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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

By:  

  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 tornadoes?
  77. Why did Martin 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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922 Comments

  1. nanthinee

     /  September 22, 2013

    I’m starting a research project for business management and my topic based own my own interest…it suppose to be connected with business. iam planning to do game industry.. Any ideas of what I could use as my research question for my topic?

    Reply
    • Yeah, I don’t really know too much about that. Maybe compare and contrast management styles at small and large game design companies, like Rockstar versus an independent. Or, perhaps more relevant, analyze why Zynga has eroded.

      Reply
  2. preety

     /  September 17, 2013

    okay , so I want to go with why we sleep ? or with looking at the whole idea of suicide but don’t know what question to ask … maybe why we commit suicide or causes of it … But the problem is I don’t know what sites to use since I am in a research methods class , I need a good source for a website and articles by scholars . Please help ??? 🙂

    Reply
    • If you’re at a university, you should try JSTOR or Project Muse, otherwise you’ll have to work with Google I suppose. They also have these places called libraries that people used to go to like one hundred years ago. You might want to try there too.

      Reply
  3. jed

     /  September 13, 2013

    Hi sir i love how u r helping us as students..am a student 3rd year to b precise in kenya and about to do my project in peace and conflict studies pliz suggest a good topic for me

    Reply
  4. John

     /  August 11, 2013

    Finding the research question is easy!

    First:
    Think of an interesting point that seems unusual to you.
    Eg. Why don’t 100% of students smile in the morning?

    Second:
    Brainstorm reasons why they might not smile.
    Eg. They didn’t eat breakfast? They walked to school with no shoes? They don’t like school? They don’t like their school uniform? They are smiling, but we are not seeing it?

    Third:
    Choose one possible reason to see what connection it has to the unusual point and make it into a question.
    Eg. What percentage of students don’t smile in the morning because of a lack of footwear?

    Fourth:
    Set up the structure you need to find the answer.
    Eg. Questionnaire to enough students. Observations in the morning, and possible on the spot questions. Chats/interviews with teachers. Journals? Blind studies requesting students DO NOT do that specific thing, and then interview them later to find out the results… etc…

    So for example on this one:
    “I was to choose my topic about the effects of social networking site to the obscure expression of the youth”

    1) Young generation have weird facial expressions
    2) Possible causes could be TV, video games, unknown, new fashions, food, modern life (eg. staying indoors more, – need to define the qualities better…), social media.
    3) Make question- “………..?”
    4) Think of necessary tools that you will need to use to collect your data.
    5) Think about how to structure your essay to present your results in a natural discovery manner.

    Reply
  5. gladys

     /  July 28, 2013

    please suggest topics in the areas of smallholder agriculture and risk management for small and medium enterprises.Thanks.

    Reply
  6. Winston Okong'o

     /  June 15, 2013

    What are the benefits and hazards of medical marijuana?

    Reply
  7. Osman Yasin

     /  May 21, 2013

    kindly i would like to write Somalia conflict which still during civil ware but our people has no government and basic life for international stander. please help and support Somalia .

    Reply
  8. jasper celoso

     /  May 17, 2013

    i wanted to make a research paper about teaching but i don’t know what site i’m going

    Reply
  9. Jan Pau

     /  May 14, 2013

    Hi! I’m having a dfficulty in finding a topic for my thesis. The thing is, I don’t have any idea about a thesis, I’m 15!

    It’s a school requirement. I will only graduate highschool if I conducted a meaningful analysis. The thing is, it should be quantitative and I don’t have any idea how to identify quantity and quality!

    Please! HELP!

    Reply
  10. PRISCILLA

     /  May 12, 2013

    Hi, for my college communications class, we are required to write a research paper. Currently I am considering between Reincarnation and religion and Euthanasia. Which would you recommend? Thanks so much.

    Reply
  11. tiffany

     /  May 10, 2013

    Hello,

    I have a research papercoming up and need to give my professor 4 working thesis statements/questions . LEt me know your thoughts please and where I could go with them. each need to be 15-25 pgs.

    1 Nelson Mandela (not sure whereto take this one but i’ve always wantedto learn more about his life and accomplishments)
    2. How world hunger effects those in surrounding areas
    3. Human Trafficking
    4. The Holocaust

    Reply
  12. Bib

     /  May 1, 2013

    Hi, Sir! I am from Malaysia, and am starting doing a research paper. Any suggestions of research topic related to education? Thanks.

    Reply
  13. Hazel

     /  April 27, 2013

    Hi, I was to choose my topic about the effects of social networking site to the obscure expression of the youth and I was having a problem to form my research question.. can you help me?

    Reply
    • Why don’t you start by researching the effects of social networking sites on children and young adults and see where the research takes you. Best wishes!

