You are on page 1of 3

Topics of Fact DRAFT All of these topics, in the context of developing a thesis, will have some sort of argument

or disagreement that you must deal with. 1. It is true that . . . 2. It is not true that . . . 3. It is probably true that . . . 4. It is probably not true that . . 5. In the past, X was probably true . . . 6. In the past, X was probably not true . . . 7. In the future, X will happen . . . 8. In the future, X will not happen . . . 9. In the future, X will probably happen . . . 10. In the future, X will probably not happen . . . 11. Process analysis: This is how X works. 12. Process analysis: This is not how X works. Note: I do not recommend that you develop a thesis dealing with the future, but you may discuss it with me if this appeals to you. So here is the above with a lot of examples having to do with the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I am not maintaining that any claim below is true or untrue, in fact. They are just examples that may be right or wrong. 1. It is true that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were important military targets. 2. It is not true that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were important military targets. 3. It is probably true that many American lives were saved by the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 4. It is probably not true that many American lives were saved by the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 5. In the past, it was probably true that Americans viewed the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as justified by military necessity. 6. In the past, it was probably not true that Americans viewed the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as justified by military necessity. 7. In the future, both Hiroshima and Nagasaki will have higher rates of cancer caused by the lingering effects of the American atomic bombs. 8. In the future, many more Japanese people will conclude that the American attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not justified. 9. In the future, Japan will probably not request compensation for the effects of the American atomic attacks. 10. Process analysis: The American decision to bomb the Japanese using atomic weapons took place in four stages. 11. Process analysis: At no stage of the American decision to use atomic weaponry against Japan did the key figures in the American government consider the lives of Japanese people as an important factor in decided whether to launch either attack. 12. Comparison: The American decision to bomb the Japanese was essentially similar in motivation to the Japanese decision to attack China.

13. Contrast: The American populations typical beliefs about the reasons the US government used atomic weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are contradicted by internal documents produced by the US government at the time and by accounts later given by President Harry Truman and his chief aides. 14. Cause and effect 1. Cause: The American government bombed Japan with atomic weapons in order to bring the war to a rapid close. 2. Effect: The long-term effects of the American atomic attacks have been greatly exaggerated. 15. Classification and division are not dealt with here because they are generally questions of definition, not questions of fact. 16. Cost-benefit analysis. This topic is typically developed in order to make a policy recommendation, so it is not dealt with here. Policy Policy questions can usually be framed as follows: 1. _____________ought to (should) . . . 2. _____________should not . . . 3. _____________should have . . . 4. _____________should not have . . . Topics of policy are often developed via the following devices: 1. Some general rule is stated and then the recommended policy is shown to be in conformity with this rule. 2. Costs to a certain group are shown to be greater than benefits. 3. Benefits to a certain group are shown to be greater than costs. 4. Some aspect of fairness or justice is shown to be supported or violated by a proposed or existing or formerly existing state of affairs. 5. Some existing method or process or approach to getting a certain result is shown to be inferior to another method, process, or approach with respect to any or all of the following: 1. Costs 2. Ease of use 3. Efficiency 4. Consistency of results 5. Effectiveness in helping those who most need help 6. Attractiveness to or popularity with the people who are supposed to use it 7. Enjoyability 8. Aesthetic qualities 9. Harm done 10. . . . 6. People or organizations that are successful or leaders in a field are shown to use such-andsuch an approach, method, tool, etc. 7. Some proposal, state of affairs, or system is shown to be harming some group of people who should not be harmed.

Topics of Possible Interest 1. General fields that might be researched 1. Biology 2. Medicine 3. Psychology 4. Chemistry 5. History 6. Politics 7. Pharmaceuticals 8. Economics 9. Business and trade 10. Industry and technology 11. Advertising 12. Music 13. Current events 14. 2. Kinds of questions: some common approaches 1. What are the effects of . . . 2. What are the causes of . . . 3. What happened . . . 4. What is the best way to . . . 5. Does . . . really work? 6. How well does X work? 7. What are the ingredients or materials in . . . ? 8. What are the differences between X and Y? 9. What are the similarities between X and Y? 10. Is X, which is a kind of Y, actually different in important ways from most things that are Y? 11. Is it true that . . . ? 12. Is there a (better) way to do X? 1. faster 2. cheaper 3. easier 4. cleaner 5. simpler 6. more reliable 7. more efficient 8. less complicated 9. less labor-intensive 10.