Research Paper Topics

By definition a research paper requires the writer to learn a great deal about their subject, so it is always a good practice to select a topic that truly interests you before you begin gathering sources.  If you are interested in your topic, learning about it will be more pleasurable and you will write with greater passion, so choose your topic thoughtfully.  Use the following list of 101 research paper topics as a starting point for your paper.  As you begin learning and writing about your topic, you should revise or amend your research question or thesis statement to better match the information that you are interpreting, analyzing, and expressing.  Let your interest guide you.  If you’re not having fun learning and writing about your topic, perhaps you should pick one that interests you more.


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101 Research Paper Topics

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

I hope this list will help you choose a topic for your research paper.  Remember that these ideas should be used as a starting point; you will have to make these topics your own during the writing and research process.  Don’t be afraid to alter and revise your thesis or research question to better match your interests or to align with your research.  Would you like to suggest a research paper topic?  Leave it in the comments below.

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334 Comments

  1. adish

     /  September 2, 2014

    Would you help me writng research about the black American community….u can write about any topic conserning abt them..if u can tel me

    Reply
    • Hm… I’m no expert but I’ll try to make some suggestions. You could look at inequalities in the school system, the role of churches in African American communities, racial profiling by police officers, the role of the welfare system in undermining the family unit, or the school to prison pipeline. You could pursue a more cultural topic as well, perhaps dealing with music, dance, food, or art. I hope that helps.

      Reply
  2. Taylor

     /  September 8, 2014

    “Who is sponsored most? Monster energy or Rockstar energy?” would this be a good enough topic on a research paper?

    Reply
    • This might be difficult to research. I’m sure there’s been a lot of work done on energy drinks, however. Why don’t you just start researching energy drinks and see where the research leads you.

      Reply
  3. Tang Lee

     /  September 9, 2014

    Hello,

    I’m struggling to come up with an original or a different approach to a research topic about film remakes, particularly discussing about U.S and Asia.

    Do you have any unique topics or ideas related to that?

    Reply
    • Hmm… Not really a subject of expertise for me. Anyone else?

      Reply
    • MissusWe

       /  November 19, 2014

      What about the remake of “The Grudge”? What was the idea behind the original, what changes were done between the original and the remake?

      Reply
  4. Jasmine

     /  September 22, 2014

    Another interesting and pretty broad topic would be the JFK assassination

    Reply
  5. lindy

     /  September 27, 2014

    Hi everyone

    Please help, i nned to write a research proposal and I am stuck :-( I want to write about OutSourcing but the topic is so braod and there as so many articles written about this that I am afraid that my work will end up not being original. Any ideas on how I can naroow it down?
    Sincerely
    Lindy (Sweden)

    Reply
    • Well, it’s been said that there’s nothing new under the sun. I don’t entirely agree with this notion, but the idea is that most things have been said before. What’s important then is the way that you say these things. If you are interested in the topic of outsourcing, begin reading and learning about it. The rest of it will fall into place once you develop your knowledge on the subject.

      Best wishes!

      Morton

      Reply
    • donns

       /  October 23, 2014

      You could approach this is a couple of ways. If you want to take an economical view of it you can approach it from one of two very conflicting views. Economically 1. the down fall of many American companies and the stagnate growth to the current US economy 2. Approach it for the cost savings the US business realizes due to out sourcing because of lower wages, lower over head, lower attrition, etc. The benefits of what it brings to do this but also recognizing the drawbacks to the consumer. The issue of out sourcing often presents companies with foreign interstate issues not to mention the non local stigma it brings to the old timers. also, if you have ever contacted a company who has their customer service outsourced most often to places like india and other places the language barrier is terrible to the avg consumer. For a while outsourcing things as human resources, health care, customer care , support and service was a hot niche. But for the most part it complicates a lot of business decisions whether it be in the area of customer satisfaction, reach ability,tax laws, operating laws, and not to mention implications posed by what we termed as flip chart customer service. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. collette

     /  October 2, 2014

    Hi I’m in my 2nd year degree on health and social care, I have to do a presentation and essay on finding 2 research papers and critiquing them but struggling to find a topic. I was thinking on something to do with drug and alcohol abuse, please could you help

    Reply
    • Hmm… I don’t suggest abusing drugs and alcohol just because you have a project due. It would probably be more constructive to work on your project.

      Just joking. Ha ha. Ok, how about researching the efficacy of court ordered drug and alcohol treatment. In other words, can people reform when they are ordered to by the state?