      Reply
  14. Wambui Karanja

     /  April 26, 2013

    Hi,
    I’m interested in customer relationship management, how can I narrow this to a topic.

    Reply
  15. MkDeaustria

     /  April 16, 2013

    I’m about to start my research project and I have no idea of which topic should I pick. I wanted to pick a topic related to math, physics or movies. Could you please suggest me an interesting topic?

    Reply
    • You’ve got some broad ideas. Why don’t you research a specific law or theory that interests you?

      Reply
      • donns

         /  October 23, 2014

        Divinci Code….it’s kind of math science numbers related..and its a movie. haaa

        Reply
  16. Anas

     /  April 15, 2013

    hi Mr.Morton.I’m an undergraduate student and I’m looking for research topics. I’m interested in
    a. semiotics
    b.visual communications
    c. rhetoric art in children’s book
    I’m not really sure what is the best topic for me and plus i cannot narrow them down..can you give me a few suggestions?

    Reply
    • Your first two topics are too broad. They are entire subjects on which many texts and classes have been taught. I am interested in your third topic. Perhaps you could apply it to a specific text?

      Reply
  17. Patti Schrimscher

     /  April 9, 2013

    I once done a research paper called “Paperclips vs. Staples” in the workplace. I also took a poll at work to see which was preferred there since they are used everyday. Paperclips won by a long shot. When we received papers with staples, we had to removed them. Sometimes that can be very challenging. You can also get harmed by them. Especially the very large ones. Paperclips you just slide off of the paper.

    Reply
  18. Maria F.

     /  April 2, 2013

    Im starting a research paper for my english class and im interested in writing about body language but im not sure if I will find enough information for 10 pages, pleaseee help!

    Reply
  19. Heya

     /  April 2, 2013

    I need to develop a research proposal in response to a business related problem within the service or tourism industry. I’m stuck! Any ideas??

    Reply
  20. anita

     /  March 31, 2013

    Hi, i am a college student and i have been asked to write a 6-8 pages research paper on changes that have occurred in the last 30years. now these changes have to be substantive and measurable which means i cannot just write anything based on my taste,art or fashion. I also have to compare and contrast the state of my subject 20-30years ago to its present stage. i was thinking of technology but that might be too broad for 6-8 pages. please help me

    Reply
  21. Lorik

     /  March 27, 2013

    Hi,

    I am having hard to find any idea of my research topic about technology, could you please tell me any idea of topics, respectively in networking or mobile networking or anything that is with networking and mobile and Internet. Can you help me with any advice.

    Reply
    • That’s an interesting field. How about researching how mobile computing is supplanting the home computer market?

      Reply
    • donns

       /  October 23, 2014

      look up a guy named Kevin Mitnik, he is the reformed hacker who spent time in prison. One of the best computer crime experts and now makes his living helping CIA and also has a security consulting business that he gets to legally use his skill. He has three books. the art of intrusion, the art of deception, and ghost in the wires. He explains hacking game machines at the casinos and broke into Nokia and IBM. But he offers so much now in how to protect yourself, and he also tells you that in order for you to protect yourself and catch people like this you have to know how to do it. He is a really a good resource. Also, the annonymous hacker group who uses political and social activist as a way to thwart their common practices. They are good and are known to be the group who wears the vendetta mask. They are responsible for the wiki leaks stuff, and generally most things that they have done in the way of hacking and technology crime is supported by a belief that some higher up or organization is wronging another maybe less able to fight person or company.

      Reply
  22. ANGELLITA DRAYTON

     /  March 23, 2013

    i am needing to write a paper on teenage pregnancy. can u help me narrow that to an expository research topic

    Reply
  23. Katherine H.

     /  March 21, 2013

    I want to do a research paper on organized crime. I want to focus on Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel. How should I go about writing that kind of research paper?

    Reply
  24. ikhlas

     /  March 20, 2013

    Hi,

    i am writing a research about the portayal of woman in american literature.Can u help me with any advice.Thanks

    Reply
    • Seems like an incredibly broad topic. You’ll have to narrow it down. Perhaps compare and contrast the portrayal of women in two novels, maybe Sister Carrie and The Awakening?

      Reply
  25. Sarah

     /  March 19, 2013

    I’m about to begin writing a research paper and was wanting to write about body languages or something in the forensic sciences. Do you have any ideas?

    Reply
    • I think it’d be pretty easy to write a paper about body language. There is an abundance of material on the subject, and it’s an interesting topic. If you need to narrow the topic down, perhaps focus on a specific aspect of body language, like common body signals that indicate that someone is lying, or attracted to someone and so forth. Best wishes!

