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1000+ FREE Research Topics & Title Ideas

If you’re at the start of your research journey and are trying to figure out which research topic you want to focus on, you’ve come to the right place. Select your area of interest below to view a comprehensive collection of potential research ideas.

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Research Topic FAQs

What (exactly) is a research topic.

A research topic is the subject of a research project or study – for example, a dissertation or thesis. A research topic typically takes the form of a problem to be solved, or a question to be answered.

A good research topic should be specific enough to allow for focused research and analysis. For example, if you are interested in studying the effects of climate change on agriculture, your research topic could focus on how rising temperatures have impacted crop yields in certain regions over time.

To learn more about the basics of developing a research topic, consider our free research topic ideation webinar.

What constitutes a good research topic?

A strong research topic comprises three important qualities : originality, value and feasibility.

  • Originality – a good topic explores an original area or takes a novel angle on an existing area of study.
  • Value – a strong research topic provides value and makes a contribution, either academically or practically.
  • Feasibility – a good research topic needs to be practical and manageable, given the resource constraints you face.

To learn more about what makes for a high-quality research topic, check out this post .

What's the difference between a research topic and research problem?

A research topic and a research problem are two distinct concepts that are often confused. A research topic is a broader label that indicates the focus of the study , while a research problem is an issue or gap in knowledge within the broader field that needs to be addressed.

To illustrate this distinction, consider a student who has chosen “teenage pregnancy in the United Kingdom” as their research topic. This research topic could encompass any number of issues related to teenage pregnancy such as causes, prevention strategies, health outcomes for mothers and babies, etc.

Within this broad category (the research topic) lies potential areas of inquiry that can be explored further – these become the research problems . For example:

  • What factors contribute to higher rates of teenage pregnancy in certain communities?
  • How do different types of parenting styles affect teen pregnancy rates?
  • What interventions have been successful in reducing teenage pregnancies?

Simply put, a key difference between a research topic and a research problem is scope ; the research topic provides an umbrella under which multiple questions can be asked, while the research problem focuses on one specific question or set of questions within that larger context.

How can I find potential research topics for my project?

There are many steps involved in the process of finding and choosing a high-quality research topic for a dissertation or thesis. We cover these steps in detail in this video (also accessible below).

How can I find quality sources for my research topic?

Finding quality sources is an essential step in the topic ideation process. To do this, you should start by researching scholarly journals, books, and other academic publications related to your topic. These sources can provide reliable information on a wide range of topics. Additionally, they may contain data or statistics that can help support your argument or conclusions.

Identifying Relevant Sources

When searching for relevant sources, it’s important to look beyond just published material; try using online databases such as Google Scholar or JSTOR to find articles from reputable journals that have been peer-reviewed by experts in the field.

You can also use search engines like Google or Bing to locate websites with useful information about your topic. However, be sure to evaluate any website before citing it as a source—look for evidence of authorship (such as an “About Us” page) and make sure the content is up-to-date and accurate before relying on it.

Evaluating Sources

Once you’ve identified potential sources for your research project, take some time to evaluate them thoroughly before deciding which ones will best serve your purpose. Consider factors such as author credibility (are they an expert in their field?), publication date (is the source current?), objectivity (does the author present both sides of an issue?) and relevance (how closely does this source relate to my specific topic?).

By researching the current literature on your topic, you can identify potential sources that will help to provide quality information. Once you’ve identified these sources, it’s time to look for a gap in the research and determine what new knowledge could be gained from further study.

How can I find a good research gap?

Finding a strong gap in the literature is an essential step when looking for potential research topics. We explain what research gaps are and how to find them in this post.

How should I evaluate potential research topics/ideas?

When evaluating potential research topics, it is important to consider the factors that make for a strong topic (we discussed these earlier). Specifically:

  • Originality
  • Feasibility

So, when you have a list of potential topics or ideas, assess each of them in terms of these three criteria. A good topic should take a unique angle, provide value (either to academia or practitioners), and be practical enough for you to pull off, given your limited resources.

Finally, you should also assess whether this project could lead to potential career opportunities such as internships or job offers down the line. Make sure that you are researching something that is relevant enough so that it can benefit your professional development in some way. Additionally, consider how each research topic aligns with your career goals and interests; researching something that you are passionate about can help keep motivation high throughout the process.

How can I assess the feasibility of a research topic?

When evaluating the feasibility and practicality of a research topic, it is important to consider several factors.

First, you should assess whether or not the research topic is within your area of competence. Of course, when you start out, you are not expected to be the world’s leading expert, but do should at least have some foundational knowledge.

Time commitment

When considering a research topic, you should think about how much time will be required for completion. Depending on your field of study, some topics may require more time than others due to their complexity or scope.

Additionally, if you plan on collaborating with other researchers or institutions in order to complete your project, additional considerations must be taken into account such as coordinating schedules and ensuring that all parties involved have adequate resources available.

Resources needed

It’s also critically important to consider what type of resources are necessary in order to conduct the research successfully. This includes physical materials such as lab equipment and chemicals but can also include intangible items like access to certain databases or software programs which may be necessary depending on the nature of your work. Additionally, if there are costs associated with obtaining these materials then this must also be factored into your evaluation process.

Potential risks

It’s important to consider the inherent potential risks for each potential research topic. These can include ethical risks (challenges getting ethical approval), data risks (not being able to access the data you’ll need), technical risks relating to the equipment you’ll use and funding risks (not securing the necessary financial back to undertake the research).

If you’re looking for more information about how to find, evaluate and select research topics for your dissertation or thesis, check out our free webinar here . Alternatively, if you’d like 1:1 help with the topic ideation process, consider our private coaching services .

ideas for research topics

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...


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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 113 great research paper topics.

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General Education


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.


  • 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?


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?


  • 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 ?


  • 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?


  • 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?


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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Home » 300+ Interesting Research Topics

300+ Interesting Research Topics

Interesting Research Topics

Research is a vital component of any academic pursuit, and the process of choosing an interesting research topic can be both exciting and daunting. With countless subjects and themes to explore, it can be challenging to narrow down your focus and find a topic that resonates with you. However, the right research topic can inspire you, engage your curiosity, and drive you to discover new insights and knowledge. In this post, we’ll explore some interesting research topics across a variety of disciplines, providing you with a starting point for your next academic project.

Interesting Research Topics

Some Interesting Research Topics are as follows:

  • The impact of mindfulness meditation on creativity and innovative problem-solving abilities
  • The relationship between social media use and political activism among young adults
  • The effectiveness of virtual reality therapy for treating specific phobias
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing anxiety disorders
  • The impact of cultural factors on perceptions and experiences of workplace harassment and discrimination
  • The relationship between personality traits and successful entrepreneurship
  • The effects of outdoor education programs on academic achievement and environmental attitudes in middle school students
  • The role of physical activity in improving cognitive function and memory in older adults
  • The impact of cultural factors on perceptions and experiences of aging and technology use
  • The relationship between social support and mental health outcomes in individuals with chronic illnesses
  • The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for eating disorders in males
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women
  • The impact of cultural factors on attitudes towards organ donation and transplantation
  • The relationship between sleep and athletic performance in professional athletes
  • The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on reducing implicit biases and promoting workplace diversity and inclusion
  • The role of physical activity in reducing symptoms of postpartum depression in new mothers
  • The impact of cultural factors on perceptions and experiences of maternal mental health in diverse communities
  • The relationship between childhood socioeconomic status and adult health outcomes
  • The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for hoarding disorder
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia.
  • The effects of social media use on political polarization and civic engagement
  • The impact of mindfulness on reducing workplace stress and burnout
  • The relationship between personality and job performance in different work settings
  • The effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy for individuals with bipolar disorder
  • The role of exercise in improving mental health outcomes in college students
  • The effects of technology on social interactions and relationship quality in romantic relationships
  • The impact of cultural factors on mental health treatment-seeking behavior in immigrant populations
  • The relationship between parental attachment and emotional regulation in adolescence
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing cardiovascular disease
  • The effects of mindfulness on reducing implicit biases and promoting diversity and inclusion
  • The impact of cultural values on decision-making in the context of environmental sustainability
  • The relationship between sleep and academic performance in high school students
  • The effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy for individuals with substance use disorders
  • The role of physical activity in reducing symptoms of depression in older adults
  • The impact of cultural factors on coping strategies and resilience in disaster recovery
  • The relationship between parental warmth and child social competence in early childhood
  • The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression in cancer patients
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing autoimmune skin diseases, such as psoriasis
  • The effects of virtual reality exposure therapy on treating social anxiety disorder
  • The impact of gender diversity in leadership positions on organizational performance and innovation
  • The relationship between social support and mental health outcomes in college students
  • The effects of art therapy on reducing symptoms of PTSD in military veterans
  • The role of physical activity in reducing symptoms of anxiety in pregnant women
  • The impact of cultural factors on perceptions and experiences of aging and age-related health issues
  • The relationship between childhood trauma and academic achievement in adolescence
  • The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for borderline personality disorder
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing eye diseases, such as macular degeneration
  • The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction for individuals with chronic pain
  • The impact of cultural factors on attitudes towards mental health treatment in African American communities
  • The relationship between parental monitoring and adolescent substance use
  • The effects of equine therapy on reducing symptoms of ADHD in children
  • The role of physical activity in improving quality of life in individuals with Parkinson’s disease
  • The impact of cultural factors on leadership style and effectiveness in multinational corporations
  • The relationship between social media use and self-esteem in young adults
  • The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia in older adults
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome
  • The impact of cultural factors on perceptions and experiences of mental health treatment in LGBTQ+ communities
  • The relationship between parental discipline and child behavior problems in preschoolers
  • The effects of music therapy on reducing symptoms of depression in older adults with dementia
  • The role of physical activity in reducing symptoms of depression in individuals with multiple sclerosis
  • The impact of cultural factors on perceptions and experiences of disability and accessibility
  • The relationship between childhood adversity and adult physical health outcomes
  • The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety in individuals with autism spectrum disorder
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing liver diseases, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis
  • The impact of cultural factors on perceptions and experiences of health care and health care utilization
  • The effects of social media on mental health in adolescents
  • The impact of mindfulness meditation on stress reduction in the workplace
  • The relationship between exercise and cognitive function in aging adults
  • The role of nutrition in the prevention and management of chronic diseases
  • The effectiveness of virtual reality therapy for anxiety disorders
  • The effects of sleep deprivation on academic performance in college students
  • The relationship between personality traits and job satisfaction in the workplace
  • The impact of technology on interpersonal communication and relationships
  • The effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for depression
  • The effects of music therapy on pain management in hospitalized patients
  • The relationship between parenting styles and child development outcomes
  • The role of exercise in the prevention and management of Type 2 diabetes
  • The effects of gaming on cognitive function and decision making skills
  • The impact of mindfulness on academic performance in college students
  • The relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement in adolescents
  • The effectiveness of online education compared to traditional classroom instruction
  • The effects of physical activity on mental health in adults
  • The impact of social support on psychological well-being in cancer patients
  • The relationship between personality and substance abuse disorders
  • The role of early childhood education in later academic achievement
  • The effects of nature exposure on stress reduction and mental health
  • The impact of art therapy on emotional regulation in children with autism spectrum disorder
  • The relationship between body image and eating disorders
  • The effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation for individuals with traumatic brain injury
  • The effects of exercise on sleep quality and duration in older adults
  • The impact of cultural diversity on team performance in the workplace
  • The relationship between mindfulness and substance abuse recovery
  • The role of exercise in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease
  • The effects of mindfulness on chronic pain management
  • The impact of technology on academic integrity in higher education
  • The relationship between work-life balance and job satisfaction in healthcare professionals
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders in children
  • The effects of outdoor play on physical activity and social skills in children
  • The impact of group therapy on social anxiety disorder
  • The relationship between resilience and mental health outcomes in individuals with chronic illness
  • The role of social support in promoting healthy behaviors in older adults
  • The effects of physical activity on executive functioning in children with ADHD
  • The impact of family therapy on child behavior problems
  • The relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness
  • The effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation for individuals with schizophrenia
  • The effects of art therapy on social skills and emotional regulation in children with ADHD
  • The impact of mindfulness on academic performance in high school students
  • The relationship between resilience and posttraumatic growth in survivors of sexual assault
  • The role of exercise in the prevention and management of osteoporosis
  • The effects of mindfulness on emotional regulation in individuals with borderline personality disorder
  • The impact of social media on body image and self-esteem in adolescents
  • The relationship between personality and academic achievement in college students
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for postpartum depression
  • The effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive function and depression in older adults
  • The impact of group therapy on social skills and self-esteem in individuals with social anxiety disorder.
  • The effects of social media on political polarization and civic engagement
  • The impact of mindfulness-based interventions on substance use disorder recovery
  • The relationship between emotional intelligence and workplace productivity
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing chronic pain
  • The effects of music therapy on speech and language development in children with developmental disorders
  • The impact of organizational culture on employee job satisfaction and turnover
  • The relationship between childhood trauma and adult mental health outcomes
  • The effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy for anxiety disorders
  • The effects of early childhood bilingual education on language development and academic achievement
  • The role of nutrition in the prevention and treatment of depression
  • The impact of virtual reality exposure therapy on phobia treatment outcomes
  • The relationship between social support and mental health in LGBTQ+ individuals
  • The effects of exercise on mood and cognitive function in individuals with major depressive disorder
  • The role of mindfulness in reducing symptoms of burnout in healthcare professionals
  • The effectiveness of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder
  • The effects of video game addiction on social skills and academic performance in adolescents
  • The impact of peer mentoring on academic achievement and self-esteem in at-risk youth
  • The relationship between personality and creativity in the workplace
  • The role of nutrition in promoting healthy aging and cognitive function in older adults
  • The effects of animal-assisted therapy on mental health in adults with chronic illness
  • The impact of work-family conflict on employee well-being and job performance
  • The relationship between childhood bullying and adult mental health outcomes
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia
  • The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on chronic pain management in older adults
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing anxiety disorders
  • The impact of cultural competence training on healthcare provider-patient communication and health outcomes
  • The relationship between personality and leadership styles in the workplace
  • The effects of play therapy on social skills and emotional regulation in children with autism spectrum disorder
  • The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of cognitive decline in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease
  • The impact of workplace diversity on team creativity and innovation
  • The relationship between social media use and sleep quality in adolescents
  • The effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy for borderline personality disorder
  • The effects of exercise on cognitive function and academic performance in children
  • The role of mindfulness in reducing stress and promoting well-being in college students
  • The impact of group therapy on social skills and emotional regulation in individuals with eating disorders
  • The relationship between personality and job performance in creative fields
  • The effects of exposure to green spaces on mental health in urban populations
  • The role of nutrition in the prevention and management of autoimmune disorders
  • The impact of mindfulness-based interventions on reducing anxiety and depression in cancer patients
  • The relationship between emotional intelligence and job satisfaction in healthcare professionals
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • The effects of mindfulness on pain management in individuals with chronic pain
  • The role of physical activity in promoting healthy aging and preventing age-related diseases
  • The impact of parental involvement on academic achievement in children from low-income families
  • The relationship between personality and online behavior in social media platforms
  • The effects of expressive writing on mental health outcomes in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder
  • The role of nutrition in reducing inflammation and promoting cardiovascular health
  • The impact of diversity training on reducing implicit biases in the workplace
  • The relationship between social media use and body dissatisfaction in women
  • The effects of technology on interpersonal communication in romantic relationships
  • The effects of early childhood bilingualism on cognitive development
  • The effects of social media use on political engagement and participation
  • The effects of social media use on body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders in young adults
  • The impact of workplace wellness programs on employee health and productivity
  • The relationship between personality and entrepreneurial success
  • The effectiveness of group therapy for individuals with borderline personality disorder
  • The role of sleep in athletic performance and recovery
  • The effects of mindfulness on reducing racial biases and promoting social justice
  • The impact of cultural values on medical decision-making and healthcare outcomes
  • The relationship between childhood trauma and adult attachment styles in romantic relationships
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing cognitive decline in older adults
  • The effects of virtual reality exposure therapy on treating obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • The impact of job satisfaction on employee turnover and organizational performance
  • The relationship between cultural differences and negotiation outcomes in cross-border mergers and acquisitions
  • The effects of pet therapy on reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in nursing home residents
  • The role of physical activity in improving sleep quality and quantity
  • The impact of cultural values on perceptions of mental health and attitudes towards seeking help
  • The relationship between parental involvement and academic achievement in elementary school students
  • The effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy for individuals with chronic pain
  • The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia in adults
  • The impact of gender diversity on board of directors on firm performance and innovation
  • The effects of virtual reality exposure therapy on treating specific phobias
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing chronic pain conditions
  • The impact of cross-cultural communication skills on expatriate adjustment and success
  • The relationship between childhood trauma and addiction in adulthood
  • The effects of art therapy on reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in cancer patients
  • The role of nutrition in promoting healthy aging and longevity
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for eating disorders in adults
  • The impact of cultural values on decision-making in the workplace
  • The relationship between socioeconomic status and mental health outcomes in children and adolescents
  • The effects of virtual reality exposure therapy on treating eating disorders
  • The impact of cultural intelligence on intercultural communication competence
  • The relationship between childhood trauma and personality disorders in adulthood
  • The effects of music therapy on reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in individuals with autism spectrum disorder
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity
  • The impact of leadership styles on employee motivation and job satisfaction
  • The relationship between cultural differences and expatriate adjustment in multinational corporations
  • The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia in children and adolescents
  • The role of physical activity in reducing symptoms of ADHD in children
  • The impact of cultural values on perceptions of mental health stigma
  • The relationship between parental stress and child development outcomes
  • The effects of equine therapy on reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in veterans with PTSD
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • The impact of job characteristics on work engagement and organizational commitment
  • The relationship between cultural values and consumer behavior in the food industry
  • The effects of virtual reality exposure therapy on treating depression in older adults
  • The impact of mindfulness-based interventions on reducing burnout among healthcare professionals
  • The relationship between financial literacy and retirement planning behavior
  • The effectiveness of parent-child interaction therapy for young children with behavioral problems
  • The role of physical activity in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in adults with chronic illnesses
  • The effects of humor on stress reduction and well-being in the workplace
  • The impact of cultural values on consumer decision-making in global markets
  • The relationship between childhood adversity and adult romantic relationships
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for substance use disorders
  • The role of nutrition in promoting healthy gut microbiome and overall health
  • The impact of inclusive hiring practices on workforce diversity and equity
  • The relationship between self-compassion and mental health outcomes in young adults
  • The effects of nature exposure on cognitive function and academic performance in children
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing Type 2 diabetes
  • The impact of social capital on community resilience in disaster-prone areas
  • The relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness in the workplace
  • The effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder
  • The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression in individuals with chronic pain
  • The impact of personality traits on financial decision-making and investment behavior
  • The relationship between cultural values and consumer behavior in luxury markets
  • The effects of virtual reality exposure therapy on treating panic disorder
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • The impact of workplace diversity on organizational innovation and performance
  • The relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement in college students
  • The effects of animal-assisted therapy on reducing symptoms of anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorder
  • The role of nutrition in promoting healthy skin and hair
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder
  • The impact of cultural intelligence on cross-cultural negotiation outcomes in international business
  • The relationship between childhood adversity and adult mental health outcomes in the LGBTQ+ community
  • The effects of gratitude practices on well-being and happiness in older adults
  • The role of physical activity in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in pregnant women
  • The impact of cultural values on social media use and behavior
  • The relationship between self-compassion and workplace well-being and job satisfaction
  • The effects of mindfulness on pain management and opioid use in individuals with chronic pain
  • The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of stroke
  • The impact of job crafting on employee engagement and performance in the workplace
  • The relationship between personality and team dynamics in sports
  • The effects of expressive writing on reducing symptoms of PTSD in military veterans
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing asthma
  • The impact of cultural differences on cross-cultural communication in international business
  • The relationship between social support and emotional well-being in older adults
  • The effects of virtual reality exposure therapy on treating generalized anxiety disorder
  • The role of nutrition in promoting healthy brain development in infants and toddlers
  • The impact of flexible work arrangements on work-life balance and family functioning
  • The relationship between cultural values and attitudes towards aging and older adults
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing chronic kidney disease
  • The impact of climate change on food security in developing countries
  • The relationship between social media use and body image dissatisfaction in adolescent girls
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for eating disorders
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing multiple sclerosis
  • The impact of organizational culture on employee well-being and job satisfaction
  • The relationship between personality and job performance in technology industries
  • The effects of nature exposure on stress reduction and well-being
  • The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • The effects of mindfulness on emotion regulation in individuals with bipolar disorder
  • The relationship between cultural competence and healthcare disparities in marginalized communities
  • The impact of sleep on academic achievement and cognitive function in college students
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing rheumatoid arthritis
  • The effects of creative arts therapy on reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in cancer patients
  • The relationship between parenting styles and adolescent mental health outcomes
  • The impact of workplace incivility on employee well-being and turnover intentions
  • The effects of meditation on executive function and attention in aging adults
  • The relationship between personality and job performance in sales industries
  • The effects of animal-assisted therapy on reducing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in military veterans
  • The impact of multiculturalism on social cohesion and intergroup relations in diverse societies
  • The relationship between childhood trauma and adult physical health outcomes
  • The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of breast cancer
  • The impact of flexible work arrangements on employee motivation and job performance
  • The relationship between social support and resilience in individuals with chronic illnesses
  • The effects of yoga on stress reduction and mental health in pregnant women
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing Parkinson’s disease
  • The impact of cultural intelligence on intercultural competence in international business
  • The relationship between adverse childhood experiences and adult financial well-being
  • The effects of mindfulness on emotion regulation in individuals with borderline personality disorder
  • The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of osteoarthritis
  • The impact of organizational change on employee stress and job satisfaction
  • The relationship between personality and job performance in human resources industries
  • The effects of cognitive training on cognitive function and academic performance in aging adults
  • The role of nutrition in promoting healthy bone development in children and adolescents
  • The impact of supportive housing on mental health outcomes in individuals experiencing homelessness
  • The relationship between exercise and cognitive function in individuals with multiple sclerosis
  • The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of liver disease
  • The impact of leadership styles on employee creativity and innovation in the workplace
  • The relationship between childhood adversity and adult financial decision-making
  • The effects of expressive writing on reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in college students
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing hypertension
  • The impact of diversity and inclusion training on employee attitudes and behaviors in the workplace
  • The relationship between personality and job satisfaction in hospitality industries.
  • The impact of environmental factors on child development and academic achievement
  • The relationship between cultural identity and mental health in immigrant populations
  • The effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing type 2 diabetes
  • The effects of music therapy on pain management in patients with chronic pain
  • The impact of organizational justice on employee job satisfaction and organizational commitment
  • The relationship between childhood obesity and adult health outcomes
  • The effects of early childhood education on academic achievement and social skills in low-income communities
  • The role of nutrition in preventing and managing autoimmune skin diseases
  • The impact of work-life balance on employee well-being and job performance
  • The relationship between adverse childhood experiences and adult substance use disorders
  • The effects of virtual reality exposure therapy on anxiety and phobia treatment outcomes
  • The effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for substance use disorders
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing cardiovascular disease
  • The impact of social support on mental health outcomes in individuals with chronic illnesses
  • The relationship between personality and job performance in customer service fields
  • The effects of art therapy on emotional regulation in individuals with personality disorders
  • The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of depression in older adults
  • The impact of workplace bullying on employee well-being and organizational outcomes
  • The relationship between childhood adversity and adult mental health outcomes in marginalized communities
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for panic disorder
  • The effects of mindfulness on pain management in individuals with fibromyalgia
  • The role of physical activity in preventing and managing osteoporosis
  • The impact of cognitive-behavioral therapy on reducing suicide risk in adolescents
  • The effects of cognitive training on cognitive function and academic performance in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • The role of nutrition in promoting healthy skin and preventing skin aging
  • The impact of work-family policies on employee work-life balance and job satisfaction
  • The relationship between childhood maltreatment and adult interpersonal relationships
  • The effects of virtual reality exposure therapy on treating posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans
  • The effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy for substance use disorders
  • The impact of social support on mental health outcomes in caregivers of individuals with chronic illnesses
  • The relationship between personality and job satisfaction in creative industries
  • The effects of dance/movement therapy on emotional regulation and social skills in children with autism spectrum disorder
  • The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer
  • The impact of inclusive leadership on employee diversity and inclusion attitudes in the workplace
  • The relationship between social media use and mental health outcomes in college students
  • The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorder
  • The effects of mindfulness on sleep quality and quantity in individuals with insomnia
  • The impact of peer support on mental health outcomes in individuals with schizophrenia
  • The relationship between personality and job performance in healthcare fields
  • The role of nutrition in promoting healthy gut microbiota and preventing gastrointestinal diseases
  • The impact of flexible work arrangements on employee well-being and productivity
  • The relationship between childhood trauma and adult attachment styles

