Five Different Research Topics in The Field of Homeland Security This week’s forum is about choosing a research topic and then a research question. After c

Five Different Research Topics in The Field of Homeland Security This week’s forum is about choosing a research topic and then a research question. After completing the readings please use the guidance on selecting a research topic and the developing a question to help you addressing the following assignment:

Identify 5 different research topics that interest you in the field of homeland security. Please list them in this forum.

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1. Transportation Security

2.Border Security

3.International Engagement

4.Preventing Terrorism


Also, for each please explain why the topic interests you. If you were to set out to write a research paper on the topic what would you hope to learn?

Also, to earn maximum points in this Forum you need to post your main response and respond to at least two other student’s listings, find topics that are also of interest to you and evaluate whether the topics, as they are written, are sufficient for writing a research question (the question comes after identifying the topic). What more needs to be done to take a research topic to a research question.

If you have any questions please ask them in the forum!



Student responses

Student #1 Benny

Homeland Security is a vast field with many different agencies. There are various issues that affect homeland security such as immigration, terrorism, cyber-attacks, infrastructure and economic relations with other Nations. Homeland security is a field where subject matter experts work together in dealing with issues, because working together establishes a comprehensive approach to incident management. Topics that interest me in the field of homeland security are:

1. What led to the creation of the department of homeland security? I will start with this to first understand the reason for this department. Understanding the core reason will provide a pathway in moving forward.

2. How does immigration affect homeland security, and to what extent does migration affects the economy? Border security is a huge political debate throughout our country. What I will like to understand is what the effects border security has or going to have on homeland security, because the focus has been on illegal immigration.

3. Protecting this country from terrorist attacks is a function of the Department of homeland security. Because this a top priority, my next question is; how does terrorist attacks including homegrown terrorism affects homeland security?

4. What sectors are considered critical infrastructure? Also, what security measures would improve critical infrastructure security? There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors considered vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have debilitating effects on security. I will like to know why these sectors are consider critical and what security measures are put in place to protect them. This potential critical infrastructure may only need to be considered as such due to second and third order effects that may ultimately affect homeland security.

5. What effects does cyber-attacks have on national security and what measures are in place in preventing them? I my previous course, I learn about the importance of cyber security. As we become more dependent on technology, we are more valuable to cyber attacks such as phishing and breaches. Having cybersecurity capabilities are critical to safeguarding cyberspace.


Critical Infrastructure Sectors. (2019, March 03). Retrieved June 9, 2019, from…

Student #2 Salinardi

Hello to All,

Here are five research topics that are of interest to me. All of these topics as they are listed are far too broad for a single research project, but you have to start somewhere to come up with a specific research topic and question.

Terrorism. Terrorism is an ongoing threat. We have all felt its repercussions either directly or indirectly. Terrorism is interesting to me because I want to better understand how we can prepare ourselves for future attacks. I do not believe we can stop people from committing these atrocities altogether, but I do believe we can be more prepared to deal with them by learning from past occurrences. The topic of terrorism is obviously too broad to cover in a single study, so I would likely delve into an area such as domestic terrorism. By narrowing the topic to occurrences that originated in the US, I think I would be able to ask a more focused research question. I could narrow the topic even more by addressing a specific attack such as the Oklahoma City Bombing of 1995.
Weapons of Mass Destruction. I am interested in WMD’s because I am currently in a career field in which I train to respond to these devices. The nature of a WMD can be chemical, biological, radiological, explosive, or a combination of these. WMD’s may be used to target large amounts of people, critical infrastructure, or the environment. My question for a topic relating to WMD’s would most likely address the long term effects of a radiological device. For a question like this, I would have to specifically define the attack itself, but my goal would be to gauge the effects of such an attack on the environment, community, and economy.
Human Trafficking. Human trafficking seems to be a crime that is hidden from the general public. Although trafficking is not easily identified by the public, that does not make it any less prevalent. I am interested in human trafficking because I do not know much about it and would like to become more knowledgeable on how to identify a trafficking situation. For this topic, a research question may be focused on how increased public awareness of the issue would affect the success of traffickers. The hardest part of this research would be quantifying trafficking success in any given area.
Transportation Security. I am not doubting that TSA is good at preventing passengers from boarding aircraft with items such as unauthorized guns or explosives. However, I know that no matter how good a system is, there is always a degree of error. I would like to find if the degree of error at a small regional airport is any different than that of a large international airport. Although TSA training is centralized and therefore the degree of human error should be similar among all airports, I am still curious as to whether or not some airport TSA checkpoints are more successful than others. This study would require the comparison of at least two airports’ security testing results. If there is a significant difference in the effectiveness of TSA at different airports, what could be the cause?
Cybersecurity. We live in a digital world. Nearly everyone nowadays carries around at least one device, thus creating a digital identity. Advances in technology seem to be pushing us towards a reality were everything is connected in a grand “internet of things.” The topic I would like to address is focused on how government cybersecurity will evolve to meet the demands of an increasingly complex digital world. With this study, I would like to learn more about cybersecurity in general and what weaknesses there are in government security systems. Writing a Research Question
Here are some basic “rules of thumb” to follow when you are writing a research question. This
advice comes in part from collaboration with fellow instructors Rob Bier and Paul Cooke and
some ideas from various websites and references. See list of References at end.
To keep things simple, follow these steps to develop your research question:

Start with an interrogative (why, will, how, etc.) for the type of study desired.
Include the exact human behavior, decision, or condition you want to describe,
explain, or predict. This is the dependent variable for your study.
Include a specific case or cases you will investigate in your study (if applicable)
Don’t be too concerned about identifying causal (independent) variables in the
research question. Sometimes, the independent variables will emerge from the
literature review and theoretical framework development and may not be known at
the research question-writing stage.
Do not include a lot of descriptive or contextual material as subordinate clauses or
modifying words in the specific research question.

Why did Israel and Hezbollah go to war in Lebanon in 2006? This question calls for
an explanatory study. The dependent variable is the start of the war. The case
study is the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.
How did differing organizational cultures inhibit US intelligence agencies’ ability to
predict the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon? This question
calls for an explanatory study. The dependent variable is the intelligence agencies’
inability to predict the 9/11 attacks. The independent variable of main interest (the
cause) is differing organizational cultures. The case study is the 9/11 attacks on the
World Trade Center and Pentagon.
How has the formation of the Department of Homeland Security influenced US
intelligence sharing on terrorism? This question calls for an analytical study. The
dependent variable is the degree of change of US intelligence sharing on terrorism.
The independent variable of main interest is the formation of the Department of
Homeland Security.

Explain the psychological side effects, if any, that U.S. soldiers encounter after
deploying to Iraq? This is an extremely complex question that would require a
comprehensive study of the soldier’s state prior to departing for Iraq (which would
require the establishing of psychological baselines), a methodology to measure the
deviation from the mean, and a methodology to assess the degree of each subject.
School of Security and Global Studies
Preparing the next generation of security professionals through curriculum and teaching excellence.
Writing a Research Question
If the topic of soldiers going to war in another country is your interest, one might
develop this topic as a question of culture: How do U.S. soldiers mitigate the
influence of cultural differences between them and the local populace in a direct
contact mission?
Will Iran become a nuclear power within five years? This question could be
answered with a yes or no, depending on the opinion and evidence the author uses.
Perhaps a better research question might be: How have the effects of international
sanctions influenced the Iranian citizens’ perceptions of the government’s position
regarding its nuclear policies?
What will happen to the stability in the Middle East if Israel attacks Iran? The
term “what” encompasses anything and everything and “stability” must be clearly
defined. What is stability in the Middle East? Perhaps one might re-word this to ask:
What is the current structure of alliances in the Middle East, and how might
nations in this structure react to an Israeli attack on Iran?
Will the U.N. enforce sanctions against North Korea? Since the U.N. is an
international organization, each participating nation would have to be considered to
be a variable which would expand the scope of this question to such a degree that
the question could not be realistically answered. What are the national stances of
UN members on the prospect of enforcing sanctions on North Korea?

MAKE A FINAL CHECK. Once you have drafted your specific research question, you should give
it a final Quality Control check by ensuring that your research question:

Is clear and focused:

Contains one question, unless you have a general and specific question;

Cannot be answered with a simple yes or no;

Does not contain an obvious question;

Does not contain a rhetorical question;

