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One of the hardest parts of writing a research paper can be just finding a good topic to write about. Fortunately we've done the hard work for you and have compiled a list of 113 interesting research paper topics. They've been organized into ten categories and cover a wide range of subjects so you can easily find the best topic for you.

In addition to the list of good research topics, we've included advice on what makes a good research paper topic and how you can use your topic to start writing a great paper.

What Makes a Good Research Paper Topic?

Not all research paper topics are created equal, and you want to make sure you choose a great topic before you start writing. Below are the three most important factors to consider to make sure you choose the best research paper topics.

#1: It's Something You're Interested In

A paper is always easier to write if you're interested in the topic, and you'll be more motivated to do in-depth research and write a paper that really covers the entire subject. Even if a certain research paper topic is getting a lot of buzz right now or other people seem interested in writing about it, don't feel tempted to make it your topic unless you genuinely have some sort of interest in it as well.

#2: There's Enough Information to Write a Paper

Even if you come up with the absolute best research paper topic and you're so excited to write about it, you won't be able to produce a good paper if there isn't enough research about the topic. This can happen for very specific or specialized topics, as well as topics that are too new to have enough research done on them at the moment. Easy research paper topics will always be topics with enough information to write a full-length paper.

Trying to write a research paper on a topic that doesn't have much research on it is incredibly hard, so before you decide on a topic, do a bit of preliminary searching and make sure you'll have all the information you need to write your paper.

#3: It Fits Your Teacher's Guidelines

Don't get so carried away looking at lists of research paper topics that you forget any requirements or restrictions your teacher may have put on research topic ideas. If you're writing a research paper on a health-related topic, deciding to write about the impact of rap on the music scene probably won't be allowed, but there may be some sort of leeway. For example, if you're really interested in current events but your teacher wants you to write a research paper on a history topic, you may be able to choose a topic that fits both categories, like exploring the relationship between the US and North Korea. No matter what, always get your research paper topic approved by your teacher first before you begin writing.

113 Good Research Paper Topics

Below are 113 good research topics to help you get you started on your paper. We've organized them into ten categories to make it easier to find the type of research paper topics you're looking for.

Arts/Culture

  • Discuss the main differences in art from the Italian Renaissance and the Northern Renaissance .
  • Analyze the impact a famous artist had on the world.
  • How is sexism portrayed in different types of media (music, film, video games, etc.)? Has the amount/type of sexism changed over the years?
  • How has the music of slaves brought over from Africa shaped modern American music?
  • How has rap music evolved in the past decade?
  • How has the portrayal of minorities in the media changed?

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Current Events

  • What have been the impacts of China's one child policy?
  • How have the goals of feminists changed over the decades?
  • How has the Trump presidency changed international relations?
  • Analyze the history of the relationship between the United States and North Korea.
  • What factors contributed to the current decline in the rate of unemployment?
  • What have been the impacts of states which have increased their minimum wage?
  • How do US immigration laws compare to immigration laws of other countries?
  • How have the US's immigration laws changed in the past few years/decades?
  • How has the Black Lives Matter movement affected discussions and view about racism in the US?
  • What impact has the Affordable Care Act had on healthcare in the US?
  • What factors contributed to the UK deciding to leave the EU (Brexit)?
  • What factors contributed to China becoming an economic power?
  • Discuss the history of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies  (some of which tokenize the S&P 500 Index on the blockchain) .
  • Do students in schools that eliminate grades do better in college and their careers?
  • Do students from wealthier backgrounds score higher on standardized tests?
  • Do students who receive free meals at school get higher grades compared to when they weren't receiving a free meal?
  • Do students who attend charter schools score higher on standardized tests than students in public schools?
  • Do students learn better in same-sex classrooms?
  • How does giving each student access to an iPad or laptop affect their studies?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Montessori Method ?
  • Do children who attend preschool do better in school later on?
  • What was the impact of the No Child Left Behind act?
  • How does the US education system compare to education systems in other countries?
  • What impact does mandatory physical education classes have on students' health?
  • Which methods are most effective at reducing bullying in schools?
  • Do homeschoolers who attend college do as well as students who attended traditional schools?
  • Does offering tenure increase or decrease quality of teaching?
  • How does college debt affect future life choices of students?
  • Should graduate students be able to form unions?

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  • What are different ways to lower gun-related deaths in the US?
  • How and why have divorce rates changed over time?
  • Is affirmative action still necessary in education and/or the workplace?
  • Should physician-assisted suicide be legal?
  • How has stem cell research impacted the medical field?
  • How can human trafficking be reduced in the United States/world?
  • Should people be able to donate organs in exchange for money?
  • Which types of juvenile punishment have proven most effective at preventing future crimes?
  • Has the increase in US airport security made passengers safer?
  • Analyze the immigration policies of certain countries and how they are similar and different from one another.
  • Several states have legalized recreational marijuana. What positive and negative impacts have they experienced as a result?
  • Do tariffs increase the number of domestic jobs?
  • Which prison reforms have proven most effective?
  • Should governments be able to censor certain information on the internet?
  • Which methods/programs have been most effective at reducing teen pregnancy?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Keto diet?
  • How effective are different exercise regimes for losing weight and maintaining weight loss?
  • How do the healthcare plans of various countries differ from each other?
  • What are the most effective ways to treat depression ?
  • What are the pros and cons of genetically modified foods?
  • Which methods are most effective for improving memory?
  • What can be done to lower healthcare costs in the US?
  • What factors contributed to the current opioid crisis?
  • Analyze the history and impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic .
  • Are low-carbohydrate or low-fat diets more effective for weight loss?
  • How much exercise should the average adult be getting each week?
  • Which methods are most effective to get parents to vaccinate their children?
  • What are the pros and cons of clean needle programs?
  • How does stress affect the body?
  • Discuss the history of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • What were the causes and effects of the Salem Witch Trials?
  • Who was responsible for the Iran-Contra situation?
  • How has New Orleans and the government's response to natural disasters changed since Hurricane Katrina?
  • What events led to the fall of the Roman Empire?
  • What were the impacts of British rule in India ?
  • Was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary?
  • What were the successes and failures of the women's suffrage movement in the United States?
  • What were the causes of the Civil War?
  • How did Abraham Lincoln's assassination impact the country and reconstruction after the Civil War?
  • Which factors contributed to the colonies winning the American Revolution?
  • What caused Hitler's rise to power?
  • Discuss how a specific invention impacted history.
  • What led to Cleopatra's fall as ruler of Egypt?
  • How has Japan changed and evolved over the centuries?
  • What were the causes of the Rwandan genocide ?

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  • Why did Martin Luther decide to split with the Catholic Church?
  • Analyze the history and impact of a well-known cult (Jonestown, Manson family, etc.)
  • How did the sexual abuse scandal impact how people view the Catholic Church?
  • How has the Catholic church's power changed over the past decades/centuries?
  • What are the causes behind the rise in atheism/ agnosticism in the United States?
  • What were the influences in Siddhartha's life resulted in him becoming the Buddha?
  • How has media portrayal of Islam/Muslims changed since September 11th?

Science/Environment

  • How has the earth's climate changed in the past few decades?
  • How has the use and elimination of DDT affected bird populations in the US?
  • Analyze how the number and severity of natural disasters have increased in the past few decades.
  • Analyze deforestation rates in a certain area or globally over a period of time.
  • How have past oil spills changed regulations and cleanup methods?
  • How has the Flint water crisis changed water regulation safety?
  • What are the pros and cons of fracking?
  • What impact has the Paris Climate Agreement had so far?
  • What have NASA's biggest successes and failures been?
  • How can we improve access to clean water around the world?
  • Does ecotourism actually have a positive impact on the environment?
  • Should the US rely on nuclear energy more?
  • What can be done to save amphibian species currently at risk of extinction?
  • What impact has climate change had on coral reefs?
  • How are black holes created?
  • Are teens who spend more time on social media more likely to suffer anxiety and/or depression?
  • How will the loss of net neutrality affect internet users?
  • Analyze the history and progress of self-driving vehicles.
  • How has the use of drones changed surveillance and warfare methods?
  • Has social media made people more or less connected?
  • What progress has currently been made with artificial intelligence ?
  • Do smartphones increase or decrease workplace productivity?
  • What are the most effective ways to use technology in the classroom?
  • How is Google search affecting our intelligence?
  • When is the best age for a child to begin owning a smartphone?
  • Has frequent texting reduced teen literacy rates?

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How to Write a Great Research Paper

Even great research paper topics won't give you a great research paper if you don't hone your topic before and during the writing process. Follow these three tips to turn good research paper topics into great papers.

#1: Figure Out Your Thesis Early

Before you start writing a single word of your paper, you first need to know what your thesis will be. Your thesis is a statement that explains what you intend to prove/show in your paper. Every sentence in your research paper will relate back to your thesis, so you don't want to start writing without it!

As some examples, if you're writing a research paper on if students learn better in same-sex classrooms, your thesis might be "Research has shown that elementary-age students in same-sex classrooms score higher on standardized tests and report feeling more comfortable in the classroom."

If you're writing a paper on the causes of the Civil War, your thesis might be "While the dispute between the North and South over slavery is the most well-known cause of the Civil War, other key causes include differences in the economies of the North and South, states' rights, and territorial expansion."

#2: Back Every Statement Up With Research

Remember, this is a research paper you're writing, so you'll need to use lots of research to make your points. Every statement you give must be backed up with research, properly cited the way your teacher requested. You're allowed to include opinions of your own, but they must also be supported by the research you give.

#3: Do Your Research Before You Begin Writing

You don't want to start writing your research paper and then learn that there isn't enough research to back up the points you're making, or, even worse, that the research contradicts the points you're trying to make!

Get most of your research on your good research topics done before you begin writing. Then use the research you've collected to create a rough outline of what your paper will cover and the key points you're going to make. This will help keep your paper clear and organized, and it'll ensure you have enough research to produce a strong paper.

What's Next?

Are you also learning about dynamic equilibrium in your science class? We break this sometimes tricky concept down so it's easy to understand in our complete guide to dynamic equilibrium .

Thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner? Nurse practitioners have one of the fastest growing careers in the country, and we have all the information you need to know about what to expect from nurse practitioner school .

Want to know the fastest and easiest ways to convert between Fahrenheit and Celsius? We've got you covered! Check out our guide to the best ways to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit (or vice versa).

These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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Research Paper Topics

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Choose your Topic Smart

What starts well, ends well, so you need to be really careful with research paper topics. The topic of a research paper defines the whole piece of writing. How often have you chosen the book by its title? First impression is often influential, so make sure your topic will attract the reader instantly. By choosing your topic smart, the half of your job is done. That is why we have singled out several secrets on how to pick the best topic for you. Also see the list of 1000 thesis topics .

Browse Research Paper Topics by Category:

  • Anthropology
  • Argumentative
  • Communication
  • Criminal Justice
  • Environmental
  • Political Science

What is the Key to a Perfect Topic for a Research Paper?

The key to a perfect topic includes three main secrets: interest, precision, and innovation.

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It is impossible to do something great if you have no interest in what you are doing. For this reason, make sure you choose the topic that drives you. If you are bored by what you investigate, do not expect that your paper will be exciting. Right now, spend some minutes or even hours thinking about what interests you. Jot down all your preferences in life, science, politics, social issues etc. It will help you get the idea what you can write about.

After realizing what drives you, narrow this general idea to a more specific one. A research paper is not about beating around the bush. You will need clear facts and data. You will have to provide evidence to your ideas. You will need to be precise, specific and convincing.

Finally, the idea of any research is that it should be surprising and distinctive. Think what makes your perspective and approach special. What is the novelty of your research?

Use Technology

If you are still stuck, use technology. Today we have an opportunity to make our lives easier with a bit of technology used. You can find paper topic generators online. This software will examine the category you want to investigate and the keywords from your research. Within several seconds, this program generates paper topics, so you can try it yourself. It can help you get started with your assignment.

100% Effective Advice

We will now give you advice that is 100% effective when picking the topic. Firstly, forget about what others may think about your topic. This is your topic and this is your perception of the world. Stay personal and let your personal style get you the top grades. Secondly, never decide on the topic before analyzing the background for your research. By this we mean, investigate the topic before you start the research proper. It happens quite often that students choose the topic and later they realize there is no data or information to use. That is why conduct some research beforehand. Thirdly, read other researchers’ papers on the topic you want to write about. It will help you get the idea of the investigation. Moreover, it will help you understand whether you truly want to write a paper on this topic. Finally, when you have picked the topic, started your research, make sure you dedicate your time and energy. If you want to get high results, you need to study every little details of your research.

Examine Different Ideas

People often come up with genius ideas after analyzing thousands of other people’s ideas. This is how our brain works. That is why you can analyze other people’s ideas for research paper topics and think up your own. If you have never written any paper of that kind, it will help you understand the gist of this assignment, the style and the requirements. By comparing different topics, you can motivate yourself and get inspired with these ideas. Luckily, you have come to the right place. Here is our list of top 100 research paper topics.

Top 10 Argumentative Research Paper Topics:

Argumentative research papers examine some controversial issues. Your task is to provide your point of view, your argument, and support your idea with the evidence. This academic assignment requires appropriate structuring and formatting.

  • Does a College Education Pay?
  • Dual Career Families and Working Mothers
  • Electronic Copyright and Piracy
  • Drinking on Campus
  • Education for Homeless Children
  • Glass ceiling
  • Honor System at Colleges
  • Sex and Violence on TV
  • Word Population and Hunger
  • World Trade and Globalization

Top 10 Economics Research Paper Topics:

If you are studying economics, you can find various topics at our site. Check out topics of micro- and macroeconomics. See ideas for urgent economic problems, economic models and strategies. Get inspired and come up with your perfect topic.

  • Beyond Make-or-Buy: Advances in Transaction Cost Economics
  • Economic Aspects of Cultural Heritage
  • Economics of Energy Markets
  • Globalization and Inequality
  • International Trade and Trade Restrictions
  • Aggregate Expenditures Model and Equilibrium Output
  • Taxes Versus Standards
  • Predatory Pricing and Strategic Entry Barriers
  • Marxian and Institutional Industrial Relations in the United States
  • Twentieth-Century Economic Methodology

Top 10 Education Research Paper Topics:

Education has so many questions, and yet few answers. The list of education topic is endless. We have chosen the top 10 topics on the urgent issues in education. You can find ideas related to different approaches, methodology, classroom management, etc.

  • Teachers Thinking About Their Practice
  • Cognitive Approaches to Motivation in Education
  • Responsive Classroom Management
  • Ten Steps to Complex Learning
  • Economics and School-to-Work
  • Reading and Literacy in Adolescence
  • Diversifying the Teaching Force
  • Teacher-Student Relationships
  • Preparing for College and Graduate School
  • Role of Professional Learning

Top 10 History Research Paper Topics:

Choose your topic regarding cultural, economic, environmental, military, political or social history. See what other researchers investigated, compare their ideas and pick the topic that interests you.

  • European Expansion
  • Orientalism
  • Current trends in Historiography
  • Green Revolution
  • Religion and War
  • Women’s Emancipation Movements
  • History of Civilization

Top 10 Psychology Research Paper Topics:

The list of psychology categories and topics is enormous. We have singled out the most popular topics on psychology in 2019. It is mostly topics on modern psychology. Choose the topic the appeals to you the most or ask our professionals to help you come up with some original idea.

  • Imaging Techniques for the Localization of Brain Function
  • Memory and Eyewitness Testimony
  • Traditional Neuroscience Research Methods
  • Meditation and the Relaxation Response
  • Assessment of Mental Health in Older Adults
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology and Research
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Nature Versus Nurture

Top 10 Biology Research Paper Topics:

Here you can find topics related to the science of all forms of life. Examine the topics from different fields in biology and choose the best one for you.

  • Biological Warfare
  • Clone and Cloning
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Kangaroos and Wallabies
  • Mendelian Laws of Inheritance
  • Molecular Biology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Top 10 Chemistry Research Paper Topics:

The best way to understand chemistry is to write a paper on chemistry topic. Below you can see the topics from different fields of chemistry: organic, inorganic, physical, analytical and others.

  • Acids and Bases
  • Alkaline Earth Metals
  • Dyes and Pigments
  • Chemical Warfare
  • Industrial Minerals
  • Photochemistry
  • Soaps and Detergents
  • Transition Elements

Top 10 Physics Research Paper Topics:

Check out the topics on classical and modern physics. Find ideas for writing about interrelationships of physics to other sciences.

  • Aerodynamics
  • Atomic Theory
  • Celestial Mechanics
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Magnetic recording
  • Microwave Communication
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Subatomic particles

Top 10 Sociology Research Paper Topics:

Find ideas related to different sociological theories, research and methodologies.

  • Feminist Methodologies and Epistemology
  • Quality-of-Life Research
  • Sociology of Men and Masculinity
  • Sociology of Leisure and Recreation
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Teaching and Learning in Sociology
  • The History of Sociology: The North American Perspective
  • The Sociology of Voluntary Associations
  • Marriage and Divorce in the United States
  • Urban Sociology in the 21 st Century

Top 10 Technology Research Paper Topics:

See topics related to the cutting-edge technology or dive into history of electronics, or even early advances in agriculture.

  • Food Preservation: Freeze Drying, Irradiation, and Vacuum Packing
  • Tissue Culturing
  • Digital Telephony
  • Computer-Aided Control Technology
  • Minerals Prospecting
  • Prefabricated Buildings
  • Timber Engineering
  • Quantum Electronic Devices
  • Thermal Water Moderated Nuclear Reactors
  • Long Range Radars and Early Warning Systems

What Makes a Good Topic for a Research Paper?

A good research paper topic is the one that is successful and manageable in your particular case. A successful research paper poses an interesting question you can actually answer. Just as important, it poses a question you can answer within the time available. The question should be one that interests you and deserves exploration. It might be an empirical question or a theoretical puzzle. In some fields, it might be a practical problem or policy issue. Whatever the question is, you need to mark off its boundaries clearly and intelligently so you can complete the research paper and not get lost in the woods. That means your topic should be manageable as well as interesting and important.

A topic is  manageable  if you can:

  • Master the relevant literature
  • Collect and analyze the necessary data
  • Answer the key questions you have posed
  • Do it all within the time available, with the skills you have

A topic is  important  if it:

  • Touches directly on major theoretical issues and debates, or
  • Addresses substantive topics of great interest in your field

Ideally, your topic can do both, engaging theoretical and substantive issues. In elementary education, for example, parents, teachers, scholars, and public officials all debate the effectiveness of charter schools, the impact of vouchers, and the value of different reading programs. A research paper on any of these would resonate within the university and well beyond it. Still, as you approach such topics, you need to limit the scope of your investigation so you can finish your research and writing on time. After all, to be a good research paper, it first has to be a completed one. A successful research paper poses an interesting question you can actually answer within the time available for the project. Some problems are simply too grand, too sweeping to master within the time limits. Some are too minor to interest you or anybody else.

The solution, however, is not to find a lukewarm bowl of porridge, a bland compromise. Nor is it to abandon your interest in larger, more profound issues such as the relationship between school organization and educational achievement or between immigration and poverty. Rather, the solution is to select a well-defined topic that is closely linked to some larger issue and then explore that link. Your research paper will succeed if you nail a well-defined topic. It will rise to excellence if you probe that topic deeply and show how it illuminates wider issues.The best theses deal with important issues, framed in manageable ways. The goal is to select a well-defined topic that is closely linked to some larger issue and can illuminate it.

You can begin your project with either a large issue or a narrowly defined topic, depending on your interests and the ideas you have generated. Whichever way you start, the goals are the same: to connect the two in meaningful ways and to explore your specific topic in depth.

Of course, the choice of a particular research paper topic depends on the course you’re taking. Our site can offer you the following research paper topics and example research papers:

Moving from a Research Paper Idea to a Research Paper Topic

Let’s begin as most students actually do, by going from a “big issue” to a more manageable research paper topic. Suppose you start with a big question such as, “Why has the United States fought so many wars since 1945?” That’s certainly a big, important question. Unfortunately, it’s too complex and sprawling to cover well in a research paper. Working with your professor or instructor, you could zero in on a related but feasible research topic, such as “Why did the Johnson administration choose to escalate the U.S. war in Vietnam?” By choosing this topic, your research paper can focus on a specific war and, within that, on a few crucial years in the mid-1960s.

You can draw on major works covering all aspects of the Vietnam War and the Johnson administration’s decision making. You have access to policy memos that were once stamped top secret. These primary documents have now been declassified, published by the State Department, and made available to research libraries. Many are readily available on the Web. You can also take advantage of top-quality secondary sources (that is, books and articles based on primary documents, interviews, and other research data).

Drawing on these primary and secondary sources, you can uncover and critique the reasons behind U.S. military escalation. As you answer this well-defined question about Vietnam, you can (and you should) return to the larger themes that interest you, namely, “What does the escalation in Southeast Asia tell us about the global projection of U.S. military power since 1945?” As one of America’s largest military engagements since World War II, the war in Vietnam should tell us a great deal about the more general question.

The goal here is to pick a good case to study, one that is compelling in its own right and speaks to the larger issue. It need not be a typical example, but it does need to illuminate the larger question. Some cases are better than others precisely because they illuminate larger issues. That’s why choosing the best cases makes such a difference in your research paper.

Since you are interested in why the United States has fought so often since 1945, you probably shouldn’t focus on U.S. invasions of Grenada, Haiti, or Panama in the past two decades. Why? Because the United States has launched numerous military actions against small, weak states in the Caribbean for more than a century. That is important in its own right, but it doesn’t say much about what has changed so dramatically since 1945. The real change since 1945 is the projection of U.S. power far beyond the Western Hemisphere, to Europe and Asia. You cannot explain this change—or any change, for that matter—by looking at something that remains constant.

In this case, to analyze the larger pattern of U.S. war fighting and the shift it represents, you need to pick examples of distant conflicts, such as Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan, or Iraq. That’s the noteworthy change since 1945: U.S. military intervention outside the Western Hemisphere. The United States has fought frequently in such areas since World War II but rarely before then. Alternatively, you could use statistics covering many cases of U.S. intervention around the world, perhaps supplemented with some telling cases studies.

Students in the humanities want to explore their own big ideas, and they, too, need to focus their research. In English literature, their big issue might be “masculinity” or, to narrow the range a bit, “masculinity in Jewish American literature.” Important as these issues are, they are too vast for anyone to read all the major novels plus all the relevant criticism and then frame a comprehensive research paper.

If you don’t narrow these sprawling topics and focus your work, you can only skim the surface. Skimming the surface is not what you want to do in a research paper. You want to understand your subject in depth and convey that understanding to your readers.

That does not mean you have to abandon your interest in major themes. It means you have to restrict their scope in sensible ways. To do that, you need to think about which aspects of masculinity really interest you and then find works that deal with them.

You may realize your central concern is how masculinity is defined in response to strong women. That focus would still leave you considerable flexibility, depending on your academic background and what you love to read. That might be anything from a reconsideration of Macbeth to an analysis of early twentieth-century American novels, where men must cope with women in assertive new roles. Perhaps you are interested in another aspect of masculinity: the different ways it is defined within the same culture at the same moment. That would lead you to novelists who explore these differences in their characters, perhaps contrasting men who come from different backgrounds, work in different jobs, or simply differ emotionally. Again, you would have considerable flexibility in choosing specific writers.

Connecting a Specific Research Paper Topic to a Bigger Idea

Not all students begin their research paper concerned with big issues such as masculinity or American wars over the past half century. Some start with very specific topics in mind. One example might be the decision to create NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement encompassing Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Perhaps you are interested in NAFTA because you discussed it in a course, heard about it in a political campaign, or saw its effects firsthand on local workers, companies, and consumers. It intrigues you, and you would like to study it in a research paper. The challenge is to go from this clear-cut subject to a larger theme that will frame your paper.

Why do you even need to figure out a larger theme? Because NAFTA bears on several major topics, and you cannot explore all of them. Your challenge—and your opportunity—is to figure out which one captures your imagination.

One way to think about that is to finish this sentence: “For me, NAFTA is a case of ___________.” If you are mainly interested in negotiations between big and small countries, then your answer is, “For me, NAFTA is a case of a large country like the United States bargaining with a smaller neighbor.” Your answer would be different if you are mainly interested in decision making within the United States, Mexico, or Canada. In that case, you might say, “NAFTA seems to be a case where a strong U.S. president pushed a trade policy through Congress.” Perhaps you are more concerned with the role played by business lobbies. “For me, NAFTA is a case of undue corporate influence over foreign economic policy.” Or you could be interested in the role of trade unions, environmental groups, or public opinion.

