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Research Paper on Youth Issues

Taking time to organize your thoughts and materials and making a plan before you begin are important steps that will make the difference in your paper on youth problems … steps that could mean the difference between an A+ and, well … a grade you don’t want to see at the top of your essay.

First, make sure you know what your professor wants – the topic is youth issues, but what research paper outline is expected? Should it be organized in MLA style? APA? We will discuss the basics of common research paper formats.

Next, there are so many issues facing youth today, how do you pick just one to focus on? Choose an issue that interests you – if you care about the subject, researching and writing about it will be more enjoyable, which will also be reflected in the quality of your essay.


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Youth Issues Research Paper Sample

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Free Sample Research Paper on Youth Issues

Research Paper on Youth Issues – Major Tips

  • Choose the right topic – Make sure that your paper focuses on a burning issue. Safe or boring topics will not make for an interesting paper, and you don’t want your essay to put your professor to sleep. Wake him up – maybe even shake him up – with your views on a controversial subject.
  • Research, research, research – Once you have selected your research paper topic, hit the books and the Web to find out everything you can about it. Learn about all facets of it and consider all the opposing viewpoints. For example, if your issue is teenage abortion, consider all the angles – health of the mother and unborn child, legal issues, social implications, etc.
  • Expertise – The basis of your research should be books, articles, etc., written by those who are experts on the subject. If your research paper topic is sexually transmitted diseases, you could find much written by medical professionals, but those who have written from personal experience might also be considered as “experts.”
  • Organize and outline – You have thoroughly researched your topic and have a mountain of information … now it’s time to decide what to include. Keep in mind the assignment instructions. You would organize a descriptive research paper differently than an action research paper, for instance. Following your given format, choose your main points and begin to organize your research accordingly.
  • Approach – After you have organized your information, before you actually begin writing, make sure you have a clear point of view and purpose. If you are writing an argumentative research paper on, let’s say, illegal drugs, what argument are you making? Whether you are arguing for or against legalization, include background information, descriptive analysis and supporting arguments.
  • Write – Let the writing begin … state your thesis and present your ideas, supported by the research sources. Get your thoughts on paper in a first draft, then go over it again, reworking and rewording it until it shines.
  • Proofread – It should be your goal that all your essays are 100% free of mistakes and errors. Spell check, proofread and fact check to make sure you have proper grammar, spelling, punctuation and word usage, and that your quotes are from reliable and current sources and are properly credited. It’s a good idea to have another person read over it as well.


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Great Youth Issues Topics

It could be said that youth problems today are multiplied – in both quantity and seriousness. Whether or not that is the case, there is no shortage of topics. As we’ve noted, it’s best to write about what affects or interests you – if you care about the issue, it will come through in your essay. Here are some research paper example topics you might choose to write about:

  • Youth Issues Research Paper Writing HelpDrug and alcohol abuse – Research the current trends and find out if drug and alcohol abuse has increased or decreased among teens. Other aspects could be the age when experimentation began, the effects of anti-drug programs and what types of drugs are most prevalent.
  • Sex education – As schools struggle with how to present sex education, students are making decisions that could affect them for life. How much information should be presented and at what age, and where should education fall – it could range anywhere from teaching abstinence to handing out condoms.
  • Bullying – Even as schools become more aware of the problem of bullying and endeavor to prevent it, serious cases of bullying and hazing continue to come to light.
  • Suicide – Difficult to discuss or understand, suicide evokes many questions. What are the warning signs? Can it be prevented? Are there other underlying issues, such as depression or drug abuse?
  • Poverty – The economic recession and high unemployment are common topics in the news today, but what effect do they have on the on the kids? If one or both parents become unemployed, it could have a drastic effect on the children’s lives.
  • Teenage pregnancy – There are reality shows on TV that have made celebrities of some teenage mothers – some say they glorify teen pregnancy. How does pregnancy affect the lives of the teenager, family members and others? What options do the young parents have?
  • Smoking – Despite the fact that cigarettes are known to cause deadly diseases, most smokers acquired the habit in their youth. Why do teens start smoking – to be rebellious, to fit in, or what other reasons?
  • Public school arts funding – Some say the arts are essential to a well-rounded education, while there are others who say it should take a back seat to basic learning. Limited funds are available for schools’ budgets – where should the money go? Another angle could be arts programs competing with school sports for funding.
  • Homelessness – Poverty can sometimes lead to situations of homelessness and hunger. Teens and their families who do not have a home also may face prejudice and deal with feelings of shame and embarrassment
  • Sexually transmitted diseases – STDs are an unintended consequence of sexual activity. They can endanger not only physical health, but relationships as well. And whose responsibility is it to teach safe sex practices?
  • Sexual orientation and gender issues – Youth often struggle with finding their identity and part of this can be related to gender and sexual orientation issues. How do they gain acceptance from their families and friends? Other aspects of this issue could be gay marriage and hate crimes.
  • Divorce – When parents divorce, children often have to deal with difficult changes in their lives, such as relocation or changes in lifestyle, feelings of sadness and loss, redefining family relationships, etc.
  • Child labor – It is a big problem in some less developed countries. There have been outcries against stores that sold clothing produced in countries where child labor is a prevalent problem. Do manufacturers try to prevent child labor, or are they just focused on the bottom line?
  • Gangs – Many youth are drawn to them to gain a sense of belonging, but underlying problems include drugs and violence.
  • Physical or mental illness – Imagine all the stress and emotion of the teen years … now add to that a physical disability or mental illness such as depression. What additional coping methods are needed? Is there too much emphasis on medication for learning disabilities?
  • Eating disorders – Body image is very important to teens, and the stress sometimes leads to compulsive overeating or extreme dieting. Both conditions are unhealthy and can become dangerous.
  • War – Wars throughout the world affect the lives of those living in the war zone, as well as youth whose parents serve in the military and must leave home for long periods of time.


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How to Outline Your Research Paper

As we mentioned earlier, your professor has most likely specified a particular research paper format that your essay should follow, and whether that means you are following APA paper format or MLA paper format, an outline is a necessary organizational tool.

The standard alphanumeric system of outlining is acceptable for both research paper formats. The main points are denoted by Roman numerals, and subdivisions under the main headings according to capital letters: A. B. C., etc. If these are further divided, the subheadings are listed by Arabic numerals (1. 2. 3.), followed by lowercase letters (a. b. c.). Each descending set of subheadings is further indented from the left side of the page. The headings should all have parallel sentence structure.

The MLA template specifies the statement of your main thesis at the start of your outline, with the word Thesis followed by a colon. For APA, the outline headings could all be complete sentences, but if this format is used citations are required for quotes and paraphrased material, just as in the body of your essay.


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Your Research Paper Format

There are similarities and differences between MLA and APA research paper formats. Both specify 12-point type (such as Times New Roman), double-spaced, with a 1-inch margin on all sides.

APA calls for a cover page with your title, name and the name of the educational institution, followed by a page containing an abstract, a paragraph summarizing your main points and research methods. MLA simply makes use of a title block on the first page of your paper at the top left. Include your name, the professor’s name, course title and the date. The title is below, centered directly above the first line of your essay.

References for works that are quoted or paraphrased in your paper are included in the APA Bibliography or MLA Works Cited page. Where the quote appears within the body of your essay, a brief in-text citation is included, with the full reference information in the bibliography or works cited. APA specifies author’s name, year of publication and page number be included in the text, while MLA calls for the name and page number only. Here are examples of each:


As Dickens (2011) wrote, “But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance …” (p. 7).


“But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked” (Dickens, 2011, p. 7).

The corresponding reference in the APA Bibliography:

Dickens, C. (2011). A Christmas Carol. New York, NY: SoHo Books.


As Dickens wrote, “But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance …” (7).


“But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked” (Dickens 7).

The corresponding reference in the MLA Works Cited:

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. New York: SoHo Books, 2011. Print.


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