Is “answerable”; and,

Is not biased or asked in a leading manner.
School of Security and Global Studies
Preparing the next generation of security professionals through curriculum and teaching excellence.
Writing a Research Question
Clauser, Jerome.2010. Intelligence Research and Analysis. Lanham. MD: Scarecrow Press.
Leedy, Paul D and Jeanne Ormrod. 2005. Practical Research Planning and Design. Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Pearson.
Johnson, Janet Buttolph and Richard Joslyn. 1995. Political Science Research Methods.
Washington, DC: CQ Press.
Johnson, Janet Buttolph, H.T. Reynolds and Jason Mycoff. 2008. Political Science Research
Methods, Sixth Edition. Washington, DC: CQ Press.
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Structure of Research
Table of Contents
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Language Of Research
Philosophy of Research
Home » Foundations » Philosophy of Research »
Structure of Research
Structure of Research
Most research projects share the same general structure. You might think of this structure as following the
Deduction & Induction
shape of an hourglass. The research process usually starts with a broad area of interest, the initial problem that
Positivism & Post-Positivism
the researcher wishes to study. For instance, the researcher could be interested in how to use computers to
Introduction to Validity
Ethics in Research
Evaluation Research
improve the performance of students in mathematics. But this initial interest is far too broad to study in any
single research project (it might not even be addressable in a lifetime of research). The researcher has to
narrow the question down to one that can reasonably be studied in a research project. This might involve
formulating a hypothesis or a focus question. For instance, the researcher might hypothesize that a particular
method of computer instruction in math will improve the ability of elementary school students in a specific
district. At the narrowest point of the research hourglass, the researcher is engaged in direct measurement or
observation of the question of interest.
Once the basic data is collected, the researcher begins to try to understand it, usually by analyzing it in a variety
of ways. Even for a single hypothesis there are a number of analyses a researcher might typically conduct. At
this point, the researcher begins to formulate some initial conclusions about what happened as a result of the
computerized math program. Finally, the researcher often will attempt to address the original broad question of
interest by generalizing from the results of this specific study to other related situations. For instance, on the
basis of strong results indicating that the math program had a positive effect on student performance, the
researcher might conclude that other school districts similar to the one in the study might expect similar results.
Components of a Study
What are the basic components or parts of a research study? Here, we’ll describe the basic components
involved in a causal study. Because causal studies presuppose descriptive and relational questions, many of
the components of causal studies will also be found in those others.
Most social research originates from some general problem or question. You might, for instance, be interested
in what programs enable the unemployed to get jobs. Usually, the problem is broad enough that you could not[2/4/2012 9:18:01 AM]
Structure of Research
hope to address it adequately in a single research study. Consequently, we typically narrow the problem down
to a more specific research question that we can hope to address. The research question is often stated in the
context of some theory that has been advanced to address the problem. For instance, we might have the theory
that ongoing support services are needed to assure that the newly employed remain employed. The research
question is the central issue being addressed in the study and is often phrased in the language of theory. For
instance, a research question might be:
Is a program of supported employment more effective (than no program at all) at keeping newly
employed persons on the job?
The problem with such a question is that it is still too general to be studied directly. Consequently, in most
research we develop an even more specific statement, called an hypothesis that describes in operational
terms exactly what we think will happen in the study. For instance, the hypothesis for our employment study
might be something like:
The Metropolitan Supported Employment Program will significantly increase rates of employment
after six months for persons who are newly employed (after being out of work for at least one
year) compared with persons who receive no comparable program.
Notice that this hypothesis is specific enough that a reader can understand quite well what the study is trying to
In causal studies, we have at least two major variables of interest, the cause and the effect. Usually the cause
is some type of event, program, or treatment. We make a distinction between causes that the researcher can
control (such as a program) versus causes that occur naturally or outside the researcher’s influence (such as a
change in interest rates, or the occurrence of an earthquake). The effect is the outcome that you wish to study.
For both the cause and effect we make a distinction between our idea of them (the construct) and how they are
actually manifested in reality. For instance, when we think about what a program of support services for the
newly employed might be, we are thinking of the “construct.” On the other hand, the real world is not always
what we think it is. In research, we remind ourselves of this by distinguishing our view of an entity (the
construct) from the entity as it exists (the operationalization). Ideally, we would like the two to agree.
Social research is always conducted in a social context. We ask people questions, or observe families
interacting, or measure the opinions of people in a city. An important component of a research project is the
units that participate in the project. Units are directly related to the question of sampling. In most projects we
cannot involve all of the people we might like to involve. For instance, in studying a program of support services
for the newly employed we can’t possibly include in our study everyone in the world, or even in the country, who
is newly employed. Instead, we have to try to obtain a representative sample of such people. When sampling,
we make a distinction between the theoretical population of interest to our study and the final sample that we
actually measure in our study. Usually the term “units” refers to the people that we sample and from whom we
gather information. But for some projects the units are organizations, groups, or geographical entities like cities
or towns. Sometimes our sampling strategy is multi-level: we sample a number of cities and within them sample
In causal studies, we are interested in the effects of some cause on one or more outcomes. The outcomes are
directly related to the research problem — we are usually most interested in outcomes that are most reflective of
the problem. In our hypothetical supported employment study, we would probably be most interested in
measures of employment — is the person currently employed, or, what is their rate of absenteeism.
Finally, in a causal study we usually are comparing the effects of our cause of interest (e.g., the program)
relative to other conditions (e.g., another program or no program at all). Thus, a key component in a causal
study concerns how we decide what units (e.g., people) receive our program and which are placed in an
alternative condition. This issue is directly related to the research design that we use in the study. One of the
central questions in research design is determining how people wind up in or are placed in various programs or
treatments that we are comparing.
These, then, are the major components in a causal study:[2/4/2012 9:18:01 AM]
Structure of Research
The Research Problem
The Research Question
The Program (Cause)
The Units
The Outcomes (Effect)
The Design
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