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Good Research Paper Topics You Can Really Use, With Examples and Ideas

  • Author: Jule Romans

The key to a successful research paper is a good research topic.

The key to a successful research paper is a good research topic.

Paula Bassi (Pixabay)

Good Research Topics, Ideas, and Examples

This article contains topics that are narrow enough to handle in a research paper but broad enough so that you can locate excellent information.

This is more than a list of general subjects. This is a collection of good research topics that make writing a paper easy and quick. Each research topic is specific, manageable, and easily divided into sections. This makes these topics much more valuable.

Many of these topics will work for multiple subjects in many different classes. Some may work better as high school research paper topics, while others will make good research paper topics for college students. These topics are not recommended for middle school students.

It may be useful to look at topics that don’t seem, on the surface, to match your assignment. Often, one topic can be adjusted or altered slightly to fit with another angle. You may also want to explore specific topic suggestions for history papers.

Good Research Topics With Examples

As you look at the list of topics, you may consider changing one or more of the keywords within the topic. Changing one or more keywords can change the whole angle of a topic, making it more in line with your subject or assignment.

Here’s an example:

  • Affirmative Action and College Admission Policies

This might be changed to:

  • Academic Scholarships and College Admission Policies

Another variation of the same topic idea could be:

  • Affirmative Action and Workplace Diversity Programs

Alter this topic to suit almost any assignment by changing keywords and keeping the structure.

You can continue to substitute keywords until you find a topic that suits you. Take any topic from one of these general lists, and experiment with the ideas.

Good research topics

Good research topics



Wellington House: Britain's WW1 Propaganda Bureau

Research topic examples you can use.

Let's say the topic example is:

  • Abortion Dilemmas Faced by Adults

Keep the overall structure of the topic example, but make significant changes in both of the main ideas.

Examples of adaptations for this topic might include:

  • Life-Stage Dilemmas Faced by Older Adults
  • Peer-Pressure Dilemmas Faced by Preteens in After-School Hours

This idea can even work well with science topics, especially if you have a little bit of knowledge. In the ten science topics at the end of this article, there are multiple variations that can lead to interesting and creative research papers. Start with any science topic, and experiment with adjusting keywords based on your knowledge, experience, or interests.

Once you have determined your topic, the three sections will make it much easier to write a thesis sentence .

Good Research Topic Starters


Advances in...

The Key Characteristics of...

Benefits of...

The Evolution of...

What Is...

Effects of...

Three Main Events in...

An Exploration of...

Limitations of...

Good Research Topic Ideas

Choose one idea from each column in the table below. Create a phrase that combines those ideas. Use this to generate the beginnings of a research topic.

Utilize a search engine to explore the phrase, and you may find a good research topic, even with the wildest combination of ideas.

Granted, this is a wildly creative approach, and not all topics will work well together. But even the most unusual combinations can yield productive ideas. For example, take the crazy combination of:

  • Middle Eastern Fashion Trends in the Dark Ages

Place that text in a search engine, and you might be surprised. Several very interesting ideas present themselves. Many of them are perfectly realistic and appropriate for serious research papers.

Try it and see.

Research Topic Lists and Examples

LocationPerson/ThingTime Period



17th Century



18th Century



19th Century



20th Century



21st Century



Ancient World



Modern Times

Native American

Social Values




Middle Ages

Middle Eastern

Fashion Trends

Dark Ages



Colonial Period



Millenial Transition


Religious Figures

Golden Age

Scientific Adances

Choosing a topic in a creative way can make writing a paper much more interesting. If you choose this route, you will also need to make sure that you have a good thesis sentence. Sometimes, you will start with a thesis statement that needs some help to become better.

10 Good Research Topics in Science

  • The Classification of the Species: How it Started
  • The Study of Constellations in Astronomy
  • Biology of the Wetlands: Three Key Species
  • Significant Advancements in Organic Chemistry
  • The Evolution of Computer Science.
  • Desert Ecology and Water Conservation
  • Geologic Ages That Created Coal
  • The Kepler and Hubble Telescopes
  • Damage to the Ozone Layer: Why It Matters
  • Structure and Actions of Tsunamis

20 Good Research Topics in the Humanities

  • Arthurian Legend in 19th-Century Paintings
  • Definitions and Examples of Nocturnes in Musical Compositions
  • Science Fiction Versus Science Fantasy: Comparisons and Contrasts
  • Folklore and Fairy Tales of France
  • Historical Architecture of Germany
  • Theatre Styles of Ancient Rome
  • The Decorative and Practical Functions of Egyptian Ceramics
  • Archetypes in Heroic Literature
  • Obscure Religions of Spain
  • Sculptures Representing the Ideal Human Form
  • Christianity in the Middle East
  • Traditional Dances of Algeria
  • Textile Arts as an Expression of Cultural Beliefs
  • Protest Art: Posters, Paintings, and Murals
  • The Harlem Renaissance in Theatre
  • Regional Theatres and Summer Stock During the 1950s in the US
  • Evolution of Women’s Shoes
  • Design and Construction of Worship Houses
  • Family Structure in the Inuit Culture
  • The Function of Kivas in Worship and Social Life

30 Good Research Topics for Current Issues

  • Government Subsidies for Agriculture: Pros and Cons
  • Adopted Children: Issues Faced as Adults
  • Discovery of Pluto by Astrologists
  • Ethical Practices in Clothing Manufacture
  • African American Vernacular English (Ebonics) in Elementary Schools
  • Animal Management for Sustainable Living
  • Biased Media Practices in Television Reporting
  • Chemically Altered Products in Specialty Markets
  • Body Art as Personal Expression
  • Civil Rights Struggles of the 21st Century
  • Cost Analysis of Prescription Drugs
  • Disaster Relief Actions Following Earthquakes
  • Distribution of Condoms to Students in Urban Schools
  • Emotional Aspects of Cocaine Addiction
  • Growing Up in a Minority Culture: Confidence and Confusion
  • Identity Theft: Three Most Common Sources
  • Impact of Assisted Suicide on the Medical Community in the 1980s
  • Individuality Versus Conformity for Young Adults in College Settings
  • Physical Effects of Bulimia
  • Power of Women in the Media
  • Punishment and Prosecution of Hate Crimes in Alabama
  • Reform of Social Security Programs: Supplemental Security Income
  • Rural Poverty for Non-Agricultural Families
  • Recreational Marijuana’s Effect on the Economy
  • Effective Use of the Insanity Defense for Crimes Other Than Murder
  • Urban Farming Within City Limits
  • Variations in the Legal Drinking Age Among States: Effects and Causes
  • A Post-Privacy World: What Does It Mean?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Jule Romans


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How to Write a Better Thesis Statement


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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 .

student writing research paper

Working on a research paper? Grab our free checklist to make sure your essay has everything it needs to earn an A grade.

Get the essential essay checklist

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.

student writing research paper

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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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!


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?


  • 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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50+ Research Topics for Psychology Papers

How to Find Psychology Research Topics for Your Student Paper

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

ideas for research topics

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

ideas for research topics

  • Specific Branches of Psychology
  • Topics Involving a Disorder or Type of Therapy
  • Human Cognition
  • Human Development
  • Critique of Publications
  • Famous Experiments
  • Historical Figures
  • Specific Careers
  • Case Studies
  • Literature Reviews
  • Your Own Study/Experiment

Are you searching for a great topic for your psychology paper ? Sometimes it seems like coming up with topics of psychology research is more challenging than the actual research and writing. Fortunately, there are plenty of great places to find inspiration and the following list contains just a few ideas to help get you started.

Finding a solid topic is one of the most important steps when writing any type of paper. It can be particularly important when you are writing a psychology research paper or essay. Psychology is such a broad topic, so you want to find a topic that allows you to adequately cover the subject without becoming overwhelmed with information.

I can always tell when a student really cares about the topic they chose; it comes through in the writing. My advice is to choose a topic that genuinely interests you, so you’ll be more motivated to do thorough research.

In some cases, such as in a general psychology class, you might have the option to select any topic from within psychology's broad reach. Other instances, such as in an  abnormal psychology  course, might require you to write your paper on a specific subject such as a psychological disorder.

As you begin your search for a topic for your psychology paper, it is first important to consider the guidelines established by your instructor.

Research Topics Within Specific Branches of Psychology

The key to selecting a good topic for your psychology paper is to select something that is narrow enough to allow you to really focus on the subject, but not so narrow that it is difficult to find sources or information to write about.

One approach is to narrow your focus down to a subject within a specific branch of psychology. For example, you might start by deciding that you want to write a paper on some sort of social psychology topic. Next, you might narrow your focus down to how persuasion can be used to influence behavior .

Other social psychology topics you might consider include:

  • Prejudice and discrimination (i.e., homophobia, sexism, racism)
  • Social cognition
  • Person perception
  • Social control and cults
  • Persuasion, propaganda, and marketing
  • Attraction, romance, and love
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Prosocial behavior

Psychology Research Topics Involving a Disorder or Type of Therapy

Exploring a psychological disorder or a specific treatment modality can also be a good topic for a psychology paper. Some potential abnormal psychology topics include specific psychological disorders or particular treatment modalities, including:

  • Eating disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Profile a  type of therapy  (i.e., cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, psychoanalytic therapy)

Topics of Psychology Research Related to Human Cognition

Some of the possible topics you might explore in this area include thinking, language, intelligence, and decision-making. Other ideas might include:

  • False memories
  • Speech disorders
  • Problem-solving

Topics of Psychology Research Related to Human Development

In this area, you might opt to focus on issues pertinent to  early childhood  such as language development, social learning, or childhood attachment or you might instead opt to concentrate on issues that affect older adults such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Some other topics you might consider include:

  • Language acquisition
  • Media violence and children
  • Learning disabilities
  • Gender roles
  • Child abuse
  • Prenatal development
  • Parenting styles
  • Aspects of the aging process

Do a Critique of Publications Involving Psychology Research Topics

One option is to consider writing a critique paper of a published psychology book or academic journal article. For example, you might write a critical analysis of Sigmund Freud's Interpretation of Dreams or you might evaluate a more recent book such as Philip Zimbardo's  The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil .

Professional and academic journals are also great places to find materials for a critique paper. Browse through the collection at your university library to find titles devoted to the subject that you are most interested in, then look through recent articles until you find one that grabs your attention.

Topics of Psychology Research Related to Famous Experiments

There have been many fascinating and groundbreaking experiments throughout the history of psychology, providing ample material for students looking for an interesting term paper topic. In your paper, you might choose to summarize the experiment, analyze the ethics of the research, or evaluate the implications of the study. Possible experiments that you might consider include:

  • The Milgram Obedience Experiment
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment
  • The Little Albert Experiment
  • Pavlov's Conditioning Experiments
  • The Asch Conformity Experiment
  • Harlow's Rhesus Monkey Experiments

Topics of Psychology Research About Historical Figures

One of the simplest ways to find a great topic is to choose an interesting person in the  history of psychology  and write a paper about them. Your paper might focus on many different elements of the individual's life, such as their biography, professional history, theories, or influence on psychology.

While this type of paper may be historical in nature, there is no need for this assignment to be dry or boring. Psychology is full of fascinating figures rife with intriguing stories and anecdotes. Consider such famous individuals as Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner, Harry Harlow, or one of the many other  eminent psychologists .

Psychology Research Topics About a Specific Career

​Another possible topic, depending on the course in which you are enrolled, is to write about specific career paths within the  field of psychology . This type of paper is especially appropriate if you are exploring different subtopics or considering which area interests you the most.

In your paper, you might opt to explore the typical duties of a psychologist, how much people working in these fields typically earn, and the different employment options that are available.

Topics of Psychology Research Involving Case Studies

One potentially interesting idea is to write a  psychology case study  of a particular individual or group of people. In this type of paper, you will provide an in-depth analysis of your subject, including a thorough biography.