The NAFTA decision is related to all these big issues and more. You cannot cover them all. There is not enough time, and even if there were, the resulting paper would be too diffuse, too scattershot. To make an impact, throw a rock, not a handful of pebbles.

Choosing one of these large issues will shape your research paper on NAFTA. If you are interested in U.S. decision making, for example, you might study the lobbying process or perhaps the differences between Democrats and Republicans. If you are interested in diplomacy, you would focus on negotiations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Either would make an interesting research paper, but they are different topics.

Although the subject matter and analysis are decidedly different in the humanities, many of the same considerations still apply to topic selection. In English or comparative literature, for example, you may be attracted to a very specific topic such as several poems by William Wordsworth. You are not trying, as a social scientist would, to test some generalizations that apply across time or space. Rather, you want to analyze these specific poems, uncover their multiple meanings, trace their allusions, and understand their form and beauty.

As part of the research paper, however, you may wish to say something bigger, something that goes beyond these particular poems. That might be about Wordsworth’s larger body of work. Are these poems representative or unusual? Do they break with his previous work or anticipate work yet to come? You may wish to comment on Wordsworth’s close ties to his fellow “Lake Poets,” Coleridge and Southey, underscoring some similarities in their work. Do they use language in shared ways? Do they use similar metaphors or explore similar themes? You may even wish to show how these particular poems are properly understood as part of the wider Romantic movement in literature and the arts. Any of these would connect the specific poems to larger themes.

How to Refine Your Research Paper Topic

One of your professor’s or instructor’s most valuable contributions to the success of your research paper is to help you refine your topic. She can help you select the best cases for detailed study or the best data and statistical techniques. S/he can help you find cases that shed light on larger questions, have good data available, and are discussed in a rich secondary literature. She may know valuable troves of documents to explore. That’s why it is so important to bring these issues up in early meetings. These discussions with your instructor are crucial in moving from a big but ill-defined idea to a smart, feasible topic.Some colleges supplement this advising process by offering special workshops and tutorial support for students. These are great resources, and you should take full advantage of them. They can improve your project in at least two ways.

First, tutors and workshop leaders are usually quite adept at helping you focus and shape your topic. That’s what they do best. Even if they are relatively new teachers, they have been writing research papers themselves for many years. They know how to do it well and how to avoid common mistakes. To craft their own papers, they have learned how to narrow their topics, gather data, interpret sources, and evaluate conjectures. They know how to use appropriate methods and how to mine the academic literature. In all these ways, they can assist you with their own hard-won experience. To avoid any confusion, just make sure your instructor knows what advice you are getting from workshop leaders and tutors. You want everyone to be pulling in the same direction.

Second, you will benefit enormously from batting around your research paper in workshops. The more you speak about your subject, the better you will understand it yourself. The better you understand it, the clearer your research and writing will be. You will learn about your project as you present your ideas; you will learn more as you listen to others discuss your work; and you will learn still more as you respond to their suggestions. Although you should do that in sessions with your instructor, you will also profit from doing it in workshops and tutorial sessions.

Secrets to Keep in Mind when Writing a Research Paper

As a bonus, we have prepared several secrets for you to make your paper perfect. Firstly, always write your paper from scratch. Do not copy the already existing materials, as it can lead to unsatisfactory mark or even expulsion. Secondly, start your research early; do not put off investigating the topic. The earlier you start, the easier it will be to meet the deadline. Thirdly, plan your work and create an outline for your task. A planned work will help you be systematic. Plus, it will help you avoid writer’s block, as you always have an outline to follow. Another secret is following all the requirements. A research paper is an academic assignment, so all these structural and formatting standards are important. Finally, make sure you proofread and edit your task. Check your paper for grammar and spelling mistakes, examine your choice of vocabulary. If it seems too much, you can always ask our professional editors and they will check the paper for you. A mistakes-free paper is essential to get high results.

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Topics for Research Papers: Diverse Research Ideas Across Disciplines

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Table of contents

  • 1 Why Is the Choice of Subject in Research Papers So Important? 
  • 2 How to Choose a Research Paper Topic?
  • 3 Business Research Paper Topics
  • 4 Media and Communications Research Paper Topics
  • 5 Psychology Research Paper Topics
  • 6 Argumentative Research Paper Topics
  • 7 Controversial Topics for Research Paper
  • 8 Easy Research Paper Topics
  • 9 Research Topic in Natural Sciences
  • 10 Sociology Research Paper Topics
  • 11 Family Research Paper Topics
  • 12 Discrimination Research Paper Topics
  • 13 Law Research Paper Topics
  • 14 Environmental Research Paper Topics
  • 15 Education Research Paper Topics
  • 16 Science and Technology Research Paper Topics
  • 17 College Research Paper Topics
  • 18 Health Research Paper Topics
  • 19 Politics Research Paper Topics
  • 20 History Research Paper Topics
  • 21 Music Research Paper Topics
  • 22.1 After Choosing the Research Topic
  • 22.2 Closing Thoughts

When students approach the final stage of their academic journey, they immediately begin to think about the need to develop their research project to add to their college curriculum. To do this, students start searching for the best research paper topics. From then on, many insecurities and doubts will haunt the minds of these college education students who will have a big job ahead of them with the best research paper topic.

To help students during this challenging phase of their education, we can help them explore various interesting research paper topics, figure out which one aligns with their interests, and start working on it well ahead of the deadline.                    

Why Is the Choice of Subject in Research Papers So Important?  

The final project of a student who is in college is a research paper. However, the student needs to start working on it before the end of their program. It is known that the sooner you begin this process, the more time and tranquility you will find to develop it. Therefore, a research paper will review what experts on a given subject have published in the literature, making the student choose and defend a point of view concerning a thesis statement. Writing one successfully requires surveys and data to back your idea or topic and choose a good research paper topic.

How to Choose a Research Paper Topic?

Choosing a research paper topic is a crucial step in the research process . It’s important to select a topic that interests you, aligns with your academic goals, and is feasible to research. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to pick a good research paper topic :

  • Pick a subject that you’re passionate about! If you’re passionate about your subject, the research process will be more relevant, and you will have more research topic ideas.
  • Concentrate on a doable topic.
  • You will only be able to focus if your topic is narrow enough.
  • Examine the subject selection instructions provided in your assignment—request advice from your lecturer or TA.
  • Always refer to important materials and notes about classes so that you are up to date on the topic.
  • Brainstorm research topics with a friend. They will be able to help you write your emphasis and raise concerns that will not be present at the time of your presentation.
  • Consider the following questions for your research topic ideas: who, what, when, where, and why:

WHY did you choose this particular topic? What piques your curiosity about it?

WHO are the sources of information, and who is impacted?

WHAT are the most important questions about this subject?

WHERE does your topic matter most: locally, nationally, or internationally?

WHEN did your topic become important? Is this a current issue or one from the past?

Business Research Paper Topics

A study of the business is current and significant. It allows data and information to be collected about commercial relationships worldwide. In this way, students can delve deeper into an important economics and professional development topic, finding solutions and discussing results. Sometimes, one can get research paper writing help to assist in situations where it is inconvenient. Some examples of these business research paper topics include:

  • The influence of employee benefits on representative efficiency.
  • The difficulties of managing workgroup conflict.
  • Start-ups: Examining the challenges that arise during the early stages of a business.
  • How to work with open and closed systems in business.
  • Workgroups’ ability to evolve to meet the needs of the future.
  • Inter-authoritative networks and leadership strategies.
  • Product and service improvements made in significant cooperation.
  • How to manage an organization’s emergencies.
  • The effect of full quality management practices on client retention and satisfaction.
  • Effective time management as a tool for authoritative endurance.

Media and Communications Research Paper Topics

The research work developed in the area of the media manages to provide students with information about mass communication and its importance. With the advent of the internet and all its nuances, it is increasingly important to develop studies and research to understand the effects of media and communication in the social context. Some communication research topics can explore include:

  • The influence of the media on real-life relationships.
  • The role of the media in the expression of social issues.
  • Consequences of mass media on society’s ethical well-being.
  • The advantages of using the media to anticipate a crisis.
  • How the media infringes on citizens’ rights.
  • What role does the media play in spreading awareness?
  • The significance of trustworthy ads.
  • The impact of the media on a country’s political elite.
  • Is the media good or harmful to the economy?
  • What role does the media play in technological advancement?

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Psychology Research Paper Topics

Many subjects can be approached within the theme of psychology. It is an area of science that allows us to carry out different studies with various themes and views. However, the student must be able to choose an important topic for the psychology and academic context. Your teacher’s attention is drawn to an engaging and novel topic. Here are some ideas for you:

  • What impact do violent video games have on children’s brain development?
  • Do violent cartoons impact our children’s behavior and mental health?
  • What impact does divorce have on a child’s emotional blooming?
  • An introverted child’s social anxiety and sadness.
  • How does bullying affect high school or college students’ social interactions?
  • When a person is in love, how does the brain work?
  • Differences in the way a man’s and a woman’s brains work
  • Is there a link between PTSD and Alzheimer’s disease?
  • Sleep paralysis causes and effects
  • What is the best way to deal with multiple personality disorders?

Argumentative Research Paper Topics

The student must choose an argumentative research paper topic because you will have to defend a thesis during the work. By opting for a good research paper topic of your interest, you will base yourself on various materials already published on the subject to develop your thoughts and arguments to defend your initial idea chosen as the main subject of your work.

  • The role of government in addressing income inequality.
  • The pros and cons of school uniform policies.
  • Analyzing the effects of violent video games on behavior.
  • The effectiveness of abstinence-only sex education programs.
  • The impact of fast food advertising on childhood obesity.
  • The role of government in regulating online privacy.
  • The pros and cons of school voucher programs.
  • Examining the impact of standardized testing on education.
  • The ethics of capital punishment for juveniles.
  • The ethics of human organ trafficking.

Controversial Topics for Research Paper

  • High times or high risks? The legalization of recreational marijuana use.
  • Locked and loaded: The endless debate on gun control policies.
  • To kill or not to kill: The ongoing debate on capital punishment.
  • Drones in the crosshairs: Balancing security and privacy.
  • The ethics of human cloning and genetic engineering.
  • Vaccination controversies: Mandates, exemptions, and public health.
  • Affirmative action under scrutiny: Equity in college admissions.
  • The ethics of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
  • Balancing surveillance and civil liberties.
  • Nuclear power and weapons: Weighing the benefits and risks.
  • Solitary confinement: Cruel punishment or necessary measure?
  • Rise of the machines: Artificial intelligence, employment, and ethics.
  • Animals in entertainment: Whose amusement at what cost?
  • Privacy vs. security: Government surveillance and individual rights.
  • Playing God: The ethics of human gene editing and designer babies.
  • Statues and symbols: The controversy surrounding Confederate memorials.
  • Fracking unveiled: The controversy surrounding hydraulic fracturing.

Easy Research Paper Topics

  • The effects of fast food consumption on health.
  • The benefits of reading for personal development.
  • Strategies for stress reduction in everyday life.
  • The role of family in child development.
  • The history of famous inventions.
  • Strategies for effective communication in relationships.
  • The history and impact of social movements.
  • The influence of advertising on consumer choices.
  • Strategies for healthy eating on a budget.
  • The importance of setting goals in life.

Research Topic in Natural Sciences

  • The impact of ocean acidification on marine life
  • Exploring the genetic diversity of soil microbes and their influence on crop health.
  • Studying the impacts of emerging contaminants on freshwater ecosystems.
  • Understanding the dynamics of emerging zoonotic diseases in wildlife populations.
  • The use of CRISPR in gene editing.
  • The use of drones in disaster response.
  • The effects of light pollution on nocturnal insect communities in urban areas.
  • Natural toxins in plants: mechanisms, benefits, and risks in agriculture.
  • Climate change and its effects on algal blooms and water quality in 2023.
  • The ecological significance of wetland restoration efforts in 2023.

Sociology Research Paper Topics

The sociology discipline is responsible for studying human behavior within society. These studies will address how people behave in social relationships and groups and how cultures and customs emerge. The possibilities for research are endless regarding sociology’s enormous reach and continually changing societal trends. Choose the best easy sociology research topics for yourself. Some topic ideas are:

  • Is emotional intelligence as crucial as everyone claims?
  • Is there a misconception that males are better professionals than women?
  • Is homeschooling a hindrance to children’s socialization?
  • Abuse marriages have both causes and effects.
  • We spend too much time on our phones.
  • The ethics of animal experimentation.
  • Is recycling beneficial to the environment?
  • In the United States, is there a stereotype about Mexicans?
  • Racial preconceptions ruin people.
  • The need for sex education.

Family Research Paper Topics

It’s not always easy to research family issues. This is mainly because some students may be coming from pleased families. Thus, many concepts might be difficult to comprehend. However, this field of study has the potential to significantly improve the psychological climate in many households throughout the world. Some topics one can research include:

  • In the family, there has been sexual abuse. The escape plan and organizations that can assist.
  • Resolving religious issues in families.
  • Is it possible to rescue oneself from substance abuse in a family if others engage?
  • Saving family connections while not inheriting the family business.
  • Balancing between family support and allowing young adults to experience living on their own in the transition to adulthood.
  • A relationship that is toxic and abusive. Breaking up with a toxic spouse has psychological ramifications.
  • Children and adults go through phases of grieving after losing a family member. How can we cope as a group?
  • What issues might parents confront when fostering a child?
  • When does teen misbehavior become more than a normal desire for independence?
  • A generational divide exists. The moral and cultural differences. Is this typical?

Discrimination Research Paper Topics

It is undeniable the massive impact that discrimination has in the society of the past and also of the present. Therefore, articles on discrimination and race relations must be the subject of academic research. Research papers on it can probe and proffer solutions through data found. Much research in this area can be developed, addressing relations of age, religion, race, sexual orientation, and any existing social conflict. Some topics to explore are:

  • Colorism as a kind of discrimination.
  • Discrimination Against Muslims in the Workplace.
  • Discrimination Against Asian Americans in Colleges.
  • Discrimination in the Workplace.
  • Discrimination against people of color as a result of racial profiling.
  • Discrimination Against Muslims in the Workplace is an issue that has to be addressed.
  • Discrimination in the Workplace: How to Manage in an Inclusive Environment.
  • Discrimination, social exclusion, and violence against LGBT people are issues that the LGBT community faces.
  • Discrimination and Equality Struggle.
  • Discrimination based on age in the workplace.

Law Research Paper Topics

Another fundamental form of research is legal research. It is a significant topic and one that allows us to have different approaches and points of view. Each country and each historical time will give us an even greater immersion in laws and legal conduct.

The law can be divided into 21 major areas. Just choose one of them to be the topic of your law research . Some areas of law are constitutional law, environmental law, and criminal law, among others. Some good topics include:

  • What are the benefits of business rules for institutions and organizations?
  • What is business law’s actual nature?
  • What do we know about the classification of business rules and the legal regulation of non-consensual adoption in the United States?
  • How does the law handle marriage and divorce for mentally ill people?
  • The cultural influence of transgender marriage and its legal status in different countries.
  • The environment and private property.
  • Equal protection under the law and the principle of equality.
  • The financial pyramid’s legal aspects.
  • Environment-related crimes.
  • Exchange Commission and Securities.

Environmental Research Paper Topics

To improve our relationship with nature and preserve it, it is necessary to carry out a lot of debate and research in this area. In this way, we will learn about the importance of ecology and the environment in the lives of all living beings. Developing work on this subject means containing the adverse effects of globalization, industrialization, and the use of nature. This way, we can save ecosystems, avoiding irreparable losses to our planet. Some environment research paper topics  are:

  • Analysis and proposed remedies for lung cancer and radon.
  • The negative impact of acid rain on aquatic life and natural resources.
  • What can we do to protect wildlife from being killed by acid rain?
  • What role did prehistoric creatures have in today’s ecosystems?
  • The repercussion of air pollution and global warming on human health.
  • Can recycling assist people worldwide in improving their health?
  • What can be done to protect coral reefs from being destroyed?
  • How much are garbage and pesticides to blame for our soil contamination?
  • How big is the problem of ocean acidification?
  • Permafrost melting and its impact on climate change.

Education Research Paper Topics

It is known that improving the educational system worldwide is imperative, better serving students and society. However, how can we do this? This type of research aims to make education more efficient and accessible for everyone. Some topics to consider are:

  • Will one of the aims of modern education be the growth of emotional intelligence?
  • Discrimination in education and its impact on students’ futures.
  • Mentally ill persons need to be educated and socialized. There are some similarities and some variances.
  • Education and censorship. Do we want to protect the pupils, or do we want to help them learn what they need to know?
  • How do students in inclusive classrooms perform compared to students in non-inclusive classes?
  • Is it still necessary to have grades in today’s education?
  • Education and incentive: how to pique the interest of students.
  • In what ways may modern education be compared to traditional schooling?
  • Bullying and a negative psychological climate in the classroom. Its influence on educational quality.
  • The importance of discipline in education and how it affects the learning process.

Science and Technology Research Paper Topics

We can see many positive technical advances in the world these days. However, some have negative consequences. Students must prioritize topics that influence many people’s lives and help develop technological research. At the same time, look at the advantages and preservation of technology in today’s world. Some technology topics include:

  • What effect does alcohol intake have on athletes who are training?
  • What influence does ADCC activity research have on HIV treatment?
  • What function does CDfT-Cell Subsets play in HIV patient progression?
  • What is the most significant technical breakthrough of the twentieth century?
  • Is it possible for tech to ever replace human intelligence?
  • What impact does tech play in genetic engineering’s advancement?
  • Can microbial factories help solve the raw metals shortage?
  • Is the paleo diet representative of ancient life? Is it the best diet for people?
  • Is Europe’s objection to genetically modified crops motivated by science or economic considerations?
  • Could molecular biology study into uncommon genetic abnormalities possibly lead to new insights into cancer and other diseases?

College Research Paper Topics

Developing research about the dilemmas faced daily by many students within the university environment is also extremely important. In this way, it becomes possible to analyze more objectively all social relations within the college, the influence of social media, the academic development of students, and especially the results that will be reaped in their profession in the future. The education system is an extensive topic with possibilities to develop easy research paper topics. In addition, it is an environment you are probably already familiar with, thus facilitating the data and information collection process. Some topics about it:

  • The importance of higher education in a professional career for middle ages people.
  • What are the main reasons that lead students to drop out of college?
  • Why should people study foreign languages in college?
  • The influence of the digital world on the university world.
  • College and the financial hardship faced by many students.
  • Doubts about choosing the right college.
  • How to enter the job market after completing college.
  • What are the main differences between public and private colleges?
  • The effects of cyberbullying in the university context.
  • What is the ideal human behaviour in the university environment?

Health Research Paper Topics

Academic work must be developed in Health subjects, seeking to understand better the dynamics of health in different world countries and how this influences people’s lives to have physical well-being. We have recently seen the impact of the Covid-19 virus pandemic on our planet. We have seen the collapse of many health systems in many countries’ human relationships. In addition, we also saw despair and suffering in many families with mental health problems. Therefore, we see how necessary it is to develop research projects that help consolidate better care for the population, promoting health and preventing the emergence of new diseases, especially in third-world countries. Some health research paper topics are:

  • Support for family members who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.
  • Adolescent violence as a public health problem.
  • Assistance for people with disabilities living in rural areas.
  • Adolescent mental health in public health.
  • The evolution of the human body over the years.
  • Health problems caused by the use of pesticides.
  • How does social media addiction influence people’s health?
  • Obesity as a public health problem.
  • Health education in schools and through social media.
  • How does water quality interfere with public health?

Politics Research Paper Topics

Another research paper topic is politics. Politics is a topic that directly or indirectly involves the lives of all world inhabitants. Through it, we seek our rights, have the strength to fight for our ideologies, and become citizens. Here are some politics research paper topics :

  • Policies to face global warming.
  • The presence of politics within the education system.
  • The influences of the cultural industry in the constitution of public policies.
  • Political relations during World War I and World War II.
  • The importance of feminism in the political achievement of women’s right to vote.
  • Best professional writers on political topics.
  • Public policy related to an all-female working environment.
  • The importance of public policies that make people aware of drug use.
  • The emergence of extremist political ideologies in the 21st century.
  • The importance of democracy in politics.

History Research Paper Topics

History is essential for humanity to understand the facts that occurred and their relationship with time. From history, we can develop several exciting research topics as it can investigate what men did, thought, felt, and set in all social dynamics thousands of years ago. Historical knowledge is capable of helping to understand human beings, their attitudes, and their evolution. Some history research paper topics are:

  • The historical development of the electoral college.
  • Major terrorist attacks throughout history.
  • The historical and social importance of gender psychology.
  • The changes that came with the end of the Soviet Union.
  • The progression of the minimum wage over the years.
  • The worldwide impacts of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
  • The emergence of offshore bank accounts work and their social impact.
  • The Mayan Civilization and Its Cultural Legacy.
  • The history of dictatorships in South America and funding from the United States.
  • The democratization of access to course material at History College.

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Music Research Paper Topics

Music has been present in humanity since the most remote times. Through music, people can express themselves, have fun, relax, and express their opinions. As it is a vast topic, it is possible to do extensive research. Music also allows you to find funny research paper topics to develop. We selected a few good research paper topics here:

  • The evolution of the music industry globally.
  • The influence of music in the treatment of depression.
  • The importance of still producing and listening to traditional music.
  • The presence of music in film.
  • The main legacies of classical music.
  • Songs about self-esteem that encourage obese people.
  • School development through music.
  • The aid of artificial intelligence in the creation of new songs.
  • The effects of music on brain development.
  • Songs that address controversial topics and their importance.

Literature Research Paper Topics

Literature is everything that involves the art of the word. We consider literature an instrument capable of making us communicate and interact socially. With literature, we can transmit knowledge, emotions, and stories, and that’s why literature has many good research topics. Literature can provide us with the most interesting research topics. Here are some research paper ideas.

  • Literature as a tool of corporate social responsibility.
  • The first forms of literature found.
  • The use of social media as a way to propagate literature.
  • A sensitive approach to child abuse in the literature.
  • Are people switching from literature to social media?
  • The change of literature after the Industrial Revolution.
  • Literature as a way to protect children online.
  • The development of scientific literature for standardized tests in science.
  • Literature review on computer science.
  • The importance of developing a thesis statement in literature.

After Choosing the Research Topic

Well, after finding great research paper topics, you will decide which one you like the most and which you are more comfortable writing about. So, once you’ve decided which college research paper topics to cover in your thesis, it’s time to start writing. It is important, right at the beginning, to define your main research question to start researching websites, books, articles, etc. A tip is always to opt for a broader research question, so your first research will have a greater amount of material on your research topics, which will make it easier when choosing an approach and focusing on the main subject of your thesis. Before starting the process of submitting research papers, it is important that an advisor can read and review your text on the chosen research topics.

Closing Thoughts

When you have to choose your research paper topic, there are tons of ideas you can use to embark on your research journey. It is very important that you first carry out thorough research about a good research paper topic so that you can start writing your thesis statement. You can read materials online to know if the topic you want to write on is relevant and has enough data. I hope you can take advantage of all our tips to develop your research papers. The most important thing to consider is that you need to like the topic you choose for a good research paper because it’ll help make writing fun.

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Research Topics in Education: Frontiers of Learning

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500 Good Research Paper Topics

Bonus Material: Essential essay checklist

Writing a research paper for a class and not sure how to start?

One of the most important steps to creating a great paper is finding a good topic! 

Here’s a hand-drafted list from a Princeton grad who has helped professors at Harvard and Yale edit their papers for publication and taught college writing at the University of Notre Dame and .

What’s more, we give you some foolproof formulas for creating your own paper topic to fit the requirements of your class.

Using these simple formulas, we’ve helped hundreds of students turn a B- paper topic into an A+ paper topic.

Keep reading for our list of 500 vetted research paper topics and our magic formulas for creating your own topic!

Of course, if you want help learning to write research papers tailored to your individual needs, check out our one-on-one writing coaching or academic writing workshop . Set up a free consultation to see how we can help you learn to write A+ papers!

Jump to paper topics in:

European & Mediterranean History

African history, asian history, history of the pre-columbian americas.

  • Latin American History

History of Science

Politics & public policy, education & education policy, political theory, science policy.

  • Health Sciences & Psychology

Download the essential essay checklist

What is a research paper?

In order to write a good research paper, it’s important to know what it is! 

In general, we can divide academic writing into three broad categories:

  • Analytical: analyze the tools an author uses to make their point
  • Research: delve deeply into a research topic and share your findings
  • Persuasive : argue a specific and nuanced position backed by evidence

What’s the difference between an analytical paper and a research paper? For an analytical paper, it’s okay to just use one or two sources (a book, poem, work of art, piece of music, etc.) and examine them in detail. For a research paper, however, the expectation is that you do, well . . . research .

student writing research paper

The depth of research that you’re expected to do will depend on your age and the type of class you’re taking.

