Policy topic selection

[General intro] [Principles for selecting] [Likely topics ] [Unlikely topics]

A policy topic is one where someone else, with the same facts but different priorites, could argue the opposite conclusion.

For example: "how GPS-guided missles work" is not a policy topic. "The U.S. should not use GPS-guided missiles because doing so would make the GPS satellites targets vulnerable and the GPS system too valuable for civilian uses" is a policy topic. Likewise, "Planes using GPS-based guidance systems should be required to have a non-GPS-based backup, since the GPS is a military system and GPS-guided missiles may cause the GPS satellites to become targets" is also a policy topic.

As another example, "how the overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance" is not a policy topic, but "anitibiotic use should be regulated to reduce antibiotic resistance" or "anitibiotic use should not be regulated because such regulation would be expensive and cost lives" are policy topics.

Also, the reasons for your policy must be science-based. "Animals should not be used for testing cosmetics because it is cruel to the animals" is not a science-based policy. "Animals should not be used for testing cosmetics because the approach is less reliable than computer modelling" is a science-based policy (it is not clear that the this is true, by the way, but if you have evidence to support it you are welcome to do this).

Possible topics include:


federal support of SETI (need _science_ based reasons, not curiosity)
genetically modified crops or required labelling of such

antibiotic regulation              animal testing
national missile defense           enforced zero population growth
fission generated electricity      fusion funding
Kyoto emission trading             high-power laser pointers
lie-detector tests as evidence     reprocessing of nuclear waste
food irradiation                   regulation of dietary suppliments

Topics to avoid include:


restrictions on cloning of human beings (mostly ethics, not science)
evolution/creationism (will end up being all policy or all science)
napster (legal, not science)
To cite this page:
Policy topic selection <http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~wilkins/writing/Assign/topics/topic-policy.html>
[Wednesday, 13-Dec-2017 08:03:01 EST]
Edited by: wilkins@mps.ohio-state.edu on Saturday, 07-Apr-2001 16:34:36 EDT