Generally, you will also assess the person, often using a major psychological theory such as  Piaget's stages of cognitive development  or  Erikson's eight-stage theory of human development . It is also important to note that your paper doesn't necessarily have to be about someone you know personally.

In fact, many professors encourage students to write case studies on historical figures or fictional characters from books, television programs, or films.

Psychology Research Topics Involving Literature Reviews

Another possibility that would work well for a number of psychology courses is to do a literature review of a specific topic within psychology. A literature review involves finding a variety of sources on a particular subject, then summarizing and reporting on what these sources have to say about the topic.

Literature reviews are generally found in the  introduction  of journal articles and other  psychology papers , but this type of analysis also works well for a full-scale psychology term paper.

Topics of Psychology Research Based on Your Own Study or Experiment

Many psychology courses require students to design an actual psychological study or perform some type of experiment. In some cases, students simply devise the study and then imagine the possible results that might occur. In other situations, you may actually have the opportunity to collect data, analyze your findings, and write up your results.

Finding a topic for your study can be difficult, but there are plenty of great ways to come up with intriguing ideas. Start by considering your own interests as well as subjects you have studied in the past.

Online sources, newspaper articles, books , journal articles, and even your own class textbook are all great places to start searching for topics for your experiments and psychology term papers. Before you begin, learn more about  how to conduct a psychology experiment .

What This Means For You

After looking at this brief list of possible topics for psychology papers, it is easy to see that psychology is a very broad and diverse subject. While this variety makes it possible to find a topic that really catches your interest, it can sometimes make it very difficult for some students to select a good topic.

If you are still stumped by your assignment, ask your instructor for suggestions and consider a few from this list for inspiration.

  • Hockenbury, SE & Nolan, SA. Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers; 2014.
  • Santrock, JW. A Topical Approach to Lifespan Development. New York: McGraw-Hill Education; 2016.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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.

Custom Research Paper Writing Service

If you still have concerns regarding your research paper, we are here to answer your questions. It is no secret that studying is becoming more and more difficult at college. Every week you have an overload of tasks and assignments. You work hard, sleep little. As a result, you can be at the edge of a nervous breakdown trying to finish all the tasks on time. That is why we are here helping thousands of students to study smart.

24/7 you can contact us and order your paper. We never miss the deadline and always provide our clients with a top-notch quality. When you feel that you cannot handle it on your own, a bit of assistance will do no harm. All our writers are experts with years of experience. They are aware of all the subtleties of academic writing and they know all the recent college requirements. You can turn to us for help any time and we will get down to work immediately. From choosing the topic to writing the whole paper – this is what we have to offer. Getting top grades is much easier when the real professionals help you.

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Top 300+ Ideas For Research Paper Topics in 2024

Updated 11 Apr 2024

research paper topics

Some say the most difficult part of writing a text – is to start. But topic selection even precedes this starting point. This activity takes off a lot of time, and sometimes imagination just doesn’t work in your favor. That’s where our list of best research paper topics will come in handy.

We collected the most unhacked and powerful ideas to turn the average piece of writing into a research paper . Discover  what is a research paper and how to choose suitable and interesting research topics with our help. 

Writing a research topic on your own requires either producing one from scratch (based on your interests and goals and potentially, on some brainstorming) or getting inspiration from a number of sources, like preassembled topic lists, course material, teachers, real life, news headlines, published research in the respective field, etc.

What are the 3 Types of Research Questions?

Before formulating your research questions ideas, note that there are 3 important types of research questions:

  • descriptive – these employ careful and comprehensive observation of a phenomenon/ event, subject, trait, etc. in order to characterize it in detail and to potentially reveal important/ interesting/ undescribed aspects or patterns.
  • causal – these investigate whether altering some variables leads to changes in other variables suggesting a causal relationship.
  • comparative – these look into similarities and differences between two or more entities

What is a Good Research Paper Topic?

Features that tend to characterize good research questions are as follows:

  • specific and concrete – investigation goals and (expected results) have to be clear and focused
  • original – investigating aspects/ entities/ relationships that have not been researched before
  • highly important/ impactful for community/ society/ a professional field.
  • highly relevant for potential readers/ reviewers
  • trending – emerging disciplines/ topics spark more interest due to their novelty and yet unexplored potential

College Research Paper Topics

  • The bias in the selection of the college internships and scholarships
  • The problems of reverse discrimination in post-college employment
  • Should multicultural education concepts be implemented at a greater depth?
  • The drug and alcohol abuse on college campuses
  • Does social media help students to find appropriate information and learn?
  • The psychological disorders and the support groups in modern colleges
  • Should people with ADHD and Autism be separated from the other students?
  • The art of college political campaigns
  • Pros and cons of religious colleges
  • Should college athletes be paid and provided with additional advantages?
  • The Influence of Social Media on College Students' Academic Performance and Well-being
  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Online Learning Platforms in Higher Education
  • The Role of College Education in Fostering Entrepreneurial Skills
  • The Impact of Student Loan Debt on Career Choices Among Graduates
  • Analyzing the Shift in College Admissions Criteria in the Post-COVID Era

Health Research Paper Topics

  • The challenges of deafness and communication difficulties among special needs students
  • The concept of global health security
  • The ways to decrease household air pollution
  • How the information about infectious diseases is distributed online
  • Should people be allowed to know more about climate change issues?
  • The privacy factor and the personal health issues
  • The role of fitness ads in exercising practices
  • The healthy food standards are not always unbiased
  • The role of social media in the medical care system
  • The psychological aspect in the perception of allergies
  • The Long-term Effects of COVID-19 on Respiratory Health
  • Mental Health Outcomes of Prolonged Social Media Use Among Adolescents
  • The Efficacy of Plant-based Diets in Preventing Chronic Diseases
  • The Role of Telemedicine in Improving Accessibility to Healthcare
  • Analyzing the Impact of Sleep Quality on Daily Cognitive Functioning

Research Paper Topics on Medicine

  • Is life-sustaining therapy needed when it’s futile?
  • The role of placebo treatment
  • How to avoid animal testing?
  • Pros and contras of medical marijuana
  • Is being a vegetarian useful for child’s health?
  • How obesity affects our health?
  • Vaccines for kids: their usefulness or damage
  • Should prescription drugs be advertised directly to consumers?
  • Do doctors turn their patients into drug addicts?
  • Advancements in Gene Editing: Ethical Implications and Future Prospects
  • The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Diagnostic Medicine
  • Personalized Medicine: Tailoring Drug Therapies to Genetic Profiles
  • The Impact of Microbiome Diversity on Human Health
  • Stem Cell Therapy: Current Applications and Ethical Considerations
  • The Challenges and Successes of Vaccine Development in the 21st Century

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Education Research Paper Topics

  • How can standardized tests improve education?
  • Does college graduates make more money?
  • Should education be cheaper?
  • How will modern technologies change the way of teaching in the future?
  • The creation of particular learning methods for blind children
  • Social networking and school
  • Metal detectors at schools
  • The effects of contemporary teaching methods
  • The role of technology in lesson planning
  • How to manage bullies and take actions against bullying at education institutions?
  • The Effects of Bilingual Education on Cognitive Development in Children
  • Evaluating the Long-term Impact of Early Childhood Education Programs
  • The Role of Technology in Enhancing Special Education
  • Standardized Testing: Measuring Intelligence or Memorization?
  • The Influence of Teacher-Student Relationships on Academic Achievement
Read also: 150+ Best Sociology Research Topics

Environmental Research Paper Topics

  • How to reduce global warming?
  • How to stop wasting paper and save trees?
  • Can overpopulation be managed?
  • Should more films about environmental issues be produced?
  • Human impacts on forests
  • Underground effects of earthquakes
  • How to elaborate the optimal adaptation of buildings threatened by hurricanes?
  • Is it possible to predict hurricane impacts?
  • Is nuclear power safe for humans?
  • How dangerous is GMO food?
  • Assessing the Impact of Urban Sprawl on Local Ecosystems
  • The Effectiveness of Plastic Ban Policies on Ocean Health
  • Carbon Capture Technology: Viability and Potential in Mitigating Climate Change
  • The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Biodiversity Conservation
  • Analyzing the Environmental Consequences of Fast Fashion

Research Topics on Entertainment and Sport

  • Are social networks good for our society?
  • Do violent video games make kids angry and cruel?
  • Is it necessary to forbid using animals for entertainment?
  • Do beauty contests set the non-achievable beauty standards?
  • Are newspapers going to be replaced by online sources of information?
  • How gaming consoles influence the youth?
  • Should women be allowed to compete against men?
  • What television programs should be banned?
  • How tv shows impose fake moral standards?
  • Can the use of social media, such as Facebook, lower teens’ self-esteem?
  • The Psychological Impact of Competitive Sports on Young Athletes
  • The Influence of Celebrity Endorsements on Consumer Behavior
  • E-Sports: The Rise of Competitive Gaming and Its Recognition as a Legitimate Sport
  • The Role of Sports in Promoting Intercultural Dialogue and Understanding
  • The Economic Impact of Major Sporting Events on Host Cities

Research Paper Topics on Media and Communication

  • Should the media programming of ads aimed at children be made illegal?
  • The role of mediation in the media
  • Should bloggers be considered as journalists?
  • The ethical side of modern news reports
  • The freedom of speech online
  • The copyright law restrictions and the vague concepts
  • The importance of psychology and communicative skills in journalism
  • The role of gender in interpersonal communication
  • The modern standards of nonverbal communication
  • The negative influence of Instagram and body image distortion
  • The Evolution of News Consumption: Impact of Social Media on Traditional Media
  • The Role of Media in Shaping Public Opinion During Political Campaigns
  • The Ethics of Surveillance and Privacy in Digital Communication
  • The Effects of Smartphone Usage on Face-to-Face Communication Skills
  • Virtual Reality: The Future of Immersive Journalism

Research Paper Topics on Politics

  • Should the drinking age be lowered?
  • Should adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?
  • More gun control laws should be enacted
  • How can the international community prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons?
  • How can ethnic killings be stopped?
  • Current prospect for peace between Israel and the Palestinians
  • What world would be like without wars?
  • How to avoid workforce reduction?
  • Should the death penalty be allowed?
  • Is socialism possible?
  • The Influence of Social Media on Political Mobilization and Public Protests
  • Campaign Finance Reform: The Effects on Political Representation and Elections
  • The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Shaping Global Policy
  • The Impact of Populism on Traditional Political Party Systems
  • Cybersecurity in Elections: Protecting the Integrity of Democracy

Psychology Research Paper Topics

  • Is autism a disease or a development idiosyncrasy?
  • How to forecast and shape behavioral patterns?
  • How to manage child violence?
  • How to deal with a mental breakdown?
  • The impact of classical music on the work of the brain
  • How insomnia affects our health?
  • How bad dreams influence our mood?
  • Is stress really harmful?
  • How depression impacts the immune system?
  • Intellectually gifted people: how is it possible?
  • The Psychological Effects of Social Isolation in the Digital Age
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Mindfulness: Comparative Outcomes in Treating Anxiety
  • The Role of Resilience in Recovery from Trauma
  • The Impact of Parenting Styles on Child Personality Development
  • Neuroplasticity: How Learning and Experience Shape Brain Function

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Science & Technology Research Paper Ideas

  • How is light being used to treat cancer and other diseases?
  • What is the current evidence that Mars has had water and maybe life?
  • Can nanomedicine potentially extend the human lifespan?
  • What is the future of computing and artificial intelligence?
  • The role cryogenics may play in future
  • Can alternative energy effectively replace fossil fuels?
  • Is it beneficial for wild animals to have interactions with people?
  • What evidence do we have that CMB is the result of the big bang?
  • How will self-driving cars change the way people live?
  • Can using system like bitcoin help protect identity theft?
  • The Potential of CRISPR and Gene Therapy in Curing Genetic Diseases
  • Nanotechnology in Medicine: The Next Frontier for Drug Delivery Systems
  • The Role of Quantum Computing in the Future of Cybersecurity
  • The Ethical Implications of Humanoid Robots in Society
  • Renewable Energy Technologies: Assessing the Efficiency and Sustainability of Solar Power Solutions

Research Topics Ideas on Culture

  • A new comprehension of past events
  • The origin of racial discrimination
  • The roots of antisemitism
  • The impact of advertisements and commercials on modern art
  • The most remarkable cultural achievements of the 20th century and their influence on our society
  • Cultural revolutions throughout history
  • How pop culture trends influence youth?
  • Should pregnant celebrities be exposed on magazine’s covers?
  • Why was Greek cultural influence so important for the ancient Mediterranean world?
  • Why was the Victorian period a time of cultural change?
  • Cultural Impact on Climate Change Response: A Comparative Study
  • The Preservation of Folklore and Oral Traditions in the Digital Age
  • Cross-Cultural Communication: Overcoming Language and Ethical Barriers
  • The Influence of Globalization on Indigenous Cultures
  • Cultural Diplomacy and Its Role in International Relations

Research Paper Topics on Math

  • The influence of algorithms
  • Is it possible to build a winning monopoly strategy?
  • Why is 'x' the unknown?
  • How math changed the world?
  • What's the solution to the McDonald's math problem?
  • How do math geniuses understand extremely hard math concepts so quickly?
  • Should high school math contests be banned?
  • What is the relationship between music and math?
  • Are math formulas ever used in real life?
  • What are some of the most confusing math problems ever?
  • The Role of Mathematics in Cryptography and Cybersecurity
  • Mathematical Models in Predicting Pandemic Outcomes: A Case Study of COVID-19
  • The Application of Game Theory in Economic and Social Decision Making
  • Chaos Theory and Its Implications in Weather Forecasting and Climate Science
  • The Impact of Big Data on the Evolution of Statistical Methods and Theories

Research Paper Topics on Business

  • How do dirty business tactics work?
  • Can business be started without money?
  • Notorious business leaders
  • Entrepreneurship and family business
  • Ethical decision making in everyday work situations
  • What are the most effective strategies for promoting a small business?
  • Is it worth it to expand the business into a new region or country?
  • How to build a successful startup
  • The role of international business and sustainable development
  • The impact of climate change on international business strategies
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Measuring the Impact on Business Performance
  • The Gig Economy: Challenges and Opportunities for the Modern Workforce
  • Innovative Business Models in the Age of Sustainable Development
  • The Influence of Organizational Culture on Employee Productivity and Satisfaction
  • The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Shaping Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategies

Research Paper Topics For Middle School

  • Is going vegan the healthiest choice for you?
  • Is the greenhouse effect artificial or natural?
  • The causes, effects, and consequences of earthquakes
  • How much computer games can one play without getting addicted
  • Princess Diana and her dynasty
  • Why is competition so critical for humans?
  • How did poetry evolve?
  • Methods used by ancient sailors to navigate the globe
  • Gender roles in children’s books and cartoons
  • Who is the greatest general who has lived on the planet?
  • The Science Behind Video Games: How Gaming Affects Reflexes and Learning
  • The History and Cultural Significance of a Popular Holiday
  • The Impact of Recycling Programs in Schools
  • Animal Habitats: How Urban Development Affects Local Wildlife
  • The Role of Social Media in Modern Communication Among Teens

High School Research Paper Ideas

  • The ways to address drug addiction cases in high school
  • The physical vs digital communications
  • The body image and the K-Pop culture
  • The importance of school volunteering and social work
  • The changes to the academic process due to Covid-19
  • The legacy of the Trail of Tears
  • The role of motivation in becoming a better student
  • The role of books in print and the libraries
  • The ways to improve school safety
  • The role of parental involvement in school work
  • Exploring the Psychological Effects of Social Media on Teen Self-Esteem
  • The Physics of Sports: Analyzing the Science Behind Athletic Performance
  • Climate Change and Its Effects on Local Ecosystems
  • The Evolution of Language in the Digital Age
  • The Rise of Cryptocurrency: Economic Education and the Future of Money

History Research Paper Topics

  • What were the impacts of World War II on the rights of women?
  • What factors initiated the WWII
  • Is liberalism the most optimal solution?
  • What were the consequences of women suffrage movements
  • What was the impact of Martin Luther King’s protest against the Catholic church
  • What is the most effective military strategy of all time
  • How has Asian art influenced contemporary art
  • How have different monetary systems affected the development of humanity
  • What is the correlation between the Roman and Greek culture?
  • Aztec empire and its architecture
  • The Role of Women in World War II and Its Impact on Gender Roles
  • The Influence of the Silk Road on the Cultural Exchange between East and West
  • The Effects of the Cold War on Space Exploration Competition
  • The Historical Accuracy of Popular Historical Films: A Case Study
  • The Impact of the Printing Press on the Renaissance and European Society

Art Research Paper Ideas

  • The reasons why digital museums must be present and made available
  • The peculiarities of the Flemish artists
  • Should Japanese anime be considered as a separate art form?
  • The role of Photoshop and similar digital solutions in the perception of modern art
  • The history of photography and the artistic expression forms
  • The challenges of the modern artists during social distancing times
  • The Middle Eastern perception of color and the light
  • Ancient Rome's role in the creation of the sculptures
  • Should the artists be allowed to represent their works in public parks?
  • The importance of art education in middle schools
  • The Evolution of Street Art and Its Acceptance into Mainstream Art Culture
  • The Influence of Digital Media on Traditional Painting Techniques
  • The Role of Patronage in the Development of Renaissance Art
  • The Psychological Impact of Color in Abstract Art
  • Cultural Representation and Diversity in Modern Art Museums

Literature Research Paper Topics

  • The American dream literature
  • How does harry potter reflects the ideal of the time
  • Can you show a new aspect of prose based on the independent investigation
  • The prose of women suffrage movements
  • The dawn of literature on modern society
  • Why do authors use metaphors and similes
  • Evaluate and discuss the allegory of 2 random novels
  • What factors are helpful in allowing you to identify the genre of a novel you are reading
  • Is fanfiction considered an independent literature
  • Romance and sex in Renaissance
  • Fiction as an instrument of propaganda
  • The Representation of Gender Roles in Victorian Literature
  • Postcolonial Voices: How Literature Has Shaped National Identity
  • The Journey Motif in Classic American Road Novels
  • Dystopian Visions: What Modern Dystopian Literature Tells Us About Today's Society

Law Research Paper Topics

  • How is the Islamic law perceived around the globe
  • Is ECOLEX a pathway to environmental law
  • Why is it critical to learn the GATT documents?
  • What does the European patent office do?
  • Mass communication law
  • Impact of women’s authority in different countries on the planet
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the international criminal law court tools
  • Detailed analysis and report of the comparative criminal procedure
  • Exciting outtakes from the inter-American human rights library
  • Does the US copyright office really help writers defend their businesses?
  • The Impact of International Law on Human Rights Practices in Developing Countries
  • Cyber Law: The Challenges of Regulating Online Behavior and Privacy
  • Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Age: Balancing Innovation and Protection
  • The Effectiveness of Rehabilitation in Juvenile Justice Systems
  • Comparative Analysis of Gun Control Legislation and Its Impact on Violent Crime Rates

Religion Research Paper Topics

  • The Role of Religion in Modern Secular Societies
  • Interfaith Dialogue: Benefits and Challenges in a Pluralistic Society
  • The Influence of Religious Beliefs on Ethical Decision-Making in Business
  • Religion and Politics: An Analysis of Their Intersections in Contemporary World Affairs
  • The Impact of Religious Education on Tolerance and Cultural Understanding
  • The Evolution of Religious Practices and Their Adaptation in the Digital Age
  • The Psychological Effects of Religious Rituals and Traditions
  • Comparative Study of Creation Myths Across Different Cultures
  • The Role of Women in Organized Religions: A Historical Perspective
  • Secularization: The Decline of Religious Influence in Western Societies
  • Religious Extremism: Understanding the Causes and Seeking Solutions
  • The Impact of Pilgrimage on Religious and Spiritual Life
  • Religious Symbols in Public Spaces: Freedom of Expression or a Call for Regulation?
  • The Relationship Between Religion and Morality in Contemporary Ethical Debates
  • The Effects of Globalization on Indigenous Religions and Spiritual Practices

Argumentative Research Paper Topics

  • Should education be made free for everyone?
  • The influencers and bloggers cannot be considered as a job
  • The role of military service is the way towards maturity
  • Should Internet access be limited during college lectures?
  • The death penalty service is not an ethical solution
  • Fashion industry creates a bad influence on young people
  • The Fairplay concept should be rewarded financially
  • Should tobacco be made illegal indoors?
  • Religious differences often become the cause of wars
  • The majority of mobile applications represent the invasion of privacy
  • Universal Basic Income: Economic Savior or Road to Dependency?
  • Mandatory Vaccinations: Public Health Requirement or Personal Choice Infringement?
  • The Death Penalty: A Necessary Deterrent or a Violation of Human Rights?
  • Climate Change Policies: Economic Hindrance or Long-term Investment?
  • Animal Testing in Medical Research: Ethical Consideration or Scientific Necessity?

