Example of a research project | Roots of contemporary problems (2023)

Blood for Bananas: United Fruit's Central American Empire

***Lindsey Morey is the author of Blood For Bananas. He completed this project in the fall of 2014 as part of Dr. Clif Stratton for History 105, which included an emphasis on visual and web-based presentation. Format requirements vary between History 105 and 305 sections.

On March 10, 2014, Chiquita Brands International announced it would merge with Irish fruit company Fyffes. After the merger, Chiquita-Fyffes would control more than 29% of the banana market; more than any other company in the world today. However, this is not the first time in history that these companies are under the same name. Chiquita Brands and Fyffes were owned by the United Fruit Company until 1986. The modern merger marks their reunion and ongoing takeover of the banana market [1🇧🇷 The United Fruit Company was known for its cruelty in the workplace and the racist social order it perpetuated. Though Chiquita and Fyffes are more subtle in their autocratic tendencies, they continue many of the same practices of political and social manipulation that their parent company once did [2].

Advertising has been one of the most prominent forms of manipulation carried out by both the modern two companies and United Fruit. In the mid-20th century, the United Fruit Company embarked on a series of advertising campaigns designed to tap into the emotions and sense of adventure of a growing American middle class and fomented racial polarization and political tension in the United States and Central America, all to sell their bananas.

United Fruit started its first advertising campaign in 1917. By that time, the company already had well-established plantations in several countries in Central and South America. All they needed now was to interest the American people in trying new and exotic things to sell the bananas they produced. At that time in American history, it was thought that ads should address consumers' logic, not their emotions, so United Fruit hired scientists to write positive reviews about bananas, whether they were true or not. one of these postsNutritional Value of Banana: Opinions from leading medical and scientific authorities,offered a collection of articles by leading scientists promoting the nutritional value, health benefits, and even the taste of bananas [3]. Today we know that bananas are good for us, but at the turn of the 20th century, these scientists had no way of determining the nutritional value and other properties they claimed to have investigated. However, Americans seem to have believed the scientists, as United Fruit's banana sales began to soar.

Example of a research project | Roots of contemporary problems (1)

From the 1920s, everything began to change. A successful young propagandist named Edward Bernays changed American advertising forever.4🇧🇷 Bernays found that focusing on people's emotions rather than their logic made people flock to a product. His first experience in this type of advertising was for the American Tobacco Company. Bernays thought that cigarette sales would skyrocket if it were socially acceptable for women to smoke, so at a large march for women's rights in New York City, Bernays had a woman light a cigarette in front of reporters and called it " Torch of Liberty". [5]. Soon, women across the United States were smoking cigarettes. After this initial PR stunt, companies across the United States began using emotionally charged advertising. United Fruit was no different. They launched an advertising campaign around their new cruise called “The Great White Fleet” [6🇧🇷 This cruise took civilians to United Fruit-controlled countries in Central and South America to appeal to Americans' sense of adventure and promote good corporate reputation with the American people. When the cruise ship docked in a country, the cruise ships often visited one of the United Fruit plantations. During this tour, tourists saw only small areas of the banana plantations, theatrically staged to present the plantation as a harmonious place to work, when in reality it was a place of harsh conditions and corruption [7]. His announcements were instrumental in convincing the American people to embark on an exotic adventure with the Great White Fleet. The pamphlet on the right (Fig. 1) describes Central America as a land of pirates and romance. The ad even portrays it as the place where "pirates hid their gold". By giving American tourists a false sense of Central American romance, they sold more cruise tickets and, by association, more bananas.

United Fruit's unethical practices extended far beyond its manipulative advertising. They were also known for their extremely racial workplace policy. They had employees from many different racial groups and pitted them against each other to control riots that would otherwise be directed against the company [8🇧🇷 White Americans would get the most prestigious jobs like managers and financial advisers, while people of color would get the hard work. The company made a strict distinction between Hispanic and Caribbean workers. They administered different privileges and punishments for each ethnic group, and if one group was rewarded, managers said it was because they worked harder than the other group. yes a punishmentExample of a research project | Roots of contemporary problems (2)was managed, management said it was the fault of the other group [9]. This gave both groups something to focus their anger on so they wouldn't lash out at the company over poor working conditions. United Fruit used the Great White Fleet to promote these racial tensions. If the name wasn't obvious enough, all ships were painted bright white and all crew members wore white uniforms [10]. Fleet even encouraged passengers to wear white. The ad on the left (Fig. 2) further embodies the racial tensions experienced by Americans and United Fruit workers. The big white American ship dwarfed the frail brown ship, symbolizing the power and prestige that the whites held over the locals. The Central Americans in the corner of the image gaze in awe at the massive ship and are dressed in tropical attire to satisfy the need to appeal to the American people's idealized version of the tropics. This is not just an ad, but a propaganda job.

