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Capstone Topic Ideas - Animal Related
#1
Hey, guys!  I'm getting ready to take my capstone course after Christmas, and I'd love to narrow down some ideas for my topic.  I'm going to vet tech school after I finish my degree in liberal studies, so I'd love to tackle an animal-related topic.  I know that a research paper usually starts with a question, but I'm scratching my head trying to come up with a question that I can answer in 25 pages.  It feels like a monumental task!  

Anyways... I would like to focus on domestic animals & pets, but I'm not sure where to go with this. Perhaps I could focus on dog mills & abuses in the breeding industry... But, again, can I talk about that for 25 pages?  Ugh.  Any insights are appreciated!
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#2
What you want to do is come up with the one big question, then 3-5 subquestions that would help you answer it. The format used in the capstone course is VERY repetitive. You'll find yourself writing similar introductions in most chapters as well as listing the research questions and writing about each of them multiple times. The length is really not a problem.

Example:

Main question: Is Santa Claus real?

Subquestions:
What are the origins of the Santa Claus story?
Have there been any documented sightings of SC?
Have reindeer ever been seen to fly?
Do fathers tend to have cookie crumbs on their pajamas on Christmas morning?
Could elves really be building iPhones and other technical presents in a workshop at the North Pole?


For your puppy mill topic, your questions could be something like:

Main:
What solutions are possible to curtail the puppy mill problem?
Sub:
What is the size of the puppy mill market?
Who buys puppies from puppy mills?
What distinguishes a puppy mill from an ethical breeder?
What are current laws concerning puppy mills and why are they not effective?
Why do people choose stores that sell mill puppies rather than adopting rescued animals?

You could also have subquestions concerning different types of abuses. No doubt someone like you who is more attached to the topic (I don't even own pets) could come up with better ones. Each subquestion should require several sources to answer thoroughly. Better to start with more questions. You can drop ones that don't work out well when you start researching.
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  • suzycupcake
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#3
Something I found when writing academic papers, is that not only is narrow better, but being able to find your question addressed (in some form) in academic journals is really important. If you can't *find* research, then there is nothing to analyze. Big and unique topics are probably not going to be good options, but Dave mentioned tons of good ones about puppy mills that I would say are probably well researched.

I am a social science nerd, so if I were doing a paper for liberal arts capstone that was animal-focused, especially as it relates to vet care (which is largely optional) I'd probably look at income or socioeconomic status (sociology) and spending on pets. Maybe even if certain geographic areas spend more per pet than others (economics) or you could go at the personification of pets in the USA (social psychology) vs another country.
Something else that is interesting, to me anyway, is the intersection of mental illness and animal hoarding - but that's a huge topic, so maybe something super narrow like comparing 2 approaches modern psychology takes to the treatment of animal hoarding or picking 1 approach and evaluating the results (hint: something that's NOT a slam-dunk always calls for the conclusion of further research, which is a good way to aim toward a conclusion). I did a 25 page paper on hoarding, and had no trouble finding research, but there is no cure for hoarding, so it was really just a paper exploring treatments that don't work.
Of course, it's all about what intrigues YOU! If you're not curious about the answer, it's hard to get excited about the question.
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  • ARhead
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#4
I went broad for my master's capstone paper and broke down my paper into sections addressing sub-topics.

If I were writing about animal abuse, I would cover multiple topics: recently-passed legislation, jurisdictions that provide little protection for livestock and pets, lack of funding for animal abuse investigations, how the civil system is used because pets and livestock are seen as property, the effectiveness of animal control departments, wildlife conservation laws, how animal abuse is often a precursor for human abuse, how animals are abused in domestic violence situations, etc.
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#5
Maybe discuss mistreatment of animals in shelters including city animal welfare shelters. Discuss why this happens including lack of funding, what can be done to improve the welfare for animals, and priorities to make implementation possible.
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  • Zachcleigh
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#6
(12-10-2019, 12:00 PM)Silly_Me Wrote: Hey, guys!  I'm getting ready to take my capstone course after Christmas, and I'd love to narrow down some ideas for my topic.  I'm going to vet tech school after I finish my degree in liberal studies, so I'd love to tackle an animal-related topic.  I know that a research paper usually starts with a question, but I'm scratching my head trying to come up with a question that I can answer in 25 pages.  It feels like a monumental task!  

Anyways... I would like to focus on domestic animals & pets, but I'm not sure where to go with this. Perhaps I could focus on dog mills & abuses in the breeding industry... But, again, can I talk about that for 25 pages?  Ugh.  Any insights are appreciated!

Hi Silly_Me.  I have a question since I begin my Capstone at Excelsior at the same time.  Mine will be for Liberal Studies as well.  Did you register for the course and in touch with your professor already?  Are we able to choose our own Capstone project without consulting the professor first?  I'd love to do mine in an Aviation or flying topic for mine since I fly for a living and to keep it interesting.  

Thanks.
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#7
Inquiring minds want to know.... so what did you decide??
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