These are the 200+ topics on various subjects, which you might find useful when creating your own. In case you need help aside from creating topics, you can also order the original research on Politics, Media & Communication, to do my Math homework , Law, and even Nursing papers for sale on Edubirdie.

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How to Choose a Good Research Paper Topic?

While it may seem challenging to come up with a good research paper topic as you try your best to narrow things down, the trick is to choose something that influences you because you know it well and can support your arguments with relevant evidence. The subject should be well-structured and relevant to your thesis statement. Always take time to research the list of sources to compose your topic sentences as well to make them relate to your thesis part. It’s always best to check a good research paper introduction example before you start working on the paper and choosing your topic, or contact our essay writing service for help. Here are the steps to consider:

  • Start With Observing Your Interests.

If you are confused with a variety of interesting topics for writing a creative essay, it’s better to decide what interests you the most. Don’t stick to easy research paper topics just to complete the task fast. If you are allowed to freely choose what to write an essay about, use the opportunity to create something unique. Write down the list of your interests and break down every idea into small certain topics. When you have a list in front of your eyes, it will be easier to make up your mind and start considering a particular issue.

Then you should examine what aspect of the topic is preferable for you to outline in your research paper . A list will save you here again. Use pros/cons template to include all the arguments and objections to the issues.

  • Come Up With an Argumentative Research Question.

The most challenging part of choosing a competitive research paper topic is finding an aspect that poses some importance for your course and the subject per se. While it may seem that it is sufficient to make a general statement, your argumentation should include a clear research question. Consider asking yourself why you have chosen a particular topic and how your research will make it clearer or provide innovative solutions.

  • Study Available Research Topic Ideas.

Since we have already mentioned the dangers of choosing something too broad, it is vital to narrow things down and brainstorm the list of possible research paper ideas that deal with the same subject. In other words, you can write down at least five different subjects and see whether you can find sufficient information to support them with the sources or statistical data. Remember the importance of your topic’s wording!

  • Compose Strong Thesis Statement.

It must be done at the same time as you choose your research paper topic because these two concepts must be interconnected. Your subject must reflect your main idea of the thesis statement. Make sure that you have the list of sources prepared in advance to incorporate relevant information in your body paragraphs. As always, they must be the supporting evidence for your thesis statement’s idea and the research purpose.

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Written by David Kidwell

David is one of those experienced content creators from the United Kingdom who has a high interest in social issues, culture, and entrepreneurship. He always says that reading, blogging, and staying aware of what happens in the world is what makes a person responsible. He likes to learn and share what he knows by making things inspiring and creative enough even for those students who dislike reading.

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Topics for Research Papers: Diverse Research Ideas Across Disciplines


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?


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.


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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Find the answers to your biggest research questions from 2021. With collective views of over 3.7 million, researchers explored topics spanning from nutritional immunology and political misinformation to sustainable agriculture and the human-dog bond .

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1. Infectious disease

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5. Plant science

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6. Sustainable agriculture

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7. Mental health

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8. Aging brains

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Benefits of human-dog interactions

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10. Mood disorders

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101 research paper topics.

  • Why do we sleep ?
  • How do GPS systems work?
  • Who was the first person to reach the North Pole ?
  • Did anybody ever escape Alcatraz ?
  • What was life like for a gladiator ?
  • What are the effects of prolonged steroid use on the human body?
  • What happened during the Salem witch trials ?
  • Are there any effective means of repelling insects ?
  • How did trains and railroads change life in America?
  • What may have occurred during the Roswell  UFO incident of 1947?
  • How is bulletproof clothing made?
  • What Olympic events were practiced in ancient Greece?
  • What are the major theories explaining the disappearance of the dinosaurs ?
  • How was the skateboard invented and how has it changed over the years?
  • How did the long bow contribute to English military dominance?
  • What caused the stock market crash of 2008?
  • How did Cleopatra come to power in Egypt what did she do during her reign?
  • How has airport security intensified since September 11 th , 2001?
  • What is life like inside of a beehive ?
  • Where did hip hop originate and who were its founders?
  • What makes the platypus a unique and interesting mammal?
  • How does tobacco use affect the human body?
  • How do computer viruses spread and in what ways do they affect computers?
  • What is daily life like for a Buddhist monk ?
  • What are the origins of the conflict in Darfur ?
  • How did gunpowder change warfare?
  • In what ways do Wal-Mart stores affect local economies?
  • How were cats and dogs domesticated and for what purposes?
  • What do historians know about ninjas ?
  • How has the music industry been affected by the internet and digital downloading?
  • What were the circumstances surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden ?
  • What was the women’s suffrage movement and how did it change America?
  • What efforts are being taken to protect endangered wildlife ?
  • How much does the war on drugs cost Americans each year?
  • How is text messaging affecting teen literacy?
  • Are humans still evolving ?
  • What technologies are available to home owners to help them conserve energy ?
  • How have oil spills affected the planet and what steps are being taken to prevent them?
  • What was the Magna Carta and how did it change England?
  • What is the curse of the pharaohs?
  • Why was Socrates executed?
  • What nonlethal weapons are used by police to subdue rioters?
  • How does the prison population in America compare to other nations?
  • How did ancient sailors navigate the globe?
  • Can gamblers ever acquire a statistical advantage over the house in casino games?
  • What is alchemy and how has it been attempted?
  • How are black holes formed?
  • How was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln plotted and executed?
  • Do the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks?
  • How do submarines work?
  • Do lie detector tests accurately determine truthful statements?
  • How did Cold War tension affect the US and the world?
  • What happened to the lost settlers at Roanoke ?
  • How does a hybrid car save energy?
  • What ingredients can be found inside of a hotdog ?
  • How did Julius Caesar affect Rome?
  • What are some common sleep disorders and how are they treated?
  • How did the Freedom Riders change society?
  • How is internet censorship used in China and around the world?
  • What was the code of the Bushido and how did it affect samurai warriors ?
  • What are the risks of artificial tanning or prolonged exposure to the sun?
  • What programs are available to help war veterans get back into society?
  • What steps are involved in creating a movie or television show?
  • How have the film and music industries dealt with piracy ?
  • How did Joan of Arc change history?
  • What responsibilities do secret service agents have?
  • How does a shark hunt?
  • What dangers and hardships did Lewis and Clark face when exploring the Midwest?
  • Has the Patriot Act prevented or stopped terrorist acts in America?
  • Do states that allow citizens to carry guns have higher or lower crime rates?
  • How are the Great Depression and the Great Recession similar and different?
  • What are the dangers of scuba diving and underwater exploration?
  • How does the human brain store and retrieve memories ?
  • What was the Manhattan Project and what impact did it have on the world?
  • How does stealth technology shield aircraft from radar?
  • What causes tornadoes ?
  • Why did Martin Luther protest against the Catholic Church?
  • How does a search engine work?
  • What are the current capabilities and future goals of genetic engineers ?
  • How did the Roman Empire fall?
  • What obstacles faced scientists in breaking the sound barrier ?
  • How did the black plague affect Europe?
  • What happened to Amelia Earhart ?
  • What are the dangers and hazards of using nuclear power ?
  • How did Genghis Khan conquer Persia?
  • What architectural marvels were found in Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire ?
  • From where does spam email come and can we stop it?
  • How does night vision work?
  • How did journalists influence US war efforts in Vietnam ?
  • What are the benefits and hazards of medical marijuana ?
  • What causes desert mirages and how do they affect wanderers?
  • What was the cultural significance of the first moon landing ?
  • What are sinkholes and how are they formed?
  • Have any psychics ever solved crimes or prevented them from occurring?
  • Who is Vlad the Impaler and what is his connection to Count Dracula ?
  • What are the risks of climate change and global warming ?
  • What treatments are available to people infected with HIV and are they effective?
  • Who was a greater inventor, Leonardo di Vinci or Thomas Edison ?
  • How are the Chinese and American economies similar and different?
  • Why was communism unsuccessful in so many countries?
  • In what ways do video games affect children and teenagers?

This is an image of a young woman in a library. She is sitting at a desk with a pile of books and looking toward the ceiling. She appears to be in deep thought.


I like using this website when I assist kids with learning as a lot of these topics are quickly covered in the school systems. Thankyou

Mackenah Nicole Molina

Wow! I always have trouble deiciding what to do a research project on but this list has totally solved that. Now my only problem is choosing what idea on this list I should do first!

Most of these my teacher rejected because apparently ‘these aren’t grade level topics, and I doubt they interest you”

I’m sorry to hear that. Sounds like you will have a potentially valuable character-building experience in the short-term.

Edwin Augusto Galindo Cuba


research kid

I need one about animals, please. I have been challenged to a animal research project, Due Friday. I have no clue what to research! somebody help, thanks for reading!

You can do one on bats

For international studies you can do Defense and Security.

This was very helpful.

Research on Ben Franklin? I think THAT will get a real charge out of everyone (hehehehegetit)

Mandy Maher

“Is it possible to colonize Mars?”

maddy burney

these are silly topics

thx for making this real.

more gaming questions!!!!!!

Is it still considered stealing if you don’t get caught?

Yes, yes it is still considered stealing.

I need topics on memes

Mary Nnamani

Please I need project topics on Language Literature

Marcella Vallarino

I would appreciate a list of survey questions for middle school grades 6-8

I need a research topics about public sector management


publish research that are interesting please……

hey can you do one on the burmiueda triangle

Anybody know video games effect kids,and,teens. There Fun!!


I need a topic about woman history if any of u can find 1 please that would be great!

You could research about the history of the astronauts, and of human past (WWI, WWII, etc.)

so about women? Manitoba Women Win the Right to Vote in Municipal Elections, The First Women, January 23, 1849: Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to graduate from medical school and become a doctor in the United States, Rosa Parks Civil Rights Equal Pay. I have way more. so if you need more just ask.

communism is good

what are you a communist?!?!

Did FDR know about the upcoming attack on Pearl Harbor on 07 DEC 1941.

do you know how babies are born

Christine Singu

kindly assist with a research topic in the field of accounting or auditing

need more about US army

Please can yiu give me a topic in education

I think one should be how can music/Video games can affect the life for people

or How Do Video Games Affect Teenagers?

zimbabwe leader

I think a good topic is supporting the confederate flag!

Need a research topic within the context of students union government and dues payments

do more weird ones plz

joyce alcantara

Hi pls po can you give me a topic relate for humanities pls thank u.

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Getting started, 1. brainstorming for a topic, 2. read general background information, 3. focus your topic, more research help.

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This guide provides you with a list of topic ideas (by subject or academic discipline) which could be developed into a research paper or project. It is not an all-inclusive list, but a list developed over time with input from faculty and students.

It is intended to offer suggestions only.

This is NOT a guide to help you research a topic. It is only intended to provide ideas for a paper.

The ability to develop a good research topic is an important skill. An instructor may assign you a specific topic, but most often instructors require you to select your own topic of interest. When deciding on a topic, there are a few things that you will need to do:

  • Brainstorm for ideas.
  • Choose a topic that will enable you to read and understand the articles and books you find.
  • Ensure that the topic is manageable and that material is available.
  • Make a list of key words.
  • Be flexible. You may have to broaden or narrow your topic to fit your assignment or the sources you find.

Selecting a good topic may not be easy. It must be narrow and focused enough to be interesting, yet broad enough to find adequate information. Before selecting your final topic, make sure you know what your final project should look like. Each class or instructor will likely require a different format or style of research project.

Choose a topic that interests you. Use the following questions to help generate topic ideas.

  • Do you have a strong opinion on a current social or political controversy?
  • Did you read or see a news story recently that has piqued your interest or made you angry or anxious?
  • Do you have a personal issue, problem, or interest that you would like to know more about?
  • Is there an aspect of a class that you are interested in learning more about?

Write down any key words or concepts that may be of interest to you. These terms can be helpful in your searching and used to form a more focused research topic.

Be aware of overused ideas when deciding a topic. You may wish to avoid topics such as abortion, gun control, teen pregnancy, or suicide unless you feel you have a unique approach to the topic. Ask the instructor for ideas if you feel you are stuck or need additional guidance.

Sometimes using a  Concept Map  can help you come up with directions to take your research.

  • Topic Concept Map Download and print this PDF to create a concept map for your topic. Put your main topic in the middle circle and then put ideas related to your topic on the lines radiating from the circle.

Read a general encyclopedia article on the top two or three topics you are considering.

Reading a broad summary enables you to get an overview of the topic and see how your idea relates to broader, narrower, and related issues. It also provides a great source for finding words commonly used to describe the topic. These keywords may be very useful to your later research.

If you can't find an article on your topic, try using broader terms and ask for help from a librarian.

The databases listed below are good places to find general information. The library's print reference collection can also be useful and is located on the third floor of the library.

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Authoritative coverage of thousands of topics in all areas of study.

Encyclopaedia Britannica's latest article database (including hundreds of articles not found in the print edition), Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, and the Britannica Book of the Year (1994-present), with thousands of web links selected by editors. Updated daily.

Fully indexed, cross-searchable database of over 400 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press. Includes subject reference works in the humanities, social sciences, and science--both "Quick Reference" titles (concise dictionaries, etc.) and larger "Reference Library" titles (multi-volume encyclopedias, etc.).

Covers anthropology, communication, education, geography, health, history, law, management, politics, psychology, and sociology.

Concise introductions to a diverse range of subject areas in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities.

Keep it manageable and be flexible. If you start doing more research and not finding enough sources that support your thesis, you may need to adjust your topic.

A topic will be very difficult to research if it is too broad or narrow. One way to narrow a broad topic such as "the environment" is to limit your topic. Some common ways to limit a topic are:

  • by geographic area

Example: What environmental issues are most important in the Southwestern United States?

  • by time frame:

Example: What are the most prominent environmental issues of the last 10 years?

  • by discipline

Example: How does environmental awareness effect business practices today?

  • by population group

Example: What are the effects of air pollution on senior citizens?

Remember that a topic may be too difficult to research if it is too:

  • locally confined - Topics this specific may only be covered in local newspapers and not in scholarly articles.

Example: What sources of pollution affect the Genesee County water supply?

  • recent - If a topic is quite recent, books or journal articles may not be available, but newspaper or magazine articles may. Also, websites related to the topic may or may not be available.
  • broadly interdisciplinary - You could be overwhelmed with superficial information.

Example: How can the environment contribute to the culture, politics and society of the Western United States?

  • popular - You will only find very popular articles about some topics such as sports figures and high-profile celebrities and musicians.

Putting your topic in the form of a question will help you focus on what type of information you want to collect.

If you have any difficulties or questions with focusing your topic, discuss the topic with your instructor, or with a librarian.

For more help with the research help, please see our Research Help Guides:

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Research Paper Guide

Research Paper Topics

Nova A.

Interesting Research Paper Topics for 2024

21 min read

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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How to Choose a Dissertation Topic | 8 Steps to Follow

Published on November 11, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 20, 2023.

Choosing your dissertation topic is the first step in making sure your research goes as smoothly as possible. When choosing a topic, it’s important to consider:

  • Your institution and department’s requirements
  • Your areas of knowledge and interest
  • The scientific, social, or practical relevance
  • The availability of data and resources
  • The timeframe of your dissertation
  • The relevance of your topic

You can follow these steps to begin narrowing down your ideas.

Table of contents

Step 1: check the requirements, step 2: choose a broad field of research, step 3: look for books and articles, step 4: find a niche, step 5: consider the type of research, step 6: determine the relevance, step 7: make sure it’s plausible, step 8: get your topic approved, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about dissertation topics.

The very first step is to check your program’s requirements. This determines the scope of what it is possible for you to research.

  • Is there a minimum and maximum word count?
  • When is the deadline?
  • Should the research have an academic or a professional orientation?
  • Are there any methodological conditions? Do you have to conduct fieldwork, or use specific types of sources?

Some programs have stricter requirements than others. You might be given nothing more than a word count and a deadline, or you might have a restricted list of topics and approaches to choose from. If in doubt about what is expected of you, always ask your supervisor or department coordinator.

