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Hello all, I need some help. I am currently working through my Masters in history program and need to come up with an original historical thesis to research and write a paper for. This will be the capstone of my degree work and I want to create a topic that requires me to research what I love so much....trap shooting.

Does the forum have any suggestions on topics to research? I will need to take a new perspective on history, but I keep coming up with nothing. I will be forever grateful for any ideas.
 

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Sounds like a cool idea for a paper, hope the professors have an open mind. I would start by looking to the English starting back with the live bird shoots and progress from there with the how, why, who & where of the development of the non live birds.....glass balls, history of such. the dress of the shooters, types of guns used, types of shells and contents of the shell. Then you could progress to modern times through the wars. The evolution of shells, powders, shot. World wide competition, and the evolution of the different games, bunker, olympic, skeet, 5 stand, sporting clays. This should be enough to keep you busy to see if there is enough to write a thesis! Good luck.
 

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Chris,
How about defending a thesis regarding the effects of modern firearms on scores. Does the advent of modern trap guns actually increase scores based on a historical analysis? Give me some additional time and I will help you brainstorm. I don't envy you, thesis' are an incredible amount of work. Mine was The Effects of Geomagnetic Storms on the U.S. Electrical Grid. Best of luck!
Jeff
 

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Racial issues are a very current topic. However these issues did play a role in the history of trap shooting when you consider the division and treatment of various shooters according to their race.
 

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Why limit yourself to the subject of just "trap". The evolution of shotgun target shooting from it's beginnings to current day would give you much more subject matter to write about, much of it quite interesting.

For example, our local skeet & trap club began when the military built skeet fields to introduce/teach aerial gunners preparing for WWII about how to lead a moving object such as an airplane by using shotguns and clay targets. Similar installations were built in other locations, some of them on military bases, but some not (like ours). These fields sat unused for years behind out local airport until a few local citizens approached the city about possibly using it for a gun club.

There is a lot more to this story, but I think you get the idea.

Good Luck and Good Shooting!
 

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After you are done with the history swing to the modern shooting sports and the attack on our sports and on the second amendment. The hundreds of thousands of shooting events and millions of rounds without a single casualty.

Yes, thesis' are not fun but I think they would be much easier today as when I was working on mine I had to use microfiche.
 

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I'd start with grizquad's idea and expand into the consequences of shooting sports on American society to include industry and technology. You can also venture into the reporting of events by the media c.1870-1917 to cover the sociological aspect. Histogrophy is difficult to write, but this story can show an affect now obscured in our time. Additionally you have a woman at the core of what was happening during a great portion of the time, Annie Oakley. The WWII training aspect is well worth a mention as well as the post war boom in clay target sports. Hope this helps.
 

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Remember you need to have an argument for an MA thesis, not just a review of the literature. I do language and literature academia for a living, and the hard part is going from "here's what the sources say" to "here's what I think that means, and here's how I'm going to argue it". So I'd start broad, use JSTOR and other collections to just do some general searches for trapshooting or clay shooting, and see where the scholarship takes you, keeping in mind it might be a dead end. Or you could take a tangent approach: research, for example, the depiction of shooters, firearms, and/or sportsmen in the literature and visual arts of a specific period, and see if something jumps out as a topic. Look at firearm development as a function of broader technological advances in metallurgy and weapons design, with an addendum regarding modern trap guns. There are probably options out there, but they will require some digging to flesh out.

Let me know if I can be of assistance; I've written several of these things and although they're not always the most fun you can have with your clothes on, research can be quite illuminating in its own right.
 

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How about researching the effect of the training WW II pilots received to improve aerial gunnery skills they were taught on military built Skeet fields and taught by accomplished Skeet shooters who volunteered for service, many who were accepted above the maximum induction age? This may also contain information on the Skeet fields built on Pacific islands, then abandoned, as the war effort moved on to the next objective.
 

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Agree,
you will need to turn this into an arguable topic that you can defend in front of a board. A simple historic trip down memory lane is not going to get you there.
You have a lot of work to do with the literature research. Get on that early.
PS. Be darn sure you know how to say, "I do not know, but I will look into that question further," when you are being asked about your work early on. Nothing more uncomfortable than watching a grad student squirm trying to avoid just saying that simple answer.
 

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I'd have thought a dissertation on "trap shooting" alone would just be too narrow.

How about the evolution of competitive international shooting (from the days of independent amateurs to today's state-funded athletes) for political recognition and the rights and wrongs of that?
 

