Deciding on the topic of for a sociology research paper will depend on the scope of your paper. If you are taking an introductory sociology course, your paper will likely have a more generalized theme; upper-division courses will require a more focused approach. Either way, there is no shortage of possible ideas for your research.
Homelessness in the U. S. has steadily increased, especially since the repeal of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program in 1996. Research shows that the causes for homelessness are linked to poverty, unaffordable rental markets and other social problems. Your research could focus on national economic indicators relate to estimates of variations in homelessness over time.
Thanks to the work of researchers in the past couple of decades, domestic violence is not the taboo topic it once was, and women feel more free to speak out when they are victimized. However, it still remains a serious social problem, and is considered one of the leading contributors to child homelessness for numerous reasons related to economics. Your research could focus on the relationship between domestic violence and the economic imbalances between men and women that result in the homelessness of women and children.
One of the most hotly contested topics in America is racism. Conservatives argue that racism is no longer the problem it once was, while liberals point to the myriad ways in which racism still plagues U. S. society. Your research could identify current theories about the ways racism manifests itself, or discuss the ways in which current policies either address or ignore racism. It could also be applied to racism in specific areas of society, for example, in education or social services.
In the realm of social sciences, one of the most common debates centers on how capitalism contributes to social inequity. Marxist theory argues that capitalism creates hierarchies in social class, stratifying them in ways that people on the lower levels can't escape. This topic also raises the issue of globalization -- some argue that the spread of capitalism to developing nations favors corporations over people. Your research could explore how this plays out in the U.S. through the off-shoring of jobs (creating job loss), or it could be a case study in how it manifests as relationships of power between governments and international financing organizations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
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