Start by thinking about your areas of interest within the subject you’re studying. Examples of broad ideas include:

  • Twentieth-century literature
  • Economic history
  • Health policy

To get a more specific sense of the current state of research on your potential topic, skim through a few recent issues of the top journals in your field. Be sure to check out their most-cited articles in particular. For inspiration, you can also search Google Scholar , subject-specific databases , and your university library’s resources.

As you read, note down any specific ideas that interest you and make a shortlist of possible topics. If you’ve written other papers, such as a 3rd-year paper or a conference paper, consider how those topics can be broadened into a dissertation.

After doing some initial reading, it’s time to start narrowing down options for your potential topic. This can be a gradual process, and should get more and more specific as you go. For example, from the ideas above, you might narrow it down like this:

  • Twentieth-century literature   Twentieth-century Irish literature   Post-war Irish poetry
  • Economic history   European economic history   German labor union history
  • Health policy   Reproductive health policy   Reproductive rights in South America

All of these topics are still broad enough that you’ll find a huge amount of books and articles about them. Try to find a specific niche where you can make your mark, such as: something not many people have researched yet, a question that’s still being debated, or a very current practical issue.

At this stage, make sure you have a few backup ideas — there’s still time to change your focus. If your topic doesn’t make it through the next few steps, you can try a different one. Later, you will narrow your focus down even more in your problem statement and research questions .

There are many different types of research , so at this stage, it’s a good idea to start thinking about what kind of approach you’ll take to your topic. Will you mainly focus on:

  • Collecting original data (e.g., experimental or field research)?
  • Analyzing existing data (e.g., national statistics, public records, or archives)?
  • Interpreting cultural objects (e.g., novels, films, or paintings)?
  • Comparing scholarly approaches (e.g., theories, methods, or interpretations)?

Many dissertations will combine more than one of these. Sometimes the type of research is obvious: if your topic is post-war Irish poetry, you will probably mainly be interpreting poems. But in other cases, there are several possible approaches. If your topic is reproductive rights in South America, you could analyze public policy documents and media coverage, or you could gather original data through interviews and surveys .

You don’t have to finalize your research design and methods yet, but the type of research will influence which aspects of the topic it’s possible to address, so it’s wise to consider this as you narrow down your ideas.

It’s important that your topic is interesting to you, but you’ll also have to make sure it’s academically, socially or practically relevant to your field.

  • Academic relevance means that the research can fill a gap in knowledge or contribute to a scholarly debate in your field.
  • Social relevance means that the research can advance our understanding of society and inform social change.
  • Practical relevance means that the research can be applied to solve concrete problems or improve real-life processes.

The easiest way to make sure your research is relevant is to choose a topic that is clearly connected to current issues or debates, either in society at large or in your academic discipline. The relevance must be clearly stated when you define your research problem .

Before you make a final decision on your topic, consider again the length of your dissertation, the timeframe in which you have to complete it, and the practicalities of conducting the research.

Will you have enough time to read all the most important academic literature on this topic? If there’s too much information to tackle, consider narrowing your focus even more.

Will you be able to find enough sources or gather enough data to fulfil the requirements of the dissertation? If you think you might struggle to find information, consider broadening or shifting your focus.

Do you have to go to a specific location to gather data on the topic? Make sure that you have enough funding and practical access.

Last but not least, will the topic hold your interest for the length of the research process? To stay motivated, it’s important to choose something you’re enthusiastic about!

Most programmes will require you to submit a brief description of your topic, called a research prospectus or proposal .

Remember, if you discover that your topic is not as strong as you thought it was, it’s usually acceptable to change your mind and switch focus early in the dissertation process. Just make sure you have enough time to start on a new topic, and always check with your supervisor or department.

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.


  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Formulating a main research question can be a difficult task. Overall, your question should contribute to solving the problem that you have defined in your problem statement .

However, it should also fulfill criteria in three main areas:

  • Researchability
  • Feasibility and specificity
  • Relevance and originality

All research questions should be:

  • Focused on a single problem or issue
  • Researchable using primary and/or secondary sources
  • Feasible to answer within the timeframe and practical constraints
  • Specific enough to answer thoroughly
  • Complex enough to develop the answer over the space of a paper or thesis
  • Relevant to your field of study and/or society more broadly

Writing Strong Research Questions

You can assess information and arguments critically by asking certain questions about the source. You can use the CRAAP test , focusing on the currency , relevance , authority , accuracy , and purpose of a source of information.

Ask questions such as:

  • Who is the author? Are they an expert?
  • Why did the author publish it? What is their motivation?
  • How do they make their argument? Is it backed up by evidence?

A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.

It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.

Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

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The Big List of Essay Topics for High School (120+ Ideas!)

Ideas to inspire every young writer!

What one class should all high schools students be required to take and pass in order to graduate?

High school students generally do a lot of writing, learning to use language clearly, concisely, and persuasively. When it’s time to choose an essay topic, though, it’s easy to come up blank. If that’s the case, check out this huge round-up of essay topics for high school. You’ll find choices for every subject and writing style.

  • Argumentative Essay Topics
  • Cause-and-Effect Essay Topics
  • Compare-Contrast Essay Topics
  • Descriptive Essay Topics
  • Expository and Informative Essay Topics
  • Humorous Essay Topics

Literary Essay Topics

  • Narrative and Personal Essay Topics
  • Personal Essay Topics
  • Persuasive Essay Topics

Research Essay Topics

Argumentative essay topics for high school.

When writing an argumentative essay, remember to do the research and lay out the facts clearly. Your goal is not necessarily to persuade someone to agree with you, but to encourage your reader to accept your point of view as valid. Here are some possible argumentative topics to try. ( Here are 100 more compelling argumentative essay topics. )

  • The most important challenge our country is currently facing is … (e.g., immigration, gun control, economy)
  • The government should provide free internet access for every citizen.
  • All drugs should be legalized, regulated, and taxed.
  • Vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco.
  • The best country in the world is …
  • Parents should be punished for their minor children’s crimes.
  • Should all students have the ability to attend college for free?
  • Should physical education be part of the standard high school curriculum?

Should physical education be part of the standard high school curriculum?


  • Schools should require recommended vaccines for all students, with very limited exceptions.
  • Is it acceptable to use animals for experiments and research?
  • Does social media do more harm than good?
  • Capital punishment does/does not deter crime.
  • What one class should all high schools students be required to take and pass in order to graduate?
  • Do we really learn anything from history, or does it just repeat itself over and over?
  • Are men and women treated equally?

Cause-and-Effect Essay Topics for High School

A cause-and-effect essay is a type of argumentative essay. Your goal is to show how one specific thing directly influences another specific thing. You’ll likely need to do some research to make your point. Here are some ideas for cause-and-effect essays. ( Get a big list of 100 cause-and-effect essay topics here. )

  • Humans are causing accelerated climate change.
  • Fast-food restaurants have made human health worse over the decades.
  • What caused World War II? (Choose any conflict for this one.)
  • Describe the effects social media has on young adults.

Describe the effects social media has on young adults.

  • How does playing sports affect people?
  • What are the effects of loving to read?
  • Being an only/oldest/youngest/middle child makes you …
  • What effect does violence in movies or video games have on kids?
  • Traveling to new places opens people’s minds to new ideas.
  • Racism is caused by …

Compare-Contrast Essay Topics for High School

As the name indicates, in compare-and-contrast essays, writers show the similarities and differences between two things. They combine descriptive writing with analysis, making connections and showing dissimilarities. The following ideas work well for compare-contrast essays. ( Find 80+ compare-contrast essay topics for all ages here. )

  • Public and private schools
  • Capitalism vs. communism
  • Monarchy or democracy
  • Dogs vs. cats as pets

Dogs vs. cats as pets

  • Paper books or e-books
  • Two political candidates in a current race
  • Going to college vs. starting work full-time
  • Working your way through college as you go or taking out student loans
  • iPhone or Android
  • Instagram vs. Twitter (or choose any other two social media platforms)

Descriptive Essay Topics for High School

Bring on the adjectives! Descriptive writing is all about creating a rich picture for the reader. Take readers on a journey to far-off places, help them understand an experience, or introduce them to a new person. Remember: Show, don’t tell. These topics make excellent descriptive essays.

  • Who is the funniest person you know?
  • What is your happiest memory?
  • Tell about the most inspirational person in your life.
  • Write about your favorite place.
  • When you were little, what was your favorite thing to do?
  • Choose a piece of art or music and explain how it makes you feel.
  • What is your earliest memory?

What is your earliest memory?

  • What’s the best/worst vacation you’ve ever taken?
  • Describe your favorite pet.
  • What is the most important item in the world to you?
  • Give a tour of your bedroom (or another favorite room in your home).
  • Describe yourself to someone who has never met you.
  • Lay out your perfect day from start to finish.
  • Explain what it’s like to move to a new town or start a new school.
  • Tell what it would be like to live on the moon.

Expository and Informative Essay Topics for High School

Expository essays set out clear explanations of a particular topic. You might be defining a word or phrase or explaining how something works. Expository or informative essays are based on facts, and while you might explore different points of view, you won’t necessarily say which one is “better” or “right.” Remember: Expository essays educate the reader. Here are some expository and informative essay topics to explore. ( See 70+ expository and informative essay topics here. )

  • What makes a good leader?
  • Explain why a given school subject (math, history, science, etc.) is important for students to learn.
  • What is the “glass ceiling” and how does it affect society?
  • Describe how the internet changed the world.
  • What does it mean to be a good teacher?

What does it mean to be a good teacher?

  • Explain how we could colonize the moon or another planet.
  • Discuss why mental health is just as important as physical health.
  • Describe a healthy lifestyle for a teenager.
  • Choose an American president and explain how their time in office affected the country.
  • What does “financial responsibility” mean?

Humorous Essay Topics for High School

Humorous essays can take on any form, like narrative, persuasive, or expository. You might employ sarcasm or satire, or simply tell a story about a funny person or event. Even though these essay topics are lighthearted, they still take some skill to tackle well. Give these ideas a try.

  • What would happen if cats (or any other animal) ruled the world?
  • What do newborn babies wish their parents knew?
  • Explain the best ways to be annoying on social media.
  • Invent a wacky new sport, explain the rules, and describe a game or match.

Explain why it's important to eat dessert first.

  • Imagine a discussion between two historic figures from very different times, like Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I.
  • Retell a familiar story in tweets or other social media posts.
  • Describe present-day Earth from an alien’s point of view.
  • Choose a fictional character and explain why they should be the next president.
  • Describe a day when kids are in charge of everything, at school and at home.

Literary essays analyze a piece of writing, like a book or a play. In high school, students usually write literary essays about the works they study in class. These literary essay topic ideas focus on books students often read in high school, but many of them can be tweaked to fit other works as well.

  • Discuss the portrayal of women in Shakespeare’s Othello .
  • Explore the symbolism used in The Scarlet Letter .
  • Explain the importance of dreams in Of Mice and Men .
  • Compare and contrast the romantic relationships in Pride and Prejudice .

Analyze the role of the witches in Macbeth.

  • Dissect the allegory of Animal Farm and its relation to contemporary events.
  • Interpret the author’s take on society and class structure in The Great Gatsby .
  • Explore the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia.
  • Discuss whether Shakespeare’s portrayal of young love in Romeo and Juliet is accurate.
  • Explain the imagery used in Beowulf .

Narrative and Personal Essay Topics for High School

Think of a narrative essay like telling a story. Use some of the same techniques that you would for a descriptive essay, but be sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. A narrative essay doesn’t necessarily need to be personal, but they often are. Take inspiration from these narrative and personal essay topics.

  • Describe a performance or sporting event you took part in.
  • Explain the process of cooking and eating your favorite meal.
  • Write about meeting your best friend for the first time and how your relationship developed.
  • Tell about learning to ride a bike or drive a car.
  • Describe a time in your life when you’ve been scared.

Write about a time when you or someone you know displayed courage.

  • Share the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you.
  • Tell about a time when you overcame a big challenge.
  • Tell the story of how you learned an important life lesson.
  • Describe a time when you or someone you know experienced prejudice or oppression.
  • Explain a family tradition, how it developed, and its importance today.
  • What is your favorite holiday? How does your family celebrate it?
  • Retell a familiar story from the point of view of a different character.
  • Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision.
  • Tell about your proudest moment.

Persuasive Essay Topics for High School

Persuasive essays are similar to argumentative , but they rely less on facts and more on emotion to sway the reader. It’s important to know your audience, so you can anticipate any counterarguments they might make and try to overcome them. Try these topics to persuade someone to come around to your point of view. ( Discover 60 more intriguing persuasive essay topics here. )

  • Do you think homework should be required, optional, or not given at all?
  • Everyone should be vegetarian or vegan.
  • What animal makes the best pet?
  • Visit an animal shelter, choose an animal that needs a home, and write an essay persuading someone to adopt that animal.
  • Who is the world’s best athlete, present or past?
  • Should little kids be allowed to play competitive sports?
  • Are professional athletes/musicians/actors overpaid?
  • The best music genre is …

What is one book that everyone should be required to read?

  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Is capitalism the best form of economy?
  • Students should/should not be able to use their phones during the school day.
  • Should schools have dress codes?
  • If I could change one school rule, it would be …
  • Is year-round school a good idea?

A research essay is a classic high school assignment. These papers require deep research into primary source documents, with lots of supporting facts and evidence that’s properly cited. Research essays can be in any of the styles shown above. Here are some possible topics, across a variety of subjects.

  • Which country’s style of government is best for the people who live there?
  • Choose a country and analyze its development from founding to present day.
  • Describe the causes and effects of a specific war.
  • Formulate an ideal economic plan for our country.
  • What scientific discovery has had the biggest impact on life today?

Tell the story of the development of artificial intelligence so far, and describe its impacts along the way.

  • Analyze the way mental health is viewed and treated in this country.
  • Explore the ways systemic racism impacts people in all walks of life.
  • Defend the importance of teaching music and the arts in public schools.
  • Choose one animal from the endangered species list, and propose a realistic plan to protect it.

What are some of your favorite essay topics for high school? Come share your prompts on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, check out the ultimate guide to student writing contests .

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Market research ethics: New practices but no new ideas

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  • Published: 07 June 2024

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  • Robert Cluley   ORCID: 1 &
  • William Green   ORCID: 2  

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The ethical issues involved with marketing research are receiving increased public scrutiny, prompting calls for marketing scholars and research practitioners to revisit the issue. To support researchers and practitioners, this paper provides a systematic scoping review of research on the ethics of market research developed across a range of literatures ( N  = 134). It demonstrates that, over 70 years, marketing scholars have explored the ethics of market research from normative , descriptive , theoretical and technical approaches. But, while marketing scholars were once at the forefront of theorising the ethics of marketing research, the field is increasingly fragmented and specialized. The result is that, following a series of theoretical innovations in the 1980s, progress has all but ended. We ask why marketing scholars have turned away from the ethics of marketing research given the importance of the topic in practice.

Avoid common mistakes on your manuscript.


Market research “continually raises ethical concerns” (Castleberry et al., 1993 : 39). Reflecting this, the ethics of marketing research has attracted “special attention” from marketing scholars (Skinner et al., 1988 : 212). As Segal and Giacobbe ( 2007 : 35) explain, this is “largely due to the research industry’s self-interest”. Practitioners must “be at the forefront of being able to manage ethical issues’ to maintain research clients” confidence in the objectivity, independence, and rigour of market research results (Yallop & Mowatt, 2016 : 381) and “ensure participants” wellbeing and safety (Dodds et al., 2023 : 14).

Yet, this interest is decreasing. A decade ago, Aggarwal et al. argued that the “time has come” for marketing scholars “to revisit the issue of ethical perceptions in marketing research” ( 2012 :463). But, despite recent high-profile controversies involving consumer privacy (Nunan & Domenico, 2016 ), neuromarketing (Ulman et al., 2015 ), data trading, ad fraud (Cluley, 2019 ) and artificial intelligence (Nunan & Domenico, 2013 ), the call for further research remains largely unanswered within the marketing field. The ethics of commercial marketing research is increasingly treated as a technical specialism and discussed outside of marketing scholarship. Indeed, the last article addressing the ethics of commercial marketing research in the Journal of Marketing was Sparks and Hunt ( 1998 ).

This presents us with an increasingly fragmented and outdated research base. In response, in this paper we take stock of knowledge about marketing research ethics via a systematic literature review. Our objective is to provide a holistic framework to make sense of the literature, consider the need for fresh thinking and identify opportunities for theory development. We aim to encourage a debate about how to put marketing research ethics back on the agenda (Hunt, 2013 ).

We highlight four research themes from a systematically reviewed corpus ( N  = 134). The normative theme examines the boundaries of ethical behaviour with a focus on codes of ethics. The descriptive theme tracks practitioners’ attitudes towards controversial techniques. The theoretical theme engages with psychological thinking to model market researchers' ethical decision-making processes. The technical theme explores the ethical issues and conflicts inherent in market research techniques and tools, with a focus on new technologies. Overall, we find that the literature has moved towards technical discussions of specific ethical issues, typically published in specialist outlets.

The result is that theoretical progress has largely come to a standstill. This may be because business ethics and marketing scholars’ attention centres on consumption issues such as the significant body of research exploring the gap between consumers’ espoused ethical commitments and their actual behaviours in the market (Sun & Govind, 2022 ). It might be because discussions of ethics have been rebranded around sustainability, responsibility, and social justice. It may also reflect the facts that the market research industry “is increasingly defining itself in other ways” (Nunan, 2016 : 518). Much commercial market research is “not being created and run by people who call themselves ‘market researchers’” (Poynter, 2021 : 403–404). System designers and programmers who administer online data collection services might not think to consult codes of conduct written for marketing researchers.

There is a risk that in approaching ethical issues from a range of specialist perspectives, often divorced from core marketing concerns, such practitioners may ignore existing knowledge and miss readily discernible ethical pitfalls and vice versa. For instance, scholars are well-versed in debates about data fraud in their own research, meanwhile fraudulent practices in online data collection marketplaces have flourished, with little attempt to take lessons from academic marketing research into commercial settings. Through this article, then, we seek to contribute to the attempt to “resolve the perceived lack of relevance of scholarly marketing work” (Wieland et al., 2021 : 268).