      Reply
  26. Alyssa

     /  March 18, 2013

    Hello! I’ve been looking for topics to research related to mental illnesses for my English project. I don’t want it to be exact research of mental illnesses, but things similar to well known, or not very well known illnesses, and things relating to mental institutions. I’m mainly focusing on teens. Thanks!

    Reply
    • That’s an interesting topic. I’d examine how society is dealing with mental illness in impoverished people. It seems to me that jails have become the de facto mental institutions, and surely there is something to be said about that. Best wishes!

      Reply
  27. Kennedy Stuart

     /  March 18, 2013

    I want to do a research paper on MMA….Can anyone help with ideas? Please and thanks!

    Reply
    • I would explore attempts to ban mixed martial arts fighting and how they have influenced the evolution of the sport, including the addition of rules and weight classes. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  28. Katherine

     /  March 13, 2013

    Hi! i am having a problem in selecting a research. Topic.I have selected the following topics.Kindly tell me which one is better and what modifications should I make.
    1-How yellow journalism affects the perception of people in developing countries
    2-Increase in Yellow journalism
    3-Yellow Journalism in all part of world divides people in thinking.

    Reply
  29. Ninna

     /  March 12, 2013

    I want to write something about Renaissance in Europe. Can someone help me with the topic, pealse ?? 🙂

    Reply
    • The Renaissance in Europe is too large of a topic. Begin by isolating something interesting to you: art, philosophy, disease, military conscription etc., and / or narrow by region or country. Perhaps this may lead to a specific person and maybe a specific part of that person’s life. In any event, you must hone in on your interests.

      Reply
  30. Nicole

     /  March 5, 2013

    In preparing for a research paper I was asked to list 6-8 topics that I find interesting. The one topic that I am interested in most is gymnastics. But how could I turn that into a research paper? I was thinking maybe something along the lines of ‘How does a gymnasts body differ from everyone elses?’ as in their joints (double-jointed?) and shape of their spines.

    Reply
    • There are a lot of different ways that you could go. One interesting topic might be a compare and contrast style analysis of different Olympic training programs: Russia, China, America, etc. I’m not too knowledgeable about your topic, but anything that you can find research on is a workable topic. Best wishes!

      Reply
  31. Saba

     /  March 4, 2013

    hi :))
    you have a nice collection of topics but If I want to write a research paper about a subject how come I can find all the answers or articles available on the net ,, I mean isn’t suppose to be a ” new ” discussion with new info ,,, and how can I make my paper worth ??
    Regards

    Reply
    • As a college professor of mine once told me: writing a research paper is like joining in a conversation at a party. You sort of “listen” to what the other people have to say, and then join in and try to add something new at the end. I agree with him.

      Reply
  32. Lauren

     /  March 4, 2013

    I’m in the process of trying to come up with a good topic for a Synthesis/research paper…I want to do something with music and the media….any ideas?

    Reply
  33. Phuong

     /  March 3, 2013

    This year i have to do a research paper at my college. I have got an idea for this but i’m not sure whether it is good enough. pls can you narrow down for me if it’s too general. (my quantity requirement of this project is about 2000 words)
    ” how busy parents affect their childs under the age of 5 in Viet Nam”.

    Reply
    • That sounds like an interesting topic. By focusing on Vietnam, however, you may be limiting your research base. Perhaps try searching for the effects of two working parents on children, and then develop a regional focus if you find the available sources. Best wishes!

      Reply
  34. Blair

     /  March 3, 2013

    Hi Mr Morton. I’ve found your list incredibly helpful however as part of my honours program at school we have to choose a topic for a yearlong research project in which we’re aided by a mentor, professional in their chosen field. I’ve narrowed my potential areas to: Body Language, Fashion, Crime Investigation (Legal and Philosophical Aspects, Philosophy (I know, exceptionally broad) and Time Travel. Any ideas or suggestions you have about the above topics would be much appreciated! Thank you.

    Reply
    • Well, it’s really going to be an issue of interest, since you will have to sift through many texts to become knowledgeable about your topic. Additionally, you’ll want to consider available research: though time travel is an interesting topic, you may have difficultly locating reliable sources. If you want my opinion, however, I suggest that you choose body language, as understanding this topic is immediately helpful pretty much everywhere.

      Reply
  35. Samuel Njiiru

     /  March 1, 2013

    I am a college student and I am undertaking a community development course ,I am supposed to do a research and am thinkig about resaervhing on why do women never vote for a woman candidate besides their bigger number in populayion as compared to men. Please I need an advice

    Reply
    • Well, your thesis is inherently sexist and seems to be flawed. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had an intense runoff in the Democratic Primary race of 2008. But don’t let my views taint your ambition. You may have difficulty locating sources for your topic, but if it is of great interest to you, I’m sure that there are some works out there about this issue. Best wishes!