In elementary or middle school, a “research paper” might mean finding information from a few general books or encyclopedias in your school library. 

In high school, your teachers might expect you to start using information from academic articles and more specific books. You might use encyclopedias and general works as a starting point, but you’ll be expected to go beyond them and do more work to synthesize information from different perspectives or different types of sources. You may also be expected to do “primary research,” where you study the source material yourself, instead of synthesizing what other people have written about the source material.

In college, you’ll be required to use academic journals and scholarly books, and your professors will now expect that you be more critical of these secondary sources, noticing the methodology and perspectives of whatever articles and books you’re using. 

In more advanced college courses, you’ll be expected to do more exhaustive surveys of the existing literature on a topic. You’ll need to conduct primary research that makes an original contribution to the field—the kind that could be published in a journal article itself.

For a walkthrough of the 12 essential steps to writing a good paper, check out our step-by-step guide .

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What makes a good research paper topic?

One of the most important features of a research paper topic is that it has a clear, narrow focus. 

For example, your teacher may assign you to write a research paper related to the US Revolutionary War. Does that mean that your topic should be “the US Revolutionary War”? 

Definitely not! There’s no way to craft a good paper with in-depth research with such a broad topic. (Unless you’re in elementary or middle school, in which case it’s okay to have a more general topic for your research paper.)

Instead, you need to find a more specific topic within this broader one. There are endless ways that you can make this narrower! Some ideas generated from this one broader topic might be:

  • Causes of the US Revolutionary War
  • Changes in military strategy during the Revolutionary War
  • The experiences of Loyalists to England who remained in the American colonies during the Revolutionary War
  • How the Revolutionary War was pivotal for the career of Alexander Hamilton
  • The role of alliances with France during the US Revolutionary War
  • The experiences of people of color during the Revolutionary War
  • How George Washington’s previous military career paved the way for his leadership in the Revolutionary War
  • The main types of weaponry during the Revolutionary War
  • Changes in clothing and fashion over the courses of the Revolutionary War
  • How Valley Forge was a key moment in the Revolutionary War
  • How women contributed to the Revolutionary War
  • What happened in Amherst, Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War
  • Field medicine during the Revolutionary War
  • How the Battle of Saratoga was a turning point in the Revolutionary War
  • How different opinions about the Revolutionary War were reflected in poetry written during that time
  • Debates over abolition during the Revolutionary War
  • The importance of supply chains during the Revolutionary War
  • Reactions to the US Revolutionary war in Europe
  • How the US Revolutionary war impacted political theory in England and France
  • Similarities and differences between the US Revolutionary War and the French Revolution
  • Famous paintings inspired by the US Revolutionary War
  • Different ways that the US Revolutionary War has been depicted in modern contemporary culture
  • The appropriation of the “Boston Tea Party” by US politicians in the 2010s

This list could go on forever!

good research paper topics about the US Revolution

In fact, any of these topics could become even more specific. For example, check out the evolution of this topic:

  • Economic causes of the Revolutionary war
  • The way that tax policies helped lead to the Revolutionary War
  • How tax laws enacted 1763–1775 helped lead to the Revolutionary War
  • How the tax-free status of the British East India Company helped lead to the Revolutionary War
  • How the 1773 tax-free status of the British East India Company helped lead to the Revolutionary War, as reflected in letters written 1767–1775
  • How the 1773 tax-free status of the British East India Company helped lead to the Revolutionary War, as reflected in letters written by members of the Sons of Liberty 1767–1775

As you advance in your educational career, you’ll need to make your topic more and more specific. Steps 1–3 of this topic might be okay in high school, but for a college research paper steps 4–7 would be more appropriate!

As you craft your research paper topic, you should also keep in mind the availability of research materials on your subject. There are millions of topics that would make interesting research papers, but for which you yourself might not be able to investigate with the primary and secondary sources to which you have access.

Access to research materials might look like:

  • To the best of our knowledge, the sources exist somewhere
  • The source isn’t behind a paywall (or you or your school can pay for it)
  • Your school or local library has a copy of the source
  • Your school or local library can order a copy of the source for you
  • The source is in a language that you speak
  • The source has been published already (there’s tons of amazing research that hasn’t been published yet, a frustrating problem!)
  • You can access the archive, museum, or database where the primary source is held—this might mean online access or travel! To access a source in an archive or museum you’ll often need permission, which often requires a letter of support from your school.

If you’re not sure about access to source materials, talk to a librarian! They’re professionals for this question.

Finally, pick a research topic that interests you! Given that there are unlimited research topics in the world and many ways to adapt a broad topic, there should absolutely be a way to modify a research topic to fit your interests.

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Want help learning to write an amazing research paper? Work one-on-one with an experienced Ivy-League tutor to improve your writing skills or sign up for our bestselling academic writing workshop .

Insider tips to generate your own research paper topic

Use these formulas to generate your own research paper topics:

  • How did X change over a period of time (year, decade, century)?
  • What is the impact (or consequences) of X?
  • What led to X?
  • What is the role of X in Y?
  • How did X influence Y?
  • How did X become Y?
  • How was X different from Y?
  • How is X an example of Y?
  • How did X affect Y?
  • What were some reactions to X?
  • What are the most effective policies to produce X result?
  • What are some risks of X?
  • How is our current understanding of X incorrect? (advanced)
  • What happens if we look at X through the lens of Y theory or perspective? (advanced)

A good research paper topic often starts with the question words—why, how, what, who, and where. Remember to make it as specific as possible!

student writing research paper

Good research paper topics

These research paper topics have been vetted by a Princeton grad and academic book editor!

  • How did European rivalries (British vs French) impact North American history?
  • What was the role of British and French alliances with indigneous tribes during the Seven Years’ War?
  • Reactions to the 1754 Albany Congress among North American intellectual figures
  • How the Albany Plan served as a model for future attempts at union among the North American colonies
  • How did different religious identities (Calvinist, Catholic, etc.) play a role in the aftermath of the Seven Years’ War?
  • What were the consequences of the 1763 Treaty of Paris?
  • How did the Seven Years’ War impact British debt and colonial economics?
  • What were some causes of the US Revolutionary War?
  • How did military strategy change during the Revolutionary War?
  • What were the experiences of Loyalists to England who remained in the American colonies during the Revolutionary War?
  • How was the Revolutionary War pivotal for the career of Alexander Hamilton?
  • What was the role of alliances with France during the US Revolutionary War?
  • What were the experiences of people of color during the Revolutionary War?
  • How did George Washington’s previous military career pave the way for his leadership in the Revolutionary War?
  • What were the main types of weaponry during the Revolutionary War? How did that affect the options for military strategies?
  • How did clothing and fashion change over the courses of the Revolutionary War?
  • How was Valley Forge a key moment in the Revolutionary War?
  • How did women contribute to the Revolutionary War?
  • What happened in Amherst, Massachusetts (or any other specific location) during the Revolutionary War?
  • What was field medicine like during the Revolutionary War? 
  • How was the Battle of Saratoga a turning point in the Revolutionary War?
  • How were different opinions about the Revolutionary War reflected in poetry written during that time?
  • What were the debates over abolition during the Revolutionary War?
  • What was the role of supply chains during the Revolutionary War?
  • What were reactions to the US Revolutionary war like in Europe? What does that tell us about politics in England, France, the Netherlands, etc?
  • How did the US Revolutionary war impact political theory in England and France?
  • What are similarities and differences between the US Revolutionary War and the French Revolution?
  • What are some famous paintings inspired by the US Revolutionary War? What do differences between these paintings tell us about how the artists who created them saw the war?
  • What are some different ways that the US Revolutionary War has been depicted in modern contemporary culture? What does that tell us?
  • How was the story of the “Boston Tea Party” appropriated by US politicians in the 2010s, and why?
  • What was the difference between the Federalists and the Jeffersonians?
  • How did the 1797 XYZ Affair lead to the Quasi-War with France?
  • How were loans from European countries and companies (France, Spain, Dutch bankers) key to the early US?
  • What were reactions to the Constitutional Convention of 1787?
  • Why did the US remain neutral during the French Revolution?
  • How did the Alien and Sedition acts contribute to the election of Thomas Jefferson as president?
  • What was the US’s reaction to the Haitian revolution? Why did the US not recognize Haitian independence until 1862?
  • What were the reactions to John Jay’s Treaty of 1794?
  • How have the remarks made by George Washington in his Farewell Address inspired isolationist policies?
  • How did interpretations of the Monroe Doctrine change over the decades since its creation? 
  • How did the Roosevelt Corollary and Lodge Corollary change and expand the Monroe Doctrine?
  • How did the presence of US companies like the United Fruit Company affect US military interventions in Latin America? 
  • How was the Monroe Doctrine invoked in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962? 
  • How was US culture shaped by the Cold War?
  • How did ecology play a role in the rise of Ancient Egypt?
  • How did water management technologies impact Ancient Egypt?
  • How did bureaucracies function in Ancient Egypt?
  • How did Egyptian art influence Ancient Greek art?
  • Who could be a citizen in Athens in the 5th century BCE? What does this tell us about classical Athenian society?
  • What was the impact of the Peloponnesian War?
  • What was the impact of Alexander the Great’s attempt to create an empire?
  • How does the way that Alexander the Great is represented in art demonstrate conceptions about the relationship between the human and the divine?
  • Was there a conception of race in the ancient world? How were these ideas different from our own modern conceptions of race?
  • What was the role of debt slavery in the Roman republic? How were these policies ended, and what is the significance of the end of debt slavery? What kinds of slavery remained?
  • To what degree does the movie Gladiator accurately the Roman Empire in 176–192 CE?
  • What was the role of slavery in managing the large latifundia ?
  • How and why did the emperor Constantine I adopt Christianity?
  • How did patterns of urbanism in the latter Roman empire change? What does this tell us about challenges being faced at that time?
  • What do reactions to the Byzantine empress Theodora tell us about ideas of gender in 6th-century Byzantium?
  • How did scientific advancements in Islamic Spain influence the rest of Europe?
  • What was the relationship between Muslim, Christian, and Jewish populations in Islamic Spain? How does this compare to the experience of Muslim and Jewish populations in Christian Spain?
  • How did medieval troubadour poetry represent a new idea of romantic relationships?
  • What are similarities and differences between medieval troubadour poetry and lyric poetry in Ancient Greece? 
  • What do letters between women and popes tell us about gender, power, and religion in medieval Europe?
  • In what ways was Hildegard of Bingen groundbreaking for her time?
  • Who produced beer in medieval England, and what does this tell us about society?
  • How did the adoption of hops affect the production and distribution of beer?
  • How did beer production allow some women a way to be financially independent?
  • How was clothing used to mark religious and cultural identities in 15th- and 16th-century Spain?
  • How did print culture change relationships and courting in Georgian England?
  • How did churches function as social gathering spaces in Georgian England?
  • To what degree is Netflix’s Bridgerton series historically accurate?
  • How did ideas of love change in the 18th century? How did philosophy play a role in this?
  • When were Valentine cards first commercially available? What does that show us about cultural ideas of love and courtship?
  • What were the consequences of the desertification of the Sahara?
  • How did trade links on the Red Sea influence Nubian culture?
  • How did Carthage build power in Northern Africa around 600–500 BCE?
  • What was the impact of the Mercenary War (241–238 BCE) in Carthage?
  • How did the Roman province of Africa play a key role in financing the Roman Empire?
  • What were the consequences of the Donatist division in the 300s in Northern Africa?
  • What was the impact of the large-scale movement of Bedouins from the Arabian peninsula into the Maghreb?
  • How was Mande society organized in the Mali Empire? 
  • What was the role of the book trade in Timbuktu? What does this tell us about culture and learning in the Mali Empire?
  • How did Aksum use trade to build wealth and power? 
  • What do Nok terracotta sculptures tell us about Nok culture?
  • How did the Luba Empire create a centralized political system? How did the idea of spiritual kins ( balopwe ) play a role in this system?
  • How did tax collection work in the Lunda empire?
  • What does it mean to say that the Ajuran Empire was a hydraulic empire? How did control over water resources allow the Ajuran Empire to build and consolidate power?
  • What is the significance of diplomatic ties between the Somai Ajuran Empire and Ming dynasty China? 
  • How did the tribute system in the Kingdom of Kongo help to stimulate interregional trade?
  • What was the impact of the introduction of maize and cassava to the Kingdom of Kongo?
  • How did women wield influence in the Kingdom of Benin?
  • How did the Industrial Revolution in Europe help lead to the Scramble for Africa 1878–1898?
  • What were the consequences of the Second Boer War?
  • What happened in the Year of Africa (1960)?
  • How did the Han dynasty consolidate power in frontier regions? 
  • How and why did the Han dynasty nationalize the private salt and iron industries in 117 BCE?
  • What are the earliest records of papermaking, and what is the significance of this invention?
  • What was the role of Daoist religious societies in rebellions at the end of the Han dynasty (Yellow Turban Rebellion, Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion)?
  • What do tomb paintings tell us about ancient Chinese society?
  • What was the impact of the Sui dynasty’s standardization and re-unification of the coinage?
  • What was the role of standardized testing in Sui dynasty and Tang dynasty China?
  • Why is the Tang dynasty often regarded as a golden age of cosmopolitan culture in Chinese history?
  • What was the role of slavery in imperial China? 
  • How did the rise of jiedushi (regional military governments) undermine the civil-service system? What were the consequences of this?
  • How did Tang dynasty China exert power over Japan and Korea?
  • What was the Three Departments and Six Ministries system in imperial China and how did it work?
  • What does the appearance of Inca, Maya, and Aztec goods in North America (Utah, Canada) and the appearance of goods from the Great Lakes region in Maya and Aztec ruins tell us about trade in the Pre-Columbian Americas?
  • How did celebration of maize play a central role in Mesoamerican cultures?
  • How did the Aztec empire use relationships with client city-states to establish power? How did the Aztec empire use taxation to exert power?
  • How did the luxury good trade impact Aztec political power? 
  • How did the building of roads play a key role in the Aztec empire?
  • How and why has archaeology played a pivotal role in expanding our understanding of the pre-Columbian Americas?
  • What are some common misconceptions about the Americas in the year 1491? Why do these misconceptions exist?

Latin American History (post-1492)

  • How and why did the Spanish appropriate Aztec sites of significance (e.g. Mexico City at the site of Tenochtitlan)?
  • What were reactions among Latin American intellectuals (e.g. Luis María Drago, Alejandro Álvarez and Baltasar Brum) to the Monroe Doctrine?
  • How was the US’s involvement in the Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903 a pivotal turning point in the relationship between the US and Latin American countries?
  • What were the effects of the US’s involvement in the Cuban War for Independence?
  • How did the Roosevelt Corollary of 1904 benefit the US?
  • How did Simon Bolivar’s time in Europe affect his ideas about Latin American independence?
  • How did 19th century academic societies play a role in the advancement of scientific discoveries? Who was excluded from these societies?
  • How was music connected to the sciences in medieval thinking?
  • When was the concept of zero first used, and how was it instrumental for advancements in math?
  • What role did Islamic Spain play in the spread of scientific advancements in medieval Europe?
  • What role has translation between languages played in the development of sciences?
  • Why were Galileo’s ideas about astronomy controversial at the time?
  • What was the connection between art and advancements in human anatomy?
  • Why were Darwin’s ideas about natural selection controversial at the time?
  • To what degree does the film Master and Commander accurately depict the voyages of Charles Darwin?
  • How did the discovery of quinine and other medical innovations help to facilitate the European colonization of Africa?
  • How and why was the internet invented?
  • Does Virgil’s Aeneid celebrate the new Roman Empire or subvert it?
  • Why was the poet Ovid exiled from Rome?
  • What are the pagan influences in Beowulf ? What are the Christian elements in Beowulf ? What does that tell us about late Anglo-Saxon England?
  • How does Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales reflect gender roles in late medieval England?
  • How does Dante’s Inferno draw on book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid ? 
  • How are gender roles presented and subverted in Shakespeare’s plays?
  • To what degree did Henry David Thoreau live out the ideals he described in Walden in his own life?
  • How did the serialized publication of novels affect the way that they were written?
  • Does Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities accurately portray the French Revolution?
  • How did 18th-century novels propagate the idea of marrying for love?
  • What did contemporary readers think about Jane Austen and her novels?
  • To what degree do Jane Austen’s novels reflect economic realities for women in Regency England? What do they leave out?
  • How did Lord Byron’s personal life affect his poetry?
  • What do we know about the romantic life of Emily Dickinson?
  • What were the religious movements that influenced the writer George Eliot, and how do those influences appear in her novels?
  • In what ways were Walt Whitman’s writings new or different?
  • How did British poets react to the horrors of Word War I?
  • What do Tolkien’s letters reveal about the ways in which the two world wars influenced his writings?
  • How did the friendship between CS Lewis and Tolkien affect their respective writings?
  • What are the arguments for and against Catalonian independence from Spain?
  • What are the arguments for and against Scottish independence from the United Kingdom?
  • What are some risks of contact sports, especially for children?
  • What are the most effective policies for combating childhood obesity?
  • What are the most effective policies for reducing gun violence?
  • Which countries have the longest life expectancy and why?
  • What are some differences between the healthcare system in the US and in European countries? Which country has the most similar system to the US?
  • What policies for parental leave exist in different countries? What are some effects of these policies?
  • Has the drinking age in the US always been 21? What have been some different policies, and what were some consequences of them?
  • What is the debate around museum artifacts like the Elgin Marbles in London or the Benin Bronzes in Berlin?
  • How have politicians attempted to control population growth in different countries, either directly or indirectly? What have been some effects of these policies?
  • Which countries have the most gender parity reflected in national governments? How have they accomplished this?
  • How has public funding of K-12 education changed since the 1930s in the US? 
  • How has public funding of higher education changed in the US?
  • What is early childhood education like in different countries?
  • What are some effects of free or reduced-cost meals in schools?
  • How does access to menstrual products affect education outcomes for girls in different countries?
  • What was the impact of Rousseau’s writings on education?
  • How did Plato’s ideal forms of government reflect contemporary Athenian concerns about the unruly masses ( demos )?
  • How did Aristotle justify slavery?
  • How has wealth inequality increased in recent decades?
  • How is inflation calculated, and what are the implications of this methodology?
  • How have genetically-engineered crops changed the way that the planet feeds itself?
  • How has animal testing changed since 2000?
  • How is animal testing regulated differently in different countries?

Health Sciences and Psychology

  • How do different societies reflect the natural circadian rhythms of the human body?
  • How does secondhand smoke affect the human body?
  • How does lack of sleep affect the body?
  • How does stress affect the body?
  • What are some ways to reduce stress?
  • How have cancer treatments changed in the past 30 years?
  • Why is it hard to find a “cure” for cancer?
  • How has the Human Genome Project changed medical science?
  • How were the Covid vaccines developed so quickly? What is the difference between the various Covid vaccines that have been developed?

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Emily graduated  summa cum laude  from Princeton University and holds an MA from the University of Notre Dame. She was a National Merit Scholar and has won numerous academic prizes and fellowships. A veteran of the publishing industry, she has helped professors at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton revise their books and articles. Over the last decade, Emily has successfully mentored hundreds of students in all aspects of the college admissions process, including the SAT, ACT, and college application essay. 

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55 Research Paper Topics to Jumpstart Your Writing

JBirdwellBranson

The research paper is one of the most tried and true assignments in high school or college. It's your teacher's opportunity to see how well you can research, convey, and organize that research, and assemble everything into one five-paragraph (or maybe 15-page) paper.

Before you get started on your paper, you'll need to have a comprehensive understanding of what your teacher expects out of your completed assignment, as well as a really great topic that you can spend a lot of time researching. However, with several classes filled with many students, your teachers have likely seen the same topics over and over (and over) again. Here are some research paper topics that are guaranteed to keep your interest (and theirs). Borrow one of these ideas or get inspiration from this list, which is broken down by subject category.

Social issues research paper topics

Social issues are always going to exist, unfortunately. But the more we learn about what they are, how we can solve them, and how to prevent them, the better off we'll be. Here are a few social issues topics to think about and to do research on.

  • Many children are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and are subsequently put on medication, but some advocate that children are overly medicated and that we should instead have more patience for those who can't sit still or have minor behavioral issues. How should this issue be approached?
  • The homeless population in the United States is more than 1.5 million people. What are the conditions that lead to someone's being homeless? Are there ways to combat it?
  • Girls who have been in the foster care system are more likely to be human trafficked. Why is this? What can be done?
  • Someone who grows up in poverty is more likely to live in poverty all their life. Why is that? How can someone escape poverty?
  • Opioid addiction is a huge issue in the United States right now. What led to the widespread abuse of opioid drugs? What is being done to solve this problem?
  • Sexual assault is a hot button issue on college campuses. How widespread is sexual assault on college campuses and what is being done to stop it?
  • Each year, 1.2 million students drop out of high school. What is causing them to drop out? What can be done to combat the dropout rate?
  • Many terminally-ill patients in America are advocating for assisted suicide. What countries already allow this, and what are the pros and the cons?
  • Performance artists in public places such as beach boardwalks have their activities regulated by some local governments. Why is this? What are the pros and the cons?
  • TV shows such as "Hoarders" have shed light on people who collect tremendous amounts of items, trash, and/or animals in their house. How are these people being helped? What causes hoarding problems?

Political research paper topics

The events in politics may always be changing, but the nature of politics remains the same. There's always a lot to discuss and a lot to learn, making for a very interesting research topic for your paper. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.

  • North Korea has recently ramped up its nuclear program. What are some ramifications of this?
  • There has been a large political divide in the country for the past few years. What factors led to the large division?
  • What is the AHCA? How is it different from the ACA?
  • The U.S. recently pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. What is the Paris Climate Agreement and what is America's history of involvement with it?
  • Confederate monuments are being torn down after the events in Charlottesville. Write about the history of one confederate monument that's been torn down. When was it built? What were the circumstances of it being constructed?
  • Some feel that religious liberties have been threatened in the United States for several years. Why do they feel this way? What is the history of religious liberties in this country?
  • Much of the news in the last couple of years has been the rise of populism. What is the definition of populism? How does it affect the political climate?
  • Many parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children because they have read that there is a link between vaccines and autism. Should parents have to vaccinate their children to guarantee herd immunity for all children? Even though the evidence points out that vaccines do not cause autism, why do parents still insist? How have certain celebrities contributed to this issue by being vocal on this topic?
  • Many people in "Middle America" don't feel that their viewpoints are adequately expressed in the national media. Why do they feel this way? How does this affect national discourse?

Historical research paper topics

Many of us learn a lot about the Revolutionary War or the Civil War in our classrooms, but often there's not enough time to explore everything that you might be interested in. Here are a few off-the-beaten-path research paper topics that will be sure to capture your attention as well as your instructor's.

  • What caused the market crash of 2008? How are we still recovering?
  • There were several all black towns in the United States in the early 20th century. What led to the establishment of these cities?
  • Who were the Freedom Riders?
  • What were the Tulsa Race Riots?
  • What was Female Hysteria in the Victorian era?
  • There are a lot of conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy's assassination. Research about one in depth and discuss how the theory came about.
  • What was the Korean War over? How does it affect society today?
  • What was the Vietnam War over? How does it affect society today?
  • What was the Space Race? Who were the major players and why did it matter so much who got to the moon first?
  • Why did a lot of protesters and "hippies" gather at Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s? Write about the history of this notable neighborhood in San Francisco.
  • What were Jim Crow laws? How do they still affect society today?
  • When was Affirmative Action enacted? How does it still affect society today?
  • What was the Reconstructive era? How does it still affect the South today?
  • What was Watergate? Who were the major players and what was the result? How did it affect the country?
  • What was the Equal Rights Amendment? Why was it not ratified?
  • What was Prohibition? What were the circumstances and why did it finally end?
  • Who was the first woman to hold political office in the United States?
  • Eleanor Roosevelt was a very notable First Lady. Who was she and why was she so important?
  • What was the case Loving v. Virginia? Who did it involve and what was it about?

Environmental research paper topics

There are many things to learn and research on about the world around us. Whether it's how we can combat climate change or research alternative fuels, it's important to know the answers for a healthy global environment for our future children and grandchildren. Here are a few ideas for environmental research paper topics.

