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.