Research Ideas for the Humanitarian Student

Developing a research topic can prove quite daunting to a young adult. Once a student is able to narrow down at least a general topic, however, the options become both focused and limitless. School reports do not have to feel like a burden, and instead should be thought of as an opportunity to go beyond the surface and dig deeper into a topic of interest to learn more about its nuances and shades of grey.

The world we live in is rife with a plethora of issues that would make an interesting and thoughtful read.  Below is a list of research ideas that will dazzle your teacher and prove a worthwhile and beneficial experience for you:

1. Compare/contrast poverty reduction strategies of U.S. government foreign-aid programs to those of other donor countries, focusing on the end goals of such programs.  For example, do the programs aim to increase income?  Or, instead, do they focus on improving quality of life?  At the end of your school report, analyze the pros and cons of such strategies and develop your own strategy for how you think poverty should be addressed.

2. Explore the structure and strategies of U.S. based non-profit organizations working to reduce global poverty.  What do their programs focus on?  Who are their top donors?  How do they raise funds?  Where are their funds allocated?  What are their milestones/achievements?

3. The UN General Assembly designation of February 20th as the “World Day of Social Justice.”  First explore and analyze the concept of social justice.  Then specifically delve into the World Day of Social Justice by answering the questions: What is the purpose of this day?  How/why was it developed?  What are its achievements?

4. With one more year left until the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target date, discuss what the MDGs are, as well as the various efforts made so far by UN member nations and global development institutions toward achieving the MDGs.

5. Research poverty reduction measures taken by your local elected representatives.  How often do they focus on poverty related issues?  How much poverty related legislation have they drafted or co-sponsored?  Discuss what their primary focus is and why.  How can a constituent make poverty a priority for them?

Students should view school reports as a challenge and an opportunity to dig deeper into topics that interest them.  The issue of global poverty spans many fields that are ripe with information for critical analysis.  The topics listed above are just one of many poverty-related school report ideas to help give you a head start!

 – Rifk Ebeid

Sources: UN News Centre, Take Apart, United Nations Millennium Development Goals
Photo: ksvoboda