  • What is global warming? What can we do to minimize the effects of it?
  • Some people say that certain global warming studies are funded by industries that have a vested interest in the issue, such as solar energy companies. How are they funded and conducted? Should the research be conducted by impartial parties?
  • The polar ice caps are melting. What does this mean for our environment?
  • There are many endangered species throughout the world. Pick one to write about and write about conservation efforts being made.
  • What are alternative fuels? Should we use them or not? Write about the pros and the cons.
  • What are some ways you could individually reduce your carbon footprint?
  • What countries are leading the globe on combating climate change? What steps are they taking to lead the way?
  • What is deforestation and how does it affect the environment?
  • Many coral reefs are disappearing. Why is that and what kind of actions are scientists taking?
  • What are sinkholes? Why do they occur?

Film, literature, and art research paper topics

Film, literature, and art are part of what defines a culture. It's not surprising then that there is much to explore when you are thinking about these topics. Here are a few interesting paper topics that pertain to film, literature, and art.

  • Look at a list of classic films. Pick one and write about why it was so influential.
  • In the year 2017 it's still quite rare to find a female film director. Pick a favorite female film director and discuss what unique perspectives she adds to film and culture.
  • There's more of a push to ignore the traditional "canon" of literature because it features a lot of white, male writers. What do this mean and what do you think of it?
  • Female artists are highly underrepresented in art museums throughout the world. Is it just that there aren't many female artists traditionally? What are some efforts being made to include more female artists?
  • Some people feel that Hollywood is hypocritical in embracing director Roman Polanski. What makes them feel this way? What events made him a controversial figure?
  • Read a banned book and research on why the book was banned. What were the circumstances?
  • They say poetry is a dying art. What do you think? Is poetry still alive and well?

After you've chosen a topic, be sure to get a second opinion

Choosing an interesting research paper topic is often half the battle. Once you get a topic nailed down that you're really fascinated by, it's a lot easier to research and write about it.

After you've written all of the content of your research paper, it's always important to get someone to look over your paper and ensure that it's error-free and makes sense to the reader. If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to your instructor or a parent for advice. Finally, if you want to ensure that your paper doesn't contain any spelling or grammar mistakes, you should consider hiring a professional editor such as one from ServiceScape to take a look at your paper. A professional can help you spot an error that you may have missed and help you achieve clean, easy-to-read copy that is guaranteed to impress.

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Research Paper Guide

Research Paper Topics

Nova A.

Interesting Research Paper Topics for 2024

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Research Paper Topics

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Ever struggled to find the perfect topic for your research paper ? We get it – it can be a bit overwhelming. 

Picking something interesting and valuable for your academic journey isn't always easy. But don't worry, we're here to help!

Here, we have listed more than 300 research paper ideas for a variety of subjects.

These topics can help you get creative and find the inspiration you need. 

So read on! 

Arrow Down

  • 1. What are Good Topics for a Research Paper? 
  • 2. Research Paper Topics for Your Academic Level
  • 3. Research Paper Topics for Science & Technology
  • 4. Research Paper Topics For Social Sciences
  • 5. Research Paper Topics for Humanities
  • 6. Research Paper Topics on Economics
  • 7. Research Paper Topics Related to Marketing
  • 8. Best Research Paper Topics 2023
  • 9. How to Choose a Good Research Paper Topic?

What are Good Topics for a Research Paper? 

An interesting research topic is the one that has the following characteristics:

  • Specific and Clear . The topic should cover a specific aspect or question within a broader subject area. A focused topic allows for in-depth exploration.
  • Original and Unique - Great research topics are original. They explore a unique angle or perspective on a subject.
  • Significant - Good topics have academic or real-world significance. They contribute to existing knowledge or address a problem with practical implications.
  • Relevant - Topics that are timely and related to the current issues and debates in your field of study are better for research.

Research Paper Topics for Your Academic Level

All students get research writing assignments, whether they are in high school, college, or higher. Here are some engaging ideas suitable for different academic levels.

High School Research Essay Topics

  • Examine the impact of social media on teenagers' well-being.
  • Assess the effects of climate change and its consequences.
  • Analyze the dynamics of cyberbullying and online safety.
  • Explore the influence of music on adolescents.
  • Investigate the importance of financial literacy education.
  • Assess gender inequality in high school sports programs.
  • Examine the impact of technology on the education system.
  • Analyze youth voting trends and political engagement.
  • Investigate the role of video games in cognitive development.
  • Assess teenage substance abuse and prevention programs.

College Research Paper Topics 

  • IELTS vs. TOEFL - Discuss the similarities and differences.
  • College admission policies and criteria in the United States.
  • How to plan to pay college tuition?
  • Elaborate on ACT vs. SAT.
  • Benefits of Distance Learning.
  • Impacts of China's one-child policy.
  • Do college students learn better in same-sex classrooms?
  • Effect of the No Child Left Behind Act.
  • Analyze the history of the relationship between the United States and North Korea.
  • Should people be able to donate organs in exchange for money?

Graduate Research Paper Topics

  • The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Business Operations and Strategy
  • Environmental Sustainability in Supply Chain Management: Strategies for Global Corporations
  • The Ethical Implications of Gene Editing Technologies: CRISPR-Cas9 and Beyond
  • Financial Derivatives and Risk Management: Advanced Strategies for Portfolio Optimization
  • The Role of Big Data Analytics in Healthcare: Improving Patient Care and Outcomes
  • Cybersecurity Threats and Mitigation in Critical Infrastructure: A Comprehensive Analysis
  • The Intersection of International Trade and Intellectual Property Rights: Trade Agreements and Dispute Resolution
  • Exploring the Impacts of Climate Change on Urban Planning and Infrastructure
  • Educational Leadership and School Reform in the 21st Century: Innovative Approaches and Challenges
  • Theoretical Advances in Quantum Computing: Applications, Limitations, and Future Prospects

Research Paper Topics for Science & Technology

Looking for research paper ideas in your discipline? The list of topics below covers a variety of subjects and disciplines to help you out.

Research Paper Topics for Computer Science 

  • Quantum Computing: Current State and Future Prospects
  • Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Blockchain Technology and Its Applications Beyond Cryptocurrency
  • Cybersecurity in the Age of IoT: Challenges and Solutions
  • The Ethical Implications of Machine Learning Algorithms
  • Natural Language Processing for Sentiment Analysis in Social Media
  • The Role of Computer Vision in Autonomous Vehicles
  • Big Data Analytics for Business Intelligence and Decision-Making
  • Human-Computer Interaction: Enhancing User Experience
  • The Evolution of Cloud Computing: Trends and Innovations

Research Paper Topics in Machine Learning

  • Explainable AI (XAI): Techniques and Challenges in Interpretable Machine Learning Models
  • Federated Learning: Privacy-Preserving Machine Learning Across Decentralized Data Sources
  • Transfer Learning in Deep Neural Networks: Methods, Applications, and Limitations
  • Reinforcement Learning: Recent Advances and Real-World Applications
  • Bias and Fairness in Machine Learning: Detection, Mitigation, and Ethical Considerations
  • Multi-Modal Learning: Integrating Data from Multiple Sources for Improved Performance
  • Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs): Innovations in Image Generation and Beyond
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Healthcare: Applications in Clinical Data Analysis and Diagnosis
  • AutoML (Automated Machine Learning): Tools, Challenges, and Implications for Non-Experts
  • Quantum Machine Learning: Harnessing Quantum Computing for Advanced Data Analysis

Research Paper Topics in Chemistry

  • Green Chemistry: Sustainable Approaches to Chemical Synthesis
  • Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery: Innovations and Challenges
  • Chemical Analysis of Environmental Pollutants and Their Remediation
  • Advancements in Organic Synthesis: New Methods and Strategies
  • The Role of Catalysis in Industrial Chemical Processes
  • Chemical Kinetics: Studying Reaction Rates and Mechanisms
  • Analytical Chemistry Techniques for Food Safety and Quality Control
  • Supramolecular Chemistry: Self-assembly and Molecular Recognition
  • The Chemistry of Renewable Energy Sources
  • Chemical Bonding in Complex Molecules: Insights from Quantum Chemistry

Information Technology Research Paper Topics

  • The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Information Technology
  • Blockchain Technology: Security and Privacy Implications
  • Data Governance and Compliance in the Digital Age
  • Cloud Computing Adoption Strategies for Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Security Challenges and Solutions
  • E-Government: Advancements and Challenges in Digital Transformation
  • The Role of Machine Learning in Healthcare Data Management
  • Cybersecurity Threat Intelligence: Trends and Best Practices
  • Digital Twins and their Applications in Industry 4.0
  • Human-Centric IT: Designing Systems with User Well-being in Mind

Research Paper Topics Environmental Science

  • Climate Change and Its Impact on Global Ecosystems
  • Biodiversity Conservation and Habitat Restoration
  • Sustainable Agriculture Practices for Food Security
  • Air Pollution Control Strategies in Urban Environments
  • The Effects of Deforestation on Watersheds and Biodiversity
  • Waste Management and Recycling: Towards a Circular Economy
  • Ocean Acidification and Coral Reef Conservation
  • Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy Technologies
  • Eco-friendly Transportation Solutions: Promoting Sustainable Mobility
  • Human Health and Environmental Pollution: Assessing Risks and Mitigation

Research Paper Topics for Medical Students

  • The Role of Telemedicine in Improving Healthcare Access and Delivery
  • Epidemiology and Management of Infectious Diseases: A Focus on Emerging Pathogens
  • Precision Medicine and Personalized Healthcare: Advancements and Challenges
  • Ethical Considerations in Medical Research: Informed Consent and Human Rights
  • Mental Health in Medical Education: Strategies for Reducing Burnout and Promoting Well-being
  • Global Health Disparities: Analyzing Causes and Strategies for Health Equity
  • Advancements in Surgical Techniques and Robotics in Medicine
  • The Opioid Epidemic: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions
  • Healthcare for Underserved Populations: Access, Barriers, and Innovations
  • Medical Innovations in Diagnostic Imaging: Impact on Patient Care and Diagnosis

Research Paper Topics in Zoology

  • The Impact of Climate Change on Wildlife Migration Patterns and Habitats
  • Behavioral Ecology of Apex Predators: From Wolves to Tigers
  • Zoonotic Diseases: Investigating the Transmission of Diseases Between Animals and Humans
  • Marine Biology and Conservation: Coral Reefs, Ocean Acidification, and Marine Biodiversity
  • The Role of Zoos in Conservation and Species Preservation
  • Invasive Species: Ecological Impacts and Management Strategies
  • Bird Migration and Navigation: Mechanisms and Conservation Implications
  • Animal Communication and Language: Insights from Studies on Dolphins and Primates
  • Endangered Species Recovery Programs: Successes, Failures, and Lessons Learned
  • Evolutionary Biology: The Coevolution of Predators and Prey

Research Paper Topics For Social Sciences

Are you a student of social sciences? The list of research paper topics below is for you!

History Research Paper Topics

  • The Causes and Consequences of the American Civil War
  • The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Society and Labor
  • The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire: Lessons from History
  • Women's Suffrage Movements Around the World
  • The Cold War: Origins, Conflicts, and Effects on Global Politics
  • The Role of Religion in Ancient Civilizations: Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece
  • The Renaissance Era: Art, Science, and Cultural Transformation
  • The Development of Culture in Mughal India
  • The Decolonization of Africa and Asia: Struggles for Independence
  • The Civil Rights Movement in the United States: Progress and Challenges

Research Paper Topics for Education

  • The Impact of Technology in the Classroom: Enhancing Learning or Distracting Students?
  • Inclusive Education: Strategies for Supporting Students with Disabilities
  • The Role of Parental Involvement in Student Academic Achievement
  • Education and Socioeconomic Inequality: Bridging the Gap
  • The Effectiveness of Online Learning: Pros and Cons
  • Early Childhood Education: The Importance of Preschool Programs
  • Teacher Burnout and Strategies for Teacher Well-being
  • The Influence of Standardized Testing on Curriculum and Instruction
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching: Promoting Diversity and Inclusion
  • Education Policy Reform: Challenges and Impacts on Student Success

Sociology Research Paper Topics 

  • The Impact of Social Media on Social Interaction and Relationships
  • Gender Inequality in the Workplace: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions
  • Racial Profiling and Policing: Examining Bias and Discrimination
  • The Sociology of Deviance: Understanding Criminal Behavior
  • Income Inequality and Its Effects on Society
  • The Influence of Family Structure on Child Development
  • Migration and the Social Integration of Immigrants
  • Environmental Sociology: Exploring the Relationship Between Society and the Environment
  • The Role of Religion in Shaping Societal Norms and Values
  • Health Disparities in Marginalized Communities: A Sociological Perspective

Psychology Research Paper Topics

  • The Impact of Childhood Trauma on Adult Mental Health
  • Psychological Effects of Social Media Use on Adolescents
  • Stress and Coping Mechanisms: Strategies for Resilience
  • The Psychology of Decision-Making: Biases and Heuristics
  • The Role of Attachment Theory in Parent-Child Relationships
  • Mental Health Stigma: Barriers to Seeking and Receiving Treatment
  • The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Cognitive Functioning
  • Psychological Factors in Addiction and Recovery
  • Cognitive Development in Infants: Theories and Milestones
  • The Psychology of Happiness and Well-being: Factors and Interventions

Research Paper Topics On Media And Communication

  • The Influence of Social Media on Political Discourse and Public Opinion
  • Media Bias: Examining News Coverage and Its Impact on Perception
  • The Evolution of Journalism in the Digital Age: Challenges and Opportunities
  • The Effects of Advertising on Consumer Behavior and Purchasing Decisions
  • Media Literacy Education: Preparing Citizens for a Digital World
  • The Role of Media in Shaping Gender Stereotypes and Representation
  • Fake News and Misinformation: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions
  • Cultural Appropriation in Media: Analyzing Its Implications
  • Media and Crisis Communication: Case Studies and Best Practices
  • Media Effects on Body Image and Self-esteem: Exploring the Impact of Beauty Standards

Political Science Research Paper Topics

  • The Role of Political Parties in Shaping Government Policies
  • Electoral Systems and Their Impact on Representation and Governance
  • The Rise of Populism: Causes and Consequences
  • The Influence of Lobbying and Interest Groups on Policy-Making
  • Comparative Analysis of Political Systems: Democracies vs. Authoritarian Regimes
  • Foreign Policy Decision-Making: Case Studies and Models
  • Political Polarization: Understanding the Divisions in Contemporary Politics
  • Human Rights and International Relations: Challenges and Solutions
  • Environmental Politics and Climate Change Agreements
  • The Role of Social Media in Shaping Political Discourse and Activism

Research Paper Topics for International Relations

  • The Impact of Globalization on International Security
  • International Human Rights Law: Challenges and Progress
  • Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution: Case Studies in Successful Negotiations
  • The Role of International Organizations in Promoting Peace and Cooperation
  • Nuclear Proliferation: Examining the Threats and Non-Proliferation Efforts
  • Cybersecurity in International Relations: Challenges and Strategies
  • Global Economic Governance: The Role of International Financial Institutions
  • The Refugee Crisis: International Responses and the Humanitarian Challenge
  • Climate Change Diplomacy: Agreements, Obstacles, and Climate Justice
  • The Geopolitics of Energy: Resource Competition and Security Issues

Research Paper Topics On Culture

  • Cultural Appropriation: Understanding the Controversy and Implications
  • Cultural Relativism vs. Universalism: Debates in Anthropology and Ethics
  • Cultural Expressions in Art: Analyzing Cultural Identity Through Creative Works
  • Globalization and Its Impact on Cultural Homogenization vs. Cultural Diversity
  • Cultural Influences on Gender Roles and Identity
  • The Role of Culture in Shaping Dietary Habits and Food Traditions
  • Cultural Heritage Preservation: Challenges and Strategies
  • Language and Culture: The Relationship Between Linguistic Diversity and Cultural Identity
  • Cultural Rituals and Their Significance in Different Societies
  • Intercultural Communication: Navigating Cultural Differences in a Globalized World

Research Paper Topics for Humanities

Here are some engaging ideas for research paper topics in humanities disciplines.

Research Paper Topics for English Literature

  • Exploring the Themes of Love and Desire in Shakespeare's Sonnets
  • Postcolonial Literature: Analyzing the Works of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Role of Symbolism in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"
  • Feminist Critique of Classic Literature: Reevaluating Jane Austen's Heroines
  • The Gothic Tradition in Literature: A Comparative Study of Edgar Allan Poe and Mary Shelley
  • Dystopian Literature: Examining Social Commentary in George Orwell's "1984"
  • The Evolution of Science Fiction: From H.G. Wells to Contemporary Authors
  • The Modernist Movement in Poetry: T.S. Eliot and "The Waste Land"
  • Literary Representations of War: Analysis of Ernest Hemingway's Works
  • The Influence of Mythology in Literature: A Study of Greek and Roman Epics

Research Paper Topics for English Linguistics 

  • The Evolution of English Language: A Historical Analysis
  • Exploring Dialectical Variations: A Study of Regional English Accents
  • Syntax in Shakespearean English: Unraveling Linguistic Patterns
  • Code-Switching in Bilingual Literature: Impacts on Linguistic Identity
  • The Influence of Technology on Modern English: A Linguistic Perspective
  • Gendered Language in Literature: Analyzing Linguistic Representations
  • Sociolinguistic Aspects of English in Global Communication
  • Cognitive Linguistics: Understanding Language Processing and Comprehension
  • The Role of Phonetics in English Language Teaching: Strategies and Challenges
  • Linguistic Analysis of Online Discourse: Trends in Digital Communication

Research Paper Topics on Arts

  • The Influence of Renaissance Art on Modern Visual Culture
  • The Evolution of Street Art: From Vandalism to Urban Beautification
  • Gender and Identity in Contemporary Performance Art
  • The Role of Public Art in Shaping Urban Spaces and Communities
  • Censorship in the Arts: Balancing Expression and Sensitivity
  • The Intersection of Technology and Art: Digital Media and New Frontiers
  • Art as a Form of Political Protest: Examining Contemporary Activist Art
  • The Psychology of Art Appreciation: Understanding Aesthetic Experiences
  • Art Conservation and Preservation: Challenges and Ethical Considerations
  • Art Therapy: Exploring the Healing Power of Creativity

Research Paper Topics on Religion

  • Religious Pluralism and Interfaith Dialogue: Promoting Understanding and Tolerance
  • The Role of Religion in Shaping Moral Values and Ethics
  • Religion and Politics: Examining the Influence of Faith on Governance
  • Religious Rituals and Their Significance in Different Cultures
  • Secularism and Its Impact on Religious Practice and Belief
  • Religion and Science: Exploring the Compatibility and Conflict
  • The Influence of Religion on Gender Roles and Equality
  • Religious Fundamentalism and Its Implications for Society
  • Religion and Environmental Ethics: Perspectives on Stewardship
  • Religious Conversion and the Psychology Behind Faith Changes

Philosophy Research Paper Topics

  • The Philosophy of Ethics: Exploring Different Ethical Theories
  • The Problem of Free Will and Determinism: Philosophical Perspectives
  • Existentialism in Literature: A Philosophical Analysis
  • The Philosophy of Mind: Dualism vs. Materialism
  • The Nature of Reality: Metaphysical Approaches and Debates
  • Moral Dilemmas and Ethical Decision-Making: A Philosophical Examination
  • Philosophy of Technology: Ethical Implications of Advancements
  • Political Philosophy: Theories of Justice and Social Contracts
  • Philosophy of Religion: The Existence of God and Theodicy
  • Environmental Ethics: Philosophical Perspectives on Nature and Sustainability

Research Paper Topics for Ethics

  • Ethical Dilemmas in Medical Decision-Making: Balancing Autonomy and Beneficence
  • The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence: Accountability and Bias in AI Systems
  • Corporate Ethics: Ethical Responsibility of Multinational Corporations
  • Ethical Considerations in Environmental Conservation: Sustainability and Future Generations
  • The Ethics of Genetic Engineering and Designer Babies
  • The Intersection of Ethics and Technology: Privacy, Surveillance, and Data Ethics
  • Ethical Implications of End-of-Life Care and Euthanasia
  • Animal Rights and Ethical Treatment of Animals in Research
  • The Role of Ethics in Criminal Justice: Police Conduct and Criminal Punishment
  • The Ethics of Whistleblowing: Balancing Loyalty and Accountability

Law Research Paper Topics

  • The Evolution of Privacy Rights in the Digital Age: Legal and Ethical Considerations
  • Criminal Justice Reform: Assessing the Impact of Changes in Sentencing and Policing
  • Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Era: Copyright, Trademarks, and Patents
  • The Role of International Law in Addressing Global Human Rights Violations
  • Environmental Law and Sustainable Development: Balancing Conservation and Economic Interests
  • Legal Aspects of Cybersecurity: Privacy, Data Protection, and Cybercrime
  • The Legalization of Marijuana: Implications for Criminal Justice and Public Health
  • Corporate Governance and Ethics: Analyzing Legal Frameworks for Accountability
  • Family Law and Child Custody Disputes: Examining Best Interests and Parental Rights
  • The Intersection of Law and Bioethics: Ethical Dilemmas in Medical and Scientific Research

Research Paper Topics on Criminal Justice 

  • Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: Causes and Consequences
  • Police Use of Force: Policies, Accountability, and Community Relations
  • Criminal Profiling and Its Effectiveness in Solving Crimes
  • Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System: Diversion Programs and Treatment
  • The Impact of Mass Incarceration on Communities and Rehabilitation Efforts
  • Forensic Science and Criminal Investigations: Advances, Challenges, and Ethics
  • Cybercrime and Digital Forensics: Investigative Techniques and Legal Implications
  • Juvenile Justice: Rehabilitation vs. Punishment and the Recidivism Rate
  • The Death Penalty: Ethical, Legal, and Policy Considerations
  • Victim Rights and Restorative Justice Programs: Balancing the Scales of Justice

Research Paper Topics on Economics

  • Income Inequality: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Solutions
  • The Impact of Economic Globalization on Developing Countries
  • Behavioral Economics: Exploring Psychological Factors in Decision-Making
  • The Economics of Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies
  • Monetary Policy and Its Effects on Economic Stability
  • Trade Wars and Tariffs: Economic Effects and Global Trade Relations
  • Healthcare Economics: Examining Healthcare Costs, Access, and Reform
  • The Economics of Education: Investment in Human Capital and Economic Growth
  • Urban Economics: Challenges and Solutions in Sustainable City Development
  • Labor Market Trends: Gig Economy, Automation, and Future of Work

Research Paper Topics Related to Marketing

  • Influencer Marketing: Effectiveness, Ethics, and the Role of Social Media
  • Consumer Behavior in the Digital Age: Online Shopping Trends and Decision-Making
  • Brand Loyalty and Customer Retention Strategies in Competitive Markets
  • Neuromarketing: Understanding the Psychology of Consumer Choices
  • The Impact of Social Media Marketing on Brand Image and Customer Engagement
  • E-commerce and Marketplaces: Strategies for Success in Online Retail
  • Content Marketing: Creating and Measuring the Value of Branded Content
  • Marketing to Generation Z: Preferences, Values, and Communication Channels
  • The Role of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Marketing
  • Crisis Marketing and Reputation Management: Strategies for Navigating Challenges

Best Research Paper Topics 2023

Here are some impressive and easy research paper topics to write an extraordinary paper.