      Reply
  36. Kerrie Z

     /  February 26, 2013

    I was wondering if you had any tips or lessons for teaching note taking skills for middle school?

    Reply
    • Yes. Write down what the teacher writes down. 😀 I have no such study skills resources, but would like to add some in the future. I will keep you posted if I do. Best wishes!

      Reply
  37. Rita

     /  February 17, 2013

    This page is great , I am supposed to do a research paper on the choice of my own, from the above list i have chosen how airport security intensified after sept 11.

    Any more tips how to go about collecting data , Thanks Rita.

    Reply
    • That sounds great. You surely could use traditional research sources: article databases, published texts, etc. But since this subject is so intimate and memorable to Americans over the age of 21, you may want to conduct some interview too. That would be fun way to connect with people and collect first-hand information.

      Reply
  38. isabelle

     /  February 13, 2013

    I’m starting a research project and my topic is on the moon landing conspiracy theories. Any ideas of what I could use as my research question for my topic?

    Reply
  39. i am trying to find a great topic for a research paper. something alngthe lines of crime scene investigation. please help me

    Reply
  40. Abeer

     /  February 10, 2013

    hi! im from arab country. i want to start my project on research writing .. but i dont know what topic im gonna to choose ????
    can any one help me …. pls
    i want an intresting subjcut that when you read the topice ,it must makes you intrested to read…. thanks

    Reply
  41. Josh

     /  February 5, 2013

    Hi I love your page and got some great ideas from it and from the comments posted. Im a tech major doing a 12-15pg paper.
    My number 1topic choice is: Energy war – How does our state of energy affect our daily life? What is alternative energy and how does it work?
    And the #2 is: The universe – How do black holes, stars, pulsars…etc form? What are the theories out there and which have been proven/disproved?

    Any ideas or questions you could add to either of those 2 topics? Or any way to refine them or could I even combine the 2 topics? Thank you very much!

    Reply
    • I got one: how can we harness the energy from black holes to power our toasters? Just playing. Those topics seem rather disparate, but I’m sure that you’ve figured it out by now.

      Reply
  42. I want to research a topic on the field of cosmetology. Can you check the wording and comment on the topic. How Form three (grade 10) boys in school ,consider cosmetology as a viable option for an area of study.

    Reply
    • Well, I don’t know exactly where you could go with this topic. Maybe researching the regulation / lack of regulation in the field?

      Reply
  43. Krystel

     /  February 1, 2013

    I have just started my researching project and i have no idea what topic to study, would someone please able to help me? i would like something along the lines of hospitals or child care. Ta ! 🙂

    Reply
    • I believe studying the decline of state funded mental institutions would make for an interesting topic. It seems that our country currently has no good plans for dealing with people with mental troubles and it’d be interesting to examine what approaches were used in the past and why these approaches are no longer used; however, that’s probably not the topic that you are looking for.

      Reply
  44. Ms. B

     /  January 31, 2013

    I am on a college research team (Geography) . We are brainstorming. Presently we have two ideas for our topic: Finding our place in this world. The move from childhood to an adult. What makes one an adult? and
    Should two parents work?/ The cost of two parents working.
    Either of these sounds good?

    Reply
  45. Nimkur Nimmyel

     /  January 30, 2013

    can i pls have a research work on the topic “Effects of climatic factors on maize yield”?

    Reply
  46. Austen

     /  January 27, 2013

    Do you think there is enough information about political corruption to write a research paper on?

    Reply
    • Ha. There is much too much information about this all to prevalent problem. I’d focus on a specific affair: Watergate, the XYZ affair, ex-senator Jesse Jackson’s recent scandal, or the like.

      Reply
  47. abir

     /  January 27, 2013

    the development of personal pronouns in !the grammar of 6years old bilingual! Is it a good topic!

    Reply
  48. cj

     /  January 26, 2013

    Hi Mr.Morton, can you give me suggestion of reaserch topic about food industry? thanks.!

    Reply
    • Lots of good topics here: what exactly does the term “natural” mean when it comes to food marketing. Is organic food better for you? What standards govern industrial food production?

      Reply
  49. emma:)

     /  January 25, 2013

    How about the One Child Policy in China – how has it improved life in China, but what are the costs. Here one could talk about the overaged population, more males than females, the 4-2-1 problem, et cetera. Or how do you find how language influences how we see things?
    Thanks for the list 🙂

    Reply
    • Right, and with the increases in child abductions and such. That seems like an interesting topic. Thanks for the contributions.

      Reply
  50. marie

     /  January 25, 2013

    how about topics related to international studies ??

    can you give at least one ? thanks

    Reply

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