Example of a research project | Roots of contemporary problems (3)

The United Fruit Company continued to advertise into the mid-20th century until it found a new use for its public relations skills. A politician named Jacobo Arbenz was elected president in Guatemala, one of the Central American countries occupied by United Fruit [11🇧🇷 Arbenz was a strict nationalist and all he wanted was for his people to stop suffering in poverty. One of the most prominent problems in Guatemala at that time was land scarcity. When United Fruit invaded Guatemala, they bought out many of the local farmers to acquire land for their plantations. This left no room for peasants, who depended on agriculture as their sole source of income. Arbenz created an agrarian reform that took land away from the company and gave it back to the poor peasants who needed it [12]. United Fruit was outraged by this reform. They immediately launched a propaganda campaign led by Edward Bernays to convince the US government and its people that Arbenz was a communist dictator.13🇧🇷 In a 1953 article in theNew York Times, Guatemala has been described as “operating under increasingly severe communist-inspired pressure to rid the country of US corporations” [14]. United Fruit was manipulating the media to make it appear that land reform was only created because the Soviet government was influencing Arbenz to sabotage US economic imperialism in Central America. As it was during the Cold War, association with communists was a serious indictment. America's aggressive stance toward communism emboldened them to take immediate action. The CIA hired civilian militias from Honduras to enter Guatemala and start a war against Arbenz and his followers. United Fruit also convinced US President Dwight Eisenhower to threaten Arbenz because Eisenhower and many other prominent US government officials owned stock in United Fruit [15]. Faced with these pressures, Arbenz feared for his life and tendered his resignation.

However, this did not satisfy United Fruit. They wanted to make an example of Guatemala, so that their other host nations would not dare to oppose them. They had the CIA bribe the Guatemalan military to let the Honduran militias win [16]. After the victory, Honduran militia leader Castillo Armas was named president of Guatemala and Armas was a puppet of the United Fruit Company for the remainder of his term.[17] He returned all confiscated lands to United Fruit and gave them preferential treatment at all ports and railroads in Guatemala. The company continued to influence the North and Central American media to justify what it had done. They called Armas the “Liberator” and told the inspiring story of how he freed Guatemala from its communist ties. They also destroyed what was left of Arbez's reputation, calling him "Jacobo el Rojo", further linking him to the Soviets [18]. ONENew York TimesAn article written in 1954 says that “President Castillo Armas continues to act with moderation and common sense”, and “Jacobo Arbenz, in any case, is a deflated balloon, unlikely to cause more problems” [19]. The media praised Armas for his good policy making, but most of his policies were proposed by United Fruit or the US government. United Fruit and the US-controlled media also made Armas a war hero to increase his acceptance and popularity among the Guatemalan people. Arbenz was made to look like an easy defeat to give the American people confidence in their government's ability to eliminate communist threats.

The US banana market has changed little since the early 1920sacentury. A handful of large companies control more than 80% of the banana market, and this exclusivity allows them to obtain the best land, transport prices and political climate in which to grow their bananas [20🇧🇷 Now that two major banana companies, Chiquita and Fyffes, have merged to reform United Fruit's former monopoly, the market has become even more exclusive. Both companies use their enormous influence to tap into the American sense of adventure in their advertisements and to influence the governments of the countries they occupy, much like their predecessor, United Fruit. Today, racial polarization does not play as important a role at Chiquita and Fyffes. Companies continue to exploit their workers, but they no longer use racial tensions as a form of labor control. Laws and regulations have tempered the cruelty of merged companies, but they still find ways to abuse their influence and power.

(Video) Contemporary Issues Research Project


[1]Wall Street Journal,March 10, 2014.

[2]“Revealing the truth about Guatemalan bananas”,Council on Hemispheric Affairs,July 28, 2010,http://www.coha.org/revelando-la-verdad-sobre-la-industria-bananera-guatemalteca/.

[3] United Fruit Company,Nutritional Value of Bananas: Opinions from Leading Medical and Scientific Authorities(Boston: United Fruit Company, 1917), 1.

[4]Stuart Ewen,PR!: A social history of the turn(Nova York: Basic Books, 1996), 3.

[5] Ewen,RP!, 4.

[6] Catherine Gauls,Tropical Whites: The Rise of the Tourist South in the Americas(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 37.

[7] gallons,tropical whites, 34.