Argumentative Research Paper Topics 

  • Should the Minimum Wage be Raised?
  • The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health: Harmful or Beneficial?
  • Is Genetic Engineering Ethical? Examining the Pros and Cons of Genetic Modification
  • The Death Penalty: Should it be Abolished or Retained?
  • Gun Control: Balancing Second Amendment Rights and Public Safety
  • Universal Healthcare: Is it a Right or a Privilege?
  • The Role of Government in Regulating Big Tech Companies
  • Climate Change: Is Human Activity the Primary Cause?
  • Online Privacy: Balancing Security and Civil Liberties
  • The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Weighing the Social and Economic Impacts

US History Research Paper Topics

  • The American Revolution: Causes, Key Figures, and Impact on the Nation
  • The Abolitionist Movement: Strategies, Leaders, and the Fight Against Slavery
  • The Reconstruction Era: Challenges, Achievements, and Failures
  • The Women's Suffrage Movement: Struggles and Triumphs in the Fight for Voting Rights
  • The Civil Rights Movement: Leaders, Events, and the Struggle for Equality
  • The Great Depression: Causes, Effects, and Government Responses
  • The Vietnam War: Origins, Controversies, and Legacy
  • The Space Race: The Cold War Competition for Supremacy Beyond Earth
  • The Civil War: Battlefronts, Political Divisions, and the Emancipation Proclamation
  • The American Westward Expansion: Manifest Destiny, Conflicts, and Impacts on Native Americans

Persuasive Research Paper Topics 

  • The Importance of Comprehensive Sex Education in Schools
  • Banning Single-Use Plastics: Protecting the Environment and Marine Life
  • Promoting Renewable Energy: Transitioning to a Sustainable Future
  • Mandatory Vaccination: Protecting Public Health and Herd Immunity
  • The Benefits of Telecommuting: A Win-Win for Employers and Employees
  • Promoting Healthy Eating Habits: The Case for Implementing Sugar Taxes
  • The Need for Stricter Animal Welfare Laws: Preventing Animal Cruelty
  • Accessible Education for All: The Case for Affordable College Tuition
  • Promoting Voting Rights: Ensuring a Fair and Inclusive Democracy
  • The Importance of Mental Health Awareness and Support: Breaking the Stigma

Easy Research Paper Topics 

  • The Benefits of Regular Exercise for Physical and Mental Health
  • The History and Impact of Social Media on Society
  • The Basics of Climate Change: Causes, Effects, and Solutions
  • The Life and Achievements of a Notable Inventor or Scientist
  • The Importance of Recycling and Waste Reduction in Daily Life
  • The Impact of Fast Food on Diet and Health
  • Effect of Global Warming on The Frequency And Intensity Of Natural Disasters
  • Should Marijuana be legalized in US? Costs, Economic And Social Benefits
  • How Do Terrorist Attacks Influence Public Opinion And Political Behavior In Democratic Countries
  • Crime Rates: Main Factors That Explain The Variation In Crime Rates Across Different Countries And Regions

Research Paper Topics on Current Affairs 

  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Health Systems and Preparedness
  • Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies
  • The Future of Work: Remote Work Trends and Implications
  • Economic Recovery Post-Pandemic: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Vaccine Hesitancy: Understanding Causes and Addressing Concerns
  • Cybersecurity in the Digital Age: Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Defense
  • Immigration Policies and Border Security: A Global Perspective
  • The Role of Social Media in Political Movements and Disinformation
  • Global Supply Chain Disruptions: Causes and Strategies for Resilience
  • Racial and Social Justice Movements: Progress and Ongoing Challenges

Controversial Research Paper Topics 

  • The Legalization of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: Ethical and Legal Considerations
  • Gun Control Laws: Balancing Second Amendment Rights and Public Safety
  • The Death Penalty: Is it an Effective Deterrent or a Violation of Human Rights?
  • Animal Testing: Ethical Issues and Alternatives for Scientific Research
  • The Legalization of Recreational Drugs: Assessing Risks and Benefits
  • Abortion: Examining the Ethical, Legal, and Medical Aspects
  • Freedom of Speech vs. Hate Speech: Protecting Civil Liberties in a Digital Age
  • Climate Change Denial: Analyzing the Science and Skepticism
  • School Vouchers and School Choice: The Future of Public Education
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Safety, Labeling, and Environmental Concerns

Research Paper Topics on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • Historical Roots of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tracing the Beginnings
  • Media Framing of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Impact on Public Perception
  • The Role of International Diplomacy in Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • Human Rights Violations in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Critical Analysis
  • Refugees and Displacement: The Ongoing Humanitarian Crisis in the Conflict
  • Religious Perspectives in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Comparative Study
  • Water Scarcity and Resource Management in the Context of the Conflict
  • Education and Propaganda: Examining the Impact of Curricula on Perpetuating Conflict Narratives
  • The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Peacebuilding Efforts
  • Media and Social Media's Influence on Shaping Public Opinion in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Nursing Research Paper Topics 

  • The Impact of Nurse-to-Patient Ratios on Patient Outcomes
  • Nursing Shortages: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions
  • Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing: Implementing Research into Clinical Care
  • Nursing Ethics: Ethical Dilemmas and Decision-Making in Patient Care
  • Palliative Care and End-of-Life Nursing: Improving Quality of Life for Patients
  • Nursing Informatics: Advancements in Healthcare Technology and Data Management
  • The Role of Cultural Competence in Nursing: Providing Culturally Sensitive Care
  • Nursing Burnout and Staff Well-being: Strategies for Prevention and Support
  • The Impact of Nurse Leadership on Patient Safety and Quality of Care
  • Pediatric Nursing: Specialized Care for Children and Families

How to Choose a Good Research Paper Topic?

Now that you have a plethora of ideas for your research paper, which one should you choose? Here are some steps you need to follow to choose a good research paper topic: 

  • Identify Your Interests: Start by considering your own interests and passions. Research is much more enjoyable when you're exploring a topic you're genuinely curious about. Think about subjects, issues, or questions that intrigue you.
  • Brainstorm and Mind Map: Write down potential topics or research questions and create a mind map to visualize how they connect to one another. This can help you see the relationships between different ideas and narrow down your options.
  • Do Some Preliminary Research: Conduct initial research to see what resources are available on potential topics. This will help you gauge whether there is enough information and credible sources to support your research.
  • Consider Your Audience: Think about who will be reading your research paper. Tailor your topic to your target audience's interests and knowledge level. You should also comply with the instructor's requirements. Make sure your topic gets approved before you begin with the writing process.
  • Discuss with Others: Talk to your peers, professors, or mentors about your potential topics. They may offer valuable insights, suggest relevant resources, or help you refine your ideas.

To conclude,

Selecting a good topic is the first and most important step in writing a research paper. Your decision should be guided by your interests, the assignment requirements, and the availability of credible resources. 

With this list of potential research paper topics and tips on how to choose a good topic, you are able to select a topic that is both engaging for you and relevant to your audience.

Remember that staying current and conducting preliminary research will help you make an informed choice. Seek feedback from peers and mentors, and don't shy away from challenging or controversial topics when appropriate. 

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As a high school or college student, you are aware that you will spend a substantial amount of your time writing not one but many research papers. If you have already done it, you know how overwhelming and exhausting this process can be.  Nevertheless, before writing, an equally daunting and slightly more difficult part is selecting research paper topics. Although sometimes teachers will provide you with titles or prompts for your works, most times, you will have to come up with interesting research topics to write about. If you encounter difficulties choosing a title for your paper, know that you are not alone because almost all students find it hard. We are here to provide you with various research topic ideas that can make your selection process more manageable. Before delving into our list of titles, we will first explain what research topics are, their characteristics, and how to choose them. Are you swamped with assignments and deadlines? Let us take the pressure off with our ' write my paper ' service! Our team of experienced writers is ready to deliver top-quality, custom-written papers.

What Are Research Paper Topics?

Research paper topics are titles for academic writings that describe an independent investigation of subjects or issues. They mainly focus on analyzing and presenting a critical view. In other words, these papers seek to draw on what other scholars have said and written about an issue and present the author’s unique perspective. Research topics can either be phrased as questions or hypotheses. Since you can conduct an investigation on any sector, selecting an interesting title can sometimes be stressful. However, if you choose topics for research papers, ensure they are well thought out and written because they can serve as a springboard for future studies.

Characteristics of Good Research Topics

Always select good research topics if you aim to achieve high grades in your essays. Refrain from being misled to think that this is a trivial task. It requires careful consideration and evaluation to come up with an exciting title. When it comes to the question “what is a good research topic,” the following are characteristics that you should look out for: 

  • Interesting You ought to choose a topic that is exciting to you and your readers.
  • Manageable Your title should neither be too broad or narrow to be sufficiently covered.
  • Has practical or theoretical significance The selected topic adds new understanding to the area of study.
  • Researchable It should also be easily investigated with an abundance of scholarly material.
  • Unique The title you pick needs to be different from others so as to stand out.
  • Precise It exactly answers all the research questions.

How to Choose a Research Paper Topic?

The first step to developing an exciting paper is choosing a good research topic. As we have said above, selecting topics to research is not the easiest of tasks, especially if you do not know where to start. However, you should not be afraid because we have you covered. Below we will give you steps to consider when picking your research paper topic:

  • First, you should explore the area you are interested in, i.e., ideas that are exciting to you.
  • Second, make a research question by analyzing what your paper will focus on and what might intrigue your readers.
  • Third, brainstorm research topic ideas by evaluating appropriate titles and eliminating irrelevant ones.
  • Fourth, narrow down your topic to one that is meaningful to you and your readers.
  • Lastly, ensure that you adhere to all paper guidelines presented by your teacher.

List of Research Paper Topics

Now that you know what research topics are, their characteristics, and how to pick them, we can delve into the selection process. Do you need help brainstorming for research paper ideas? Look no further because we have created research topic lists to get you going. We know that a catalog of titles can trigger your creative juices, making it easy to begin writing your essay. Below are top 10 research topics for your paper: 

  • How has the internet impacted freedom of speech?
  • Negative impacts of pop culture trends on youths.
  • How is the American economy affected by climate change?
  • Can AI be classified as a threat to humans?
  • Practical ways that can be used to make nuclear power safe.
  • What are the economic impacts of GMO foods in America?
  • Free education: its advantages and disadvantages.
  • Efficient ways used in disposing of waste material.
  • How effective is music therapy in managing depression among senior citizens?
  • What causes obesity, and how can it be prevented?

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Interesting Topics to Research

Reading your essays should always be a fun experience. To achieve that, you will need to find interesting things to research. This article is the perfect place to start because the following are interesting research paper topics: 

  • Impacts of the Ottoman Empire and the Barbarian slave trade on medicine.
  • Rise and fall of ancient Greek cities.
  • In what ways does the sense of smell affect taste?
  • How does room color affect students’ learning outcomes?
  • Should autism be classified as a natural variation of the norm or a disease?
  • How depression negatively impacts immunity among senior citizens.
  • What causes violent tendencies among children, and how may they be prevented?
  • Drug and alcohol abuse: cause and effect on high school students.
  • Impacts of commercials and advertisements on purchasing habits.
  • How computer dependence impacts humans.
  • Advantages that nanotechnology has on modern science.
  • How to address adolescents’ psychological needs.
  • Effective social media strategies that companies can use to boost sales.
  • Critical roles played by women during World War I.
  • Effects of prolonged steroid usage on human bodies.

Easy Research Paper Topics

Easy research topics are simple to investigate and write. Sometimes complicated titles can be exhausting and challenging, especially when you are running out of time. If you are looking to make things straightforward, below are easy topics to research:  

  • Advantages and disadvantages of school uniforms.
  • Reasons why school athletes should be paid.
  • Steps that are employed to ensure children are protected from harmful internet content.
  • What causes obesity among teenagers in the United States?
  • Ways that people can be encouraged to recycle their waste.
  • Benefits of 3D printers to society.
  • Causes and negative impacts of tornadoes.
  • Similarities and differences between Mac and PC.
  • Dangers associated with hitchhiking.
  • Should lie detectors be considered 100% accurate?
  • Should education be less expensive?
  • How does a smartphone GPS work?
  • What are the disadvantages associated with using plastic bottles?
  • Benefits of getting enough sleep every day.
  • Impacts that Bill Gates made in the field of communication.

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Good Research Paper Topics

There is a broad scope of titles to choose from, which is why finding good topics for a research paper is challenging. To make your task easier, below we have narrowed down good topics to research: 

  • Reasons why students should be encouraged to be bilingual.
  • Negative impacts brought by oil spills on water bodies and marine animals.
  • Tobacco smoking: why should it be completely banned in America?
  • Reasons why countries should ban risky sports.
  • Importance of more people embracing reading culture.
  • Should historical films be based only on facts?
  • Is democracy losing its relevance in the modern world?
  • Impacts that China’s one-child policy has on the population.
  • Key reasons and impacts brought by the UK leaving the EU.
  • Impacts of Affordable Care Act on healthcare in America.
  • History and relationship between the US and North Korea .
  • Efficient methods that can be used to lower gun-related deaths in America.
  • Key events that led to the Roman Empire falling.
  • Positive impacts associated with ecotourism.
  • Do smartphones increase or decrease work productivity?

Best Research Paper Topics

Achieving the highest possible grade in your essay may require finding the best research topics. Sometimes this may not be easy because there are so many titles to choose from. However, do not be scared because below we have the best topics to research: 

  • How does Islam play a role in oppressing women?
  • Does college education fully prepare students for their careers?
  • Structural differences between a man's and a woman’s heart.
  • How gender roles have evolved in modern marriages.
  • Benefits associated with home health nursing service.
  • Causes and effects of cybercrimes.
  • How does terrorism affect business success?
  • Measures that can be employed to aid ex-convicts in getting employment.
  • Should schools allow licensed students to carry their guns?
  • Feminist movement and its impacts in America.
  • Reasons why women should be allowed to participate in extreme sports.
  • Effective ways parents can use to monitor their children’s online activities.
  • Who should be blamed for homelessness in America?
  • Should smartphone usage in classrooms be legalized?
  • Causes of societal stereotypes.

Funny Research Paper Topics

Using humor in your essay is an excellent way to get your readers hooked. For you to achieve that, you will need funny research topics. It may not be easy to find hilarious titles, but we have come up with some fun things to research:

  • Origin and development of Halloween celebration.
  • Crows vs. parrots: which one is smarter?
  • Ways in which a person can survive with minimum wage.
  • Why is it better for people to spend more time on their phones than to hang out with each other?
  • Negative impacts of the government lowering drinking age.
  • Reasons why handwriting has lost its importance in school.
  • Efficient ways that can be used in handling a drunk roommate.
  • Cats vs. dogs: which one makes the better pet?
  • Should parents pay their children to attend school?
  • Reasons why teachers should be compelled to wear school uniforms.
  • Why have humans been considered the most dangerous creatures on earth?
  • Origin and development of April fool’s day.
  • Reasons why people who want to keep fit eat the most.
  • Most effective ways to deal with trouble during family reunions.
  • Reasons why being ignorant can bring more happiness.

Couldn't find a fitting paper idea? Give our Research Paper Topic Generator a try.  

Cool Topics to Research

Sometimes you may need cool research topics to make your readers enjoy the experience. If this is what you are looking for, below are cool things to research: 

  • Measures that can be employed to prevent corporate abuse.
  • Causes and impacts of high rates of divorce cases in Britain.
  • Origin and development of skateboards.
  • Ways in which gunpowder changed warfare.
  • Reasons why Socrates was executed.
  • Factors that promote black hole formation.
  • Ways in which sharks hunt their prey.
  • Sinkholes: what are they, and how are they created?
  • Efficient ways used in creating positive employee relationships.
  • Should students in America take a one-year gap between high school and college?
  • Differences and similarities between Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare.
  • Nuclear energy and its impacts on economy.
  • Effective ways used by film and music industries in dealing with piracy.
  • Night vision: what is it, and how does it work?
  • Theories that explain how dinosaurs disappeared.

Popular Research Topics

Are you looking for titles that are attractive to the majority of readers? Then it would be best if you looked at a popular research topic. To get you going, you can select a popular topic for a research paper from below: 

  • How instant messaging has affected literacy.
  • Negative impacts of digital learning in schools.
  • Causes and preventive measures for identity theft.
  • Cyberbullying: what is it and how can it be prevented?
  • Factors employed in preventing cases of sexual harassment at the workplace.
  • Are white-collar jobs losing their significance in the modern world?
  • Negative impacts of social networks on people’s mental health.
  • Effective ways to bridge gender inequalities at work.
  • Homeschooling: its advantages and disadvantages.
  • Differences between climate change and global warming.
  • How to overcome corruption cases in governance.
  • Reasons why police should always use body cameras.
  • Has social media changed human behavior?
  • Negative impacts of political scandals in America.
  • How did the Syrian Crisis start?

Controversial Research Paper Topics

Sometimes research ideas need to be contentious to grab your readers’ attention. If this is what you are looking for, go through the following controversial topics for a research paper: 

  • Should nurses be held accountable for their patients’ behavior?
  • Reasons why students should be permitted to go to school with their smartphones.
  • Should the presidential term limit be extended?
  • Why most domestic violence cases are related to alcohol consumption.
  • Why reducing minimum wage in America will be good for the economy.
  • Is there gender inequality in the field of medicine?
  • Should children be allowed to take care of their younger siblings?
  • Religion should be a compulsory subject in American schools.
  • Reasons why children should not be allowed to join social media sites.
  • Why should luxury parties be forbidden among college students?
  • Pros and cons of teaching women martial arts.
  • Should hospitals be allowed to treat patients with gunshot wounds without involving the police?
  • What are the benefits of tobacco advertisement?
  • Ethical aspects associated with legalizing marijuana.
  • Reasons why school uniforms should be abolished.

Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Some essays are meant to be persuasive with the readers to convince them to agree with your thesis statement. Thus, presenting a conclusive argument in your work will require a critical evaluation of different sources to present concrete evidence. Are you wondering how you can get good argument topics to do a research paper on? Do not worry because the following are argumentative ideas for a research paper: 

  • Reasons why medical professionals should be allowed to market pharmaceuticals to patients.
  • Is the level of depression among kids rising?
  • What are the health consequences associated with fasting?
  • Effective measures that are taken to make car seats safe for children.
  • Reasons why social media platforms should be banned from collecting users’ data.
  • Should unpaid internships be made illegal?
  • Should governments regulate what their citizens eat?
  • Should gun ownership by private citizens be illegal?
  • US immigration policies : have they been effective?
  • Exam cheating: should students who are found engaging in the vice be punished?
  • Do academic performances suffer when students engage in sports?
  • Four-day work week: should companies embrace it?
  • Why athletes who use steroids should be banned from engaging in sports.
  • Reasons for the legalization of death penalty.
  • How effective are curfews placed upon teenagers?
  • Should it be illegal to smoke cigarettes in public?
  • Advantages of allowing kids to play violent video games.
  • Reasons why helmet usage in American football makes the sport dangerous.
  • Are workers more productive when working from home?
  • Reasons why climate change is the cause of increasing natural disasters.

>> Read more: Argumentative Essays Topics

Research Topic Ideas for Students

As students, you will have to write different research essays before graduating. Coming up with research ideas can take time and effort. However, instead of feeling scared, you should embrace this task because we will provide clues on how to make your selection.  But in case you have any more doubts, we have created several research topics for students from different levels, including middle school, high school, and college. Go through the following lists to make your choice:

Research Paper Topics for Middle School

Students can begin writing essays as early as middle school. If you are in this category and looking for research paper ideas for middle school, you are lucky because we have you covered. The following are topics to research for middle school: 

  • Impacts of online learning on students.
  • Why conducting drug tests on animals is ethically bad.
  • Effective ways that may enhance an individual's self-esteem.
  • Sex education and its importance.
  • How the internet has changed people’s lives.
  • Reasons why dinosaurs became extinct.
  • What is spam email, and what measures can be used to prevent it?
  • Tobacco usage and its negative impacts on a person’s body.
  • Differences between homework and class assignments.
  • Key reasons why the human body needs sleep.
  • Desert mirage: what is it, and how does it affect people?
  • Appropriate punishment for students who engage in bullying.
  • Effective ways used in recognizing harmful internet content.
  • Cryptocurrency : what is it, and why is it popular?
  • Efficient ways used in conserving energy at home.

High School Research Paper Topics

If you are seeking research paper ideas for high school, then you are in the right place. After careful deliberation, we have come up with the following research topics for high school students:

  • Black holes: their definition and origin.
  • Practical ways that can be employed in protecting species that are endangered.
  • Ways in which public school systems care for students’ mental health.
  • Reasons why there are many similarities between English and French words.
  • Gender roles and how they affect human development.
  • Photosynthesis enhancement and how it improves crop yield.
  • What are the roles of black holes?
  • Origin and resolutions of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
  • Characteristics associated with effective leadership.
  • What is Obama Care, and how does it benefit Americans?
  • Russian Revolution: its social causes and impacts.
  • Ways in which stress affects the body.
  • Air pollution and its effects on people’s health.
  • Benefits that can be attributed to Plato’s mathematics philosophy.
  • Ways in which climate change can be reversed.

College Research Paper Topics

By the time you reach college, you will have written several essays. However, this does not mean that choosing research topics for college papers will be easy. If you have any problem, go through the following research topics for college students:  

  • Pros and cons of cave drawing as a method of communication.
  • Causes and impacts of the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
  • Black Death: its devastating impacts in Europe.
  • Significant scientific achievements during the Age of Discovery.
  • How literary works were used as propaganda tools in Germany during World War II.
  • Martin Scorsese: his works and contributions to the film industry.
  • Challenges faced by the Black Lives Matter movement in fighting racism.
  • Effective measures that can be employed in stopping the Crisis in Syria.
  • Negative impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global economy.
  • Space exploration and its effect on America’s economy.
  • Pros and cons associated with genetic engineering.
  • Steps taken in ensuring proper care for the elderly in Britain.
  • Measure taken in managing depression among adults in America.
  • Causes and impacts of drug and substance abuse among college students.
  • Impacts of online streaming platforms on the evolution of music.

Research Paper Ideas in Different Study Fields

Different study fields present an opportunity for you to select an unlimited number of things to research on. This means that you are spoilt for choice. However, as you have discovered in your studies, this is easier said than done.  Sometimes all you need is research project ideas to inspire your selection. The following section aims to present titles for students studying different courses, starting from humanities and social sciences topics and ending with more technical ideas. All you have to do is select one that is specific to your study area.

Research Paper Topics on History

History is an area of study that contains an infinite number of issues to investigate. In fact, students find it to be one of their favorite subjects to research on. If you need some inspiration on history topics for a research paper, look at the following list: 

  • Impacts of Sumerian culture and traditions on modern societies.
  • Efficient ways used by Julius Caesar to inspire loyalty among his soldiers.
  • Causes and impacts of the Salem Witch trials.
  • American Civil War and its consequences.
  • The Thirty Year War: its causes and impacts.
  • Steps taken to end apartheid in South Africa.
  • Economic consequences of the Cold War on Russia.
  • Tactics used by Napoleon to rise to power during the French Revolution.
  • Major causes and impacts of the Great Depression on Americans.
  • Roles played by women during World War II.

Literature Research Paper Topics

Just like history, literature is also a favorite area of investigation for students. There are many aspects of literary works on which you can base your questions for research papers. You have to decide what you want to focus on and start your investigation. To get you going, below we have provided literature research paper topic ideas:

  • Difference between antiheroes and villains in modern literature.
  • Courage and heroism as depicted in Harry Potter .
  • Character traits of Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth .
  • How modernism is portrayed in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn .
  • Major themes in early American literature.
  • Characterization of Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost .
  • How did Shakespeare depict love in Romeo and Juliet ?
  • How did Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer describe medieval England?
  • Friendship values between Sancho Pansa and Don Quixote as depicted in Miguel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote .
  • Impacts of Teresa of Avila’s work on modern literature.

Psychology Research Paper Topics

Are you seeking psychology topics for research projects? Search no more because the following topics for a research paper will go a long way in inspiring your investigation: 

  • Causes of mental health issues among teenagers in America.
  • How an adult life is shaped by childhood traumas experienced.
  • Negative impacts of social media addictions on marriages.
  • Correlation between mental health and eating disorders.
  • How does color affect an individual’s mood?
  • Effective methods used to achieve conformity in a group.
  • How do personality traits affect the musical taste of an individual?
  • How a child's psychological development is affected after facing loss at a young age.
  • Efficient ways employed in enhancing the use of reinforcement in a learning environment.
  • How self-efficacy affects long-term memory.

Religion Research Paper Topics

Religion has been in existence since the dawn of humans. As a result, it provides you with various topics for research papers drawn from different societies. If you are looking for religious topics for a research project, go through the following to select one that interests you: 

  • Origin and development of Islam as a religion.
  • Roles that can be played by religion in protecting the environment.
  • Ritual similarities between Christianity and Islam.
  • Why is sacrificing considered essential in most religions?
  • Relationships that exist between morality and religion.
  • Importance of prayer and meditation in Buddhism.
  • Practices and beliefs related to Zoroastrianism.
  • Social and moral roots of religious extremism.
  • Hinduism: its origin, development, and impacts on modern Indian culture.
  • How religious leaders used fear to maintain control over congregations.

Political Research Paper Topics

Like religion, politics has also been part and parcel of human existence. There is an unlimited number of research paper topics ideas to choose from. Nonetheless, below we have narrowed down the most popular research topics to write about politics: 

  • Differences in foreign policies between America and UK.
  • History and structure of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • Controversial issues that have plagued Amnesty International.
  • Causes and effects of the Syrian Conflict.
  • Effective methods used by the government to enhance community development.
  • Efficient ways used in eliminating corruption in America.
  • Political power plays that led to the split of the Soviet Union .
  • Pros and cons of Reagan's political agenda.
  • Causes of constant rebellion in the Central African Republic.
  • Negotiation methods that can be used to stop Ukraine's invasion by Russia.

