Select one of the topic options provided below. Read the directions provided in each topic and then write and submit a short essay (250 words or less) in which you report your findings and/or conclusions.
Family Issues. First select a major issue confronting U.S. families that interest you, such as the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, children’s adjustment to their parents’ divorce, or the problems confronting female-headed households. Next, conduct research on the issue you selected at Council on Contemporary Families (www.contemporaryfamilies.org), and then write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you discuss your findings and what policies you believe could be adopted to improve those problems.
Family and Domestic Violence. Conduct research on family and domestic violence (use www.futureswithoutviolence.org). Explore the fact sheets, select an issue that interests you, and then write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you analyze the issue using sociological theories to help explain the topic.
Religion and Public Life. Explore the role of religion in public life issues such as bioethics, faith-based initiatives, gay marriage, physician-assisted suicide, the death penalty, just war, human rights, and schools by visiting the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (pewforum.org). Then write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you explore the role of religion on a particular issue and the controversies surrounding the topic.
Religion and Peace. Investigate how very diverse religions cooperate on conflict transformation, the rights of children, economic development, disarmament and security, human rights, and peace education by visiting the World Conference of Religions for Peace website (www.religionsforpeace.org). Select one issue and then write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you discuss your findings on how diverse religions cooperate in promoting peace.
Mortality and Life Expectancy. Learn how specific social conditions and demographic factors impact key health indicators, such as mortality and life expectancy. Visit the CDC website (www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/mortality_tables.htm) in order to view statistics and tables on life expectancy and mortality. Write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you discuss your findings and how the statistics confirm the relationship between social class, race, gender, or ethnicity on mortality rates and life expectancy.
Credentialism. Visit www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Credentialism to gain information on the definition of credentialism and the role it plays in entry into the workforce. Write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you discuss whether or not it furthers ethnic, racial, and gender biases, and whether you believe that obtaining a degree increases your chances of getting a job.
International Population Issues. The United National Population Fund (www.unfpa.org) offers reports and briefs on a range of population issues, including development, reproductive health, gender equality, HIV prevention, adolescents and youth, and many others. Select one of those issues and write a short essay (250 words or less) discussing what you learn by visiting the site on that particular issue.
Homeland Security. Visit the Department of Homeland Security website (http://www.dhs.gov). Analyze the site and answer in a short essay (250 words or less) one of the following questions: What kind of citizenry do you think is the site seeking to promote and support? What resources are being mobilized and what are citizen groups, local government, businesses and other employers expected to do to contribute to national security and preparedness? What impact does the alert system have in daily life? What kind of “nation” does the site envision?
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