[8]Jason Colby,The Business of Empire: United Fruit, Race, and US Expansion in Central America(Ithaka: Cornell University Press, 2011),119.

[9] Colby,the empire business, 8.

(Video) Introduction to Contemporary Issues

[10] at the ends,tropical whites, 1.

[11] Piero Gleijeses, “To Jacobo Arbenz’s Agrarian Reform,”Journal of Latin American Studies21, 3 (1989): 453.

[12] Ibidem.

[13] Stephen M. Streeter, “Interpreting the 1954 US Intervention in Guatemala: Realist, Revisionist, and Post-Revisionist Perspectives,”the history teacher34,1 (2000):64.

[14]New York Times, November 8, 1953.

[15] Gleijeses, “James Arbenz’s Agrarian Reform”,

[16] Streeter, “Interpretation of the 1954 US Intervention in Guatemala,” 63.

[17]“Unveiling the truth about Guatemalan bananas”.

[18]Streeter, “Interpretation of the 1954 US Intervention in Guatemala,” p. 63.

[19]New York Times,September 11, 1954.

(Video) Problems in conducting a Research

[20] Berman, Gillian. "Next Chapter in the Bloody Story of the Global Banana Trade: 'Walmartization'"Huffington Post,March 10, 2014,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/10/worlds-largest-banana-company-_n_4935955.html.



Berman, Gilian. "Next chapter in the bloody history of the global banana trade: 'Walmartization'".Huffington Post,March 10, 2014.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/10/worlds-largest-banana-company-_n_4935955.html.

Roosters, Catherine.Tropical Whites: The Rise of the Tourist South in the Americas🇧🇷 Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.

ColbyJason M.The Business of Empire: United Fruit, Race, and US Expansion in Central America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011.

Council on Hemispheric Affairs. “Revealing the truth about Guatemalan bananas”.Council on Hemispheric Affairs,July 28, 2010.http://www.coha.org/revelando-la-verdad-sobre-la-industria-bananera-guatemalteca/.

Evans, Peter and Vanessa Mock. “Chiquita and Fyffes will merge, creating a new global Top Banana: Merger Agreement for all US and Irish companies valued at $1.07 billion.”Wall Street Journal,March 10, 2014.http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304704504579430490167267928.

EWEN, Stuart.PR!: A social history of the turn. . . . Nova York: BasicBooks, 1996.

Gleijeses, Peter. “To Agrarian Reform by Jacobo Arbenz”.Journal of Latin American Studies21, 3 (1989): 453-480.

(Video) Best Research Topics in 2022 for Students

Grusson, Sydney. "WE. will re-examine Guatemala's role: the arrival of a new envoy heralds shifts in policy towards the red-backed regime."New York Times,November 8, 1953.

Streeter, Stephen M. "Interpretation of the 1954 American Intervention in Guatemala: Realist, Revisionist, and Post-Revisionist Perspectives."the history teacher34.1 (2000): 61-74.


Grusson, Sydney. "WE. will re-examine Guatemala's role: the arrival of a new envoy heralds shifts in policy towards the red-backed regime."New York Times,November 8, 1953.

"Guatemala without Arbenz".New York Times,September 11, 1954.

United Fruit Company.Nutritional Value of Bananas: Opinions from Leading Medical and Scientific Authorities. Boston: United Fruit Company, 1917.


Figure 1. 1916 advertisement for United Fruit Company steam service, 1916,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Fruit_Company#mediaviewer/Arquivo:United_Fruit_Ad_1916.jpg.

Figure 2. Great White Fleet, United Fruit Company, 1928,http://www.ediblegeography.com/spaces-ofbanana-controle/.

Figure 3.Time Magazine: Arbenz da Guatemala, June 28. 1954,http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/arbenz.htm.

(Video) How to Write a 5 Page Paper in 30 MINUTES! | 2019


What are contemporary issues? ›

A contemporary issue refers to an issue that is currently affecting people or places and that is unresolved. A geographic issue refers to a topic, concern or problem, debate, or controversy related to a natural and/or cultural environment, which includes a spatial dimension.

What is an example of a general research problem? ›

A general research question will usually be based around 'why' or 'how' a certain phenomenon is happening. An example of a good general research statement could be: 'What is causing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest?'

What are 5 good research questions? ›

The Five Research Questions
  • What information do I need?
  • Where do I find information?
  • Which information can I trust?
  • How can I use new information in my writing?
  • How do I use information ethically?

What are examples of historical research? ›

Examples of primary sources include diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, memos, photographs, videos, public opinion polls, and government records, among many other things.

