Suggested Themes For Term Paper

In F tutorial classes, we discussed and explained the important concepts in the text in English. Term paper writing is for students to explore, construct, and express their ideas on the basis of the discussions. Therefore, students are recommended to complete a term paper in English.

General requirements:
a. Word limit is 1500-2000 for English or 2000-3000 for Chinese.
b. Use the template to write your paper and read the grading guideline.
c. Submit a copy to the VeriGuide system.
d. The submitted file should be in a format of MS Words and the filename in this format: paper-YourName.docx (for example, paper-Chan,TaiMan.docx). No space between the characters.

Suggested themes:
Choose ONE themes from below or a self-initiated theme. Each theme below is a broad subject. You should narrow down into a specific topic (See “Tips on writing essay”).

Theme 1: Cupping Therapy
It has been said that when Michael Phelps was swimming in the Olympics, the most eye- catching thing was not his swimming technique, but the circular marks distributed on his body.10

10 “Cupping at the Olympics – what is it and why do athletes use it?” The Conversation, August 9, 2016.

These marks are caused by cupping. Aboushanab and AlSanad have done detailed researches.11 Although the origin of the long-established cupping therapy is unknown, it could be traced back to different places such as ancient Greece and China. Today, cupping therapy is practiced almost all over the world, but it is considered only to be an alternative medicine. Yet, Easterners seem to accept cupping therapy more than Westerners. Is the popularity of this therapy related to geography, culture, and other factors? Is it related to the cosmology reflected in the principle behind this therapy?
Sample topics include “The reasons why people in the East are welcome cupping therapy” and “Traditional cupping therapy is an example of modern science”.


  2. Naseem Akhtar Qureshi et al. 2017. “History of cupping (Hijama): a narrative review of literature,” Journal of Integrative Medicine, 15(3): 172–181. (
  3. Anna Marie Dinall. 2019. “A reflection on cupping therapy and historical medical dominance,” International Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine, Volume 12 Issue 2, pp. 66-68. ( dominance.html).

Theme 2: Values of genetic technology
A piece of news in The Washington Post reports that a Jordanian couple had lost six babies to Leigh syndrome, a heritable neurological disorder. Dr. John Zhang and his research team applied techniques of genetic editing and successfully help the couple give birth of a healthy baby.12 Yet, the opponents regarded his act is pushing the boundaries of religion, as well as moral and ethical acceptance. Thus, this inspires us to ponder on how we make a decision when encountering a situation where science meets some unquantifiable values such as morality or human rights.
Science and technology can detect in the early stage of embryonic development whether an embryo has a congenital genetic disease, hence the babies with serious congenital diseases can be identified and thus be provided with suitable supports. Yet, no matter whether an embryo is healthy or
11 Tamer S.Aboushanab and Saud AlSanad, “Cupping Therapy: An Overview from a Modern Medicine Perspective”. ScienceDirect, Volume 11, Issue 3, June 2018, Pages 83-87. n%20ancient%20technique%20of%20healing%20%5B1%5D.,texts%20to%20mention%20cupping%20therapy.
12 Ariana Eunjung Cha, “This fertility doctor is pushing the boundaries of human reproduction, with little regulation”, The Washington Post, May 14, 2018. fertility-doctor-is-pushing-the-boundaries-of-human-reproduction-with-little-regulation/2018/05/11/ea9105dc- 1831-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html.

has a congenital genetic disease, genetic testing of the embryo (an individual) will bring about ethical and moral issues such as privacy. Every person is entitled to privacy; however, genetic testing discloses the genetic characteristics of the individual.
Following the same line of thought, a couple in the future can even assign expected talents to their children by presetting relevant genes, so that the choice of their future career becomes more apparent. Selecting appropriate genes for embryos according to parents’ preferences, babies can get, for example, better musical talents. Under the principle of resource optimization, the resources for cultivating musicians are given to those gifted children. The chance of becoming an outstanding musician in the future becomes higher than those who have not been genetically selected. However, the opponents regard those who have being genetically selected will lose their autonomy and are allowed to follow their own interests to choose their career.
In addition, this topic brings about discussions on the nature of science. Vaccination is an example. Vaccination campaigns helped eradicate smallpox, and scientific evidence for the effectiveness of large-scale campaigns has been well established. Yet, advocators of anti-vaccination refuse to have themselves or their children vaccinated against contagious diseases despite the availability of vaccination services. The World Health Organization identified this as one of the top ten global health threats of 2019.13 Anti-vaccination primarily results from public debates in social media around the medical, religious and ethical issues related to vaccines. Another news that was spread widely is the “resurrection” of the woolly mammoth. The woolly mammoth is a species of mammoth that lived during the Pleistocene until its extinction in the Holocene epoch. Some social media reported that the Harvard geneticist George Church would produce elephant embryos with woolly mammoth genes within two years.14 However, John Hawks in his blog said that Prof. Church verified that these are just a fake news.15 Is John’s announcement another fake news? It leads us contemplate how the public comes to have scientific knowledge, and how we can distinguish it from inauthentic science presented as scientific by various political or economic interests.
Sample topics include “Moral judgement should not be a reason to limit researches on genetics” and “Investigate why anti-vaccination is spread over the public successfully”.


