Child fatalities are the most tragic consequence of maltreatment. Yet, each year, children die from abuse and neglect. In 2006, an estimated 1,530 children in the United States died due to abuse or neglect. The overall rate of child fatalities was 2 deaths per 100,000 children. More than 40% of child fatalities were attributed to neglect, but physical abuse also was a major contributor. Approximately 78% of the children who died due to child abuse and neglect were younger than 4 years old, and infant boys (younger than 1) had the highest rate of fatalities at 18.5 deaths per 100,000 boys of the same age in the national population. Infant girls had a rate of 14.7 deaths per 100,000 girls of the same age (National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, 2006).
One question to be addressed regarding child fatalities is why infants have such a high rate of death when compared to toddlers and adolescents. Children under 1 year old pose an immense amount of responsibility for their caretakers: they are completely dependent and need constant attention. Children this age are needy, impulsive, and not amenable to verbal control or effective communication. This can easily overwhelm vulnerable parents. Another difficulty associated with infants is that they are physically weak and small. Injuries to infants can be fatal, while similar injuries to older children might not be. The most common cause of death in children less than 1 year is cerebral trauma (often the result of shaken-baby syndrome). Exasperated parents can deliver shakes or blows without realizing how little it takes to cause irreparable or fatal damage to an infant. Research informs us that two of the most common triggers for fatal child abuse are crying that will not cease and toileting accidents. Both of these circumstances are common in infants and toddlers whose only means of communication often is crying, and who are limited in mobility and cannot use the toilet. Finally, very young children cannot assist in injury diagnoses. Children who have been injured due to abuse or neglect often cannot communicate to medical professionals about where it hurts, how it hurts, and so forth. Also, nonfatal injuries can turn fatal in the absence of care by neglectful parents or parents who do not want medical professionals to possibly identify an injury as being the result of abuse.
Estimates reveal that nearly 80% of perpetrators of child abuse were parents of the victim. Other relatives accounted for nearly 7%, and unmarried partners of parents made up 4% of perpetrators. Of those perpetrators that were parents, over 90% were biological parents, 4% were stepparents, and 0.7% were adoptive parents. Of this group, approximately 58% of perpetrators were women and 42% were men. Women perpetrators are typically younger than men. The average age for women abusers was 31 years old, while for men the average was 34 years old. Forty percent of women who abused were younger than 30 years of age, compared with 33% of men being under 30. The racial distribution of perpetrators is similar to that of victims. Fifty-four percent were white, 21% were African American, and 20% were Hispanic/Latino (National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, 2006).
There are many factors that are associated with child abuse. Some of the more common/well-accepted explanations are individual pathology, parent–child interaction, past abuse in the family (or social learning), situational factors, and cultural support for physical punishment along with a lack of cultural support for helping parents here in the United States.
The first explanation centers on the individual pathology of a parent or caretaker who is abusive. This theory focuses on the idea that people who abuse their children have something wrong with their individual personality or biological makeup. Such psychological pathologies may include having anger control problems; being depressed or having post-partum depression; having a low tolerance for frustration (e.g., children can be extremely frustrating: they don’t always listen; they constantly push the line of how far they can go; and once the line has been established, they are constantly treading on it to make sure it hasn’t moved. They are dependent and self-centered, so caretakers have very little privacy or time to themselves); being rigid (e.g., having no tolerance for differences—for example, what if your son wanted to play with dolls? A rigid father would not let him, laugh at him for wanting to, punish him when he does, etc.); having deficits in empathy (parents who cannot put themselves in the shoes of their children cannot fully understand what their children need emotionally); or being disorganized, inefficient, and ineffectual. (Parents who are unable to manage their own lives are unlikely to be successful at managing the lives of their children, and since many children want and need limits, these parents are unable to set them or adhere to them.)
Biological pathologies that may increase the likelihood of someone becoming a child abuser include having substance abuse or dependence problems, or having persistent or reoccurring physical health problems (especially health problems that can be extremely painful and can cause a person to become more self-absorbed, both qualities that can give rise to a lack of patience, lower frustration tolerance, and increased stress).
