Tired of writing about the same tired old topics like the ban on smoking in public places, the dangers of texting and driving, or gun control? Good. Your professors are tired of reading about these topics, too.
When you’re writing a research paper, you want to impress your professors with your writing skills, but you also want to offer new insights into a topic. You won’t likely be able to write anything new and enlightening about these tired old topics in only a few thousand words.
So how do you impress your professor if you think he or she has heard it all before?
To begin with, try a newer and more original topic.
Stumped for fresh ideas?
Don’t worry. This blog post contains 25 interesting research paper topics to get you started.
5 Interesting Research Paper Topics on Local Issues
True, it might take a little more effort to research local issues, but you’re up for the challenge, right?
Besides, learning and writing about the concerns of your community not only keeps you informed and involved, but also makes for a great research paper.
A great research paper means a great grade, so how can you go wrong?
To start researching local issues, head straight to local newspapers and online sources. They won’t provide all the details you’ll need to write an in-depth research essay, but they’re a good place to begin your research.
Researching local issues is also another chance for you to practice your interviewing skills. (After all, you’ll need them when you become the next host of The Tonight Show, right?) Seriously though, what better way to get the inside scoop than by interviewing the parties directly involved in the issue?
Not sure what types of local issues to research? Try one of these.
Interesting Research Paper Topic #1. Local Political Scandals
Has a local politician embezzled money, been charged with corruption, or been involved in a sizzling sex scandal?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #2: Local University Dramas
Are employees trying to form (or break) local unions? Are students fighting for lower tuition or book costs? Has the college president (or other administrator) been in the local news lately for any number of issues? Are police investigating a cheating or athletic scandal?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #3: Small Business Struggles and Triumphs
Is a small business a cornerstone in your community, and you want to research its impact on the community? Is a small business struggling due to a new big box store in the area?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #4: Local Government Issues
Should local government do more to help its citizens? Should more money be allocated to fix roads and bridges? Is the city providing adequate services such as clean water, trash pick up, safe neighborhoods, etc.?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #5. Local Public School Battles
Have students and/or teachers been involved in a sexting scandal? Are the school board and/or parents battling over a new curriculum, athletic reform, or some other topic?
5 Interesting Research Paper Topics on Health and the Environment
You can research environmental or health topics ranging from small, local and regional topics to large, global issues.
For instance, you might research the best practices of sustainable cities to explain how your own city might work to emulate them. On the other hand, you might write from a global perspective and examine sustainable cities across the world.
If you’re writing about the environment or health, you might consider one of the following topics.
Interesting Research Paper Topic #6: BPA
Due to concerns with contaminants such a BPA, are canned foods safe to eat? Should stricter regulations be in place for labeling plastics containing BPA?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #7: Hunting Carnivores
Should the practice of killing carnivorous animals (such as wolves) to protect farms and livestock be stopped? Do ranchers have a right to protect their livestock by killing wolves? What are the results of allowing wolves to thrive?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #8: Sustainable Cities
Are sustainable cities and neighborhoods really possible? What are some examples of existing sustainable cities, and what are their best practices? What steps can you take to make your community sustainable?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #9: Plastic Bags
Should plastic bags (including plastic grocery bags) be banned in all 50 states? Should grocery stores charge a fee for each plastic bag used at the checkout? What are the effects of plastic bag bans in states that have already adopted the policy?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #10: Mountaintop Removal Mining
Should mountaintop removal mining be allowed to continue? Is mountaintop removal mining an effective coal mining method? What are the impacts of this type of mining on the communities that do it?
5 Interesting Research Paper Topics on Social Issues
Social topics impact us all. If you’re writing about social issues, you will generally be writing about how the topic affects larger groups of people, such as how poverty affects an entire generation.
However, keep in mind that social issues might also focus on smaller groups, such as a city or neighborhood.
If you’re feeling a little antisocial right now, spend a few minutes Googling some of these topics to see if they might work for your research paper.
Interesting Research Paper Topic #11: High School Dropouts
What social, personal, and political concerns lead to high school dropout rates? What are possible solutions to help decrease the dropout rate?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #12: Children and Poverty
How are children affected by poverty? What can governments do to help reduce child poverty? What can you do to help reduce child poverty?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #13: Medical Rights of Youths
Should 16 and 17 year olds have the right to refuse medical treatment? At what age do people have the right to determine whether or not they receive medical treatment?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #14: Overmedication of Children
Are children being overly medicated? If so, what is the driving force behind the rise in prescriptions?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #15: Free College Education
Should a college education be free for all U.S. citizens? How are free universities in Germany and other European countries benefiting these countries and students?
5 Interesting Research Paper Topics on Law Enforcement
Researching any issue about government or laws can become overwhelming because of the complexity of the issues and even because of the wording of some laws.
Spending time to review sufficient sources (and maybe getting a little help from a political science professor) will help you understand the topic.
Here are 5 topics to get you started.
Interesting Research Paper Topic #16: Technology and the Justice System
Is ShotSpotter technology reliable? Should the surveillance technology be admissible in court?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #17: Policing U.S. Law Enforcement
Should all police officers be required to wear body cameras? Will the use of body cameras reduce police brutality, and/or will it create a safer working environment for police?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #18: Juvenile Crime and Punishment
Should solitary confinement be banned for juveniles? Should juveniles be exempt from life sentences? Should juveniles be punished as adults for certain types of crimes?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #19: Incarceration Rates in the U.S.
What factors have led to increasing incarceration rates? How has this affected the U.S. economically and socially?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #20: License Plate Readers
Are license plate readers an invasion of privacy? Or, are these readers a necessary tool for law enforcement?
5 Interesting Research Paper Topics on Media, Social Media, and Advertising
As with anything involving media, social media, and advertising, watch out for biased and inaccurate information.
People like to share their opinions on such topics through forums, blogs, and their own websites. You know the type: the guy or gal who does nothing but blog all day long about the newest movie, the newest XBox game, or even the funniest Super Bowl commercial.
Though reading some anonymous blog that includes a glowing review of Grand Theft Auto and reading another that includes a scathing criticism of the sexism in the game might inspire some creative thought, you shouldn’t consider them credible research sources.
So remember, as you’re researching, make sure to look for credible resources. (Read How to Apply the CRAAP Test to Your Essay Sources.)
Not sure where to begin to look for ideas for media-related topics? You start with these.
Interesting Research Paper Topic #21: Business Exploitation of Social Media Profiles
Are teens (or adults) concerned that their use of social media is being exploited for profit by large companies? How do these new marketing strategies affect consumers and consumerism?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #22: Social Media and Self-Esteem
Can the use of social media, such as Facebook, lower teens’ e-sports be recognized as college sports? Can a sport that requires little physical ability really be considered a sport?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #24: Advertising in Schools
Should corporate advertising be allowed in public schools? Does corporate advertising provide much needed revenue to schools with limited federal funding?
Interesting Research Paper Topic #25: Advertising and Stereotypes
How does advertising perpetuate gender and/or racial stereotypes? Are ad campaigns that attempt to reverse the norms more or less effective?
Closing Tips on Writing an Interesting Research Paper
Remember, an interesting research paper starts with an interesting research paper topic. But choosing your topic is only the beginning.
Make sure you read How to Write a Research Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide to help you with refining and researching your topic and writing the final paper.
Don’t forget to choose a topic that interest you. If you’re bored while writing your paper, that will definitely show in your final product. If you’re excited about the topic, that will show too!
Not sure if you can work with any of the topics here? For more ideas, read 50 Research Paper Topics to Help Jumpstart Your Writing.
After you’ve written your paper and feel it’s complete, have one of our Kibin editors review it to make sure it’s great!