>> More ideas: Political Research Paper Topics

Research Paper Topics on Business

The world of business is constantly evolving. As a result, you can find many great topics for research papers on this matter. Below is a list of commerce topics to do research papers on:  

  • Efficient ways to increase jobs and reduce unemployment in America.
  • Negative impacts of business participating in unethical behavior.
  • Advantages that companies can get from branding their products.
  • Challenges businesses get from using remote employees.
  • Benefits of franchising in the long run.
  • Positive and negative impacts of startups on local economies.
  • Differences in international copyright laws between America and Britain.
  • Similarities and differences between offline and internet advertising.
  • Causes and impacts of consumer behavior change on a business marketing strategies.
  • Advantages of company rituals and corporate cultures.

>> Read more: Research Topics About Business

Research Paper Topics on Education

The transformation of the education sector has been rapid, especially in recent years. As a result, you can choose any topic for research papers to write on in this area. If you are seeking inspiration on such kind of project topics ideas, look at the list below: 

  • Similarities and differences between personalized approach and group studying.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of having single-gender classes.
  • Reasons why special education teachers deserve additional payment.
  • Why are boarding schools popular in England?
  • Dangers of students engaging in drug abuse while in school.
  • Practical ways that can be employed in preventing violence in school.
  • Benefits associated with after-class activities in America.
  • Reasons why schools should provide advanced mental help for college students.
  • Pros and cons of students going to community colleges.
  • Roles played by video games in enhancing learning.

>> Read more: Special Education Research Topics

Environmental Topics for Research Paper

Scholars and experts have recently become more concerned with protecting the environment. This means that writing such research papers topics ideas has become popular. Some of the topics to write research paper on environment include: 

  • Tectonic movements and their global effects on the ecosystems.
  • Causes and impacts of air pollution on health.
  • Ozone layer depletion and the dangers associated with it.
  • Green energy definition and effective ways to achieve it.
  • Role played by the government in enhancing recycling efforts in America.
  • Efficient ways that can be employed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Causes and prevention of ocean acidification.
  • Effective measures that can be taken to protect endangered species.
  • Consequences of farming on the environment.
  • Causes and impacts of desertification in Kuwait.

>> Read more: Topics About Environmental Science

Health Research Paper Topics

Although there has been rapid development in the health sector, there are still various areas that have remained unexploited. This presents an opportunity for well-being research paper topics to be written. If this is what you are aiming for, below we have topics for a research paper that you can pick from: 

  • Speech disorder and its effect on child development.
  • Reasons why people are still afraid to get COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Health impacts of legalizing marijuana in America.
  • Causes and impacts of post-traumatic disorders in Britain.
  • Adverse effects associated with blood transfusion.
  • Ways in which nurses can manage work-related stress.
  • Types of depressions and their management plans.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of dealing with autistic patients.
  • Relationship between endometriosis and genetics.
  • Negative impacts of high heels on a woman’s health.

>> View more: Mental Health Research Topics

Medical Research Paper Topics

Medicine is an area of study that is highly investigated. However, there are still several medical research essay topics that still need to be explored. If you wish to bridge this gap, you can start with the following research paper topic ideas:

  • Challenges facing humanitarian medical missions in developing countries.
  • Pros and cons of medical research on animals.
  • Advantages and disadvantages obtained by hospitals using electronic health record systems.
  • How is chemotherapy beneficial to hospitals?
  • Effective treatment paths for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Drugs and vaccine development in treating Ebola.
  • Advantages of having a computational oncology department.
  • What are the differences between pandemics and epidemics?
  • Negative impacts of over-the-counter prescription drugs.
  • Key reasons for insulin resistance in the body.

>> Read more: Medical Research Topics

Sociology Research Paper Topics

Sociology deals with studying the development, structure, and functioning of society and the people in it. You can choose to write any topic for a term paper on issues affecting communities. Below are examples of sociology topics to research :

  • What are some effective methods that can be used to resolve conflicts in college?
  • Challenges associated with raising a child in an unconventional family.
  • What are the negative impacts of racial stereotypes on self-esteem and work productivity?
  • Dangers associated with religious cults.
  • Effective ways that can ensure gender equality in the workplace.
  • Impacts of social network addictions on high school students.
  • How are interpersonal skills affected by teamwork in the workplace?
  • Gender roles in the family.
  • Evolution of marriage over the last 50 years.
  • Causes and effects of bullying in school .

Social Media Topics for a Research Paper

Despite the enormous strides made by social media in changing how people interact with each other, its potential remains unlimited. There are still several research paper topics you can write on this issue. Choose one of the following topic ideas for research paper to start your journey: 

  • Growth of social media and its influence in American politics.
  • Efficient methods used by parents to protect their children from online dangers.
  • Relationship between social media and cybercrime.
  • Adverse effects of social media on investigative journalism.
  • Effective methods that people can use to earn through Facebook.
  • How effective are children's protection laws from the web’s harmful effects?
  • Reasons why people post pictures online.
  • Advantages and disadvantages brought by instant messaging and communication.
  • How have reality shows impacted privacy laws in America?
  • Effectiveness of using social media as a tool for political campaigns.

>> Read more: Research Topics About Social Media

Criminal Justice Research Paper Topics

If you are looking for great research paper topics, criminal and justice system is one of the areas you can look at. The following are examples of topics for research papers that you may find in this section: 

  • What are the benefits of private prisons?
  • Similarities and differences between war and civil crimes.
  • Effective ways that can be used to prevent crime in schools and universities.
  • What are the responsibilities of incarcerated parents to society?
  • Impacts of immigration on rising rates of crime in America.
  • Advantages accrued to cyber criminology correction methods.
  • Pros and cons of forensic research identification methods.
  • Cyberstalking legislation: their history and development.
  • Reasons for human rights violations in Afghanistan.
  • Efficient methods of drug trafficking tracking methods.

>> View more: Criminal Justice Research Topics

Science Research Paper Ideas

Science has always been a fascinating area for many students. You will love research project topics we have created for you. Be free to choose any of the following science topics ideas for a research paper:

  • How can molecular biology research help scientists understand cancer and other illnesses?
  • Positive and negative impacts of space exploration.
  • Best ways to capture and use carbon dioxide.
  • Challenges involved in developing environmentally friendly plastics.
  • Best ways to use bioluminescence GFP from jellyfish in medicine.
  • How does rain contribute to the rising amount of chemicals in seawater?
  • Biomacromolecules: their definition and importance.
  • How “killer” mosquitoes are used in fighting malaria.
  • Science behind the hibernation of animals.
  • Best ways to use microelectronics in treating people with chronic diseases .

Research Paper Topics on Technology

You will find yourself spoilt for choice if you are looking for topics to write a research paper on technology. There are many of them, but below we have selected for you the most popular research writing topics: 

  • Adverse effects of living in a technological world.
  • Disadvantages of genetically engineering children.
  • How societies can use video gaming to help solve their problems.
  • What are the advantages of genetically modified food in solving world hunger?
  • History and development of self-driving cars.
  • Best ways to incorporate technology in education.
  • Impacts of drone warfare on military strategies.
  • How internet usage is affecting young people’s attention span.
  • Pros and cons of using genetic sequencing to determine future health risks.
  • Pros and cons of virtual reality.

>> Read more: Technology Research Topics

Extra Research Paper Topic Ideas

From the above title examples, it is clear that you can never wholly exhaust investigative topics. However, if you did not find any research questions or ideas that piqued your interest, we still have some examples left for you to look at. There is a catalog of great research topics below if you would like to explore other areas, such as art, music, and sports. Please go through them and select one that excites you.

Research Project Ideas on Art

Art plays a vital role in enhancing the aesthetics of society. Many artistic pieces can inspire topics to research about. If this is your area of interest, the following research project ideas can instigate your writing: 

  • Differences in arts between Northern and Italian Renaissances.
  • How does impressionist art use elements of time and light?
  • Influence of modern European art on American artists.
  • How art has been used to spread propaganda messages in France.
  • Impacts of the expressionism art movement in Western Europe.
  • Incas Empire and its influence on modern art.
  • Role played by religion and culture in Aztec art.
  • Francisco de Goya : his biography and impacts on modern art.
  • Life and career of Ludwig van Beethoven.
  • Differences and similarities between baroque and rococo.

Music Research Paper Topics

People have been creating and listening to songs since the dawn of humanity. Music is one of the most popular research paper topics for scholars. When you are stuck and considering things to write a research paper on, look for various titles like the ones below: 

  • Does listening to music affects the brain?
  • History of rap music and the changes it has gone through over the years.
  • Music genres that appeared during the Renaissance period.
  • What impacts do socio-economic classes have on the choice and taste of music?
  • How has America influenced music?
  • How can music be incorporated into education to enhance concentration?
  • How can music be applied in learning a foreign language?
  • Pop music: its history and development.
  • Differences between modern and classical music.
  • How does music affect how people dress?

Sports Research Paper Topics

The availability of various sporting activities presents an opportunity for different topics for a research paper. As an enthusiast, you can never exhaust research paper topics that deal with different games. You can check out the following examples for inspiration:

  • How are basketball players’ performances affected by signing multi-million contracts?
  • Necessary measures taken by athletes in preparation for a marathon.
  • Reasons why Lionel Messi is regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time.
  • Positive and negative influences of crowds on games.
  • History of baseball and how it has changed over the years.
  • Ways of preventing severe injuries in rugby.
  • Benefits of competitive sports on children's health and school performances.
  • Gender inequalities in boxing.
  • Economic impacts of the Olympic Games on the host nation.
  • Advantages of player unions in protecting their rights.

Bottom Line on Research Paper Topics

You may think completing an essay is hard but wait until you select what to write a research paper on; then, you will discover this is the most challenging part. Having a title makes it easier for you to develop the paragraphs. By now, you are conversant with what research paper topics and ideas are, their characteristics, and how to select them. You have also gone through 350+ research topics that will be of inspiration for you to create your own. Having these examples gives you an advantage that others may not be afforded. Use them at your own convenience.  Your next step is composing your own study. Check our step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper to nail your project. Good luck with writing!

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100 Interesting Research Paper Topics for High Schoolers

What’s covered:, how to pick the right research topic, elements of a strong research paper.

  • Interesting Research Paper Topics

Composing a research paper can be a daunting task for first-time writers. In addition to making sure you’re using concise language and your thoughts are organized clearly, you need to find a topic that draws the reader in.

CollegeVine is here to help you brainstorm creative topics! Below are 100 interesting research paper topics that will help you engage with your project and keep you motivated until you’ve typed the final period. 

A research paper is similar to an academic essay but more lengthy and requires more research. This added length and depth is bittersweet: although a research paper is more work, you can create a more nuanced argument, and learn more about your topic. Research papers are a demonstration of your research ability and your ability to formulate a convincing argument. How well you’re able to engage with the sources and make original contributions will determine the strength of your paper. 

You can’t have a good research paper without a good research paper topic. “Good” is subjective, and different students will find different topics interesting. What’s important is that you find a topic that makes you want to find out more and make a convincing argument. Maybe you’ll be so interested that you’ll want to take it further and investigate some detail in even greater depth!

For example, last year over 4000 students applied for 500 spots in the Lumiere Research Scholar Program , a rigorous research program founded by Harvard researchers. The program pairs high-school students with Ph.D. mentors to work 1-on-1 on an independent research project . The program actually does not require you to have a research topic in mind when you apply, but pro tip: the more specific you can be the more likely you are to get in!

Introduction

The introduction to a research paper serves two critical functions: it conveys the topic of the paper and illustrates how you will address it. A strong introduction will also pique the interest of the reader and make them excited to read more. Selecting a research paper topic that is meaningful, interesting, and fascinates you is an excellent first step toward creating an engaging paper that people will want to read.

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is technically part of the introduction—generally the last sentence of it—but is so important that it merits a section of its own. The thesis statement is a declarative sentence that tells the reader what the paper is about. A strong thesis statement serves three purposes: present the topic of the paper, deliver a clear opinion on the topic, and summarize the points the paper will cover.

An example of a good thesis statement of diversity in the workforce is:

Diversity in the workplace is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic advantage for businesses, as it fosters innovation, enhances creativity, improves decision-making, and enables companies to better understand and connect with a diverse customer base.

The body is the largest section of a research paper. It’s here where you support your thesis, present your facts and research, and persuade the reader.

Each paragraph in the body of a research paper should have its own idea. The idea is presented, generally in the first sentence of the paragraph, by a topic sentence. The topic sentence acts similarly to the thesis statement, only on a smaller scale, and every sentence in the paragraph with it supports the idea it conveys.

An example of a topic sentence on how diversity in the workplace fosters innovation is:

Diversity in the workplace fosters innovation by bringing together individuals with different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, which stimulates creativity, encourages new ideas, and leads to the development of innovative solutions to complex problems.

The body of an engaging research paper flows smoothly from one idea to the next. Create an outline before writing and order your ideas so that each idea logically leads to another.

The conclusion of a research paper should summarize your thesis and reinforce your argument. It’s common to restate the thesis in the conclusion of a research paper.

For example, a conclusion for a paper about diversity in the workforce is:

In conclusion, diversity in the workplace is vital to success in the modern business world. By embracing diversity, companies can tap into the full potential of their workforce, promote creativity and innovation, and better connect with a diverse customer base, ultimately leading to greater success and a more prosperous future for all.

Reference Page

The reference page is normally found at the end of a research paper. It provides proof that you did research using credible sources, properly credits the originators of information, and prevents plagiarism.

There are a number of different formats of reference pages, including APA, MLA, and Chicago. Make sure to format your reference page in your teacher’s preferred style.

  • Analyze the benefits of diversity in education.
  • Are charter schools useful for the national education system?
  • How has modern technology changed teaching?
  • Discuss the pros and cons of standardized testing.
  • What are the benefits of a gap year between high school and college?
  • What funding allocations give the most benefit to students?
  • Does homeschooling set students up for success?
  • Should universities/high schools require students to be vaccinated?
  • What effect does rising college tuition have on high schoolers?
  • Do students perform better in same-sex schools?
  • Discuss and analyze the impacts of a famous musician on pop music.
  • How has pop music evolved over the past decade?
  • How has the portrayal of women in music changed in the media over the past decade?
  • How does a synthesizer work?
  • How has music evolved to feature different instruments/voices?
  • How has sound effect technology changed the music industry?
  • Analyze the benefits of music education in high schools.
  • Are rehabilitation centers more effective than prisons?
  • Are congestion taxes useful?
  • Does affirmative action help minorities?
  • Can a capitalist system effectively reduce inequality?
  • Is a three-branch government system effective?
  • What causes polarization in today’s politics?
  • Is the U.S. government racially unbiased?
  • Choose a historical invention and discuss its impact on society today.
  • Choose a famous historical leader who lost power—what led to their eventual downfall?
  • How has your country evolved over the past century?
  • What historical event has had the largest effect on the U.S.?
  • Has the government’s response to national disasters improved or declined throughout history?
  • Discuss the history of the American occupation of Iraq.
  • Explain the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
  • Is literature relevant in modern society?
  • Discuss how fiction can be used for propaganda.
  • How does literature teach and inform about society?
  • Explain the influence of children’s literature on adulthood.
  • How has literature addressed homosexuality?
  • Does the media portray minorities realistically?
  • Does the media reinforce stereotypes?
  • Why have podcasts become so popular?
  • Will streaming end traditional television?
  • What is a patriot?
  • What are the pros and cons of global citizenship?
  • What are the causes and effects of bullying?
  • Why has the divorce rate in the U.S. been declining in recent years?
  • Is it more important to follow social norms or religion?
  • What are the responsible limits on abortion, if any?
  • How does an MRI machine work?
  • Would the U.S. benefit from socialized healthcare?
  • Elderly populations
  • The education system
  • State tax bases
  • How do anti-vaxxers affect the health of the country?
  • Analyze the costs and benefits of diet culture.
  • Should companies allow employees to exercise on company time?
  • What is an adequate amount of exercise for an adult per week/per month/per day?
  • Discuss the effects of the obesity epidemic on American society.
  • Are students smarter since the advent of the internet?
  • What departures has the internet made from its original design?
  • Has digital downloading helped the music industry?
  • Discuss the benefits and costs of stricter internet censorship.
  • Analyze the effects of the internet on the paper news industry.
  • What would happen if the internet went out?
  • How will artificial intelligence (AI) change our lives?
  • What are the pros and cons of cryptocurrency?
  • How has social media affected the way people relate with each other?
  • Should social media have an age restriction?
  • Discuss the importance of source software.
  • What is more relevant in today’s world: mobile apps or websites?
  • How will fully autonomous vehicles change our lives?
  • How is text messaging affecting teen literacy?

Mental Health

  • What are the benefits of daily exercise?
  • How has social media affected people’s mental health?
  • What things contribute to poor mental and physical health?
  • Analyze how mental health is talked about in pop culture.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of more counselors in high schools.
  • How does stress affect the body?
  • How do emotional support animals help people?
  • What are black holes?
  • Discuss the biggest successes and failures of the EPA.
  • How has the Flint water crisis affected life in Michigan?
  • Can science help save endangered species?
  • Is the development of an anti-cancer vaccine possible?

Environment

  • What are the effects of deforestation on climate change?
  • Is climate change reversible?
  • How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect global warming and climate change?
  • Are carbon credits effective for offsetting emissions or just marketing?
  • Is nuclear power a safe alternative to fossil fuels?
  • Are hybrid vehicles helping to control pollution in the atmosphere?
  • How is plastic waste harming the environment?
  • Is entrepreneurism a trait people are born with or something they learn?
  • How much more should CEOs make than their average employee?
  • Can you start a business without money?
  • Should the U.S. raise the minimum wage?
  • Discuss how happy employees benefit businesses.
  • How important is branding for a business?
  • Discuss the ease, or difficulty, of landing a job today.
  • What is the economic impact of sporting events?
  • Are professional athletes overpaid?
  • Should male and female athletes receive equal pay?
  • What is a fair and equitable way for transgender athletes to compete in high school sports?
  • What are the benefits of playing team sports?
  • What is the most corrupt professional sport?

Where to Get More Research Paper Topic Ideas

If you need more help brainstorming topics, especially those that are personalized to your interests, you can use CollegeVine’s free AI tutor, Ivy . Ivy can help you come up with original research topic ideas, and she can also help with the rest of your homework, from math to languages.

Disclaimer: This post includes content sponsored by Lumiere Education.

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How to generate topic ideas for research papers (5 tips)

How to generate topic ideas for research papers

Before you can successfully write a research paper , you need to decide on a compelling and manageable topic. In this post, we discuss five tips for generating research paper topics.

1. Make a list of your interests

If you have the opportunity to choose your own topic, it’s a great idea to start with your personal interests. Make a list of your interests on one half of a sheet of paper. Then, on the other half, list the wider social, historical, or intellectual concepts that correspond to your interest.

For example, if you really like cats, you might think about connecting your interest in cats to broader societal issues like animal rights, the state of domestic animal shelters, or even the relationship between modern domestic cats and their larger ancestors.

2. Use Wikipedia

Although your instructor will likely discourage you from using Wikipedia as a source for your paper, it’s a great tool for generating topic ideas . Most Wikipedia entries include introductory paragraphs that contain valuable, alternative keywords and phrases for the subject. Once you’ve taken note of those, you can use them to conduct more systematic research.

Additionally, many Wikipedia articles include both reference lists of the sources that were cited in the article and further reading sections. Many of the sources that are cited in Wikipedia are peer-reviewed, which means that you can use them in your paper.

3. Do preliminary research

If you have a general idea of what you want to write about, you can conduct some preliminary research in order to formulate a more specific topic. Use your school library’s databases or Google scholar to search for peer-reviewed books or articles on your tentative topic.

The strongest topics are those that respond to gaps or puzzles within existing scholarly research . When you have a basic understanding of the current research, you can more easily narrow or broaden your topic idea.

Occasionally, preliminary research may prompt you to change your topic completely. You may find that your original idea is not feasible. This can save you a lot of time later on when you are actually drafting your paper.

4. Ask a librarian

Librarians can help you at any stage of the research process. You might consider scheduling a research consultation with a librarian to help with generating keywords and phrases or with narrowing down topic ideas.

Librarians can also help you conduct preliminary research. They know which databases or websites are best for finding credible sources. Additionally, librarians can assist with citing your sources when it’s time to create your citations and bibliography.

You can also use BibGuru’s citation generator to automatically create citations in whatever style your instructor requires.

5. Consult your class notes

If you’ve taken good notes during class, then you might want to return to them when it’s time to come up with topic ideas. Look back at places in the textbook that you highlighted or at any notes that you marked as interesting or perplexing.

If you’re thinking ahead and want to take notes that you can use later on, consider using a two-column approach. In one column, record your actual notes from class discussions, textbooks, or homework. In the second column, pull out quotes or ideas that seem particularly thought-provoking. These can easily become the seeds for research paper topic ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions about how to generate topic ideas for research papers

A research topic is the general subject of a research paper. Your overall topic determines the shape of your primary research question and thesis statement.

You can generate research topics by doing preliminary research, consulting with a librarian, or evaluating your personal interests.

If you are able to choose your own topic, you might consider making a list of your own interests and then translating those items into wider social issues. For example, if you really like cats, you might think about connecting your interest in cats to broader societal issues like animal rights.

The first step in choosing a topic is to establish whether your idea is feasible within the scope of the assignment. For instance, if you are writing an argumentative paper, you’ll need to be sure that your topic is actually arguable.

The strongest topics are those that respond to gaps or puzzles within existing scholarly research. When you have a basic understanding of the current research, you can more easily narrow or broaden your topic idea.

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How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

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Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications . If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.

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Selecting a Research Topic: Overview

  • Refine your topic
  • Background information & facts
  • Writing help

Here are some resources to refer to when selecting a topic and preparing to write a paper:

  • MIT Writing and Communication Center "Providing free professional advice about all types of writing and speaking to all members of the MIT community."
  • Search Our Collections Find books about writing. Search by subject for: english language grammar; report writing handbooks; technical writing handbooks
  • Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation Online version of the book that provides examples and tips on grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and other writing rules.
  • Select a topic

Choosing an interesting research topic is your first challenge. Here are some tips:

  • Choose a topic that you are interested in! The research process is more relevant if you care about your topic.
  • If your topic is too broad, you will find too much information and not be able to focus.
  • Background reading can help you choose and limit the scope of your topic. 
  • Review the guidelines on topic selection outlined in your assignment.  Ask your professor or TA for suggestions.
  • Refer to lecture notes and required texts to refresh your knowledge of the course and assignment.
  • Talk about research ideas with a friend.  S/he may be able to help focus your topic by discussing issues that didn't occur to you at first.
  • WHY did you choose the topic?  What interests you about it?  Do you have an opinion about the issues involved?
  • WHO are the information providers on this topic?  Who might publish information about it?  Who is affected by the topic?  Do you know of organizations or institutions affiliated with the topic?
  • WHAT are the major questions for this topic?  Is there a debate about the topic?  Are there a range of issues and viewpoints to consider?
  • WHERE is your topic important: at the local, national or international level?  Are there specific places affected by the topic?
  • WHEN is/was your topic important?  Is it a current event or an historical issue?  Do you want to compare your topic by time periods?

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  • Broaden your topic
  • Information Navigator home
  • Sources for facts - general
  • Sources for facts - specific subjects

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How to Find a Topic for Your Research Paper

Last Updated: September 12, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Matthew Snipp, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . C. Matthew Snipp is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. He is also the Director for the Institute for Research in the Social Science’s Secure Data Center. He has been a Research Fellow at the U.S. Bureau of the Census and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has published 3 books and over 70 articles and book chapters on demography, economic development, poverty and unemployment. He is also currently serving on the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Population Science Subcommittee. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. This article has been viewed 95,609 times.

Sometimes, finding a topic for a research paper can be the most challenging part of the whole process. When you're looking out at a field brimming with possibilities, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Lucky for you, we here at wikiHow have come up with a list of ways to pick that topic that will take you from the more vague brainstorming all the way to your specific, perfectly focused research question and thesis.

Review your course materials.

Your textbook, syllabus, and class notes can help you find a topic.

  • If your textbook has discussion questions at the end of each chapter, these can be great to comb through for potential research paper topic ideas.
  • Look at any recommended reading your instructor has suggested—you might find ideas there as well.

Search hot issues in your field of study.

Run an internet search or talk to your instructor.

  • Think about current events that touch on your field of study as well. For example, if you're writing a research paper for a sociology class, you might want to write something related to race in America or the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Other instructors in the same department or field might also have ideas for you. Don't be afraid to stop in during their office hours and talk or send them an email, even if you've never had them for a class.

Go for a walk to get your brain going.

Being active can stimulate your mind to focus on topic ideas.

  • If you want to walk with a friend and discuss topic ideas as you walk, that can help too. Sometimes, you'll come up with new things when you can bounce your ideas off someone else.

Ask your family or friends for input.