The second explanation for child abuse centers on the interaction between the parent and the child, noting that certain types of parents are more likely to abuse, and certain types of children are more likely to be abused, and when these less-skilled parents are coupled with these more difficult children, child abuse is the most likely to occur. Discussion here focuses on what makes a parent less skilled, and what makes a child more difficult. Characteristics of unskilled parents are likely to include such traits as only pointing out what children do wrong and never giving any encouragement for good behavior, and failing to be sensitive to the emotional needs of children. Less skilled parents tend to have unrealistic expectations of children. They may engage in role reversal— where the parents make the child take care of them—and view the parent’s happiness and well-being as the responsibility of the child. Some parents view the parental role as extremely stressful and experience little enjoyment from being a parent. Finally, less-skilled parents tend to have more negative perceptions regarding their child(ren). For example, perhaps the child has a different shade of skin than they expected and this may disappoint or anger them, they may feel the child is being manipulative (long before children have this capability), or they may view the child as the scapegoat for all the parents’ or family’s problems. Theoretically, parents with these characteristics would be more likely to abuse their children, but if they are coupled with having a difficult child, they would be especially likely to be abusive. So, what makes a child more difficult? Certainly, through no fault of their own, children may have characteristics that are associated with child care that is more demanding and difficult than in the “normal” or “average” situation. Such characteristics can include having physical and mental disabilities (autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], hyperactivity, etc.); the child may be colicky, frequently sick, be particularly needy, or cry more often. In addition, some babies are simply unhappier than other babies for reasons that cannot be known. Further, infants are difficult even in the best of circumstances. They are unable to communicate effectively, and they are completely dependent on their caretakers for everything, including eating, diaper changing, moving around, entertainment, and emotional bonding. Again, these types of children, being more difficult, are more likely to be victims of child abuse.
Nonetheless, each of these types of parents and children alone cannot explain the abuse of children, but it is the interaction between them that becomes the key. Unskilled parents may produce children that are happy and not as needy, and even though they are unskilled, they do not abuse because the child takes less effort. At the same time, children who are more difficult may have parents who are skilled and are able to handle and manage the extra effort these children take with aplomb. However, risks for child abuse increase when unskilled parents must contend with difficult children.
Social learning or past abuse in the family is a third common explanation for child abuse. Here, the theory concentrates not only on what children learn when they see or experience violence in their homes, but additionally on what they do not learn as a result of these experiences. Social learning theory in the context of family violence stresses that if children are abused or see abuse (toward siblings or a parent), those interactions and violent family members become the representations and role models for their future familial interactions. In this way, what children learn is just as important as what they do not learn. Children who witness or experience violence may learn that this is the way parents deal with children, or that violence is an acceptable method of child rearing and discipline. They may think when they become parents that “violence worked on me when I was a child, and I turned out fine.” They may learn unhealthy relationship interaction patterns; children may witness the negative interactions of parents and they may learn the maladaptive or violent methods of expressing anger, reacting to stress, or coping with conflict.
What is equally as important, though, is that they are unlikely to learn more acceptable and nonviolent ways of rearing children, interacting with family members, and working out conflict. Here it may happen that an adult who was abused as a child would like to be nonviolent toward his or her own children, but when the chips are down and the child is misbehaving, this abused-child-turned-adult does not have a repertoire of nonviolent strategies to try. This parent is more likely to fall back on what he or she knows as methods of discipline.
Something important to note here is that not all abused children grow up to become abusive adults. Children who break the cycle were often able to establish and maintain one healthy emotional relationship with someone during their childhoods (or period of young adulthood). For instance, they may have received emotional support from a nonabusing parent, or they received social support and had a positive relationship with another adult during their childhood (e.g., teacher, coach, minister, neighbor, etc.). Abused children who participate in therapy during some period of their lives can often break the cycle of violence. In addition, adults who were abused but are able to form an emotionally supportive and satisfying relationship with a mate can make the transition to being nonviolent in their family interactions.
Moving on to a fourth familiar explanation for child abuse, there are some common situational factors that influence families and parents and increase the risks for child abuse. Typically, these are factors that increase family stress or social isolation. Specifically, such factors may include receiving public assistance or having low socioeconomic status (a combination of low income and low education). Other factors include having family members who are unemployed, underemployed (working in a job that requires lower qualifications than an individual possesses), or employed only part time. These financial difficulties cause great stress for families in meeting the needs of the individual members. Other stress-inducing familial characteristics are single-parent households and larger family size. Finally, social isolation can be devastating for families and family members. Having friends to talk to, who can be relied upon, and with whom kids can be dropped off occasionally is tremendously important for personal growth and satisfaction in life. In addition, social isolation and stress can cause individuals to be quick to lose their tempers, as well as cause people to be less rational in their decision making and to make mountains out of mole hills. These situations can lead families to be at greater risk for child abuse.
