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Social Issues Research Topics (Seniors): Assignment Guidelines

This guide is to support research on topics under the human rights category.

Essential Question

  • What social issues impact the way that you live as an individual and what are the responsibilities of the individual in regard to issues of social justice?
  • When should an individual take a stand against what he/shebelieves to be an injustice? What are the most effective ways to do this?


Research, explore,  and examine policy, actions, merits of debate, assumptions, and factual evidence on a social justice, human rights, or environmental justice issue. Write an argumentative research paper that explores the different ways that you as an individual can have an impact on the issue.

Students will produce a 3-4 page persuasive research essay on the approved topic. Project should thoroughly support topic with cited sources and provide new insight.

Sources must be obtained from library books, online research databases, and approved websites. If the reliability of a source is questionable, consult with your AHS librarians.

  • Consult and cite from four to five sources (minimum) in MLA format from school library databases, books and approved websites and cite the sources in NoodleTools
  • All information should come from a variety of reliable, authoritative sources and be documented in final essay (in-text citations). If not sure, ask and verify.
  • Sources should include four notecards per source using focus note taking strategies. Each notecard will include the following:
    • Direct Quotes
      • Capture the author's words and images
      • Get quotes and attribution right
      • Mark up the quote by coloring and highlighting the text
    • Paraphrasing/Summarizing
      • Explain it to yourself in words you understand
      • Look back at the quote -- got it all?
    • My Ideas
      • How are you going to use this information in your paper?
  • Time is limited so everyone is encouraged to work on research during class and out of class.
  • All research (sources and notecards) will be turned in electronically via NoodleTools, however, the essay will be submitted using Writeable

(10)  Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Persuasive Text. Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about persuasive text and provide evidence from text to support their analysis. Students are expected to:

(A)  evaluate the merits of an argument, action, or policy by analyzing the relationships (e.g., implication, necessity, sufficiency) among evidence, inferences, assumptions, and claims in text; and
(B)  draw conclusions about the credibility of persuasive text by examining its implicit and stated assumptions about an issue as conveyed by the specific use of language.
(20)  Research/Research Plan. Students ask open-ended research questions and develop a plan for answering them. Students are expected to:
(A)  brainstorm, consult with others, decide upon a topic, and formulate a major research question to address the major research topic; and
(B)  formulate a plan for engaging in in-depth research on a complex, multi-faceted topic.
(21)  Research/Gathering Sources. Students determine, locate, and explore the full range of relevant sources addressing a research question and systematically record the information they gather. Students are expected to:
(A)  follow the research plan to gather evidence from experts on the topic and texts written for informed audiences in the field, distinguishing between reliable and unreliable sources and avoiding over-reliance on one source;
(B)  systematically organize relevant and accurate information to support central ideas, concepts, and themes, outline ideas into conceptual maps/timelines, and separate factual data from complex inferences; and
(C)  paraphrase, summarize, quote, and accurately cite all researched information according to a standard format (e.g., author, title, page number), differentiating among primary, secondary, and other sources.
(22)  Research/Synthesizing Information. Students clarify research questions and evaluate and synthesize collected information. Students are expected to:
(A)  modify the major research question as necessary to refocus the research plan;
(B)  differentiate between theories and the evidence that supports them and determine whether the evidence found is weak or strong and how that evidence helps create a cogent argument; and
(C)  critique the research process at each step to implement changes as the need occurs and is identified.