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As I understand it the gunners on the bombers trained by shooting clay pidgeons while standing in the back of a truck or pickup.
On the Kiner side of my family there were 3 brothers that went to WWII. My Uncle Harold Kiner who won the MOH and lost his life doing so in Germany, Ray Kiner (dad) who was a gunner on a destroyer in the Pacific (and was credited with shooting down 2 1/2 Zeros), and lastly Uncle Ernie who's job was precisely that. He taught the gunners what it took to hit the targets. If I remember his stories correctly the shotgun was actually mounted on a turret and they were seated in an arrangement very similar to the ones, both the guns and the bubble, these kids had to crawl into when they took the air. I cannot remember how much time he said that it actually took to get them to understand what to do and actually be able to hit the target. I do remember him talking about teaching the gunner to hit different shots as there were actually different shots each was taught(wish I had taken notes of the conversations that occurred with him and my other relatives when I was a kid as these were priceless conversations). I don't remember which shot it was but, I remember him talking about one of the shots being more difficult for gunners to learn than the others. I also don't remember how many he taught at one time or how long their training was before they were shipped out. Side note: can you imagine what it felt like to be hanging in a plastic bubble under the plane totally exposed to the world with enemy aircraft shooting at you like you were in a shooting gallery? This generation of men and women were definitely tougher than the current generations.


Having said that what about an analysis of 1 vs 2 eyed shooters and their ability to be competitive. We all know that the “old” standard was that all shooters had to shoot with both eyes open. We (at least me) now know that that is not the case. Myself and Todd Bender (we are good friends) used to agree on the theory and were slightly different on the numbers of male/female one eye/two eye shooters. In 2000 Todd’s guestimate was that 85-90% of women and 15-20% of men needed to shoot one eyed (meaning a dot, no matter how large or small, multiple dots, tape, lots of tape, completely taped lens, or eye closed) at that time my guestimate was 25% of men and 90+% of the women needed to shoot one eyed.

Fast forward 17 years and my guestimate is now 30% of men and 98% or more of women are or need to be one eye shooters. With an additional add-on that as men hit age 50 the one eye group is starting to grow and by age 60 it is now up to 40-50% percent that should be one eye shooters and at or around age 70 and over this group is now up 60% or maybe even more that are or need to be shooting with only one eye.

If you look at the average book over the years you will see that on average something like 40-50% of all ATA shooters are on the 21 or less and have less than a 90% singles average. Trap and Field used to include the numbers and percentages of shooters by gender and classification for singles and by yardages for handicap which they quit printing sometime in the 2000’s. This data was part of the average book from the time I started (1972) until they quit including it sometime in the 2000’s. I cannot give precise numbers or the years because I cannot find my old average books. I think one reason that these percentages are high is because many should be shooting with one and are NOT.

I find that of the shooters attending my clinics there are a lot of shooters that are one eye and apparently just don’t talk about it, probably so they don’t have to go through the grief of either trying once again to shoot with both eyes or the grief they get for shooting with one and not changing.

There is all kinds of hypothesis you could put forward regarding one vs two, male vs female, changes as the population ages etc etc . I also think the data would be available in that you could use survey monkey (or similar) and run a survey to estimate the actual number of one vs two over time using the ATA data base . You could also survey winners, one vs two, etc. etc. at say the Grand or perhaps Satellite Grands.

I have thought on more than one occasion about doing a study of this nature myself but I just don’t have the time or discipline to do it.

This is something that I think could be ground breaking for trap (or perhaps you could survey current skeet/sporting shooters) and all of the clay target sports.

If trap/skeet/sporting were being played on TV in front of millions of viewers someone would already be doing it or it would have already been done.But, we aren’t so any data that anyone gets is going to have to some for the private sector and funded by individuals.

If this is something that is of interest to you I would be glad to offer insights I might have into what I think the numbers be able to show, some of the questions to ask, some groups to survey etc..

I would be willing to bet that if anyone ever does this type of study the results will contradict many of the old wife’s tales that permeate gun clubs and gun club wisdom today.
 

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Another tangent about eyes: big screen TV's + video games and their effects on eye dominance. I've been coaching SCTP for 14 years and have noticed an increase over time of eye dominance issues in young shooters, primarily young men. It's more apparent shooting skeet or sporting clays, but if you know what to watch for it happens while shooting trap also. The first symptoms are that the shooter is sudden death on targets approaching from the side that they mount the gun, but rarely hit targets approaching from the "off" side.

Observation over time indicates that the shooters appear to be experiencing a switching of their eye dominance. Target on the right: right eye dominant. Target on the left: left eye dominant. In each case, the shooter was male in their early to mid teens who spent a significant amount of time playing video games on large format video monitors and were shooting with both eyes open.

It shouldn't be too difficult to set up a research study using moving points of light in a dimly lit room or under a hood. That would avoid the "guns are scary" stigma and help gather a larger sample group for research. The experiences of shooters would then become another data point and not necessarily part of the actual thesis.
 

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In todays culture, you would need to expose the white privilidge of trapshooting to get any kind of passing grade.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 
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