Whenever we are asked to write an essay or research paper of any kind, we have to consider different factors that might influence the findings in some way, or serve as an explanation for something that we are investigating. The point is, nothing you research or write an essay about exists in a vacuum – something is going to impact upon it.
By looking at your essay through the lens of one or more of the social issues we are about to list, you’ll be showing a great awareness of how social issues impact us all, no matter where we are in the world. Below will list the most common examples of social issues with a brief explanation of why it is important to consider them throughout your essays and research.
You don’t need to be told that this issue is something that affects everybody in the world. Whether your research paper requires you to examine attitudes, behaviors, opinions, or monitor changes over time in either human, animal, or plant species – you’re going to be able to include climate change somewhere, because it is a social issue that is so deeply connected to everything nowadays. No matter your topic, there will be an angle from which to view it through climate change and its impact on the world.
Poverty and Homelessness
Again, poverty and homelessness is not something that just affects the poorest countries in the world, even the richest have cases of poverty and homelessness. This is an example of a social issue with a broad range of applications, from social studies all the way through to economics, and it’s important to consider how a country’s poverty and homeless rates might impact upon the findings of your individual essay.
Overpopulation can lead to many challenges. Take the spread of a virus for example, overpopulation means more chance to spread. But away from that, it leads to a lack of sufficient housing, a change in attitudes towards immigration and migration, and in some cases even government policy (just look at the infamous ‘One-Child Policy‘ in China that was abolished in 2015). Overpopulation can lead to changes in many things, so it’s worth considering how it might affect the topic you are researching.
Though we have come a long way in recent years, there are still far too many examples of gender inequality throughout the world today. This can be a social issue that impacts upon almost anything, from business studies surrounding gender pay gap, right the way through to romantic relationships and the power balance between partners. The point is, things have still not changed enough, and in some parts of the world the gap in opportunities, status, and chances for success between women and men is quite drastic. Be sure to consider gender inequality in your essay, especially if it has an element to do with gender.
We’ve touched on this already with overpopulation, but you might find that even a less overpopulated country still struggles with the strains of immigration. Lots of countries rely on immigration to fulfill j0b roles, most of which are essential to the economy, but with increased immigration comes an increased demand for housing, jobs, and healthcare amongst other things. This can lead to changes in attitudes both from the point of view of the native resident of the country and the immigrant. It’s important to take into account how immigration might place strain on a country, just as much as it brings a wealth of benefits.
In most Western societies we have access to a range of top quality healthcare solutions to our medical problems. Not all countries do. No matter where your research lies, healthcare availability might be something worth considering. If you were discussing treatments for anxiety in a psychology essay for example, suggesting therapy or medicine without thinking about an individuals access to health care would be an oversight. By including it, you are showing a deeper awareness of how ordinarily simple solutions to many of us, become slightly more complicated when you consider how readily available healthcare is.
This is probably one of the more nuanced social issues on the list, because childhood obesity does not affect every country. But, because of these differences, it becomes a particularly interesting social issue to explore. Why is it that western societies tend to have more cases of child obesity? Conversely, what lifestyle do children in other countries lead to prevent childhood obesity? Exploring these issues from a social, medical, and psychological point of view are all clever ways to see how childhood obesity cases might be impacting upon the sorts of things you are finding out in your research.
Civil Rights and Racial Discrimination
This final section has been included separately from the social issues above, because it really is more of a civil issue. Cases of racial discrimination are rife in every country across the world. Sadly, many of the social issues listed above do, in part at least, impact upon people’s racial prejudices and discriminatory behavior. When exploring any social issue, it’s important to take into account how racial discrimination and prejudices may be impacting upon the findings.
Racial discrimination is an issue that is no longer as hidden in the shadows as it once was, so exploring racial discrimination throughout social issues and your essay is not only important, but in many cases essential in understanding attitudes, behaviors, and belief systems of other people.
Fixing Common Social Issues
Solutions for Social Problems
One thing that should be noted on this, is that most essays and research papers aren’t necessarily looking for a solution. Most simply want the issues to be explored as a way of explaining certain differences or results between cultures, countries, and populations. If there is a ‘fix’ to the social issue that is relevant to your essay, by all means include it, but do so tentatively. You have to remember that you are not an expert on the topic (and even if you are an expert, you still need to approach with caution until more evidence is available to back up your claims) so treat any fixes to social issues with great care.
Raise Awareness Through Education
Now, this is a fix that can be suggested without any fear of overstating its importance. Any social issue can be addressed through education. But, problems arise when there isn’t the infrastructure in place to deliver this education to those who need it, so that is something that should also be explored in your essay. A fix is available through education – if the methods of educating are there, then why aren’t they working? This gives you another angle to explore social issues from.
Hopefully, the above guide has given you social issues to think about in your next essay or research paper, so that you can explore the topic on a broader level.