Bounce ideas off of people you know to get their thoughts.

  • People who aren't really familiar with the general subject you're researching can be helpful too! Because they aren't making many assumptions, they might bring up something you'd overlooked or not thought about before.

Free-write on topic ideas to find your passion.

Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and write without stopping.

  • Having a personal interest in the topic will keep you from getting bored. You'll do better research—and write a better paper—if you're excited about the topic itself.

Read background information on your favorites.

Search online for background articles about topics you like.

  • Ideally, based on your background research, you'll be able to choose one of the topics that interests you the most. If you still can't narrow it down, keep reading!
  • Even though you wouldn't want to use them as sources for your actual paper, sources like Wikipedia can be excellent for getting background information about a topic.

Identify important words to use as keywords.

Jot down words related to your topic to search for sources.

  • For example, if you've chosen environmental regulations as a topic, you might also include keywords such as "conservation," "pollution," and "nature."

Do preliminary research using your keywords.

Search online or on library databases and review your results.

  • Your results might also suggest other keywords you can search to find more sources. Searching for specific terminology used in articles you find often leads to other articles.
  • Check the bibliography of any papers you find to pick up some other sources you might be able to use.

Limit a broad topic.

Narrow your topic to a specific time period, geographic area, or population.

  • For example, suppose you decided to look at race relations in the US during the Trump administration. If you got too many results, you might narrow your results to a single US city or state.
  • Keep in mind how long your research paper will ultimately be. For example, if there's an entire book written on a topic you want to write a 20-page research paper on, it's probably too broad.

Expand a topic that's too narrow.

Broaden your scope if you're not getting enough results from your keywords.

  • For example, suppose you wanted to research the impact of a particular environmental law on your hometown, but when you did a search, you didn't get any quality results. You might expand your search to encompass the entire state or region, rather than just your hometown.

Do more in-depth research to fine-tune your topic.

Run another search based on the information you've gained.

  • For example, you might do an initial search and get hundreds of results back and decide your topic is too broad. Then, when you limit it, you get next to nothing and figure out you've narrowed it too much, so you have to broaden it a little bit again.
  • Stay flexible and keep going until you've found that happy medium that you think will work for your paper.

Formulate the question you'll answer in your paper.

Use the 5 W's (who, what, when, where, and why) to write your question.

  • For example, your research question might be something like "How did environmental regulations affect the living conditions of people living near paper mills?" This question covers "who" (people living near paper mills), "what" (living conditions), "where" (near paper mills), and "why" (environmental regulations).

Build a list of potential sources.

Write down citation information as you work.

  • At this point, your list is still a "working" list. You won't necessarily use all the sources you find in your actual paper.
  • Building a working list of sources is also helpful if you want to use a source and can't immediately get access to it. If you have to get it through your professor or request it from another library, you have time to do so.

Develop your thesis.

Your thesis is the answer to your research question.

  • For example, suppose your research question is "How did environmental regulations affect the living conditions of people living near paper mills?" Your thesis might be something like: "Environmental regulations improved living conditions for people living around paper mills."
  • As another example, suppose your research question is "Why did hate crimes spike in the US from 2017 to 2020?" Your thesis might be: "A permissive attitude towards racial supremacy caused a spike in hate crimes in the US from 2017 to 2020."
  • Keep in mind, you don't have to prove that your thesis is correct. Proving that your thesis was wrong can make for an even more compelling research paper, especially if your thesis follows conventional wisdom.

Expert Q&A

  • If you've been given a list of topics but you come up with something different that you want to do, don't be afraid to talk to your instructor about it! The worst that will happen is that they'll make you choose something from the list instead. [11] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185905
  • ↑ https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/08/how-steve-jobs-odd-habit-can-help-you-brainstorm-ideas.html
  • ↑ https://emory.libanswers.com/faq/44525
  • ↑ https://emory.libanswers.com/faq/44524
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/research_papers/choosing_a_topic.html

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get ideas for research paper

How to Write a Research Paper

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Research Paper Fundamentals

How to choose a topic or question, how to create a working hypothesis or thesis, common research paper methodologies, how to gather and organize evidence , how to write an outline for your research paper, how to write a rough draft, how to revise your draft, how to produce a final draft, resources for teachers .

It is not fair to say that no one writes anymore. Just about everyone writes text messages, brief emails, or social media posts every single day. Yet, most people don't have a lot of practice with the formal, organized writing required for a good academic research paper. This guide contains links to a variety of resources that can help demystify the process. Some of these resources are intended for teachers; they contain exercises, activities, and teaching strategies. Other resources are intended for direct use by students who are struggling to write papers, or are looking for tips to make the process go more smoothly.

The resources in this section are designed to help students understand the different types of research papers, the general research process, and how to manage their time. Below, you'll find links from university writing centers, the trusted Purdue Online Writing Lab, and more.

What is an Academic Research Paper?

"Genre and the Research Paper" (Purdue OWL)

There are different types of research papers. Different types of scholarly questions will lend themselves to one format or another. This is a brief introduction to the two main genres of research paper: analytic and argumentative. 

"7 Most Popular Types of Research Papers" (Personal-writer.com)

This resource discusses formats that high school students commonly encounter, such as the compare and contrast essay and the definitional essay. Please note that the inclusion of this link is not an endorsement of this company's paid service.

How to Prepare and Plan Out Writing a Research Paper

Teachers can give their students a step-by-step guide like these to help them understand the different steps of the research paper process. These guides can be combined with the time management tools in the next subsection to help students come up with customized calendars for completing their papers.

"Ten Steps for Writing Research Papers" (American University)  

This resource from American University is a comprehensive guide to the research paper writing process, and includes examples of proper research questions and thesis topics.

"Steps in Writing a Research Paper" (SUNY Empire State College)

This guide breaks the research paper process into 11 steps. Each "step" links to a separate page, which describes the work entailed in completing it.

How to Manage Time Effectively

The links below will help students determine how much time is necessary to complete a paper. If your sources are not available online or at your local library, you'll need to leave extra time for the Interlibrary Loan process. Remember that, even if you do not need to consult secondary sources, you'll still need to leave yourself ample time to organize your thoughts.

"Research Paper Planner: Timeline" (Baylor University)

This interactive resource from Baylor University creates a suggested writing schedule based on how much time a student has to work on the assignment.

"Research Paper Planner" (UCLA)

UCLA's library offers this step-by-step guide to the research paper writing process, which also includes a suggested planning calendar.

There's a reason teachers spend a long time talking about choosing a good topic. Without a good topic and a well-formulated research question, it is almost impossible to write a clear and organized paper. The resources below will help you generate ideas and formulate precise questions.

"How to Select a Research Topic" (Univ. of Michigan-Flint)

This resource is designed for college students who are struggling to come up with an appropriate topic. A student who uses this resource and still feels unsure about his or her topic should consult the course instructor for further personalized assistance.

"25 Interesting Research Paper Topics to Get You Started" (Kibin)

This resource, which is probably most appropriate for high school students, provides a list of specific topics to help get students started. It is broken into subsections, such as "paper topics on local issues."

"Writing a Good Research Question" (Grand Canyon University)

This introduction to research questions includes some embedded videos, as well as links to scholarly articles on research questions. This resource would be most appropriate for teachers who are planning lessons on research paper fundamentals.

"How to Write a Research Question the Right Way" (Kibin)

This student-focused resource provides more detail on writing research questions. The language is accessible, and there are embedded videos and examples of good and bad questions.

It is important to have a rough hypothesis or thesis in mind at the beginning of the research process. People who have a sense of what they want to say will have an easier time sorting through scholarly sources and other information. The key, of course, is not to become too wedded to the draft hypothesis or thesis. Just about every working thesis gets changed during the research process.

CrashCourse Video: "Sociology Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is tailored to sociology students, it is applicable to students in a variety of social science disciplines. This video does a good job demonstrating the connection between the brainstorming that goes into selecting a research question and the formulation of a working hypothesis.

"How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Analytical Essay" (YouTube)

Students writing analytical essays will not develop the same type of working hypothesis as students who are writing research papers in other disciplines. For these students, developing the working thesis may happen as a part of the rough draft (see the relevant section below). 

"Research Hypothesis" (Oakland Univ.)

This resource provides some examples of hypotheses in social science disciplines like Political Science and Criminal Justice. These sample hypotheses may also be useful for students in other soft social sciences and humanities disciplines like History.

When grading a research paper, instructors look for a consistent methodology. This section will help you understand different methodological approaches used in research papers. Students will get the most out of these resources if they use them to help prepare for conversations with teachers or discussions in class.

"Types of Research Designs" (USC)

A "research design," used for complex papers, is related to the paper's method. This resource contains introductions to a variety of popular research designs in the social sciences. Although it is not the most intuitive site to read, the information here is very valuable. 

"Major Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is a bit on the dry side, it provides a comprehensive overview of the major research methodologies in a format that might be more accessible to students who have struggled with textbooks or other written resources.

"Humanities Research Strategies" (USC)

This is a portal where students can learn about four methodological approaches for humanities papers: Historical Methodologies, Textual Criticism, Conceptual Analysis, and the Synoptic method.

"Selected Major Social Science Research Methods: Overview" (National Academies Press)

This appendix from the book  Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy , printed by National Academies Press, introduces some methods used in social science papers.

"Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: 6. The Methodology" (USC)

This resource from the University of Southern California's library contains tips for writing a methodology section in a research paper.

How to Determine the Best Methodology for You

Anyone who is new to writing research papers should be sure to select a method in consultation with their instructor. These resources can be used to help prepare for that discussion. They may also be used on their own by more advanced students.

"Choosing Appropriate Research Methodologies" (Palgrave Study Skills)

This friendly and approachable resource from Palgrave Macmillan can be used by students who are just starting to think about appropriate methodologies.

"How to Choose Your Research Methods" (NFER (UK))

This is another approachable resource students can use to help narrow down the most appropriate methods for their research projects.

The resources in this section introduce the process of gathering scholarly sources and collecting evidence. You'll find a range of material here, from introductory guides to advanced explications best suited to college students. Please consult the LitCharts  How to Do Academic Research guide for a more comprehensive list of resources devoted to finding scholarly literature.

Google Scholar

Students who have access to library websites with detailed research guides should start there, but people who do not have access to those resources can begin their search for secondary literature here.

"Gathering Appropriate Information" (Texas Gateway)

This resource from the Texas Gateway for online resources introduces students to the research process, and contains interactive exercises. The level of complexity is suitable for middle school, high school, and introductory college classrooms.

"An Overview of Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection Methods" (NSF)

This PDF from the National Science Foundation goes into detail about best practices and pitfalls in data collection across multiple types of methodologies.

"Social Science Methods for Data Collection and Analysis" (Swiss FIT)

This resource is appropriate for advanced undergraduates or teachers looking to create lessons on research design and data collection. It covers techniques for gathering data via interviews, observations, and other methods.

"Collecting Data by In-depth Interviewing" (Leeds Univ.)

This resource contains enough information about conducting interviews to make it useful for teachers who want to create a lesson plan, but is also accessible enough for college juniors or seniors to make use of it on their own.

There is no "one size fits all" outlining technique. Some students might devote all their energy and attention to the outline in order to avoid the paper. Other students may benefit from being made to sit down and organize their thoughts into a lengthy sentence outline. The resources in this section include strategies and templates for multiple types of outlines. 

"Topic vs. Sentence Outlines" (UC Berkeley)

This resource introduces two basic approaches to outlining: the shorter topic-based approach, and the longer, more detailed sentence-based approach. This resource also contains videos on how to develop paper paragraphs from the sentence-based outline.

"Types of Outlines and Samples" (Purdue OWL)

The Purdue Online Writing Lab's guide is a slightly less detailed discussion of different types of outlines. It contains several sample outlines.

"Writing An Outline" (Austin C.C.)

This resource from a community college contains sample outlines from an American history class that students can use as models.

"How to Structure an Outline for a College Paper" (YouTube)

This brief (sub-2 minute) video from the ExpertVillage YouTube channel provides a model of outline writing for students who are struggling with the idea.

"Outlining" (Harvard)

This is a good resource to consult after completing a draft outline. It offers suggestions for making sure your outline avoids things like unnecessary repetition.

As with outlines, rough drafts can take on many different forms. These resources introduce teachers and students to the various approaches to writing a rough draft. This section also includes resources that will help you cite your sources appropriately according to the MLA, Chicago, and APA style manuals.

"Creating a Rough Draft for a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

This resource is useful for teachers in particular, as it provides some suggested exercises to help students with writing a basic rough draft. 

Rough Draft Assignment (Duke of Definition)

This sample assignment, with a brief list of tips, was developed by a high school teacher who runs a very successful and well-reviewed page of educational resources.

"Creating the First Draft of Your Research Paper" (Concordia Univ.)

This resource will be helpful for perfectionists or procrastinators, as it opens by discussing the problem of avoiding writing. It also provides a short list of suggestions meant to get students writing.

Using Proper Citations

There is no such thing as a rough draft of a scholarly citation. These links to the three major citation guides will ensure that your citations follow the correct format. Please consult the LitCharts How to Cite Your Sources guide for more resources.

Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

Some call  The Chicago Manual of Style , which was first published in 1906, "the editors' Bible." The manual is now in its 17th edition, and is popular in the social sciences, historical journals, and some other fields in the humanities.

APA Citation Guide

According to the American Psychological Association, this guide was developed to aid reading comprehension, clarity of communication, and to reduce bias in language in the social and behavioral sciences. Its first full edition was published in 1952, and it is now in its sixth edition.

MLA Citation Guide

The Modern Language Association style is used most commonly within the liberal arts and humanities. The  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  was first published in 1985 and (as of 2008) is in its third edition.

Any professional scholar will tell you that the best research papers are made in the revision stage. No matter how strong your research question or working thesis, it is not possible to write a truly outstanding paper without devoting energy to revision. These resources provide examples of revision exercises for the classroom, as well as tips for students working independently.

"The Art of Revision" (Univ. of Arizona)

This resource provides a wealth of information and suggestions for both students and teachers. There is a list of suggested exercises that teachers might use in class, along with a revision checklist that is useful for teachers and students alike.

"Script for Workshop on Revision" (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt's guide for leading a 50-minute revision workshop can serve as a model for teachers who wish to guide students through the revision process during classtime. 

"Revising Your Paper" (Univ. of Washington)

This detailed handout was designed for students who are beginning the revision process. It discusses different approaches and methods for revision, and also includes a detailed list of things students should look for while they revise.

"Revising Drafts" (UNC Writing Center)

This resource is designed for students and suggests things to look for during the revision process. It provides steps for the process and has a FAQ for students who have questions about why it is important to revise.

Conferencing with Writing Tutors and Instructors

No writer is so good that he or she can't benefit from meeting with instructors or peer tutors. These resources from university writing, learning, and communication centers provide suggestions for how to get the most out of these one-on-one meetings.

"Getting Feedback" (UNC Writing Center)

This very helpful resource talks about how to ask for feedback during the entire writing process. It contains possible questions that students might ask when developing an outline, during the revision process, and after the final draft has been graded.

"Prepare for Your Tutoring Session" (Otis College of Art and Design)

This guide from a university's student learning center contains a lot of helpful tips for getting the most out of working with a writing tutor.

"The Importance of Asking Your Professor" (Univ. of Waterloo)

This article from the university's Writing and Communication Centre's blog contains some suggestions for how and when to get help from professors and Teaching Assistants.

Once you've revised your first draft, you're well on your way to handing in a polished paper. These resources—each of them produced by writing professionals at colleges and universities—outline the steps required in order to produce a final draft. You'll find proofreading tips and checklists in text and video form.

"Developing a Final Draft of a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

While this resource contains suggestions for revision, it also features a couple of helpful checklists for the last stages of completing a final draft.

Basic Final Draft Tips and Checklist (Univ. of Maryland-University College)

This short and accessible resource, part of UMUC's very thorough online guide to writing and research, contains a very basic checklist for students who are getting ready to turn in their final drafts.

Final Draft Checklist (Everett C.C.)

This is another accessible final draft checklist, appropriate for both high school and college students. It suggests reading your essay aloud at least once.

"How to Proofread Your Final Draft" (YouTube)

This video (approximately 5 minutes), produced by Eastern Washington University, gives students tips on proofreading final drafts.

"Proofreading Tips" (Georgia Southern-Armstrong)

This guide will help students learn how to spot common errors in their papers. It suggests focusing on content and editing for grammar and mechanics.

This final set of resources is intended specifically for high school and college instructors. It provides links to unit plans and classroom exercises that can help improve students' research and writing skills. You'll find resources that give an overview of the process, along with activities that focus on how to begin and how to carry out research. 

"Research Paper Complete Resources Pack" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, rubrics, and other resources is designed for high school students. The resources in this packet are aligned to Common Core standards.

"Research Paper—Complete Unit" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, notes, PowerPoints, and other resources has a 4/4 rating with over 700 ratings. It is designed for high school teachers, but might also be useful to college instructors who work with freshmen.

"Teaching Students to Write Good Papers" (Yale)

This resource from Yale's Center for Teaching and Learning is designed for college instructors, and it includes links to appropriate activities and exercises.

"Research Paper Writing: An Overview" (CUNY Brooklyn)

CUNY Brooklyn offers this complete lesson plan for introducing students to research papers. It includes an accompanying set of PowerPoint slides.

"Lesson Plan: How to Begin Writing a Research Paper" (San Jose State Univ.)

This lesson plan is designed for students in the health sciences, so teachers will have to modify it for their own needs. It includes a breakdown of the brainstorming, topic selection, and research question process. 

"Quantitative Techniques for Social Science Research" (Univ. of Pittsburgh)

This is a set of PowerPoint slides that can be used to introduce students to a variety of quantitative methods used in the social sciences.

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How to Craft Your Ideal Thesis Research Topic

How to Craft Your Ideal Thesis Research Topic

Table of contents

get ideas for research paper

Catherine Miller

Writing your undergraduate thesis is probably one of the most interesting parts of studying, especially because you get to choose your area of study. But as both a student and a teacher who’s helped countless students develop their research topics, I know this freedom can be just as intimidating as it is liberating.

Fortunately, there’a a step-by-step process you can follow that will help make the whole process a lot easier. In this article, I’ll show you how to choose a unique, specific thesis topic that’s true to your passions and interests, while making a contribution to your field.

get ideas for research paper

Choose a topic that you’re interested in

First things first: double-check with your teachers or supervisor if there are any constraints on your research topic. Once your parameters are clear, it’s time to identify what lights you up — after all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time thinking about it.

Within your field of study, you probably already have some topics that have grabbed your attention more than others. This can be a great place to start. Additionally, consider using the rest of your academic and extra-curricular interests as a source of ideas. At this stage, you only need a broad topic before you narrow it down to a specific question. 

If you’re feeling stuck, here are some things to try:

  • Look back through old course notes to remind yourself of topics you previously covered. Do any of these inspire you?
  • Talk to potential supervisors about your ideas, as they can point you toward areas you might not have considered.
  • Think about the things you enjoy in everyday life — whether that’s cycling, cinema, cooking, or fashion — then consider if there are any overlaps with your field of study.
  • Imagine you have been asked to give a presentation or record a podcast in the next three days. What topics would you feel confident discussing?
  • Watch a selection of existing lectures or explainer videos, or listen to podcasts by experts in your field. Note which topics you feel curious to explore further.
  • Discuss your field of study with teachers friends and family, some with existing knowledge and some without. Which aspects do you enjoy talking about? 

By doing all this, you might uncover some unusual and exciting avenues for research. For example, when writing my Master’s dissertation, I decided to combine my field of study (English teaching methodology) with one of my passions outside work (creative writing). In my undergraduate course, a friend drew on her lived experience of disability to look into the literary portrayal of disability in the ancient world. 

Do your research

Once you’ve chosen your topic of interest, it’s time to dive into research. This is a really important part of this early process because it allows you to:

  • See what other people have written about the topic — you don’t want to cover the same old ground as everyone else.
  • Gain perspective on the big questions surrounding the topic. 
  • Go deeper into the parts that interest you to help you decide where to focus.
  • Start building your bibliography and a bank of interesting quotations. 

A great way to start is to visit your library for an introductory book. For example, the “A Very Short Introduction” series from the Oxford University Press provides overviews of a range of themes. Similar types of overviews may have the title “ A Companion to [Subject]” or “[Subject] A Student Companion”. Ask your librarian or teacher if you’re not sure where to begin. 

Your introductory volume can spark ideas for further research, and the bibliography can give you some pointers about where to go next. You can also use keywords to research online via academic sites like JStor or Google Scholar. Check which subscriptions are available via your institution.

At this stage, you may not wish to read every single paper you come across in full — this could take a very long time and not everything will be relevant. Summarizing software like Wordtune could be very useful here.

Just upload a PDF or link to an online article using Wordtune, and it will produce a summary of the whole paper with a list of key points. This helps you to quickly sift through papers to grasp their central ideas and identify which ones to read in full. 

Screenshot of Wordtune's summarizing tool

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You can also use Wordtune for semantic search. In this case, the tool focuses its summary around your chosen search term, making it even easier to get what you need from the paper.

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As you go, make sure you keep organized notes of what you’ve read, including the author and publication information and the page number of any citations you want to use. 

Some people are happy to do this process with pen and paper, but if you prefer a digital method, there are several software options, including Zotero , EndNote , and Mendeley . Your institution may have an existing subscription so check before you sign up.

Narrowing down your thesis research topic

Now you’ve read around the topic, it’s time to narrow down your ideas so you can craft your final question. For example, when it came to my undergraduate thesis, I knew I wanted to write about Ancient Greek religion and I was interested in the topic of goddesses. So, I:

  • Did some wide reading around the topic of goddesses
  • Learned that the goddess Hera was not as well researched as others and that there were some fascinating aspects I wanted to explore
  • Decided (with my supervisor’s support) to focus on her temples in the Argive region of Greece

get ideas for research paper

As part of this process, it can be helpful to consider the “5 Ws”: why, what, who, when, and where, as you move from the bigger picture to something more precise. 

Why did you choose this research topic?

Come back to the reasons you originally chose your theme. What grabbed you? Why is this topic important to you — or to the wider world? In my example, I knew I wanted to write about goddesses because, as a woman, I was interested in how a society in which female lives were often highly controlled dealt with having powerful female deities. My research highlighted Hera as one of the most powerful goddesses, tying into my key interest.

What are some of the big questions about your topic?

During your research, you’ll probably run into the same themes time and time again. Some of the questions that arise may not have been answered yet or might benefit from a fresh look. 

Equally, there may be questions that haven’t yet been asked, especially if you are approaching the topic from a modern perspective or combining research that hasn’t been considered before. This might include taking a post-colonial, feminist, or queer approach to older texts or bringing in research using new scientific methods.

In my example, I knew there were still controversies about why so many temples to the goddess Hera were built in a certain region, and was keen to explore these further.

Who is the research topic relevant to?

Considering the “who” might help you open up new avenues. Is there a particular audience you want to reach? What might they be interested in? Is this a new audience for this field? Are there people out there who might be affected by the outcome of this research — for example, people with a particular medical condition — who might be able to use your conclusions?

Which period will you focus on?

Depending on the nature of your field, you might be able to choose a timeframe, which can help narrow the topic down. For example, you might focus on historical events that took place over a handful of years, look at the impact of a work of literature at a certain point after its publication, or review scientific progress over the last five years. 

With my thesis, I decided to focus on the time when the temples were built rather than considering the hundreds of years for which they have existed, which would have taken me far too long.

Where does your topic relate to?

Place can be another means of narrowing down the topic. For example, consider the impact of your topic on a particular neighborhood, city, or country, rather than trying to process a global question. 

In my example, I chose to focus my research on one area of Greece, where there were lots of temples to Hera. This meant skipping other important locations, but including these would have made the thesis too wide-ranging.

Create an outline and get feedback

Once you have an idea of what you are going to write about, create an outline or summary and get feedback from your teacher(s). It’s okay if you don’t know exactly how you’re going to answer your thesis question yet, but based on your research you should have a rough plan of the key points you want to cover. So, for me, the outline was as follows:

  • Context: who was the goddess Hera?
  • Overview of her sanctuaries in the Argive region
  • Their initial development 
  • Political and cultural influences
  • The importance of the mythical past

In the final thesis, I took a strong view on why the goddess was so important in this region, but it took more research, writing, and discussion with my supervisor to pin down my argument.

To choose a thesis research topic, find something you’re passionate about, research widely to get the big picture, and then move to a more focused view. Bringing a fresh perspective to a popular theme, finding an underserved audience who could benefit from your research, or answering a controversial question can make your thesis stand out from the crowd.