Finally, cultural views and supports (or lack thereof) can lead to greater amounts of child abuse in a society such as the United States. One such cultural view is that of societal support for physical punishment. This is problematic because there are similarities between the way criminals are dealt with and the way errant children are handled. The use of capital punishment is advocated for seriously violent criminals, and people are quick to use such idioms as “spare the rod and spoil the child” when it comes to the discipline or punishment of children. In fact, it was not until quite recently that parenting books began to encourage parents to use other strategies than spanking or other forms of corporal punishment in the discipline of their children. Only recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out and recommended that parents do not spank or use other forms of violence on their children because of the deleterious effects such methods have on youngsters and their bonds with their parents. Nevertheless, regardless of recommendations, the culture of corporal punishment persists.
Another cultural view in the United States that can give rise to greater incidents of child abuse is the belief that after getting married, couples of course should want and have children. Culturally, Americans consider that children are a blessing, raising kids is the most wonderful thing a person can do, and everyone should have children. Along with this notion is the idea that motherhood is always wonderful; it is the most fulfilling thing a woman can do; and the bond between a mother and her child is strong, glorious, and automatic—all women love being mothers. Thus, culturally (and theoretically), society nearly insists that married couples have children and that they will love having children. But, after children are born, there is not much support for couples who have trouble adjusting to parenthood, or who do not absolutely love their new roles as parents. People look askance at parents who need help, and cannot believe parents who say anything negative about parenthood. As such, theoretically, society has set up a situation where couples are strongly encouraged to have kids, are told they will love kids, but then society turns a blind or disdainful eye when these same parents need emotional, financial, or other forms of help or support. It is these types of cultural viewpoints that increase the risks for child abuse in society.
The consequences of child abuse are tremendous and long lasting. Research has shown that the traumatic experience of childhood abuse is life changing. These costs may surface during adolescence, or they may not become evident until abused children have grown up and become abusing parents or abused spouses. Early identification and treatment is important to minimize these potential long-term effects. Whenever children say they have been abused, it is imperative that they be taken seriously and their abuse be reported. Suspicions of child abuse must be reported as well. If there is a possibility that a child is or has been abused, an investigation must be conducted.
Children who have been abused may exhibit traits such as the inability to love or have faith in others. This often translates into adults who are unable to establish lasting and stable personal relationships. These individuals have trouble with physical closeness and touching as well as emotional intimacy and trust. Further, these qualities tend to cause a fear of entering into new relationships, as well as the sabotaging of any current ones.
Psychologically, children who have been abused tend to have poor self-images or are passive, withdrawn, or clingy. They may be angry individuals who are filled with rage, anxiety, and a variety of fears. They are often aggressive, disruptive, and depressed. Many abused children have flashbacks and nightmares about the abuse they have experienced, and this may cause sleep problems as well as drug and alcohol problems. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and antisocial personality disorder are both typical among maltreated children. Research has also shown that most abused children fail to reach “successful psychosocial functioning,” and are thus not resilient and do not resume a “normal life” after the abuse has ended.
Socially (and likely because of these psychological injuries), abused children have trouble in school, will have difficulty getting and remaining employed, and may commit a variety of illegal or socially inappropriate behaviors. Many studies have shown that victims of child abuse are likely to participate in high-risk behaviors such as alcohol or drug abuse, the use of tobacco, and high-risk sexual behaviors (e.g., unprotected sex, large numbers of sexual partners). Later in life, abused children are more likely to have been arrested and homeless. They are also less able to defend themselves in conflict situations and guard themselves against repeated victimizations.