      I hope that helps,
      Morton

      Reply
    • donns

       /  October 23, 2014

      drugs and alcohol is a tired subject…it has been done over and over and if you want to tackle a controversial subject…try to illustrate just how little people know including those who approved Obama care. Try to find evidence supporting the plan and tear into it. There are tons of of published data and research information on this. or find someone who agrees with it and challenge yourself to prove that they really don’t understand the million page health care no better than those who are selling it as good for the people. I mean if you standardize insurance…..his plan states you standardize human input and rationale. Any male who would pay for maternity services like a female with no option to change because its a standard coverage is selling themselves short on what health care should be.And taking the medical diagnosis out of the hands of a dr…and putting them in the hands of some medical analysts to decide what health care service is acceptable to my 75 year old father who has heart problems based on life expectancy. Sounds to me if you can’t determine males don’t need maternity insurance…are you really that confident they need managed standard coverage who have the say on appropriate treatment for yourself or loved ones. That is a topic you could actually learn from and educate others on. Also, Ebola is such a new disease to our generation. find the policies and essays on health care workers and safety. Since their was a break down it would be a good way to clear up some of the confusion on who, what, and how one can get ebola ….and is it worth the panic of an epidemic as some have done….or is it more volitile than we really know. There is not much you can say about drugs and alcohol abuse that has not been said. Be creative and that is what will make you stand out …you are smart and want to do good because you asked….be confident and tackle something controversial that you might actually help educate people on ..and when people take something they learned away from your work…you will forever be a part of that person and when you make an impact that is when you will feel good about everything you believe and do.

      Reply
  7. Lindy

     /  October 6, 2014

    Me again :-)
    Thank you for your reply!
    So i took your advise and found something to write that i am passionate about…
    School uniform- the problem is that I have to angle the research project so that it is business related so I decided on BRANDING!
    The problem is, how do I turn this into a research proposal?

    I was thinking along the lines of comparing sportsclubs and their marketing strategies to the marketing strategies of schools.. But am I going off track?

    School uniforms are not allowed in Sweden but I though instead of the traditional “school uniform” a school can brand gym clothes school bags and other merchandise…

    But once again how do i present this as a research proposal?

    Is this topic even interesting?

    Any ideas on how I can make this appealing and more focused on business?

    Thank you for your time

    Sincerely
    Lindy

    Reply
    • Hello again.

      It’s sounds like you are divided.
      If you want to focus on business,
      I think that you should toss out the
      school uniform stuff and just focus on branding.

      Branding is a cornerstone of business.

      I am not really knowledgeable enough on the subject
      to give you a good proposal, but I can tell that there’s
      meat on that bone from a distance.

      What I mean is that you should research the topic
      of branding, even informally on just web pages or whatever,

      read an article or two, and you’ll begin to narrow in on
      suitable proposal that is interesting to you.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  8. Amanda

     /  October 20, 2014

    Is there to much pressure on girls to have a perfect body image?

    Reply
  9. donns

     /  October 23, 2014

    Mr. Morton…a good idea for you might be to come up with a research paper on how to select a topic, and basically lay it out like any other subject you would write about. that would be a good piece of information to pass along to some of these people who cannot begin to write something if they are not either passionate about it, interested in it, knowledgeable on it, and take it from the braininstorming down to the all the in’s and out, and how to quote resources, how to use different types of notations and interpreting quotes ..all the way from the thesis type open, content and layout, paragraphs, closing arguments or closing statements..research and resource citing, and brainstorming…that would be an awesome tool for you.

    Reply
  10. jess

     /  November 3, 2014

    Hello everyone. Ok so I am in a college English class and for our final we have to do a research paper which is worth 200 points! I have written so many papers in my life I have enough to fill a couple trash bags, literally! I am just so stuck and have no idea what to write my final paper on. I could use all the help I can get.
    Thanks everyone!

    Reply
  11. yashika sharma

     /  November 10, 2014

    Hello,
    I am a college student and i am supposed to research and write around 30 page report can you please help me with choosing an easy and interesting topic that can complete the 30 page condition ?

    Reply
  12. lucille

     /  November 14, 2014

    What topic is appropriate in writing research related about electrical engineering? Please. I need some opinion.

    Reply
  13. ♫Marisol ♥ Romero♫ (6th grade)

     /  November 15, 2014

    another topic could be “can butterflies really die from someone touching it’s wings?”

    Reply
  14. Katie

     /  November 16, 2014

    Mr. Morton,

    I really wanted to write a paper on the first one (why do we sleep) but i’m not sure where I could find information on it. Got any ideas?

    Reply
  15. Tanina Cienfuegos

     /  November 18, 2014

    I really want to write my research paper on a topic surrounding the death penalty, but I am having a really hard time coming up with a research question/thesis. Help? Thanks!

    Reply
    • I think that you need to research more. If you have a general topic in mind, just start learning more about it. Your research question will come to shape.

      Reply
  16. Evans

     /  November 18, 2014

    Hi! I’m evans ,a political science student specializing in political theory and systems. I fully understand that the topic that i should use in my research should be based on my own personal interest for me to be motivated in doing it. I just want to ask if ever you can give me any suggestion of any political topic that captures your interest. I just want to have many options for me to choose from.. :)

    Reply
    • I’m sorry. I don’t consider myself knowledgeable on that topic. Perhaps visitors to this site can provide more insight into the topic.

      Reply
  17. Paige

     /  December 2, 2014

    I’m trying to get an idea for my senior research project, and I want to do something I don’t know anything about. My three choices are “Tough Love,” the Black Plague in Europe, or desert mirages. Which one should I do?

    Reply
  18. Hana

     /  December 3, 2014

    Good day!

    I’m a first year college student and my prof required us to make our term paper within the end of this semester. And she want us to give her at least 3 interested topic before we can start our term paper, but I’m afraid that I haven’t give her any interested topic. I’m hoping for your advice, please! Thank you!

    Reply
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