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Old 03-01-2011, 05:57 PM
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Default Help with pit bull research paper!

I am doing my sophomore research paper on breed specific discrimation, particulaly in pit bulls. This is my thesis statement: "The topic of this paper is to discuss breed specific discrimination in the pit bull breed in the United States. This topic will be investigated in order to raise public awareness resulting in education and solutions to modify popular perceptions. This will be investigated by breed history, current bans and organizations working to end it".

What would be some good things to search on Google regarding it, and some good websites to use? Even some statements from you guys would be nice, I can put them in my paper as interviews. It has to be a huge paper, and I need it to graduate. Anything helps! Thanks so much
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:54 PM
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I don't want to be negative, but is that really a thesis? I didn't think a thesis was "my paper is going to be about..." but rather, "Here is a statement I am about to back up with tons of research". For example, I might rewrite yours as "Breed specific discrimination against pit bulls can be solved by...x, y, z" or "Public awareness of pit bulls can be increased by x, y, z" or "The breed bans against pit bulls are ineffective because of x, y, z; a, b, and c are better solutions to maintain doggy issues" or whatever you want it to be.

The way it's written now, I'm not sure what your paper is going to discuss. Are you going to narrate a history of the breed? While good background info, as a reader, why do I care where the breed came from? What's the point? What are you trying to prove or explain?

One of my colleagues is an English teacher, and on his 10th graders' papers he draws giant funnels over their introductions. He tells 'em to fill up the funnel with information that points to a single sentence thesis (possibly two sentences for a very complex paper). Then on the conclusion, he writes "Why do I give a ****?"--which is the question your conclusion should answer. Once you have those two things written well, the body tends to write itself fairly smoothly.

What you google will depend on what your thesis is. If it is why breed specific bans are ineffective, you'll want stats and facts on that. If it's ways to educate the public, you'll want to research groups doing that. It's hard to know where to point you until you narrow the focus of your paper.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:25 PM
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Yep, Cali's right. What you have right there is the budding of an idea, not really a thesis. Now hone in on a particular aspect of that idea (are you interested in the history of the breed? The history of BSL? the most effective way to stop BSL? legislation regarding BSL based on location/population density/etc? the current public perception of the pit bull and how it came to be? media influences on public perception? "pit bull" attacks v. other breeds?) and then do some research within that specific area. I say this because "BSL" is a huge topic to try to cover in a single paper. Once you have a bit of research and a solid base, come up with your own personal statement that you wish to "prove" regarding that specific area of focus. This statement will be your "thesis." It should not start with "I think..." nor should it begin with "This paper..." Rather, it should be a direct and concise statement that can act as a center for which to connect the rest of your information. Generally, you should place this statement within your first paragraph, but not as the first sentence.

Here are a few sources to get you started:




1) Delise, K. (2007). The pit bull placebo: the media, myths and politics of canine aggression. Ramsey, NJ: Anubis Publishing.

2) Palika, L. (2006). American pit bull terrier (2nd ed.). Hoboken, N.J: Howell Book House.

3) Pit bull myths vs. facts. (n.d.). American Humane. Retrieved from http://www.americanhumane.org/assets...bull-myths.pdf

4) Rasmussen reports: 28% think pit bulls should be banned. (2009, February 17). Retrieved from 28% Think Pit Bulls Should Be Banned - Rasmussen Reports
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:09 PM
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Thank you both so much! I really appreciate it, and no I didn't think that was negative at all, you're right. My paper isn't due until June, but I want to get a good start on it now and that helped a lot. I'm still just working on my thesis and doing a lot of research. I just don't know what exactly to narrow it down to because there are so many topics I want to discuss, and I'm afraid if I narrow it down to something small my paper will be all over the place because I'll start going into different things like history, dog fighting, etc. and won't know how to connect it all back to the thesis.
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:14 PM
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Yup, you're exactly right--you need a really strong thesis! How long of a paper are you supposed to be writing? That will help dictate how broad of a topic you should be investigating.
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:39 PM
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I did a similar paper last semester: my topic was how the media, mainly the hip hop industry, negatively impacts pit bulls, and how in turn stereotypes about minority dog owners develop.

A thesis should be a topic and a claim about it. So not just what you're looking to write about, but what you find out about it or want to argue about it.

Narrowing it down like something to exploring alternatives to BSL, how BSL came to be, or something like that instead of the broad topic of "BSL" would be a good start.

I'll look for the thread I had about my paper, some great links were posted there. I know Diane Jessup's website has some articles from the early 1900s from pit bull fancier magazines, so that was pretty helpful.
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Old 03-05-2011, 04:01 PM
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Thank you both! My paper has to be at least 6 pages in length (double spaced) but I was planning on going longer.
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Old 03-05-2011, 04:06 PM
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6 pages isn't very long, so you definitely need to narrow down your thesis and stick to it! It's okay to give a little background info along the way to make sure the reader has the knowledge required to understand what you're talking about, but you have to focus your paper on a single train of thought.

Do you have any thoughts on what segment of "pit bulls" you're looking to write about? You've gotten lots of good suggestions so far, but the paper will be best if you choose something you're really interested in.
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