Medically, abused children likely will experience health problems due to the high frequency of physical injuries they receive. In addition, abused children experience a great deal of emotional turmoil and stress, which can also have a significant impact on their physical condition. These health problems are likely to continue occurring into adulthood. Some of these longer-lasting health problems include headaches; eating problems; problems with toileting; and chronic pain in the back, stomach, chest, and genital areas. Some researchers have noted that abused children may experience neurological impairment and problems with intellectual functioning, while others have found a correlation between abuse and heart, lung, and liver disease, as well as cancer (Thomas, 2004).
Victims of sexual abuse show an alarming number of disturbances as adults. Some dislike and avoid sex, or experience sexual problems or disorders, while other victims appear to enjoy sexual activities that are self-defeating or maladaptive—normally called “dysfunctional sexual behavior”—and have many sexual partners.
Abused children also experience a wide variety of developmental delays. Many do not reach physical, cognitive, or emotional developmental milestones at the typical time, and some never accomplish what they are supposed to during childhood socialization. In the next section, these developmental delays are discussed as a means of identifying children who may be abused.
There are two primary ways of identifying children who are abused: spotting and evaluating physical injuries, and detecting and appraising developmental delays. Distinguishing physical injuries due to abuse can be difficult, particularly among younger children who are likely to get hurt or receive injuries while they are playing and learning to become ambulatory. Nonetheless, there are several types of wounds that children are unlikely to give themselves during their normal course of play and exploration. These less likely injuries may signal instances of child abuse.
While it is true that children are likely to get bruises, particularly when they are learning to walk or crawl, bruises on infants are not normal. Also, the back of the legs, upper arms, or on the chest, neck, head, or genitals are also locations where bruises are unlikely to occur during normal childhood activity. Further, bruises with clean patterns, like hand prints, buckle prints, or hangers (to name a few), are good examples of the types of bruises children do not give themselves.
Another area of physical injury where the source of the injury can be difficult to detect is fractures. Again, children fall out of trees, or crash their bikes, and can break limbs. These can be normal parts of growing up. However, fractures in infants less than 12 months old are particularly suspect, as infants are unlikely to be able to accomplish the types of movement necessary to actually break a leg or an arm. Further, multiple fractures, particularly more than one on a bone, should be examined more closely. Spiral or torsion fractures (when the bone is broken by twisting) are suspect because when children break their bones due to play injuries, the fractures are usually some other type (e.g., linear, oblique, compacted). In addition, when parents don’t know about the fracture(s) or how it occurred, abuse should be considered, because when children get these types of injuries, they need comfort and attention.
Head and internal injuries are also those that may signal abuse. Serious blows to the head cause internal head injuries, and this is very different from the injuries that result from bumping into things. Abused children are also likely to experience internal injuries like those to the abdomen, liver, kidney, and bladder. They may suffer a ruptured spleen, or intestinal perforation. These types of damages rarely happen by accident.
Burns are another type of physical injury that can happen by accident or by abuse. Nevertheless, there are ways to tell these types of burn injuries apart. The types of burns that should be examined and investigated are those where the burns are in particular locations. Burns to the bottom of the feet, genitals, abdomen, or other inaccessible spots should be closely considered. Burns of the whole hand or those to the buttocks are also unlikely to happen as a result of an accident.
Turning to the detection and appraisal of developmental delays, one can more readily assess possible abuse by considering what children of various ages should be able to accomplish, than by noting when children are delayed and how many milestones on which they are behind schedule. Importantly, a few delays in reaching milestones can be expected, since children develop individually and not always according to the norm. Nonetheless, when children are abused, their development is likely to be delayed in numerous areas and across many milestones.
As children develop and grow, they should be able to crawl, walk, run, talk, control going to the bathroom, write, set priorities, plan ahead, trust others, make friends, develop a good self-image, differentiate between feeling and behavior, and get their needs met in appropriate ways. As such, when children do not accomplish these feats, their circumstances should be examined.
Infants who are abused or neglected typically develop what is termed failure to thrive syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by slow, inadequate growth, or not “filling out” physically. They have a pale, colorless complexion and dull eyes. They are not likely to spend much time looking around, and nothing catches their eyes. They may show other signs of lack of nutrition such as cuts, bruises that do not heal in a timely way, and discolored fingernails. They are also not trusting and may not cry much, as they are not expecting to have their needs met. Older infants may not have developed any language skills, or these developments are quite slow. This includes both verbal and nonverbal means of communication.
