Topic suggestions for Argumentative Research
for your preliminary assignment (and for the success of your argument
paper), you must frame your issue in the form of a arguable thesis
statement. Asking a question isn't a thesis; providing an answer is. Stating a
problem isn't a thesis; offering a solution is.
So you must articulate a position on an issue. If you doubt your thesis, use
the word "should" in the thesis to ensure that the thesis statement is
arguing for or against something.
potential topics that could be framed in a thesis statement, you know that much exists on
the web, in newspapers and magazines, and certainly on TV and radio that lend
themselves to potential topic ideas. If you need help finding a topic, here are
a couple of websites to help get you started:
Cal State at Long
Hot Topics page
(this one has a large collection of links to other college
and university argument topics websites)
The New York Times has a
of topics as good as any, but not every topic will work
for our assignment. At minimum, the list should give you
certainly just google "argument topics" or "research topics" and wander
through the results until you hit upon something you believe might work.
Otherwise, consider the
suggestions below. (Each has been proposed as a topic for this
assignment and I consider each a viable topic choice.)
- We should develop some sort
[what sort?] of internet censorship. Not all
free expression is protected by the First Amendment.
- We should initiate a
single-payer health insurance
program in the United States and model the program on successful ones used in
Europe [or Canada]. Or we should implement a voucher-based
system of health insurance nationwide.
- We should use death row inmates as subjects for medical
testing rather than animals.
- Drivers in the state of
Minnesota who are over 70 years old must pass an annual test for eyesight and
physical ability before they can renew their driver's license.
- All Minnesota K - 12 public schools should adopt a school uniform
- We should not allow novels that
include explicit or mature content in high school libraries (examples include
The Crucible or Huck Finn).
- Physician-assisted suicide should be legal in cases where
death is certain and consent is from the dying (in writing).
- All animal experimentation (including cancer research) should
be outlawed as advances in technology have made animal testing unnecessary.
- Parents should consider plastic surgery to alter physical
features of a child born with a handicap (such as Downs Syndrome or other birth defect),
and insurance should pay for it.
- The classroom size of grades K through 5
statewide should be set at a
maximum of 20 students.
- Drivers in MN [or nationwide] should
not be permitted to use cell phones while driving (talking and/or texting).
- We should not lower any
physical requirement guidelines
so that women may be admitted
the military [or fire or police departments].
- Fathers should be allowed the same treatment as mothers in
family court decisions. Too many times the mother is favored because of the
- Children should not be exposed to computer technology until
late in the education process [which year?] because computers often distract young
learners from learning the basics, or have the basics done for them by computers.
- We should legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Or
we should legalize marijuana completely as a legal recreational and therapeutic drug.
Or we should ban the use of marijuana for any purpose [statewide or
- We should encourage alternative medicinal solutions
diseases first [such as?] before attempting conventional treatments. Furthermore, alternative
medicine should be covered by conventional health insurance policies.
- Every state should enact a divorce counseling law that
requires married couples to go through counseling before being granted a divorce.
- We should outlaw
genetically modified foods until further research [how much?] can be done to
see if these foods affect the environment or us.
- Gay marriage should be legally recognized
nationwide so that tax
and insurance benefits apply equally among all states.
- Cloning should be banned until necessary safeguards and
precautions can be established to allow the research to be conducted safely and prudently.
- Stem-cell research is medically sound but ethically questionable. We
should continue research but prohibit the actual use of
embryonic stem cells until a later
[how much later?] period. Or:
We should support the recent decision to allow embryonic stem-cell research and
federally fund the work to use these stem cells to cure diseases.
- The misdiagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
have caused doctors to over-prescribe Ritalin. We
should develop new diagnostic procedures [which
ones?] to curb this trend.
- Home schooling provides an exceptional education under
controlled circumstances. Nevertheless, I would advocate that every American child
should receive at least two years of public schooling before
graduating from high school.
- We should implement a
public school voucher system in Minnesota, similar to the model now in use in the
Milwaukee Public School system.
- There should be no drug testing in the workplace because this
violates our privacy rights.
- We should implement immigration reform
to provide those immigrants already here but not yet legal with a path to
Avoid topics of taste, fashion, and recreation:
- Rap music
is not real music
- Fad diets never work
- Professional sports' salaries are too high
- Baseball is harder to play
- Professional wrestling is
is not a crime
Avoid topics that simply cannot work:
- History of the Hungarian
Uprising of 1956: a matter of historical facts.
- Alternative versus rap: a matter of personal
- We should punish drunk drivers: no controversy.
- Any religion-only topic,
proving God exists or arguing for/against virtues of religion:
matter of faith
- Why I am a parent: a matter of personal
Also avoid topics that
tend to have skimpy evidence on one side of the issue:
- We should teach creationism
in high school or college biology classrooms (most scientists do not
consider this science but religion).
- For the same reason, this
won't work: We should not teach evolution in high school or college
classrooms (objections are religious not scientific).
- Climate change is not real
(97% of scientists do not agree--climate change denier websites are mostly
funded by the fossil fuels industry).
- Arguing that tobacco
products are not harmful falls into the same category as climate change:
scientists are in agreement about dangers.
- Any conspiracy theories,
such as 9/11 was an inside job, or Benghazi was a cover-up, or John Kennedy was
assassinated by the CIA.
Resist topics that
are extremely volatile and perhaps have no neutral audience:
- Making abortion illegal (or
keeping abortion legal):
argument has been overworked and often depends on sensationalism.
- Gun control or
conceal-carry laws have been really worked over. Avoid if
you cannot treat rationally or bring anything new to the discussion.
- Drug testing for welfare recipients
(or any short term political campaign hot button issues used to rile up the base).
These only produce rants.
- Any issue about which you
can only see one side. Check loaded language in thesis.
Topics that havent been tried that might work:
- Drug testing should be required only for those in public
transportation sector jobs.
- Since minors cant vote, marry,
or drink, we should treat crimes
committed by minors with more leniency than adults (right now, Supreme Court says minors
can be tried as adults and receive the full penalty for crime).
- Students should not graduate from college until they pass a
comprehensive exam in their major.
- Compulsory national service is needed. People ages 17
25 would serve country for two year stint. This includes military service or public
service (6-week training course would count towards two-year time) such as forest ranger,
park ranger, Outreach volunteer, Headstart volunteer, daycare worker, national guard, Red
Cross, postal worker, food shelf and homeless shelter staffing, etc.
- Voting apathy wont change until we overhaul the entire
system: abolish the winner-take-all system. Allow up to one dozen candidates and
use "ranked choice voting." And make voting compulsory.
Try your hand at discerning which of the following
sample topic suggestions might work.