What are the four types of contemporary issues? ›

Contemporary Issues in Credo: Social Issues
  • Titles.
  • Business and Economic Issues.
  • Environmental Issues.
  • Social Issues.
  • Religious Issues.
Jan 3, 2023

What are some good research problems? ›

Research Topics:
  • Infectious disease. 29 articles | 1,643,000 views. ...
  • Nutritional immunology. 29 articles | 768,000 views. ...
  • Music therapy. 44 articles | 268,000 views. ...
  • Political misinformation. 11 articles | 219,000 views. ...
  • Plant science. 15 articles | 198,000 views. ...
  • Sustainable agriculture. ...
  • Mental health. ...
  • Aging brains.
Jan 17, 2022

What is a good research problems? ›

A general rule of thumb is that a good research problem is one that would generate a variety of viewpoints from a composite audience made up of reasonable people.

What is the best research problem? ›

A Good Research Problem Addresses a Gap in Knowledge

New challenges arise as we gain more knowledge. Thus, a good research problem must consider what has not been done after an exhaustive literature review. It addresses a gap that requires a systematic collection and analysis of data for better understanding.

What is contemporary history research? ›

Contemporary history refers to the history of events usually within the lifetime of the historian, although sometimes, in the European or North American context, to post-1945 or even post-1914 history.

How do I find a research topic for history? ›

1) Choose a general topic that interests you. You should start fairly broad, like "Civil War Battles" or "Women during the 19th Century." Be prepared to narrow that topic down. Ultimately your paper will have a very narrow focus, but identifying an era or general topic that interests you is a good place to start.

What is an example of experimental research? ›

In an experimental design, a researcher gathers plant samples and then randomly assigns half the samples to photosynthesize in sunlight and the other half to be kept in a dark box without sunlight, while controlling all the other variables (nutrients, water, soil, etc.)

How do you formulate a research problem? ›

How to define a research problem
  1. Identify a general area of interest. ...
  2. Learn more about the problem. ...
  3. Review the context of the information. ...
  4. Determine relationships between variables. ...
  5. Select and include important variables. ...
  6. Receive feedback and revise.
Jul 13, 2021

What are the 3 types of research questions? ›

With that in mind there are three common types of quantitative research questions:
  • Descriptive research questions.
  • Comparative research questions.
  • Relationship-based research questions.

What are major issues or problem in the contemporary world? ›

Almost half are in dangerous environments. As is often the case, the other issues on this list – climate change, poverty, COVID, gender equality, etc – factor into children's rights.

What are the 5 biggest problems facing the world today? ›

World's biggest problems on the UN list
  • Climate Change.
  • Wars and military conflicts.
  • Water contamination.
  • Human rights violation.
  • Global health issues.
  • Poverty.
  • Children's poor access to healthcare, education and safety.
  • Access to food and hunger.
Aug 2, 2022

What are the contemporary topics? ›

Our society is shaped by contemporary issues, which affect how we interact with each other.
Political And Civil Rights
  • Right to health.
  • Physical integrity.
  • Death.
  • Safety.
  • Right to protection from discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, color, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or disability.
Jun 24, 2022

What is contemporary example? ›

Things that are contemporary are either happening at the same time or happening now. Contemporary art is recent art. In history class, if you hear that one famous person was a contemporary of another, that means they lived at the same time. Contemporaries are people and things from the same time period.

How do you write a contemporary issue? ›

Here are a few tips to help you write about contemporary social issues.
Tip #3: Be convincing
  1. Create logical arguments.
  2. Choose appropriate evidence.
  3. Avoid bias.
May 14, 2018

What is an example of contemporary issues in education? ›

A number of issues and controversies now face educators and communities. Among them are discipline and security; race, ethnicity, and equality; mainstreaming; and public versus private education.

What are the best research topics in 2022? ›

Top 10 Research Topics from 2022
  1. Viral diseases. 37 articles | 499,000 views. ...
  2. Exploring sound. 23 articles | 442,000 views. ...
  3. Neurodegenerative diseases. 19 articles | 387,000 views. ...
  4. Psychedelic therapy. 22 articles | 346,000 views. ...
  5. Circadian rhythms. ...
  6. Covid-19 insights. ...
  7. Vaccine safety. ...
  8. Spirituality and healthcare.
Dec 9, 2022

What is a good research project? ›

A good research involves systematic planning and setting time-based, realistic objectives. It entails feasible research methods based upon a research methodology that best suits the nature of your research question. It is built upon sufficient relevant data and is reproducible and replicable.