Toddlers who are abused often become hypervigilant about their environments and others’ moods. They are more outwardly focused than a typical toddler (who is quite self-centered) and may be unable to separate themselves as individuals, or consider themselves as distinct beings. In this way, abused toddlers cannot focus on tasks at hand because they are too concerned about others’ reactions. They don’t play with toys, have no interest in exploration, and seem unable to enjoy life. They are likely to accept losses with little reaction, and may have age-inappropriate knowledge of sex and sexual relations. Finally, toddlers, whether they are abused or not, begin to mirror their parents’ behaviors. Thus, toddlers who are abused may mimic the abuse when they are playing with dolls or “playing house.”
Developmental delays can also be detected among abused young adolescents. Some signs include the failure to learn cause and effect, since their parents are so inconsistent. They have no energy for learning and have not developed beyond one- or two-word commands. They probably cannot follow complicated directions (such as two to three tasks per instruction), and they are unlikely to be able to think for themselves. Typically, they have learned that failure is totally unacceptable, but they are more concerned with the teacher’s mood than with learning and listening to instruction. Finally, they are apt to have been inadequately toilet trained and thus may be unable to control their bladders.
Older adolescents, because they are likely to have been abused for a longer period of time, continue to get further and further behind in their developmental achievements. Abused children this age become family nurturers. They take care of their parents and cater to their parents’ needs, rather than the other way around. In addition, they probably take care of any younger siblings and do the household chores. Because of these default responsibilities, they usually do not participate in school activities; they frequently miss days at school; and they have few, if any, friends. Because they have become so hypervigilant and have increasingly delayed development, they lose interest in and become disillusioned with education. They develop low self-esteem and little confidence, but seem old for their years. Children this age who are abused are still likely to be unable to control their bladders and may have frequent toileting accidents.
Other developmental delays can occur and be observed in abused and neglected children of any age. For example, malnutrition and withdrawal can be noticed in infants through teenagers. Maltreated children frequently have persistent or untreated illnesses, and these can become permanent disabilities if medical conditions go untreated for a long enough time. Another example can be the consequences of neurological damage. Beyond being a medical issue, this type of damage can cause problems with social behavior and impulse control, which, again, can be discerned in various ages of children.
Once child abuse is suspected, law enforcement officers, child protection workers, or various other practitioners may need to interview the child about the abuse or neglect he or she may have suffered. Interviewing children can be extremely difficult because children at various stages of development can remember only certain parts or aspects of the events in their lives. Also, interviewers must be careful that they do not put ideas or answers into the heads of the children they are interviewing. There are several general recommendations when interviewing children about the abuse they may have experienced. First, interviewers must acknowledge that even when children are abused, they likely still love their parents. They do not want to be taken away from their parents, nor do they want to see their parents get into trouble. Interviewers must not blame the parents or be judgmental about them or the child’s family. Beyond that, interviews should take place in a safe, neutral location. Interviewers can use dolls and role-play to help children express the types of abuse of which they may be victims.
Finally, interviewers must ask age-appropriate questions. For example, 3-year-olds can probably only answer questions about what happened and who was involved. Four- to five-year-olds can also discuss where the incidents occurred. Along with what, who, and where, 6- to 8-year-olds can talk about the element of time, or when the abuse occurred. Nine- to 10-year-olds are able to add commentary about the number of times the abuse occurred. Finally, 11-year-olds and older children can additionally inform interviewers about the circumstances of abusive instances.
A conclusion is not a summary of what a writer has already mentioned. On the contrary, it is the last point made. Taking every detail of the investigation, the researcher makes the concluding point. In this part of a paper, you need to put a full stop in your research. You need to persuade the reader in your opinion.
Never add any new information in the conclusion. You can present solutions to the problem and you dwell upon the results, but only if this information has been already mentioned in the main body.
Child advocates recommend a variety of strategies to aid families and children experiencing abuse. These recommendations tend to focus on societal efforts as well as more individual efforts. One common strategy advocated is the use of public service announcements that encourage individuals to report any suspected child abuse. Currently, many mandatory reporters (those required by law to report abuse such as teachers, doctors, and social service agency employees) and members of communities feel that child abuse should not be reported unless there is substantial evidence that abuse is indeed occurring. Child advocates stress that this notion should be changed, and that people should report child abuse even if it is only suspected. Public service announcements should stress that if people report suspected child abuse, the worst that can happen is that they might be wrong, but in the grander scheme of things that is really not so bad.
