Interesting sociology research topics

The research topic comprises the initial stage of the thesis writing process. Their choice, often, is associated with the complexity that implies the limits of the work itself. However, the simplest definitions will be those that better guide the investigator’s efforts, those that connect him with his own motivations and concerns about the field of study.

A subject is the subject of a speech, that is, what it deals with. In the same way, a subject of investigation (hereinafter theme) is a matter that concerns the field of knowledge within which we intend to investigate. The definition of the topic is generally the first instance in the conduct of an investigation and, as such, contributes to determining subsequent steps, so it is necessary to clearly define the subject of the work to be presented. In any case, this moment is not definitive. Given that, from the perspective adopted here, the research process is not conceived in a linear and closed manner, as progress is made in its development, the subject can be modified in its formulation and content. It is impossible to anticipate if our first definition is the one indicated for the investigation that has begun. Reformulations are based on constant review, discussions and readings that provide new clues to achieve a statement as simple as possible.

This process of choice and discursive construction requires simplicity in its definitions given that the reality of the research is, in itself, complex and, for those who begin in this work, difficult to delimit. Most of the initial ideas are vague and require careful analysis so that they are transformed into more precise approaches.

Where and how to find a topic?

Finding a topic is an intentional act of searching. That is to say that the subject is not a choice within a heap of variables that the field presents to us, but is a construction of the investigator on the investigable factors within a discipline. The topics are not defined beforehand, they are not factors given by the field in which we subscribe, although without doubt the trajectories and traditions of a field of knowledge or of an institution allow to predefine or to visualize some subjects with greater or less specificity. The first issue to reach the definition of an issue has to do with the specification of the area of ​​interest in which it is desired to investigate. The construction of the subject necessarily corresponds to the researcher, reason why it is necessary that this one is clear his own motivations and worries about the field of study. Interest is here presented as the prism from which the definition of our first steps in research should take place.

To take this initial step in any research can be based on personal interest, which is defined in the relationship between tastes, intuitions, ideas that are believed correct, prejudices, academic path itself, among others. But in addition, the personal view is developed within collective demands, as scientific knowledge makes sense and relevance in the complex web of social processes.

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Thus, an interest can be identified that finds sustenance or reason not necessarily in the academy, because many questions have origin in activities, relations or thoughts that until the moment could not be linked with precision to the contents of a disciplinary field. Usually we think of an idea that seems impossible to be approached by the field from which we work, but it is necessary not to rule out any possibility beforehand.

This first approach to the definition of our object of study can be plotted using an inverted pyramid scheme, to go from the most general to the most particular:

Located in the field of knowledge from which we work, we outline a first approach to the topic, which may be more or less specific. At this point, it may serve, as a preliminary step to the definition of the subject, the selection of the thematic area in which we will circumscribe our research.1

 

However, as was clarified earlier, this scheme is not presented as a mandatory linear path towards the definition of each aspect of the research. Although thematic areas frame the issues, there is no assumption that they should be defined in advance. In fact most researchers do the opposite: they first delimit the subject and then circumscribe it in the thematic area that best suits their work.

 

The last level in this pyramid is the definition of the research problem. When the subject is stated, the research is still within a framework of generalities. Thus, on the same subject can be formulated different research problems. There are also other search criteria in the definition of a topic: consulting the discussions worked in our field of study; Picking up the concerns of other people; Asking and debating with teachers; Making a reflexive and critical reading of books, specialized magazines, articles, papers and other materials that trigger reflections around the field of knowledge; Participating in conferences, congresses, discussions and other forms of exposure and reflection on issues of communication.

 

It is necessary to take into account that the instance of accomplishment of a thesis supposes a moment of freedom of action that perhaps is not in other spaces of academic production. This is the time to face a project that satisfies the desires and needs of the thesis (both personal and social), because generally will not be limited by issues other than the basic rules that must meet any scientific research to be presented as such.

 

In this instance, one of the usual prejudices among the theses is to think that if the chosen subject is not novel or original, it is not worthy of being studied. Although it is important to find new aspects or studyable factors, an investigation should not pretend to be a new truth about the disciplinary field. The fact that the topic in process has been addressed in other works does not prevent progress in its development.2 It is very common to hear: “I choose this subject because there is nothing done about it in the field.” Perhaps we should think that if nothing has been done, it is because that topic is not relevant or relevant to be studied. That is why the question of originality should not be a limiting factor in the elaboration of a thesis.

 

What is a thematic area?

 

The subject areas, in general, are already defined in advance by the academic policy of each house of studies, an issue that may facilitate our delimitation. For example, in the Faculty of Journalism and Social Communication of the National University of La Plata, nine priority areas for development have been defined – formally known as Research Programs – that contemplate (and contain) a wide range of study possibilities within Of the field. These research programs are:

-Communication, Sociocultural Practices and Subjectivity

-Communication and Art

-Communication and Education

-Communication and Politics

-Communication, Journalism and Media

-Communication and Planning

-Communication and Territories

-Communication, Languages ​​and Technologies

-Communication and the Information Society

 

Along with the lines of research developed by each program, several possible objects are proposed to be addressed within each of these thematic areas. The growth, revision and updating of communication research – as in any other field of social research and science in general – is redefining both the Programs and the objects and lines that each of them includes. In the case of the Faculty of Journalism and Social Communication of the UNLP, in 1998 five research programs were defined, but an evaluation of the field of research in this institution determined that the possibilities and views had expanded with time and Experience, and that it was necessary to add and redefine the Programs. Since 2005 the Research Programs are nine. Although thematic areas are predefined by educational institutions and research centers and / or research funding, the development of research processes necessarily changes them.

 

Unlike thematic areas, the themes, as it was pointed out, are not previously defined by academic units or by the field of Communication, but are conceptual constructions to which the thesisist along the path traced. Let’s look at some examples: 3

 

1-. Research topic: Communication processes in the neighborhood assemblies.

Subject area: Communication, Sociocultural Practices and Subjectivity

 

2-. Research topic: Speech and communication during the presidencies of Carlos Menem around the idea of ​​the State and the conception of power.

Subject Area: Communication and Policy

 

3-. Research topic: The televising discourse in the communication strategy of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in the Argentine air TV.

Subject Area: Communication, Journalism and Media

 

4-. Research topic: Political discourse in school texts in the second government of Juan Domingo Perón.

Subject Area: Communication and Education

 

5-. Research topic: Intercultural relations and social representations of young Chinese in Buenos Aires.

Subject area: Communication, Sociocultural Practices and Subjectivity

 

6-. Research topic: The political dimension of the press organs of the left parties of Argentina as of December 2001.

Subject Area: Communication and Policy

 

7-. Research topic: The use and appropriation of the hidden camera as a professional tool of journalism.

Subject Area: Communication, Journalism and Media