Free research ideas

Professor Diego Gambetta, a sociologist of note at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, has a link off his faculty page to “Dissertation Topics” (which he would consider supervising) and Empirical Puzzles for Teaching and Research. I think this is one of the most charming, wonderful uses of the web, and so I offer my own “free research ideas” here. I’m sure that some of these have “answers” and if you send them to me, I’m happy to share that information, and perhaps even fit some of it into my “free time.” Ha, freakin’ ha.

What economic, political and social factors explain the unusual richness of Spartanburg, South Carolina’s musical history?

Why does it take a week for my doctor to process a blood sample, and a day for my vet to process a feline blood sample?

What social function is accomplished by clothing that impedes ordinary physical movement?

Where are all the baby and adolescent squirrels?

What was Jesus like as a teenager? (Admittedly, these last two are ‘stolen’ from David Sedaris.)

Why isn’t there a popular non-fiction movie or play written about Turkmenistan?

What is the history of rock music in Cambodia?

What is going on inside Myanmar?

Why are movies now conventionally shown at 7pm and 9pm, when they were shown for many years at 6pm and 8pm? When and why were the show times changed?

Has our ability to perform almost invisible editing of art in digital media affected discourse and practices of art making? I’m thinking of Photoshop, of Print-to-Order books, Foley arts, etc.

Here is a motherlode of research ideas: Notes Toward an Agenda for Research on Orchestras.

5 responses to “Free research ideas

  1. Jingjing

    Hey!! These are brilliant ideas. I thought of a similiar one about social and economic factors to explain the change of visual art style en France. I love the third one and the baby squirrels! The South East Asian topics are interesting and you can write a thick book about them!!
    The last question is also my concern:) Shows how we define art.

  2. MontyB

    What happened to the email dumpster? Guess this counts here as well?

    Dear Colleague,

    For your research, MyBioSource has the Low Density Lipoprotein Human (APR; LRP; A2MR; CD91; APOER; TGFBR5; IGFBP3R; FLJ16451; MGC88725; A2MR; APR; LRP1) protein on our website products catalog that you might be interested in. Please click on the link below to view the datasheet of Low Density Lipoprotein Human…


  3. Jenn Lena

    Email dumpster was SO 2008.

  4. Re: “What social function is accomplished by clothing that impedes ordinary physical movement?”
    I would like to see this question explored specifically wrt shoes. I know this woman who just LOVES shoes, especially heels. She has a condition from standing on her tippy toes all the time that hurts her legs. The rub is that wearing non-heels makes it feel worse. The real kicker is that her legs, with the painful condition, fit the cultural definition of sexy. Very much so, actually.

    I seriously think this is an excellent research question. People look at Chinese foot binding and think it’s barbaric and pointless but, um, most women’s shoes are torture devices.

  5. Samuel

    If that rude little man publishes anything else on here I’ll drive to his Brooklyn [or wherever] hovel [miserable, low dwelling] next time I’m there and do bad things to him. You know I’ve got all that MMA talent just being wasted.

    You are wünderbar.

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