Child advocates also stress that greater interagency cooperation is needed. This cooperation should be evident between women’s shelters, child protection agencies, programs for at-risk children, medical agencies, and law enforcement officers. These agencies typically do not share information, and if they did, more instances of child abuse would come to the attention of various authorities and could be investigated and managed. Along these lines, child protection agencies and programs should receive more funding. When budgets are cut, social services are often the first things to go or to get less financial support. Child advocates insist that with more resources, child protection agencies could hire more workers, handle more cases, conduct more investigations, and follow up with more children and families.
Continuing, more educational efforts must be initiated about issues such as punishment and discipline styles and strategies; having greater respect for children; as well as informing the community about what child abuse is, and how to recognize it. In addition, Americans must alter the cultural orientation about child bearing and child rearing. Couples who wish to remain child-free must be allowed to do so without disdain. And, it must be acknowledged that raising children is very difficult, is not always gloriously wonderful, and that parents who seek help should be lauded and not criticized. These kinds of efforts can help more children to be raised in nonviolent, emotionally satisfying families, and thus become better adults.
When you write a paper, make sure you are aware of all the formatting requirements. Incorrect formatting can lower your mark, so do not underestimate the importance of this part.
Organizing your bibliography is quite a tedious and time-consuming task. Still, you need to do it flawlessly. For this reason, analyze all the standards you need to meet or ask professionals to help you with it. All the comas, colons, brackets etc. matter. They truly do.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: https://www.aap.org/
- Bancroft, L., & Silverman, J. G. (2002). The batterer as parent. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g (1998).
- Childhelp: Child Abuse Statistics: https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/
- Children’s Defense Fund: https://www.childrensdefense.org/
- Child Stats.gov: https://www.childstats.gov/
- Child Welfare League of America: https://www.cwla.org/
- Crosson-Tower, C. (2008). Understanding child abuse and neglect (7th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
- DeBecker, G. (1999). Protecting the gift: Keeping children and teenagers safe (and parents sane). New York: Bantam Dell.
- Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire: https://cola.unh.edu/family-research-laboratory
- Guterman, N. B. (2001). Stopping child maltreatment before it starts: Emerging horizons in early home visitation services. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Herman, J. L. (2000). Father-daughter incest. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Medline Plus, Child Abuse: https://medlineplus.gov/childabuse.html
- Myers, J. E. B. (Ed.). (1994). The backlash: Child protection under fire. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: https://www.missingkids.org/home
- National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. (2006). Child maltreatment 2006: Reports from the states to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
- New York University Silver School of Social Work: https://socialwork.nyu.edu/
- Pitzer, R. L. (1997). Corporal punishment in the discipline of children in the home: Research update for practitioners. Paper presented at the National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference, Washington, DC.
- RAND, Child Abuse and Neglect: https://www.rand.org/topics/child-abuse-and-neglect.html
- Richards, C. E. (2001). The loss of innocents: Child killers and their victims. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources.
- Straus, M. A. (2001). Beating the devil out of them: Corporal punishment in American families and its effects on children. Edison, NJ: Transaction.
- Thomas, P. M. (2004). Protection, dissociation, and internal roles: Modeling and treating the effects of child abuse. Review of General Psychology, 7(15).
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/
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- A Research Guide
- Research Paper Topics
30 Controversial Topics for Research Paper
Sometimes even a simple topic can be a challenge to come up with. So no wonder that so many people get stuck when they are asked to write a research paper with a controversial topic. Some of them are just too acute to choose, because they can turn a civilized discussion to the outright verbal fight. Some of them were controversial but (fortunately) humanity manages to found a solution so now people just let the wounds heal.
Trying to choose a topic please be gentle and think about your audience. Make sure that nothing you are going to write is offending or outright unacceptable for the majority. Taking such a topic may lead to the situation when you will stand against the crowd alone. No matter how good your facts are and how logical your point is proven – you won’t be able to persuade anyone. From the other hand, the topic that isn’t interesting and touching enough can’t count as controversial.