What are the examples of research problems in community? ›

Example Community Problems: Adolescent pregnancy, access to clean drinking water, child abuse and neglect, crime, domestic violence, drug use, pollution, mismanagement of resources, lack of funding for schools and services, ethnic conflict, health disparities, HIV/ AIDS, hunger, inadequate emergency services, ...

What are the common students problem in research? ›

The first obstacle to conducting research is that students frequently do not read enough to conceptualize how research is done. Reading not just anything bust specifically research allows a student to synthesize the vocabulary and format of research writing.

What is contemporary research example? ›

Examples of Contemporary research in a sentence

Contemporary research regarding the etiology of sexually abusive behavior; ii. Contemporary research in many areas of physics requires some knowledge of how momentum transport in fluids couples to diffusive phenomena driven by thermal or concentration gradients.

What is a contemporary case study? ›

A group case study requiring problem solving on a contemporary issue facing managers of natural and rural systems. Emphasis is placed on defining the problems, establishing an appropriate approach, applying methods & analysis, & defending conclusions within a major project.

What is the contemporary world today? ›

The contemporary world refers to the circumstances and ideas of our current time. From costly conflicts to tremendous political developments to a global pandemic, it is safe to say that the 21st century has been quite chaotic.

What are good history project ideas? ›

  • Learn About The Artists Of The Time.
  • Create A Lap Book.
  • Immerse Yourself In The Time Period & Culture.
  • Play A Game.
  • Create A Map.
  • Build A 3D Model.
  • Create A Timeline.
  • Do Some Creative Writing.
Oct 27, 2020

Where can I find a good research topic? ›

Articles, reports in academic journals and books are all useful sources of research topics. Review articles in particular often indicate areas in which more research may be required.

How do I find a research topic for my thesis? ›

How to Choose Your Thesis Topic
  1. Identify something you are interested in or passionate about. ...
  2. Discuss your interests with people. ...
  3. Talk to the faculty. ...
  4. Use your class assignments to develop your interests.
Mar 29, 2019

What is an example of a simple experiment? ›

Usually, a simple experiment answers a "What would happen if...?" cause-and-effect type of question. Example: You wonder whether a plant grows better if you mist it with water. You get a sense of how the plant is growing without being misted and then compare this with growth after you start misting it.

What are the 4 types of experimental research? ›

Four major design types with relevance to user research are experimental, quasi-experimental, correlational and single subject. These research designs proceed from a level of high validity and generalizability to ones with lower validity and generalizability.

What are the 5 types of experimental research? ›

The types of experimental study designs are into three types as Pre-experimental, quasi-experimental, and real experimental.

What is an example of contemporary? ›

Things that are contemporary are either happening at the same time or happening now. Contemporary art is recent art. In history class, if you hear that one famous person was a contemporary of another, that means they lived at the same time. Contemporaries are people and things from the same time period.

What are the contemporary issue in our society? ›

12 Examples of Social Issues

Climate change. Overpopulation. Immigration stress. Civil rights.

What is contemporary Research example? ›

Examples of Contemporary research in a sentence

Contemporary research regarding the etiology of sexually abusive behavior; ii. Contemporary research in many areas of physics requires some knowledge of how momentum transport in fluids couples to diffusive phenomena driven by thermal or concentration gradients.

What is an example of contemporary and modern? ›

Of or in the style of the present or recent times; modern. The definition of contemporary is existing at the same time or of the present time period. An example of contemporary are the works of Fitzgerald and Hemingway. An example of contemporary is furniture in the modern style.

Why do we need to study contemporary issues? ›

Because becoming aware of contemporary and world issues, they build language, vocabulary, reading comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving, oral expression, and listening skills. They develop into informed citizens and lifelong news, history and global readers.


1. Concept of Contemporary Issues
(Cris Merigildo)
2. Project Proposal Writing: How To Write A Winning Project Proposal
3. How to choose a research topic in 3 ways | Research topic ideas | Learn to select research topics
(WiseUp Communications)
4. How Research Questions Can Make or Break Your Project!
(Graduate Research School Western Sydney University)
5. 2014 Three Minute Thesis winning presentation by Emily Johnston
(University of South Australia)
6. EFSC--Social Problems Spring 2015 Research Project
(Debra Marshall)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aracelis Kilback

Last Updated: 22/11/2023

Views: 5473

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aracelis Kilback

Birthday: 1994-11-22

Address: Apt. 895 30151 Green Plain, Lake Mariela, RI 98141

Phone: +5992291857476

Job: Legal Officer

Hobby: LARPing, role-playing games, Slacklining, Reading, Inline skating, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Dance

Introduction: My name is Aracelis Kilback, I am a nice, gentle, agreeable, joyous, attractive, combative, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.