The paper adopts a systematic scoping review approach to identify a comprehensive body of research that addresses the ethics of market research from a range of disciplines (Tranfield et al., 2003 ; Arksey & O'Malley, 2005 ). Although not guaranteed to identify all relevant work, as literature may be missing or excluded based on inclusion criteria, systematically reviewing literature has a number of advantages in comparison to other review methods. It promotes “reproducibility and transparency in the review process” (Domenico et al., 2021 : 330). Most importantly given our aim to support practice, evidence from systematic reviews has been shown to have a “real impact” with “practicing managers, policy-makers or researchers” (Macpherson & Jones, 2010 : 110).

To conduct our review, we follow Littell et al.’s ( 2008 ) five step protocol: identify a review panel, formulate the topic, determine the review characteristics, retrieve literature, and synthesize and report. This approach also reflects those defined for scoping reviews in the medical and health sciences (Arksey & O'Malley, 2005 ; Peters, et al., 2015 ). Our interest in the topic emerged through action research conducted by the authors with a large multinational market research company. This brought our attention to news stories about consumer privacy, data management and artificial intelligence. Following Rotfeld and Taylor’s ( 2009 ) call for marketing academics to move beyond headline stories, we formulated our concern with the ethics of market research. This led us to ask:

How has the marketing research ethics literature developed?

What are the key research issues in the marketing research ethics literature?

How does marketing research ethics relate to marketing practice, consumers and society?

Search strategy and article selection process

To ensure our review retrieved as many relevant sources as possible, we adopted a broad definition of commercial market research. We used ESOMAR's ( 2021 ) definition of commercial market research as the collecting, analyzing and interpreting “data to build information and knowledge that can be used to predict, for example, future events, actions or behaviours” for clients in consumer, industry, policy and civic sectors as the basis of our search criteria. To ensure an inclusive search strategy, we expanded the search terms to include 32 “descriptions of core business activity” of commercial market research reported by Nunan ( 2016 : 512). See Supplementary Table  1 for the results of the search queries and results.

We searched Web of Science for all dates until November 29th, 2022. Forty-eight duplicates were removed from the initial 769 articles. Article titles, keywords and abstracts were reviewed to ensure they met the definitions of commercial market research and included discussions of ethics. We assumed that if “ethic*” was mentioned in the title or abstract, ethics formed a significant part of the subsequent paper. In total, 134 articles were identified for full article review (Fig.  1 ). The complete bibliography is available in Supplementary Table 2 .

figure 1

Systematic review flow diagram (adapted from Page et al., 2021 )

Analysis and synthesis

To scope the field, we conducted a thematic synthesis (Popay et al., 2006 ). Practically, the author/s read the papers in chronological order and engaged in a first round of descriptive coding to summarize the research topics. This settled on an analytical scheme comprising four themes, with each theme operating as an “ideal type” and, collectively, representing essential features of the literature on the ethics of marketing research. We proceeded to thematically code each text identified in the systematic review according to these four themes. We placed each text in what we judged to be the most applicable theme. We recognize that many papers speak to multiple themes and could therefore have been positioned in multiple themes. As we aim to expose broad trends in the literature and distinguish characteristics from the literature, we feel justified in our approach. The themes are illustrated in the “ Thematic analysis ” section.

Publication year

Figure  2 presents the frequency of published contributions to the field of marketing research ethics. The earliest contributions were published in the 1960s as the American Marketing Academy (AMA) Standards Committee was creating a code of ethics for market research practitioners (Blankenship, 1964 ; Twedt, 1963 ). The number of publications has subsequently increased on an upward trend as market research has expanded into new fields (Tybout & Zaltman, 1974 ) and adopted new technologies (Nunan & Di Domenico, 2013 ).

figure 2

Publications by year

Journal orientation

As illustrated in Table  1 , the literature has moved from general marketing-oriented outlets such as the Journal of Marketing Research and Journal of Marketing towards business ethics-centred outlets such as Journal of Business Ethics and, more recently, to specialist outlets for neuroethicitians, statisticians and engineers. Despite publishing the earliest contributions, the Journal of Marketing has not published a paper on the ethics of marketing research since Sparks and Hunt ( 1998 ). Perhaps this explains Aggarwal et al.’s ( 2012 ) call for fresh perspectives and empirical contributions within marketing theory.

The scope of the marketing research ethics literature covers normative, descriptive, theoretical and technical contributions. The distinguishing features of themes are summarized in Table  2 .

The prevalence of the themes is represented in Table  3 . Starting in the 1960s, the normative theme established academic interest in the topic. In the early 1960s, a number of industry bodies were developing codes of conduct (AMA, American Association for Public Opinion Research and Consumer Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association) and this appears to have prompted discussions about the content of codes. Key contributions here emphasize the importance of understanding market research practitioners’ experiences and attitudes towards unethical practices. This resulted in a descriptive literature that gathered momentum in the 1970s through to the early 2000s. To explain differences in evidenced in practitioners’ attitudes and behaviours, from the 1980s researchers began to theorize market research practitioners’ ethical judgements using general ethical decision-making models and concepts. Thus, we saw the emergence of a theoretical turn in the literature. Most recently, the technical theme has explored the potential ethical issues inherent in individual market research techniques such as big data and neuromarketing.

Contribution of disciplines to themes

Table 4 illustrates the contribution of different facets of marketing scholarships to the development of each theme. It demonstrates that technical research has tended to be published in journals targeting specialist and  non-marketing audiences. General marketing outlets have been more focused on exploring the normative justification for ethical decisions and describing changes in practice.

Thematic analysis

The normative theme.

In line with Hunt and Vitell ( 1986 ), we use the term normative to refer to contributions that primarily define the boundaries of ethical behaviour for commercial marketing research practitioners. Such work seeks to establish the appropriate moral foundations, principles and norms for market research practice. It considers how to develop ethical cultures in market research settings and how to enforce moral standards—primarily, it focuses on codes of conduct.

The first article that emerged in our systematic review represents this approach. Working with the American Marketing Academy (AMA) Standards Committee, Twedt ( 1963 : 48) argues in favour of a deontological ethics, writing that “the public must be protected against market research abuses” because “the public has an inherent right to expect fair play.” At the same time, Twedt contests that practitioners have a teleological business incentive against unethical behaviour because they rely on public participation for their work. Consequently, Twedt calls for the AMA to improve ethical standards by encouraging a scientific approach among professionals. In Twedt’s view, such an approach would prioritize the virtue of truth and devalue deceptive practices.

Shortly after, Blankenship ( 1964 ) argues that the market research industry cannot rely solely on codes of ethics to enhance ethical behaviours. For Blankenship ( 1964 ), codes of conduct cannot address the most controversial research practices because they emerge from the competing demands placed on research practitioners and are not inherent in any particular research technique or technology. Virtues might be simple on paper but difficult to put into practice. For example, researchers’ relationships with clients “are fraught with pressures that might easily lead less scrupulous people to unethical behaviour” (Blankenship, 1964 : 27). Needing to keep a client’s business, a researcher “may find it difficult to tell his (sic) president or his (sic) customer that he (sic) is wrong” (Blankenship, 1964 : 29). In response, Blankenship argues that market research industries must find other ways to raise ethical conduct rather than expect codes to be sufficient.

A decade later, Tybout and Zaltman ( 1974 , 1975 ) argue that, as market research moves into new domains beyond consumer-settings, ethical values relating to “education, family planning and municipal government” will change the nature of ethical dilemmas in market research practice ( 1974 : 357). They also note that, as the range of techniques used in market research expands, new ethical questions are likely to emerge. Based on these observations, Tybout and Zaltman ( 1974 ) criticize the AMA code for focusing on survey techniques and commercial researcher-client relations. They argue for new standards relating to the ethics of care that researchers owe respondents. These include informed consent; the right to safe treatment; protecting anonymity and privacy; ensuring relief and support for potential stress and anxiety caused by research tasks; and honest research techniques as a default.

This prompted a direct response from Day ( 1975 ), who argues that ethical duties other than a commitment to scientific objectivity have no place in market research. However, later discussions accept that the boundaries of ethical practice must reflect the changing the nature of market research, methods and social conventions. For example, Sojka and Spangenberg observe that “the broadened domain of consumer research”, which introduces qualitative inquiry through consumer culture theory and consumer anthropology, “makes it necessary to look beyond marketing guidelines alone for prescriptions to ethical questions” ( 1994 : 393). Turning to cognizant literature, they emphasize two ethical duties: deception and confidentiality.

More recently, Alsmadi ( 2008 , 2010 ) argues for greater ethical consideration of respondents and wider society. Nunan and Di Domenico ( 2013 ) advocate changing industry guidelines to accommodate new ways of collecting, storing, and analysing big data. They argue that codes must include the right to be forgotten, data expiry and users’ and respondents’ maintaining ownership of their data and sharing any economic value it creates.

Many of these more recent contributions do not explicitly draw on ethical systems to justify the rights of respondents nor duties of market researchers—although, many implicitly adopt a deontological standpoint. But this is not to say that no contributors to the normative theme incorporate specific philosophical frameworks to argue for particular ethical imperatives. Boulanouar et al. ( 2017 ) address research ethics specific to Muslim women. Adler et al. ( 2022 ) draw explicitly on virtue ethics to derive four conditions (sophisticated, suppressed, contagion, and impeded) in which teams can overcome ethical dilemmas faced in market research practice. Michaelides and Gibbs ( 2006 : 50) use phenomenological hermeneutics “to enhance the self-awareness of market researchers”. They argue that marketing researchers' tendency to dehumanize individual participants does “not permit caring for the research subjects by the researcher who following the market system has no time to engage fully with them as people, and rather treats them as consumer objects” (Michaelides & Gibbs, 2006 : 50). Wilson et al. ( 2008 ) use a Rawlisian ethics of free will to examine neuromarketing.

In the 2000s, the normative literature took an empirical turn to explore the relationship between codes of ethics and research practice. Here, Giacobbe and Segal ( 2000 ) compare the ethical norms included in seven national codes of conduct against commercial research practitioners' attitudes in the USA and Canada. They identify notable differences and conclude that “market research codes of ethics do not reflect the perspectives of the very group they intend to direct” ( 2000 : 240). Developing this issue through semi-structured interviews with 29 research practitioners recruited through purposive sampling, Yallop and Mowatt find “that ethical codes do not appear to have a significant effect on ethical behaviour” ( 2016 : 392). They argue that the ineffectiveness of codes of ethics may be explained by the lack of awareness of their existence, a lack of familiarity of their content and a lack of proactive enforcement (see also Dutka, 1994 ). Consequently, Yallop and Mowatt conclude that “codes of ethics have the potential to influence behaviour, but only when there is adequate awareness of and familiarity with codes’ content, and when they are understood, used and enforced in organizations” ( 2016 : 395).

In summary, the normative theme explores the boundaries of ethical practices. Early contributions assumed that market researchers and industries have an implicit incentive to behave ethically because of their need to maintain public trust. Consequently, there was a focus on the content of codes of conduct and an assumption that practitioners would follow them. Later work, testing these assumptions empirically, suggests that codes of ethics have a marginal impact on practitioners’ ethical decisions and struggle to reflect the pertinent ethical decisions that practitioners face in their work. Substantively, then, a distinguishing feature of this theme is its focus on setting the boundaries of ethical behaviors for commercial market researchers. Here, much of the literature is anchored to notions of scientific objectivity as the key ethical value that should guide research practitioners’ behaviours. While later contributions test the assumptions in this theme empirically, much of the literature is discursive in nature—with key contributors making value-laden arguments for particular ethical values.

The descriptive theme

The descriptive theme focuses on commercial marketing research practitioners’ attitudes towards controversial practices. Crawford ( 1970 ) offers a founding contribution. He invites 700 market researchers to express their approval for 30 fictitious vignettes relating to research practice, the role of the marketing director and contemporary social concerns and asks participants if they judged the practices described in the vignettes to be ethical or not. He reveals consistent attitudes concerning the boundaries of acceptable practice, with senior managers and directors having even highest levels of agreement.

Crawford ( 1970 ) forms the basis of an ongoing empirical analysis of researchers' attitudes (Murphy & Laczniak, 1992 ). Building on this work and testing the key ethical dilemmas research practitioners experience through an open-ended survey item, Hunt et al. ( 1984 ) argue that the ethics of market research identified by practitioners revolve around: research integrity; treating outside clients fairly; research confidentiality; marketing mix and social issues; personnel issues; treating respondents fairly; treating others in one’s company fairly; interviewer dishonesty; gifts, bribes, and entertainment; treating suppliers fairly; legal issues; misuse of funds. They do “not find many researchers indicating fundamental conflicts involving the rights of respondents or subjects used in marketing research” ( 1984 : 318).

Akaah and Riordan ( 1989 ) explicitly replicate Crawford’s ( 1970 ) work. They find 15 significant shifts (out of 22) in comparison to the attitudes uncovered by Crawford ( 1970 ). Some of these relate to technical aspects of market research but, overall, suggest greater concern for social issues and a lessening of concern for ethical conflicts involving clients. Akaah and Riordan suggest these results “defy easy explanation” but most likely “derive from societal and industry changes” ( 1989 : 119). Aggarwal et al. ( 2012 ) retain six of Akaah and Riordan’s ( 1989 ) ethical scenarios and develop five new scenarios to reflect contemporary controversial practices. Summarizing their results, they conclude: “one trend that is quite clear is that disapproval for unethical research conduct has grown across the board in the last 20 years among professionals (both managers and researchers)” ( 2012 : 473). They then compare market researchers’ judgements against a general consumer sample. Here, Aggarwal et al. ( 2012 : 474) note: “Surprisingly, and with a couple of important exceptions, the general public is more tolerant of [unethical] conduct (as indicated by lower disapproval ratings) compared to the marketing professionals”.

Despite this consensus among descriptive studies, in the pages of a practitioner outlet, Whalen ( 1984 ) reports on a study of 500 research practitioners from blue-chip companies conducted by a private research firm that uncovers much higher levels of acceptance for unethical practices among commercial researchers than previously thought. Whalen ( 1984 ) highlights three potential reasons: business respondents are becoming more knowledgeable about market research techniques and are going to greater lengths to withhold proprietary information from researchers; deregulation removing reporting requirements making it harder for researchers to access business data; and increased competition in the market research industries leading to aggressive tactics. Whalen ( 1984 ) also reports an “ethical gap” whereby respondents indicate they believe their competitors are more willing to engage in unethical practices than they are. This perspective is developed by Pallister et al. ( 1999 )—who argue that unethical practices might be more profitable than ethical ones.

A second component of the descriptive theme examines the antecedents of market research practitioners’ attitudes. In a highly influential contribution, Hunt et al. ( 1984 ) argue that ethical issues that emerge in commercial marketing research practice are caused by conflicts between the values and responsibilities among clients, employing organizations, colleagues, self, industry competitors, and society. Informed by this theory, researchers have investigated cross-cultural differences between national industries. Here, Akaah notes that the majority of previous studies focus on the “viewpoints of ‘domestic’ (United States) marketing professionals” ( 1990 : 46), and, in response, compares Australian, British and American respondents using a similar survey instrument to Akaah and Riordan ( 1989 ). Akaah finds that practitioners from different industries “do not differ in terms of their research ethics attitudes” ( 1990 : 52).

Others explore the organizational antecedents of ethical attitudes and behaviours. Crawford ( 1970 ) had suggested a potential role modelling effect whereby senior executives could influence the ethical behaviour for junior researchers within an organization. This is confirmed by Segal and Giacombe ( 2007 ). Based on 86 survey responses from Australian practitioners, they find that practitioners attribute improved ethical behaviour to ethical leadership displayed by senior leaders in their firms, followed by immediate supervisors and, to a lesser degree, legal departments. However, Akaah and Riordan report that “code of ethics, organizational rank, and industry category lack significance as correlates of research ethics judgments” ( 1989 : 119). Ferrell and Skinner ( 1988 ) study the effect of organizational bureaucracy on market researcher ethics in three types of marketing organizations (data subcontractors, marketing research firms and corporate research departments). Drawing on 550 survey responses from members of a market research association, they find that increased levels of bureaucracy improve ethical behaviour in all settings.

Finally, studies have considered the role of demographics on researchers' ethical judgements. Ferrell and Skinner report that gender “is a significant predictor of ethical behavior” in data subcontractors and research firms but not corporate research departments ( 1988 : 106). This is confirmed by Kelley et al. ( 1990 ). Analyzing 602 surveys, they explore 10 ethical dilemmas and report significant differences between sex, age, education level, job title, and job tenure. Specifically, they tell us that “the perceptions of female researchers are more ethical than their male counterparts” and the “self-ratings of older marketing researchers were found to be significantly more ethical than their younger associates” (Kelley et al., 1990 : 687). Explaining their results, Kelley et al. ( 1990 : 688) ask: “Have younger, less experienced marketers been socialized into a different value system than were their older counterparts?”

In summary, the descriptive theme examines practitioners’ perceptions of controversial practices. It finds that variables such as gender, age, job tenure, level of seniority, organizational culture and type have significant effects on commercial marketing researchers' attitudes. Compared chronologically, it suggests that market researchers have become less tolerant of controversial practices and may even hold themselves to higher ethical standards than the general public. This theme can be distinguished from the normative theme, then, in the sense that contributors rarely advocate a specific ethical position. Rather than seeking to define the boundaries of acceptable behavior, contributors explore how market researchers themselves define ethical practices. Typically, this is achieved via survey methods and, in focusing on researchers' attitudes, tends to assume congruence between market researchers' attitudes and behaviours.

The theoretical theme

A third theme of research theorizes the ethical decision-making processes of market research practitioners. It focuses on why, when and how research practitioners engage in ethical decision making. The emergence of this stream of the literature can perhaps be explained as a consequence of the influential general theorizations of ethical decision-making among marketing practitioners (e.g. Hunt & Vitell, 1986 ).

Ferrell and Gresham ( 1985 ) exemplify this strand of thinking. Their contingency model suggests that individual marketers’ ethical decision-making will be determined by contextual and organizational factors. Contextual factors include the opportunity to make ethical decisions. Organizational factors include “managers' everyday performances in achieving company goals” ( 1985 : 90). To build this model, Ferrell and Gresham integrate several perspectives covering philosophies such as rights theory and sociological thinking including differential association theory and role set theory. They do not, however, empirically test the model. Their aim is, rather, to provide a “starting point for the development of a theory of ethical/unethical actions in organizational environments” ( 1985 : 87).

