Skip to Main Content

COMM 101 - Understanding Mass Media - Toy - Spring 2021: Develop a Research Topic

Selecting a Topic

You will be preparing an essay on an assigned topic, but this does not mean you can't form the topic into a thesis or research question. It also does not mean that the topic should not be narrowed or refined.

You will need a research topic that is not too broad. You can start with a broad topic and narrow it down by thinking of some of the issues associated with it. Then turn your broad topic and issue into a debatable argument.


Film Era : Early films/Golden Age; Realism of 70s-80s; Small screen film industry/Netflix (disruption)

Focused Genre: ; Action/Adventure; Science Fiction; Drama; Animated; Oscar Winners; Comedies; etc. 

Focused Issue/Phenomenon: "Realism" versus "Fantastical"; Musicals; Counterculture on film/Generational rebellion; Horror films and; Fear of Nuclear War (80s); Dystopian films of 90s-2000s; Disney/Pixar shaping American Culture; Hero/American Individualism and the American Western; Immigration on film; Racial stereotypes and racism/sexism in films 

Particular Films: Hunger Games; Star Wars; Stephen King's "IT" and others; "Out"; Disney Princesses; Mulan

Media Channel + Era/Genre/Phenomenon/Particular Film = Topic

Transforming TOPIC into THESIS

Media Channel + Point In Time/Focused Event/Phenomenon + YOUR EVALUATION (WHAT WAS CULTURAL EFFECT) = Thesis

Channel FILM

Topic: The Hunger Games franchise as a statement about American's economics.

Channel : The Hunger Games like other dystopian science fiction,  reflects a growing power divide in our real society between the haves and the have nots. 



Topic: PBS's Sesame Street and valuing early childhood education.

Thesis: Sesame Street, established by the Children's Television Workshop in the late-1960s, and other education-focused shows, made a significant contribution to improving literacy and inter-cultural understanding in the United States.


Channel Gaming

TOPIC: Multiplayer games ("Among Us") and Creating Community.

Thesis: During our pandemic era, virtual worlds and games like "Among Us" from Innersloth act as virtual town squares where people of all walks of life can create community with each other.  

Quick Facts/Reference

The following databases are excellent places to browse for a topic and begin your research. Log-in when off campus using your MyWCC username and password. 


You might try finding a documentary or a short program on your subject. There is a wealth of high-quality programming on the history of media, new media, and culture of communication. The library subscribes to a collection of Academic videos that may provide you with a starting point for your topic.

Communications Textbooks

Celebrating 75 Years of Excellence!

Westchester Community College provides accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community. We are committed to student success, academic excellence, workforce development, economic development and lifelong learning.

Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook

75 Grasslands Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
Tel: (914) 606-6600