Before writing the research paper, study all possible approaches and points of view that are connected with the topic of your choice. This will prepare you for the possible arguments against your point of view. You will also check if you have the equally powerful opposing point of view. If the other versions are substantially weaker than yours, the topic can’t pass as controversial.
Read also: How to make a research paper for college.
In any case, whatever topic you choose, you should study the subject of it from every side and only after it choose the point of view you will write about. Be careful and objective, never omit the facts that prove another points of view. Remember that your controversial research paper won’t solve the issue, it is needed to teach you to look at the issue from all the sides possible and hold the discussion.
You may use the list of sample topics we gathered for you to get inspired and use the ideas in your own research. Good luck!
- Abortions: pro-life, pro-choice or the third option?
- Shall kids from the religious families choose their religion when they grow up?
- Military veterans: do they really feel better in the civilian life or shall they return to war?
- Child transitioning: shall it be allowed?
- Is civil marriage a marriage too?
- Shall national cultures be preserved in the age of globalization?
- Homeopathy: a traditional remedy or a fraud?
- Are single parents still ostracized by the society?
- Can the convicted criminals return to the ordinary life after prison?
- Can euthanasia count as palliative treatment?
- Did Stalin raised the USSR from the economical abyss?
- Can human cloning be allowed?
- Teenage marriages: are there cases when they are justified?
- The limits of self-defence
- Where are the limits of harassment?
- Can all the religions be merged into the universal one to stop the religion wars?
- Modern beauty standards: a way to the healthy body or self-esteem killers?
- Do churches become business now?
- Can censorship be justified when national security is endangered?
- Freedom versus safety: how much control shall government have over our lives?
- Single-sex schools: raising ladies and gentlemen or isolating kids from each other?
- Does sex still sell? Tapping on our primal instincts in advertising
- The ethics of surrogate motherhood
- Is sex work an actual work? Legalisation of prostitution: pros and cons
- Shall cursing people and using black magic be a criminal offense as psychological assault?
- What measures are justified when fighting terrorism?
- Is obesity the new norm?
- Shall we welcome all the immigrants and refugees?
- Living vegan: is it good for health?
- Can someone invent a new religion just for personal purposes?
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Why is the research problem important? Step 1: Identify a broad problem area Step 2: Learn more about the problem Next steps Frequently asked questions about research problems Why is the research problem important? Having an interesting topic isn’t a strong enough basis for academic research.
Step 3: Establish your research problem. The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses. Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance. In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument. Argumentative paper ...
A problem statement is an explanation in research that describes the issue that is in need of study. What problem is the research attempting to address? Having a Problem Statement allows the reader to quickly understand the purpose and intent of the research. The importance of writing your research proposal cannot be stressed enough.
35 Problem Topics for Research Papers. Our society have plenty of problems to be solved, let’s admit it. But before we found the solution they should be thoroughly studied from the every side possible. If it’s your task for now, feel free to use our short guide.
Step 1: Identifying Problem Area – What is Research Problem The most significant step in any research is to look for unexplored areas, topics, and controversies. You aim to find gaps that your work will fill. Here are some research problem examples for you to better understand the concept. Practical Research Problems
Here are the 6 important types of research questions that you should know about when creating it for your research paper. Exploratory Questions - These questions are designed to explore the question in detail. Predictive Questions - These questions are used to predict the results of the research.
A problem statement in research paper is a type of writing assignment where you identify a problem and propose a process by which you can solve it through a well-thought and researched approach. The problem statement should be two or three sentences long and appear in the introduction.
You can limit your search results to primary research, peer-reviewed or refereed articles in many databases. To search for scholarly articles in HOLLIS, type your keywords in the box at the top, and select Everything from the choices that appear next. On the search results screen, look for the Show Only section on the right and click on Peer ...
Research paper examples are of great value for students who want to complete their assignments timely and efficiently. If you are a student in the university, your first stop in the quest for research paper examples will be the campus library where you can get to view the research sample papers of lecturers and other professionals in diverse fields plus those of fellow students who preceded ...
Remember that your controversial research paper won’t solve the issue, it is needed to teach you to look at the issue from all the sides possible and hold the discussion. You may use the list of sample topics we gathered for you to get inspired and use the ideas in your own research. Good luck! Abortions: pro-life, pro-choice or the third option?