A prominent strand of the theoretical theme turns to psychological theories (Toy et al., 2001 ). For example, Castlebury et al. ( 1993 ) explore the moral reasoning research practitioners use to make ethical judgements. To do so, they compare the moral reasoning of advertising and market researchers and the general public. They find that research practitioners utilize “a level of moral reasoning that emphasizes social utility rather than personal reward” and that researchers’ moral reasoning follows that of the general population ( 1993 : 45).

Recognizing changes in the industry relations, a second strand of the theoretical theme models the relationships between the stakeholders within market research practice. Following Hunt et al. ( 1984 ), much of this work assumes that ethical dilemmas emerge from the competing interests of different stakeholders in market research (e.g. Malhotra & Peterson, 2001 ; Skinner et al., 1988 ). In this regard, Ferrell et al. ( 1998 ) use metaphors to theorize the similarities and differences between various stakeholders in relation to a code of ethics. They argue for a two-communities theorization of ethics in market research, suggesting that market research firms and data subcontractors should be considered a single community in terms of their ethical values and that this community should be distinguished from commercial research departments as a second community. It has less awareness of and enforcement of codes of ethics. Malhotra and Miller ( 1998 ) develop an integrated model setting out relations between the public, project commitments, employing firm, the industry, clients, the individual research, wider culture and respondents. These provide a context within which individual researchers work through ethical decision-making processes.

In summary, the theoretical theme assumes that commercial marketing research practice involves unique ethical decision-making not covered by general decision-making theories. Research reveals that research practitioners have consistent and distinct moral reasoning underpinning their ethical judgements and are uniquely sensitive to ethical issues and conflicts. Much like the descriptive theme, this theme is largely agnostic towards particular ethical values and ethical frameworks. It is distinguished, instead, by its psychological-focus. That is to say, rather than describing market researchers’ perceptions and attitudes, this theme aims to explain how researchers make ethical decisions. To achieve this aim, research tends to adopt a more experimental approach to test the effects of variables on researchers’ ethical decision-making.

The technical theme

The technical theme focuses on the ethical issues with research techniques, tools, data, and working practices. One stream of this literature crosses into normative research as it uses philosophical frameworks to evaluate specific techniques and tools. However, much of the research in this area evaluates ethical issues inherent to a technique or tool without relying explicitly on an ethical perspective. Kimmel ( 2001 ) and Kimmel and Smith ( 2001 ), for example, highlight issues with deceptive research practices. Signal et al. ( 2017 ), Nairn and Clarke ( 2012 ), Nairn ( 2006 ) and Ahuja et al. ( 2001 ) discuss the ethics of researching children. Phillips ( 2010 ) looks into observational techniques.

Emerging digital technologies have attracted much interest in this theme. Strother et al. ( 2009 ) discuss corporate blogging; Boyd and Crawford ( 2012 ) discuss the social consequences of big data; Nunan and Di Domenico ( 2013 ) highlight the ethics of privacy, security, and issues emerging from the volume of big data and the ability of firms to store, analyze and combine data in ways that were not covered by original informed consent; Tan and Salo ( 2023 ) discuss the block chain. Others consider the impact of digital technologies for traditional research practices and ask whether existing ethical ideas are sufficient in these new contexts and applications. Here, Hair and Clark ( 2007 ) focus on the challenges of ethnographic research in a digital context; Nunan and Di Domenico ( 2016 ) discuss the ethics of anonymization.

A prominent strand of the technical theme focuses on ethical considerations of neuromarketing (Murphy et al., 2008 ). As Bakardjieva and Kimmel ( 2017 : 182) explain: “the emergence of neuromarketing has rekindled some of the early concerns relating to the intrusiveness of physiological measurement and the potential applications of research findings”. Much of this work is informed by neuroethics. For example, Olteanu ( 2015 ) uses neuroethics to highlight neuromarketers’ responsibilities to research subjects, consumers and researchers including informed consent; enhancing public understanding of neuromarketing; assuring the public that neuromarketing is not used for manipulation.

Some studies adopt a more descriptive approach to explore attitudes towards neuromarketing. For instance, Eser et al. ( 2011 ) survey 111 marketing academics, 52 neurologists, and 56 marketing professionals with a 14-item survey asking participants to rate their agreement with statements such as “Neuromarketing techniques are ethical” and “Neuromarketing is a manipulative way to sell unnecessary goods and services”. They report that neurologists and practitioners hold a more positive view of neuromarketing than marketing academics. Hensel et al. ( 2017 ) examine the ethical dimensions of neuromarketing through 10 expert interviews with practitioners. They find agreement for 12 ethical principles as the basis of an ethical use of neuroscience within marketing including appropriate incentives, no manipulation of consumer behaviours, protection for vulnerable groups and the importance of informed consent. Bakardjieva and Kimmel ( 2017 ) conduct two online questionnaires with student samples from North America and France and find that a positive attitude towards neuromarketing and science was related to respondents classing neuromarketing as an ethical activity.

The technical theme is, then, distinguished from other approaches by an interest in understanding the ethics of particular techniques and technologies which have been or could be used within market research. The aim is to identify potential issues that might emerge through the use of certain techniques or tools. It is implicitly informed by a media and cultural studies view that sees ethical issues as inherent within a technology or technique. Work in the technical theme does not typically rely on a specific ethical framework, nor specific method other than a broadly case study approach that focuses on individual techniques and tools.

Critical analysis

There are common threads that run across the four research themes. First, there is agreement on the object of study. The four themes assume that market research practice and practitioners have unique ethical concerns and values. Second, there is agreement that the ethics of market research derive “from a researcher's relations with the parties in the research process, including respondents, clients of research agencies, clients of research departments (as in the case of large organizations), and the general public. Each of the parties is owed duties and responsibilities” (Akaah & Riordan, 1989 : 113). As Akaah writes: “To the extent that the fulfilment of these responsibilities creates a conflict, a research ethics problem arises” ( 1990 : 45). Thus, across the four themes, there is an interest in understanding the views, attitudes and ethical decision making of the public, consumers, academicians and as well as commercial marketing researchers themselves. Finally, there is agreement on the objectives of the research. The four themes share a desire to raise ethical standards in market research. In some cases, this aim is driven by pragmatic reasons, in others specific ethical frameworks. But to what extent has the literature delivered on these aims?

How to impact market research practice?

It is generally assumed that codes of ethics offer the most efficient way to affect market research practitioners’ behaviours. This means that the effectiveness of codes should be measured by the extent to which commercial marketing research practitioners follow them. Yet, research in the normative and descriptive themes show that marketing researchers’ ethical judgements often differ from those in codes and that researchers’ ethical decisions are more often influenced by other factors. Some argue that the problem is not codes per se but their content. It is essential they reflect real ethical dilemmas that practitioners actually encounter in practice. These might not be the most obvious to outsiders. This is indicated by the research. It shows that students and the general public rate protections for market research respondents more highly than market research practitioners. Equally, the most difficult ethical dilemmas practitioners encounter may not be the most frequently encountered. As Hunt et al. explain: “The most difficult ethical problem is not the same as the problem that occurs most frequently” ( 1984 : 318).

Put simply, studies of marketing research have yet to fully account for the role of codes of conduct. This is different to other areas of ethical research. The wider marketing ethics literature tells us that the real purpose of codes of ethics is to signal that a profession upholds ethical standards and, as a result, to maintain public acceptance of the practice. This is particularly true in fields such as advertising where unethical practices might benefit individual practitioners (Cluley, 2022 ; Harker, 1998 ; Boddewyn, 1989 ; Zaltman & Moorman, 1988 ; LaBarbera, 1983 ). Accordingly, codes of conduct in marketing have been theorised as an accommodation among adversaries (Kanter, 1974 ). They represent a marketing industries’ collective need to maintain public trust. But this means there can be a gap between the signalling effect of codes and their impact on practice. Codes, in other words, can serve their true purpose even if they are not followed.

To date, research on marketing ethics has little concern for theorizing codes of conduct beyond their content and effect on practitioners. It rarely questions what incentives researchers are offered for engaging in unethical practices. We need research to explore the ways codes are produced and enforced by researchers and clients, the operation of systems of redress and their utility to wider society. If the main function of a code of conduct is to support the public acceptance of market research, research also needs to establish how well codes map to wider public concerns. Notably, here, descriptive research could expand beyond its focus on market researchers and, following empirical studies in the technical theme, needs to consider wider views about controversial research practices. Research could draw on social contract theory to establish the most ethical basis on which to create codes.

Given findings about the limited effects of codes of conduct in commercial marketing research, we might need to develop a better understanding of the mechanism through which we can raise ethical standards. This raises questions for research practitioners and industry bodies as it may suggest a different role for marketing education and professional training. If ethical issues can only be resolved when stakeholders in the industry develop shared values, it is necessary to train market researchers to engage in reflective practice and to borrow for other sectors where different attitudes to ethical conflicts exist. For example, the airline industry prioritizes psychological safety and no-blame cultures to allow stakeholders to raise ethical concerns and deal with issues openly. Clearly, such changes require leadership from industry bodies and senior executives.

Are ethical practices good business?

There are almost no empirical explorations of why some market researchers engage in practices they and others deem controversial. There is a lack of studies exploring whether unethical practices produce more insightful findings or produce greater returns for research firms or their clients. It is, though, entirely possible that controversial practices produce better research.

Indeed, a vast amount of research into the ethics of commercial marketing research seeks to identify “readily discernible and easily avoidable ethical pitfalls” (Malhotra & Miller, 1998 : 264). But, as the literature has moved away from normative explorations, there is less concern for establishing what makes a research practice controversial. Practitioners have a key role to play here in driving the scholarly agenda. They can identify controversial practices but, by understanding the normative frameworks which influence their judgements, we can infer potential issues and conflicts on the horizon.

Such research has the potential to reveal unexpected ethical issues and behaviours within market research. For example, commenting in Whalen ( 1984 : 31) on a study showing a high acceptance of unethical practices, Jack Richardson, who drafted the code of ethics for the AMA’s New York Chapter, stated that “the results surprises the heck out of me…I realize this isn't the type of thing we talk about in professional conferences, but I have never even heard of some of those practices discussed, even at social functions”. More recently, Green et al. ( 2020 ) describe how research practitioners are using smartphones to access consumers' experiences in ways that challenge existing ethical conventions. In one case, they explain how a brand recruited families to record themselves (including children) consuming toothpaste at home. Granting consumers freedom to reveal their experiences in this way handed control of research design to participants and opened unforeseen ethical problems for the research practitioners.

We should expect new ethical issues will emerge and existing ethical values to become outdated (Poynter, 2021 ). But these are not necessarily the ones that scholars pay the most attention to. Hype around new research techniques can often attract academics’ attention before emerging technologies are adopted in practice. This creates a risk that scholarly resources are diverted towards new techniques and tools which, in reality, have limited adaption. The expansive literature on neuromarketing, for example, appears to have been based on the possibility, not the reality, of neuroscience within market research. We can compare this against a much more limited discussion of facial recognition and facial coding even though this technique is widely adopted in advertising testing (Cluley, 2022 ).

Indeed, research shows us that new technologies can have counterintuitive effects once adopted in commercial research practice. Cluley et al. ( 2020 ), for example, show how the adoption of data-driven marketing research, which has long been assumed to prioritize quantitative over qualitative interpretation, has actually led to a need for more “brand journalists” and fewer “quants”. This has implications for the idea that market research is centered around a scientific ethics of independence and objectivity as is often assumed in the normative literature.

Is it time for an update?

There is little doubt that the market research industry has undergone significant change since the publication of foundational accounts and theories of marketing research ethics (Lewis, 2012 ; Nunan, 2016 ). Marketing research methods have changed thanks to the rise of big data and digital technology. Industry relations and working practices have favoured automation, internationalization and outsourcing. In this regard, we cannot assume that practitioners and stakeholders are organized, act nor perceive ethical problems in the same ways as they once did. Indeed, responding to Yallop and Mowatt ( 2016 ) on behalf of the Research Association of New Zealand, Curran et al. ( 2017 ) highlight the need to update thinking. They write that descriptive studies offer “a springboard for discussion around ethical issues and practices in market research” but that we cannot assume that past studies present “an accurate picture of the current market research industry” ( 2017 : 280). We agree. In this section, we set out some pressing areas that demand attention.

Digital technology has fundamentally altered the relationships within marketing research (Cluley et al., 2020 ). This provides a route for knowledge exchange as, in responding to these issues, new relationships are being formed. For example, the Global Data Quality ( 2024 ) mission represents a partnership of marketing research associations who have come together to tackle the risks presented through artificial intelligence and machine learning. It brings together the Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC), ESOMAR, Insights Association, Market Research Society (MRS), The Research Society (TRS), SampleCon, and The Association of Market Research Austria (VMÖ)).

As we move in the age of generative AI, complex and profound new ethics questions are likely to emerge (Candelon et al., 2021 ; Oliver & Vayre, 2015 ). We are entering an age where brands may use AI systems to conduct brand journalism and desk-based research tasks rather than commissioning marketing research firms. Likewise, marketing research companies may train large language models to replace human data analysts. Data providers might generate artificial panel members using AI technology.

Marketing scholarship must document and understand these practices. It can support practice by interrogating the ethical issues that such new technologies involve in a marketing research setting. This may help avert ethical controversy, legal risks and industrial action of the kinds seen in other industries such as publishing and entertainment (Bedingfield, 2023 ). A large-scale screenwriters strike, for example, was resolved when entertainment companies changed the compensation they offer and agreed to limit the role of AI (Hastings, 2024 ; Nicoletti & Bass, 2023 ). As well as taking direct lessons from other areas, marketing scholarship needs to consider what is unique about the application of these technologies in marketing practice. The risk of cyclical, self-defeating bias in AI-generated respondents, for instance, might be relatively specific to commercial research applications (Leffer, 2023 ).

At the same time as practice is changing, new ethical concerns and new ethical frameworks have risen to prominence. The social justice movement has shifted many consumer brands’ relationship to moral issues (Peñaloza et al., 2023 ; Rhodes, 2021 ). Although socially-responsible investment has been a concern for over a century, environmental ethics have more recently inspired attention beyond financial measures such as ESG (environmental, social and governance) metrics (Székely & Knirsch, 2005 ; UN Global Compact, 2004 ). We need to explore how these concerns might affect commercial research. For example, should also research tasks include environmental impact assessments?

Posthuman ethics challenges us to consider the effects of business activity beyond human interests. They have motivated, among other things, concerns for animal welfare in production and research and a concern for understanding the role of technology in social action (Giraud, 2019 ). Existing frameworks and vocabulary may be insufficient to account for these emerging issues and ethical positions. Thinking in terms of deontological or teleological bases may have less resonance in an era of climate crisis where it is impossible to ignore the greater good (Gasparin et al., 2020 ).

To respond to these practical and theoretical challenges we need methodological innovation. It is notable, in this regard, that there are only a handful of non-survey based research studies found in this review—especially among studies published in marketing journals. Such “check-the-box” survey methods have two significant weaknesses (Sparks & Hunt, 1998 : 106). First, they can limit the practices to which participants offer their opinion. In fact, many survey-based studies only explore a small pool of research practices, frequently adapted from Crawford ( 1970 )—as Table  5 shows. Second, they may be influenced by social desirability bias. On this point, Crawford acknowledged: “There is no way of being certain that what respondents said is what they truly believe” ( 1970 : 46).

There are ways around these weaknesses. Sparks and Hunt ( 1998 ) use a vignette to prompt practitioners to identify hypothetical ethical issues. Recently, though, there has been renewed interest in examining marketing practice through ethnomethodological approaches. As Zeithaml et al. ( 2020 : 49) explain, “if the field of marketing is to continue to have relevance for the practice of marketing, we must develop ideas, concepts, and theories whose central focus is the study of marketing in its natural environment”. Technology can facilitate these approaches both insitu and remotely (Cluley & Green, 2019 ; Green et al., 2020 ). Participant observation studies, for example, in which marketing scholars go to work with practitioners, allow scholars to establish first-hand how practitioners make ethical decisions (Moeran, 2005 ). They offer an emic perspective on the ways that practitioners identify, discuss and neutralize ethical issues on the frontline of marketing work. This allows practitioners to reveal things about their work not set out by the researcher in advance (Homburg et al., 2000 ; Hult, 2011 ; Moorman & Day, 2016 ).

In short, the world of marketing research has changed, and is changing, since foundational theories have been published. We need to revisit the area with fresh empirical studies that draw on a range of methods and incorporate a range of ethical perspectives. We must be willing to test, reject and develop well-established theories. In so doing, marketing scholars can help develop market research ethics and, potentially, lead to improvements in other areas of marketing theory.

We can summarize the current state of knowledge as follows. We know that ethical issues emerge in market research due to the conflicting values of different stakeholders. These create tension and conflicts for practitioners as they design, execute and report their findings. Second, we know that some research techniques and technologies have inherent ethical issues when they are used within market research. Third, we know that codes of conduct do not offer an effective way to directly raise ethical standards in market research as they do not reflect the full range of ethical dilemmas practitioners face. Finally, we know that research practitioners’ attitudes towards controversial techniques change. They tend to homogenize, with research practitioners tending to be more ethically sensitive than the general public and demonstrate greater-levels of social-responsibilities when making ethical decisions.

In terms of what we know we do not know about the ethics of market research, there are still many uncertainties. We do not know conclusively what influences market research practitioners' ethical attitudes nor how these attitudes influence their actual behaviours. There are very few studies looking at the resolution of ethical issues nor is there much work exploring market researchers’ actual ethical decisions and behaviours. There are also uncertainties about the future of the industry, new working practices and techniques. To address these gaps, we not only need to understand and consider responsibly (Cluley & Green, 2024 ) new techniques and technology but also to find ways to study practice when research activities are increasingly dispersed among people who do not consider themselves market researchers. This work is becoming more pertinent as the market research industries have faced increasing public and commercial scrutiny in recent decades.

Here, this paper makes an important intervention. It provides a central point of reference on the ethics of market research. We have expanded beyond the normative (Hunt & Vitell, 1986 ; Laczniak, 1983 ; Laczniak & Murphy, 2006 ) and descriptive (Crawford, 1970 ; Ferrell & Gresham, 1985 ; Hunt & Vitell, 1986 ) approaches that have long been the staple in the ethical marketing decision making literature through a grounded, systematic, and holistic approach to marketing research ethics (Ferrell et al., 2013 ). Two novel approaches have emerged: Theoretical and Technical. This sets a research agenda for an integrated research project that can update and develop existing thinking. It combines disparate areas of research which have, in their own way, explored the ethics of market research.

