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What would be an interesting issue to target cross-culturally?

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Cross-cultural studies explore issues by comparing how various cultures understand and cope with those issues in their ideas, words, and actions. Many different issues lend themselves nicely to such cross-cultural studies, including family relationships, education, health care, aging, and mental illness. Let's briefly explore study possibilities for each of these.

We know that family relationships vary across cultures. Some cultures promote extended families with people of different generations and various nuclear families all living together and supporting one another. Other cultures focus more on the nuclear family and its growth. A study with this concentration might look at the reasons behind these cultural variations and the effects that arise from them.

Education and people's views of it also differ widely across cultures. Some cultures highly promote formal education and teach young people the necessity of it. Many of these cultures also focus on discipline, enforcing the need for good study habits, hard work, and acceptable grades. Other cultures, however, may place more emphasis on informal education, the kind children learn from their families, perhaps through stories or hands-on experiences.

Health care, too, is a prime topic for cross-cultural study. Some cultures promote modern medicine and encourage people to make use of all modern medical techniques and drugs. Other cultures prefer traditional remedies and don't value formal health care nearly as much. One might explore why these differences exist and the effects they have on the overall health of the populations of these cultures.

Aging is another good possibility for cross-cultural study, for different cultures value (or do not) the elderly in different ways. Some cultures look to their elders for wisdom, and people care for the elderly within the family home, valuing and supporting each person until death. Other cultures do not care for the elderly within their own home.

Finally, mental illness may be a good issue for cross-cultural study, especially with regard to the nature of mental illness, its causes, and its treatment. Again, different cultures have vastly different views about these elements.

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