  1. “Prenatal Diagnosis & Testing: There’s been a lot of talk about genetic testing. What is it? Are there any ethical and religious issues associated with it?” Saint Joseph’s University, October 21, 2009. testing-what-is-it-are-there-any-ethical-and-religious-issues-associated-with-it/.

13 World Health Organization, “Ten threats to global health in 2019”. threats-to-global-health-in-2019.
14 “Woolly mammoth on verge of resurrection, scientists reveal”, The Guardian.; “Woolly mammoth could be ‘de-extinct’ in 2 years, scientist says”, Weird News. elephant_n_58a62fa7e4b037d17d264477.
15 John Hawks, “How mammoth cloning became fake news”. cloning-became-fake-news-1e3a80e54d42.

  1. Kelli Swan, “Genetic Testing and the Christian Faith: Navigating the Tension Responsibly”. responsibly.
  2. Bryan Galvan, “The future of gene editing: ending disease or creating super-soldiers or a master race? Why rules are needed,” South China Morning Post (Dec 30, 2018), disease-or-creating-super.
  3. Clive Cookson, “Gene-edited babies: From red light to orange… and then green?”, The Straits Times (Feb 20, 2017), to-orange-and-then-green.
  4. “Michael Sandel on the values of being a human being”.
  5. Hopf H, Krief A, Mehta G, Matlin SA, “Fake science and the knowledge crisis: ignorance can be fatal”, R. Soc. open sci., 6: 190161. (2019).

Theme 3: Gender difference
Traditional view on a man is that he knows the virtue of silence, throws a ball with accuracy, parks a vehicle with perfection, and take offence over trivial issues. In contrast, the view on a woman is that she is the mistress of grammar and superior at reading, capable of judging the moods and intentions of others with finesse and running a web of complex social relationships. “What makes the gender difference?” This question has been studied in a variety of fields, including medicine, physiology, psychology, as well as sociology.
Scientifically, evolution has come into play. The gender difference starts in the womb with a great rinsing of hormones that trigger the diverging of ways;16 recent study on brain connectivity further reveals that there are indeed some striking differences in the neural wiring of men and women. The researchers further explain some beliefs those are commonly held about their behavior, for example, females outperformed males on attention, word and face memory.17 Though the evolutionary difference between males and females are fascinating topic, it has been argued that the scientific understanding of the differences between men and women will reinforce the traditional views on sexes, thus boosting sexual stereotype or even discrimination.
In contrast, feminists argue that the differences might be solely due to cultural and social construction. For instance, MIT researchers reports that that the percentage of women who go to college intending to become engineers stay in the profession less than that of men. It is due to the fact that women often feel marginalized during team-based activities or internships; consequently, those experiences make the profession less appealing.18 Thus, it has been a controversial issue that social or

16 Janet Radcliffe Richards, “How are men and women different” in Big questions in science (London: Vintage, 2003), pp. 103 – 115.
17 Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Brain connectivity study reveals striking differences between men and women.” ScienceDaily.
18 MIT. “Study offers explanation for why women leave engineering: Group dynamics of teamwork, internships

other barriers to women’s achievement in the field of science and engineering do exist.
This controversial topic further inspires us to contemplate the cultural influences in science education and whether science education today has favored a particular gender and how to improve the science education in your host country so as to embody gender equality.
Sample topics include “Investigate if scientific understanding of gender difference boosts sexual stereotype” and “Justify if there is any social or other barriers to women’s achievement in the field of science and engineering”.


  1. Student Enrolment Statistics, NUS. statistics.
  2. “Why women are poor at science, by Harvard president,” Guardian (Jan 18, 2005),
  3. Sam Dillon, “Harvard Chief Defends His Talk on Women,” The New York Times (Jan 18, 2005).
  4. Kaili Rimfeld and Margherita Malanchini, “How much is academic achievement shaped by genes?”, BBC, 7th September 2018. influence-achievement-and-success-in-school.
  5. Thomas Breda and Clotilde Napp, “Girls’ comparative advantage in reading can largely explain the gender gap in math-related fields”, PNAS, July 30, 2019.
  6. Eva Krugly-Smolska, “Cultural influences in science education”, International Journal of Science Education, Volume 17, 1995 – Issue 1.
  7. Yu Chong Ho & Lee Hyun Seo, Creating Change to Improve Science and Mathematics Education: Lessons from Hong Kong, (Singapore: Springer, 2020), Introduction (https://gocuhk- LoJTERJajPtbhEFKFO3g?e=epxVgA)

Note that all the references above are to provide you a general background. Students should do a systematic literature review on the discussion topic concerned.

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