In closing, we note the following limitations to our study. First, as with any systematic review, our results are dependent on the search terms. If we had adopted a different definition of market research or synonymous terms for ethics, we may have uncovered different literatures. We attempted to use a broad and inclusive definition of market research to expose literature from all relevant areas. Indeed, the range of literature we did uncover convinces us that, while we may have found additional contributions, the general impression of siloed discussions would not alter. Similarly, investigating further databases may have deepened the granularity of our review. One reason we adopt a systematic approach is to facilitate replication to deal with these issues.

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Blog SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content

Discover on-page SEO tips to optimize your blog content to make it organically rank and easily searchable.



Everything you need to get your website and blog ranking.

man runs an seo blog from home

Updated: 06/06/24

Published: 06/06/24

Of surveyed consumers, 56% have made a purchase from a company after reading their blog, and 10% of marketers who use blogging say it generates the biggest return on investment .

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If you’re writing a blog for a business, those stats make blog SEO a pretty big deal.

Whenever I approach a post, I keep SEO in mind — even if I’m just writing on my personal blog for fun. A strong SEO strategy helps me boost my message and connect with more engaged readers.

But what is blog SEO? And how can you optimize your blog for search engines?

Get ready for an in-depth exploration into the world of keywords, backlinks, and content optimization.

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What is blog SEO?

Does blogging help with seo.

Why does blogging improve search engine optimization

What is blog SEO strategy?

Blog seo best practices, factors that affect blog seo, how to optimize blog content for search engines, blog seo tips.

Blog SEO is the practice of creating and updating a blog to improve search engine rankings. This approach usually includes keyword research, link building, image optimization, and content writing.

Blogging helps boost SEO quality by positioning your website as a relevant answer to your customers' questions. Blog posts that use a variety of on-page SEO tactics can give you more opportunities to rank in search engines and make your site more appealing to visitors.

In my experience, optimizing my blog increased my reach.

When you optimize your web pages — including your blog posts — you’re making your website more visible to people who are using search engines (like Google) to find your product or service.

But does your blog content really help your business organically rank on search engines?

Why does blogging improve search engine optimization?

Google and other search engines use ranking factors to figure out what results come up for each search query. It also decides how to rank those results.

Blogging can help you optimize your site for important Google ranking factors like the following.

Organic Click-Through Rate

Blogging helps you create relevant content for more keywords than other kinds of pages do, which can improve your organic clicks.

For example, a person who clicks on a landing page usually has transactional intent. This means that the person is clicking because they’re ready to convert.

But, people search online for many different reasons. And a blog has the potential to answer navigational, informational, and transactional search queries.

Creating content for more types of search can increase clicks to your pages, which can improve your SEO.

Index Coverage

Google can’t rank a page that it hasn’t indexed.

Indexing means a search engine finds content and adds it to its index. Later, the page can be retrieved and displayed in the SERP when a user searches for keywords related to the indexed page.

So, it’s important to create relevant and link-worthy content to encourage Google to crawl your site pages .

One way to do this is to constantly add fresh content to your site. A blog gives you a reason to post new content to your site on a regular basis, which encourages more frequent indexing.

When other websites link to pages on your website, it shows search engines that your content is useful and authoritative.

Backlinks are a sort of peer review system online. If your blog gets backlinks from respected sites, it’s more likely that your website will rank in search results.

Because blog posts are likely to educate or inform users, they tend to attract more quality backlinks.

Internal Links

When you link from one page on your site to another, you’re creating a clear path for users to follow.

Internal links can also make it easier for people to find the content on your site they’re looking for. These links also help search engine crawlers figure out the organization of your site.

A blog creates more site pages that you can link to internally. It also gives you a chance to direct site traffic to other pages that can help your users.

For example, say I run a lawn maintenance company and offer lawn mowing services. Someone searching for a lawn mower wouldn’t find my services online because that’s not what they’re looking for (yet).

But say I write blogs about the best lawnmowers, lawn mowing challenges, or pest control for lawns. Those posts make my website easier to find.

And if someone looking for lawnmowers decides they want an easier option, they could be a good candidate for my services. I can help them visit other pages on my site through internal links.

These are just a few of the many reasons that blogging is good for SEO . Blogging lets you share useful information with your audience. It can draw new customers and engage current customers.

Creating a blog can help you build trust, boost sales and leads, and improve your search engine optimization.

Blog SEO strategy is a comprehensive plan to improve organic search results. This plan might include competitive research, keyword lists, or an optimization proposal.

Search engines make frequent updates. Business goals can change quickly too.

But it can take an average of three to six months for a post to rank on Google. Without a strategy, you might find yourself investing in your blog but not seeing a boost in SEO.

A strategy can help you measure whether your ideas and efforts are effective. It can also help you make the most of your team’s time and resources. This post can help you develop your SEO strategy if you’re not sure where to start.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of SEO in blogging, I wanted to share some best practices that I use regularly as a blogger for HubSpot. Let’s dive in.

1. Identify the target audience for your blog.

No matter what I’m writing about, I find and speak directly to the primary audience that will be reading my content. If I know who my audience is, I can better pair the right offers with my content and drive connection with my readers.

Blog SEO best practices example: Buyer persona template

This ultimately helps those images rank on the search engine's image results page.

Image alt text also makes for a better user experience (UX) . It displays inside the image container when an image can't be found or displayed. Technically, alt text is an attribute that can be added to an image tag in HTML.

Here's what a complete image tag might look like:

<img class=“wt-blog__normal-image” src=“image.jpg” alt=“image-description” title=“image tooltip”>

When you incorporate image alt text, an image's name in your blog may go from something like “IMG23940” to something accurate and descriptive, such as “puppies playing in a basket.”

how to optimize your images with image alt text for blog seo

Its URL structure — — denotes that it's an article from the Marketing section of the blog.

In this way, URL structure acts as a categorization system for readers, letting them know where they are on the website and how to access new site pages.

Search engines appreciate this, as it makes it easier for them to identify exactly what information searchers will access on different parts of your blog or website.

Pro tip: Don’t change your blog post URL after it's been published — that’s the easiest way to press the metaphorical “reset” button on your SEO efforts for that post.

If your URL is less descriptive than you’d like, or it no longer follows your brand or style guidelines, your best bet is to leave it as is. Instead, change the title of the post using the guidelines we covered earlier.

8. Organize by topic cluster.

The way most blogs are currently structured (including our own blogs, until very recently), bloggers and SEOs have worked to create individual blog posts that rank for specific keywords.

This makes things unorganized and difficult for blog visitors to find the exact information they need.

It also results in your URLs competing against one another in search engine rankings when you produce multiple blog posts about similar topics.

Here's what our blog architecture used to look like using this old playbook:

Blog SEO tip: Flowchart of HubSpot's topic cluster SEO model

Don't forget to share this post!

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The state of AI in 2023: Generative AI’s breakout year

You have reached a page with older survey data. please see our 2024 survey results here ..

The latest annual McKinsey Global Survey  on the current state of AI confirms the explosive growth of generative AI (gen AI) tools . Less than a year after many of these tools debuted, one-third of our survey respondents say their organizations are using gen AI regularly in at least one business function. Amid recent advances, AI has risen from a topic relegated to tech employees to a focus of company leaders: nearly one-quarter of surveyed C-suite executives say they are personally using gen AI tools for work, and more than one-quarter of respondents from companies using AI say gen AI is already on their boards’ agendas. What’s more, 40 percent of respondents say their organizations will increase their investment in AI overall because of advances in gen AI. The findings show that these are still early days for managing gen AI–related risks, with less than half of respondents saying their organizations are mitigating even the risk they consider most relevant: inaccuracy.

The organizations that have already embedded AI capabilities have been the first to explore gen AI’s potential, and those seeing the most value from more traditional AI capabilities—a group we call AI high performers—are already outpacing others in their adoption of gen AI tools. 1 We define AI high performers as organizations that, according to respondents, attribute at least 20 percent of their EBIT to AI adoption.

The expected business disruption from gen AI is significant, and respondents predict meaningful changes to their workforces. They anticipate workforce cuts in certain areas and large reskilling efforts to address shifting talent needs. Yet while the use of gen AI might spur the adoption of other AI tools, we see few meaningful increases in organizations’ adoption of these technologies. The percent of organizations adopting any AI tools has held steady since 2022, and adoption remains concentrated within a small number of business functions.

Table of Contents

  • It’s early days still, but use of gen AI is already widespread
  • Leading companies are already ahead with gen AI
  • AI-related talent needs shift, and AI’s workforce effects are expected to be substantial
  • With all eyes on gen AI, AI adoption and impact remain steady

About the research

1. it’s early days still, but use of gen ai is already widespread.

The findings from the survey—which was in the field in mid-April 2023—show that, despite gen AI’s nascent public availability, experimentation with the tools  is already relatively common, and respondents expect the new capabilities to transform their industries. Gen AI has captured interest across the business population: individuals across regions, industries, and seniority levels are using gen AI for work and outside of work. Seventy-nine percent of all respondents say they’ve had at least some exposure to gen AI, either for work or outside of work, and 22 percent say they are regularly using it in their own work. While reported use is quite similar across seniority levels, it is highest among respondents working in the technology sector and those in North America.

Organizations, too, are now commonly using gen AI. One-third of all respondents say their organizations are already regularly using generative AI in at least one function—meaning that 60 percent of organizations with reported AI adoption are using gen AI. What’s more, 40 percent of those reporting AI adoption at their organizations say their companies expect to invest more in AI overall thanks to generative AI, and 28 percent say generative AI use is already on their board’s agenda. The most commonly reported business functions using these newer tools are the same as those in which AI use is most common overall: marketing and sales, product and service development, and service operations, such as customer care and back-office support. This suggests that organizations are pursuing these new tools where the most value is. In our previous research , these three areas, along with software engineering, showed the potential to deliver about 75 percent of the total annual value from generative AI use cases.

In these early days, expectations for gen AI’s impact are high : three-quarters of all respondents expect gen AI to cause significant or disruptive change in the nature of their industry’s competition in the next three years. Survey respondents working in the technology and financial-services industries are the most likely to expect disruptive change from gen AI. Our previous research shows  that, while all industries are indeed likely to see some degree of disruption, the level of impact is likely to vary. 2 “ The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier ,” McKinsey, June 14, 2023. Industries relying most heavily on knowledge work are likely to see more disruption—and potentially reap more value. While our estimates suggest that tech companies, unsurprisingly, are poised to see the highest impact from gen AI—adding value equivalent to as much as 9 percent of global industry revenue—knowledge-based industries such as banking (up to 5 percent), pharmaceuticals and medical products (also up to 5 percent), and education (up to 4 percent) could experience significant effects as well. By contrast, manufacturing-based industries, such as aerospace, automotives, and advanced electronics, could experience less disruptive effects. This stands in contrast to the impact of previous technology waves that affected manufacturing the most and is due to gen AI’s strengths in language-based activities, as opposed to those requiring physical labor.

Responses show many organizations not yet addressing potential risks from gen AI

According to the survey, few companies seem fully prepared for the widespread use of gen AI—or the business risks these tools may bring. Just 21 percent of respondents reporting AI adoption say their organizations have established policies governing employees’ use of gen AI technologies in their work. And when we asked specifically about the risks of adopting gen AI, few respondents say their companies are mitigating the most commonly cited risk with gen AI: inaccuracy. Respondents cite inaccuracy more frequently than both cybersecurity and regulatory compliance, which were the most common risks from AI overall in previous surveys. Just 32 percent say they’re mitigating inaccuracy, a smaller percentage than the 38 percent who say they mitigate cybersecurity risks. Interestingly, this figure is significantly lower than the percentage of respondents who reported mitigating AI-related cybersecurity last year (51 percent). Overall, much as we’ve seen in previous years, most respondents say their organizations are not addressing AI-related risks.

2. Leading companies are already ahead with gen AI

The survey results show that AI high performers—that is, organizations where respondents say at least 20 percent of EBIT in 2022 was attributable to AI use—are going all in on artificial intelligence, both with gen AI and more traditional AI capabilities. These organizations that achieve significant value from AI are already using gen AI in more business functions than other organizations do, especially in product and service development and risk and supply chain management. When looking at all AI capabilities—including more traditional machine learning capabilities, robotic process automation, and chatbots—AI high performers also are much more likely than others to use AI in product and service development, for uses such as product-development-cycle optimization, adding new features to existing products, and creating new AI-based products. These organizations also are using AI more often than other organizations in risk modeling and for uses within HR such as performance management and organization design and workforce deployment optimization.

AI high performers are much more likely than others to use AI in product and service development.

Another difference from their peers: high performers’ gen AI efforts are less oriented toward cost reduction, which is a top priority at other organizations. Respondents from AI high performers are twice as likely as others to say their organizations’ top objective for gen AI is to create entirely new businesses or sources of revenue—and they’re most likely to cite the increase in the value of existing offerings through new AI-based features.

As we’ve seen in previous years , these high-performing organizations invest much more than others in AI: respondents from AI high performers are more than five times more likely than others to say they spend more than 20 percent of their digital budgets on AI. They also use AI capabilities more broadly throughout the organization. Respondents from high performers are much more likely than others to say that their organizations have adopted AI in four or more business functions and that they have embedded a higher number of AI capabilities. For example, respondents from high performers more often report embedding knowledge graphs in at least one product or business function process, in addition to gen AI and related natural-language capabilities.

While AI high performers are not immune to the challenges of capturing value from AI, the results suggest that the difficulties they face reflect their relative AI maturity, while others struggle with the more foundational, strategic elements of AI adoption. Respondents at AI high performers most often point to models and tools, such as monitoring model performance in production and retraining models as needed over time, as their top challenge. By comparison, other respondents cite strategy issues, such as setting a clearly defined AI vision that is linked with business value or finding sufficient resources.

The findings offer further evidence that even high performers haven’t mastered best practices regarding AI adoption, such as machine-learning-operations (MLOps) approaches, though they are much more likely than others to do so. For example, just 35 percent of respondents at AI high performers report that where possible, their organizations assemble existing components, rather than reinvent them, but that’s a much larger share than the 19 percent of respondents from other organizations who report that practice.

Many specialized MLOps technologies and practices  may be needed to adopt some of the more transformative uses cases that gen AI applications can deliver—and do so as safely as possible. Live-model operations is one such area, where monitoring systems and setting up instant alerts to enable rapid issue resolution can keep gen AI systems in check. High performers stand out in this respect but have room to grow: one-quarter of respondents from these organizations say their entire system is monitored and equipped with instant alerts, compared with just 12 percent of other respondents.

3. AI-related talent needs shift, and AI’s workforce effects are expected to be substantial

Our latest survey results show changes in the roles that organizations are filling to support their AI ambitions. In the past year, organizations using AI most often hired data engineers, machine learning engineers, and Al data scientists—all roles that respondents commonly reported hiring in the previous survey. But a much smaller share of respondents report hiring AI-related-software engineers—the most-hired role last year—than in the previous survey (28 percent in the latest survey, down from 39 percent). Roles in prompt engineering have recently emerged, as the need for that skill set rises alongside gen AI adoption, with 7 percent of respondents whose organizations have adopted AI reporting those hires in the past year.

The findings suggest that hiring for AI-related roles remains a challenge but has become somewhat easier over the past year, which could reflect the spate of layoffs at technology companies from late 2022 through the first half of 2023. Smaller shares of respondents than in the previous survey report difficulty hiring for roles such as AI data scientists, data engineers, and data-visualization specialists, though responses suggest that hiring machine learning engineers and AI product owners remains as much of a challenge as in the previous year.

Looking ahead to the next three years, respondents predict that the adoption of AI will reshape many roles in the workforce. Generally, they expect more employees to be reskilled than to be separated. Nearly four in ten respondents reporting AI adoption expect more than 20 percent of their companies’ workforces will be reskilled, whereas 8 percent of respondents say the size of their workforces will decrease by more than 20 percent.

Looking specifically at gen AI’s predicted impact, service operations is the only function in which most respondents expect to see a decrease in workforce size at their organizations. This finding generally aligns with what our recent research  suggests: while the emergence of gen AI increased our estimate of the percentage of worker activities that could be automated (60 to 70 percent, up from 50 percent), this doesn’t necessarily translate into the automation of an entire role.

AI high performers are expected to conduct much higher levels of reskilling than other companies are. Respondents at these organizations are over three times more likely than others to say their organizations will reskill more than 30 percent of their workforces over the next three years as a result of AI adoption.

4. With all eyes on gen AI, AI adoption and impact remain steady

While the use of gen AI tools is spreading rapidly, the survey data doesn’t show that these newer tools are propelling organizations’ overall AI adoption. The share of organizations that have adopted AI overall remains steady, at least for the moment, with 55 percent of respondents reporting that their organizations have adopted AI. Less than a third of respondents continue to say that their organizations have adopted AI in more than one business function, suggesting that AI use remains limited in scope. Product and service development and service operations continue to be the two business functions in which respondents most often report AI adoption, as was true in the previous four surveys. And overall, just 23 percent of respondents say at least 5 percent of their organizations’ EBIT last year was attributable to their use of AI—essentially flat with the previous survey—suggesting there is much more room to capture value.

Organizations continue to see returns in the business areas in which they are using AI, and they plan to increase investment in the years ahead. We see a majority of respondents reporting AI-related revenue increases within each business function using AI. And looking ahead, more than two-thirds expect their organizations to increase their AI investment over the next three years.

The online survey was in the field April 11 to 21, 2023, and garnered responses from 1,684 participants representing the full range of regions, industries, company sizes, functional specialties, and tenures. Of those respondents, 913 said their organizations had adopted AI in at least one function and were asked questions about their organizations’ AI use. To adjust for differences in response rates, the data are weighted by the contribution of each respondent’s nation to global GDP.

The survey content and analysis were developed by Michael Chui , a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute and a partner in McKinsey’s Bay Area office, where Lareina Yee is a senior partner; Bryce Hall , an associate partner in the Washington, DC, office; and senior partners Alex Singla and Alexander Sukharevsky , global leaders of QuantumBlack, AI by McKinsey, based in the Chicago and London offices, respectively.

They wish to thank Shivani Gupta, Abhisek Jena, Begum Ortaoglu, Barr Seitz, and Li Zhang for their contributions to this work.

This article was edited by Heather Hanselman, an editor in the Atlanta office.

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