For tips on how to start writing your thesis, don’t miss our advice on writing a great research abstract and a stellar literature review . And don’t forget that Wordtune can also support you with proofreading, making it even easier to submit a polished thesis.

How do you come up with a research topic for a thesis?

To help you find a thesis topic, speak to your professor, look through your old course notes, think about what you already enjoy in everyday life, talk about your field of study with friends and family, and research podcasts and videos to find a topic that is interesting for you. It’s a good idea to refine your topic so that it’s not too general or broad.  

Do you choose your own thesis topic?

Yes, you usually choose your own thesis topic. You can get help from your professor(s), friends, and family to figure out which research topic is interesting to you. 

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9 Undergraduate Research Projects That Wowed Us This Year

The telegraph. The polio vaccine. The bar code. Light beer. Throughout its history, NYU has been known for innovation, with faculty and alumni in every generation contributing to some of the most notable inventions and scientific breakthroughs of their time. But you don’t wind up in the history books—or peer-reviewed journals—by accident; academic research, like any specialized discipline, takes hard work and lots of practice. 

And at NYU, for students who are interested, that training can start early—including during an undergraduate's first years on campus. Whether through assistantships in faculty labs, summer internships, senior capstones, or independent projects inspired by coursework, undergrad students have many opportunities to take what they’re learning in the classroom and apply it to create original scholarship throughout their time at NYU. Many present their work at research conferences, and some even co-author work with faculty and graduate students that leads to publication. 

As 2023-2024 drew to a close, the NYU News team coordinated with the Office of the Provost to pull together a snapshot of the research efforts that students undertook during this school year. The nine featured here represent just a small fraction of the impressive work we encountered in fields ranging from biology, chemistry, and engineering to the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. 

These projects were presented at NYU research conferences for undergrads, including Migration and Im/Mobility , Pathways for Discovery: Undergraduate Research and Writing Symposium , Social Impact: NYU’s Applied Undergraduate Research Conference , Arts-Based Undergraduate Research Conference , Gallatin Student Research Conference ,  Dreammaker’s Summit , Tandon’s Research Excellence Exhibit , and Global Engagement Symposium . Learn more about these undergrad research opportunities and others.

Jordan Janowski (CAS '24)

Sade Chaffatt (NYU Abu Dhabi '24)

Elsa Nyongesa (GPH, CAS ’24 )

Anthony Offiah (Gallatin ’26)

Kimberly Sinchi (Tandon ’24) and Sarah Moughal (Tandon ’25)

Rohan Bajaj (Stern '24)

Lizette Saucedo (Liberal Studies ’24)

Eva Fuentes (CAS '24)

Andrea Durham (Tandon ’26)

Jordan Janowski (CAS ’24) Major: Biochemistry Thesis title: “Engineering Chirality for Functionality in Crystalline DNA”

Jordan Janowski (CAS '24). Photo by Tracey Friedman

I work in the Structural DNA Nanotechnology Lab, which was founded by the late NYU professor Ned Seeman, who is known as the father of the field. My current projects are manipulating DNA sequences to self-assemble into high order structures.

Essentially, we’re using DNA as a building material, instead of just analyzing it for its biological functions. It constantly amazes me that this is possible.

I came in as a pre-med student, but when I started working in the lab I realized that I was really interested in continuing my research there. I co-wrote a paper with postdoc Dr. Simon Vecchioni who has been a mentor to me and helped me navigate applying to grad school. I’m headed to Scripps Research in the fall. This research experience has led me to explore some of the molecules that make up life and how they could be engineered into truly unnatural curiosities and technologies.

My PI, Prof. Yoel Ohayon , has been super supportive of my place on the  NYU women’s basketball team, which I’m a  member of. He’s been coming to my games since sophomore year, and he’ll text me with the score and “great game!”— it’s been so nice to have that support for my interests beyond the lab.

Anthony Offiah (Gallatin ’26) Concentration: Fashion design and business administration MLK Scholars research project title: “project: DREAMER”

Anthony Offiah (Gallatin '26). Photo by Tracey Friedman

In “project: DREAMER,” I explored how much a person’s sense of fashion is a result of their environment or societal pressures based on their identity. Certain groups are pressured or engineered to present a certain way, and I wanted to see how much of the opposing force—their character, their personality—affected their sense of style. 

This was a summer research project through the MLK Scholars Program . I did ethnographic interviews with a few people, and asked them to co-design their ideal garments with me. They told me who they are, how they identify, and what they like in fashion, and we synthesized that into their dream garments. And then we had a photo shoot where they were empowered to make artistic choices. 

Some people told me they had a hard time conveying their sense of style because they were apprehensive about being the center of attention or of being dissimilar to the people around them. So they chose to conform to protect themselves. And then others spoke about wanting to safeguard the artistic or vulnerable—or one person used the word “feminine”—side of them so they consciously didn’t dress how they ideally would. 

We ended the interviews by stating an objective about how this co-designing process didn’t end with them just getting new clothes—it was about approaching fashion differently than how they started and unlearning how society might put them in a certain box without their approval.  

My concentration in Gallatin is fashion design and business administration. In the industry some clothing is critiqued and some clothing is praised—and navigating that is challenging, because what you like might not be well received. So doing bespoke fashion for just one person is freeing in a sense because you don’t have to worry about all that extra stuff. It’s just the art. And I like being an artist first and thinking about the business second.

Lizette Saucedo (Global Liberal Studies ’24) Major: Politics, rights, and development Thesis title: “Acknowledging and Remembering Deceased Migrants Crossing the U.S.-Mexican Border”

Lizette Saucedo (Global Liberal Studies '24). Photo by Tracey Friedman

My thesis project is on commemorating migrants who are dying on their journey north to cross the U.S.–Mexican border. I look at it through different theoretical lenses, and one of the terms is necropolitics—how politics shapes the way the State governs life and especially death. And then of the main issues aside from the deaths is that a lot of people in the U.S. don’t know about them, due to the government trying to eschew responsibility for migrant suffering. In the final portion of the thesis, I argue for presenting what some researchers call “migrant artifacts”—the personal belongings left behind by people trying to cross over—to the public, so that people can become aware and have more of a human understanding of what’s going on. 

This is my senior thesis for Liberal Studies, but the idea for it started in an International Human Rights course I took with professor Joyce Apsel . We read a book by Jason De León called The Land of the Open Graves , which I kept in the back of my mind. And then when I studied abroad in Germany during my junior year, I noticed all the different memorials and museums, and wondered why we didn’t have the equivalent in the U.S. My family comes from Mexico—my parents migrated—and ultimately all of these interests came together.

I came into NYU through the Liberal Studies program and I loved it. It’s transdisciplinary, which shaped how I view my studies. My major is politics, rights, and development and my minor is social work, but I’ve also studied museum studies, and I’ve always loved the arts. The experience of getting to work one-on-one on this thesis has really fortified my belief that I can combine all those things.

Sade Chaffatt (Abu Dhabi ’24) Major: Biology Thesis title: “The Polycomb repressive component, EED in mouse hepatocytes regulates liver homeostasis and survival following partial hepatectomy.”

Sade Chaffatt (NYU Abu Dhabi '24). Photo courtesy of NYUAD

Imagine your liver as a room. Within the liver there are epigenetic mechanisms that control gene expression. Imagine these epigenetic mechanisms as a dimmer switch, so that you could adjust the light in the room. If we remove a protein that is involved in regulating these mechanisms, there might be dysregulation—as though the light is too bright or too dim. One such protein, EED, plays a crucial role in regulating gene expression. And so my project focuses on investigating whether EED is required in mouse hepatocytes to regulate liver homeostasis and to regulate survival following surgical resection.

Stepping into the field of research is very intimidating when you’re an undergraduate student and know nothing. But my capstone mentor, Dr. Kirsten Sadler , encourages students to present their data at lab meetings and to speak with scientists. Even though this is nerve-wracking, it helps to promote your confidence in communicating science to others in the field.

If you’d asked 16-year-old me, I never would’ve imagined that I’d be doing research at this point. Representation matters a lot, and you often don't see women—especially not Black women—in research. Being at NYUAD has really allowed me to see more women in these spaces. Having had some experience in the medical field through internships, I can now say I’m more interested in research and hope to pursue a PhD in the future.

Kimberly Sinchi (Tandon ’24) Major: Computer Science Sarah Moughal (Tandon ’25) Major: Computer Science Project: Robotic Design Team's TITAN

Sarah Moughal (Tandon '25, left) and Kimberly Sinchi (Tandon '24). Photo by Tracey Friedman

Kimberly: The Robotic Design Team has been active at NYU for at least five years. We’re 60-plus undergrad and grad students majoring in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, and integrated design. We’ve named our current project TITAN because of how huge it is. TITAN stands for “Tandon’s innovation in terraforming and autonomous navigation.”

Sarah: We compete in NASA’s lunatics competition every year, which means we build a robot from scratch to be able to compete in lunar excavation and construction. We make pretty much everything in house in the Tandon MakerSpace, and everyone gets a little experience with machining, even if you're not mechanical. A lot of it is about learning how to work with other people—communicating across majors and disciplines and learning how to explain our needs to someone who may not be as well versed in particular technologies as we are. 

Kimberly: With NYU’s Vertically Integrated Project I’ve been able to take what I was interested in and actually have a real world impact with it. NASA takes notes on every Rover that enters this competition. What worked and what didn’t actually influences their designs for rovers they send to the moon and to Mars.

Eva Fuentes (CAS ’24) Major: Anthropology Thesis title: “Examining the relationship between pelvic shape and numbers of lumbar vertebrae in primates”

Eva Fuentes (CAS '24). Photo by Tracey Friedman

I came into NYU thinking I wanted to be an art history major with maybe an archeology minor. To do the archeology minor, you have to take the core classes in anthropology, and so I had to take an intro to human evolution course. I was like, this is the coolest thing I’ve learned—ever. So I emailed people in the department to see if I could get involved. 

Since my sophomore year, I’ve been working in the Evolutionary Morphology Lab with Scott Williams, who is primarily interested in the vertebral column of primates in the fossil record because of how it can inform the evolution of posture and locomotion in humans.

For my senior thesis, I’m looking at the number of lumbar vertebrae—the vertebrae that are in the lower back specifically—and aspects of pelvic shape to see if it is possible to make inferences about the number of lumbar vertebrae a fossil may have had. The bones of the lower back are important because they tell us about posture and locomotion.

I committed to a PhD program at Washington University in St. Louis a few weeks ago to study biological anthropology. I never anticipated being super immersed in the academic world. I don’t come from an academic family. I had no idea what I was doing when I started, but Scott Williams, and everyone in the lab, is extremely welcoming and easy to talk to. It wasn't intimidating to come into this lab at all.

Elsa Nyongesa (GPH, CAS ’24 ) Major: Global Public Health and Biology Project: “Diversity in Breast Oncological Studies: Impacts on Black Women’s Health Outcomes”

Elsa Nyongesa (GPH, CAS '24). Photo by Tracey Friedman

I interned at Weill Cornell Medicine through their Travelers Summer Research Fellowship Program where I worked with my mentor, Dr. Lisa Newman, who is the head of the International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes. I analyzed data on the frequency of different types of breast cancer across racial and ethnic groups in New York. At the same time, I was also working with Dr. Rachel Kowolsky to study minority underrepresentation in clinical research. 

In an experiential learning course taught by Professor Joyce Moon Howard in the GPH department, I created a research question based on my internship experience. I thought about how I could combine my experiences from the program which led to my exploration of the correlation between minority underrepresentation in breast oncological studies, and how it affects the health outcomes of Black women with breast cancer.

In my major, we learn about the large scope of health disparities across different groups. This opportunity allowed me to learn more about these disparities in the context of breast cancer research. As a premedical student, this experience broadened my perspective on health. I learned more about the social, economic, and environmental factors influencing health outcomes. It also encouraged me to examine literature more critically to find gaps in knowledge and to think about potential solutions to health problems. Overall, this experience deepened my philosophy of service, emphasizing the importance of health equity and advocacy at the research and clinical level.

Rohan Bajaj (Stern ’24) Major: Finance and statistics Thesis title: “Measuring Socioeconomic Changes and Investor Attitude in Chicago’s Post-Covid Economic Recovery”

Rohan Bajaj (Stern '24). Photo by Tracey Friedman

My thesis is focused on understanding the effects of community-proposed infrastructure on both the socioeconomic demographics of cities and on fiscal health. I’m originally from Chicago, so it made a lot of sense to pay tribute back to the place that raised me. I’m compiling a list of characteristics of infrastructure that has been developed since 2021 as a part of the Chicago Recovery Plan and then assessing how neighborhoods have changed geographically and economically. 

I’m looking at municipal bond yields in Chicago as a way of evaluating the fiscal health of the city. Turns out a lot of community-proposed infrastructure is focused in lower income areas within Chicago rather than higher income areas. So that makes the research question interesting, to see if there’s a correlation between the proposed and developed infrastructure projects, and if these neighborhoods are being gentrified alongside development.

I kind of stumbled into the impact investing industry accidentally from an internship I had during my time at NYU. I started working at a renewable energies brokerage in midtown, where my main job was collecting a lot of market research trends and delivering insights on how these different energy markets would come into play. I then worked with the New York State Insurance Fund, where I helped construct and execute their sustainable investment strategy from the ground up. 

I also took a class called “Design with Climate Change” with Peter Anker in Gallatin during my junior year, and a lot of that class was focused on how to have climate resilient and publicly developed infrastructure, and understanding the effects it has on society. It made me start thinking about the vital role that physical surroundings play in steering communities.

In the short term I want to continue diving into impact-focused investing and help identify urban planners and city government to develop their communities responsibly and effectively.

Andrea Durham (Tandon, ’26)  Major: Biomolecular science Research essay title: “The Rise and Fall of Aduhelm”

Andrea Durham (Tandon '26). Photo by Tracey Friedman

This is an essay I wrote last year in an advanced college essay writing class with Professor Lorraine Doran on the approval of a drug for Alzheimer’s disease called Aduhelm—a monoclonal antibody therapy developed by Biogen in 2021, which was described as being momentous and groundbreaking. But there were irregularities ranging from the design of its clinical trials to government involvement that led to the resignation of three scientists on an advisory panel, because not everybody in the scientific community agreed that it should be approved.

When I was six years old, my grandmother was diagnosed. Seeing the impact that it had over the years broke my heart and ignited a passion in me to pursue research. 

When I started at NYU, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do in the future, or what opportunities I would go after. This writing class really gave me an opportunity to reflect on the things that were important to me in my life. The September after I wrote this paper, I started volunteering in a lab at Mount Sinai for Alzheimer's disease research, and that’s what I’m doing now—working as a volunteer at the Center for Molecular Integrative Neuroresilience under Dr. Giulio Pasinetti. I have this opportunity to be at the forefront, and because of the work I did in my writing class I feel prepared going into these settings with an understanding of the importance of conducting ethical research and working with integrity.

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Powerful Academic Phrases to Improve Your Essay Writing 

academic phrases

Adopting a formal style of writing is crucial for any type of academic writing, be it scholarly articles, research papers or essays. It requires a deep understanding of the subject matter, the ability to analyze and synthesize complex information, and the skill to communicate ideas effectively. One of the primary challenges of academic writing is the need to balance clarity with accuracy.  

There are various factors that should be borne in mind in academic writing. The writing should be clear and precise. It should be well structured with a clear focus while demonstrating the rigor with which the research was conducted. Long winding sentences and emotional language must be completely avoided. While discipline specific language should be used, jargon must be avoided. In other words, academic writing is not easy. However, by using the right words and academic phrases, you can deliver clear, concise writing that can elevate your scholarly papers or essays.  

In this article we will look at a few strong academic phrases that can go a long way in improving your academic essay writing.

Table of Contents

Comparing and contrasting, providing examples, elaborating on information, indicating uncertainty, summarising, academic phrases for various situations.

In writing an academic essay, arguments and ideas need to be built and articulated in a compelling manner. These should be supported with appropriate evidence. Furthermore, verifiable facts and examples must be presented in an engaging way and the entire essay should be well structured.  

In all these, the usage of right academic phrases becomes helpful. Depending on what you want to convey, different academic phrases can be used in various situations as discussed below. 

Very often in essays you may have to engage in the process of comparing and contrasting information, key aspects of two phenomena taken for study, or various sources for your literature review and so on. You will have to bring in to your discussion not just the similarities to your arguments, but also opposing or conflicting perspectives.  

Use of appropriate phrases will help organically bring in such similar or contrasting information. For example, some of the phrases that can be used to discuss similarities and differences include: In comparison or by contrast, however, conversely, alternatively, whereas, on the other hand, likewise, in the same way and so on. Example: “The author expresses his opinion based on anecdotal references. By contrast the survey he quotes and tries to argue against is more plausible with the rigorous data it has collected.”  

While writing an academic essay, you are required to support and expand your ideas and arguments through the use of examples. Phrases that can be used to provide examples include: for example, for instance, to illustrate, to exemplify, to demonstrate. 

Example: “Climate and weather patterns are changing rapidly and its ramifications are staring us in the face. For example, look at what is happening with the incessant rains pouring down during certain summer months.”  

As you structure your narrative, you will have to elaborate at various points on the information, ideas, and arguments that you are presenting. This has to be done in a manner that does not adversely affect the smooth flow of the narrative. It is here that the usage of appropriate phrases is crucial to uplift the quality of your essay. Using phrases such as moreover, furthermore, in other words, in addition and so on can aid in providing additional information. 

Example: “Rising temperatures are greatly impacting the health of children belonging to vulnerable groups in parts of the Asian sub-continent. Moreover, the lack of adequate government support and dismal welfare measures is making lives harder for such families.” 

While writing research papers or essays, researchers often acknowledge the limitations of their studies and the possibilities for conflicting or opposing views. Such recognition is pertinent for the advancement of scientific knowledge. There are various phrases that can be used to indicate uncertainty such as: it could be argued that the data suggest that evidence suggest that, or it is possible due to. 

Example: “The evidence suggests that the new teaching methods are beneficial and can be considered as an alternative to existing methods”. 

The concluding part of your essay should be a summary of your main ideas and arguments and its significance. To this end, the following phrases can be utilized: to summarise, to conclude, above all, or most significantly.  

Example: “To conclude, evidence points to the positive impact of periodic creative workshops on children’s cognitive development.”   

While academic writing may be challenging, mastering the use of appropriate academic phrases, avoiding jargon, and delivering clear, concise writing can elevate one’s writing to a higher and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their respective fields. 

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers achieve 2x the writing in half the time. It leverages 21+ years of STM experience and insights from millions of research articles to provide in-depth academic writing, language editing, and submission readiness support to help you write better, faster.  

Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed.  

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  • How to Use AI to Enhance Your College Essays and Thesis
  • 7 Ways to Improve Your Academic Writing Process
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A Quantile Model of Firm Investment

We develop a dynamic model of firm investment under uncertainty that captures firms’ risk attitude using quantile preferences. The firm maximizes its present value, defined as current profits and investment plus the discounted value of the τ-quantile of its value next period. In our framework, τ ∈ (0, 1) parametrizes the firm’s attitude toward downside risk. The model implies that the firm’s investment policy equates the marginal cost of capital with the τ-quantile of the discounted present value of future marginal profits — investment depends directly on the firm’s risk attitude. We further integrate our model into a “q-theory” of investment. Numerical solutions show how heterogeneity across τ-quantiles impacts the value of the firm and investment decisions. Empirical estimations of the quantile investment model show that the strength of the relation between investment and Tobin’s q increases as downside risk aversion decreases. Estimates of firms’ risk attitude reveal evidence of high levels of downside risk aversion.

The authors are grateful to Paolo Fulghieri, Gary Solon, and seminar participants at Michigan State University, and the 12th Portuguese Finance Network Conference for helpful comments and discussions. Luciano de Castro acknowledges the support of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development — CNPq. Jingyue Cui provided excellent research assistance. All remaining errors are ours. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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Study: Under extreme impacts, metals get stronger when heated

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Three photos show a particle bouncing off of a surface. The particle bounces higher when the temperature is increased. These three images are labeled “20 °C, 100 °C, and 177 °C.”

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Metals get softer when they are heated, which is how blacksmiths can form iron into complex shapes by heating it red hot. And anyone who compares a copper wire with a steel coat hanger will quickly discern that copper is much more pliable than steel.

But scientists at MIT have discovered that when metal is struck by an object moving at a super high velocity, the opposite happens: The hotter the metal, the stronger it is. Under those conditions, which put extreme stress on the metal, copper can actually be just as strong as steel. The new discovery could lead to new approaches to designing materials for extreme environments, such as shields that protect spacecraft or hypersonic aircraft, or equipment for high-speed manufacturing processes.

The findings are described in a paper appearing today in the journal Nature , by Ian Dowding, an MIT graduate student, and Christopher Schuh, former head of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, now dean of engineering at Northwestern University and visiting professor at MIT.

The new finding, the authors write, “is counterintuitive and at odds with decades of studies in less extreme conditions.” The unexpected results could affect a variety of applications because the extreme velocities involved in these impacts occur routinely in meteorite impacts on spacecraft in orbit and in high-speed machining operations used in manufacturing, sandblasting, and some additive manufacturing (3D printing) processes.

The experiments the researchers used to find this effect involved shooting tiny particles of sapphire, just millionths of a meter across, at flat sheets of metal. Propelled by laser beams, the particles reached high velocities, on the order of a few hundred meters per second. While other researchers have occasionally done experiments at similarly high velocities, they have tended to use larger impactors, at the scale of centimeters or larger. Because these larger impacts were dominated by effects of the shock of the impact, there was no way to separate out the mechanical and thermal effects.

The tiny particles in the new study don’t create a significant pressure wave when they hit the target. But it has taken a decade of research at MIT to develop methods of propelling such microscopic particles at such high velocities. “We’ve taken advantage of that,” Schuh says, along with other new techniques for observing the high-speed impact itself.

The team used extremely high-speed cameras “to watch the particles as they come in and as they fly away,” he says. As the particles bounce off the surface, the difference between the incoming and outgoing velocities “tells you how much energy was deposited” into the target, which is an indicator of the surface strength.

 A series of 16 monochrome photos show a tiny particle bouncing on a surface.

The tiny particles they used were made of alumina, or sapphire, and are “very hard,” Dowding says. At 10 to 20 microns (millionths of a meter) across, these are between one-tenth and one-fifth of the thickness of a human hair. When the launchpad behind those particles is hit by a laser beam, part of the material vaporizes, creating a jet of vapor that propels the particle in the opposite direction.

The researchers shot the particles at samples of copper, titanium, and gold, and they expect their results should apply to other metals as well. They say their data provide the first direct experimental evidence for this anomalous thermal effect of increased strength with greater heat, although hints of such an effect had been reported before.

The surprising effect appears to result from the way the orderly arrays of atoms that make up the crystalline structure of metals move under different conditions, according to the researchers’ analysis. They show that there are three separate effects governing how metal deforms under stress, and while two of these follow the predicted trajectory of increasing deformation at higher temperatures, it is the third effect, called drag strengthening, that reverses its effect when the deformation rate crosses a certain threshold.

Beyond this crossover point, the higher temperature increases the activity of phonons — waves of sound or heat — within the material, and these phonons interact with dislocations in the crystalline lattice in a way that limits their ability to slip and deform. The effect increases with increased impact speed and temperature, Dowding says, so that “the faster you go, the less the dislocations are able to respond.”

Of course, at some point the increased temperature will begin to melt the metal, and at that point the effect will reverse again and lead to softening. “There will be a limit” to this strengthening effect, Dowding says, “but we don’t know what it is.”

The findings could lead to different choices of materials when designing devices that may encounter such extreme stresses, Schuh says. For example, metals that may ordinarily be much weaker, but that are less expensive or easier to process, might be useful in situations where nobody would have thought to use them before.

The extreme conditions the researchers studied are not confined to spacecraft or extreme manufacturing methods. “If you are flying a helicopter in a sandstorm, a lot of these sand particles will reach high velocities as they hit the blades,” Dowding says, and under desert conditions they may reach the high temperatures where these hardening effects kick in.

The techniques the researchers used to uncover this phenomenon could be applied to a variety of other materials and situations, including other metals and alloys. Designing materials to be used in extreme conditions by simply extrapolating from known properties at less extreme conditions could lead to seriously mistaken expectations about how materials will behave under extreme stresses, they say.

The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Press mentions, new scientist.

A new study by MIT engineers finds that heating metals can sometimes make them stronger, a “surprising phenomenon [that] could lead to a better understanding of important industrial processes and make for tougher aircraft,” reports Karmela Padavic-Callaghan   for New Scientist . “It was just so unexpected or backwards of what you might conventionally see,” explains graduate student Ian Dowding. 

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