Research Paper Topics – Definition, Guide & Examples

28.04.20 Research paper structure & sections Time to read: 6min

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Definition: Research Paper Topics

A research paper topic is a subject, investigation, or issue that a person is interested in and plans to conduct research on. A research paper topic can be both a research question and a hypothesis. You can also phrase your topic as a question, but this is not a requirement. Choosing good research paper topics can be a big deal. It can also be stressful. Good research paper topics that are well thought out, well researched, and well written can be a springboard into future studies and careers.

It is really important to find a good topic for your research paper. Your bachelor or master thesis will be much easier with a good research paper topic.


Ask yourself, “what do I want to know about?” Don’t limit yourself to writing what you already know about but treat this as an opportunity to learn. Read journals, go back through the course syllabus, keep an eye on mainstream media. Focus on a topic that engages you and captures your imagination. The next step is to create a research question that will become the basis of your thesis.

Good research paper topics will be interesting, tackle subjects from a fresh perspective, be manageable and have core data and research you can draw from. Of course, all good research paper topics need to fit within your course guidelines. Try to think about what your research into this topic has to offer to the academic community. Continue reading this article for some research paper topic examples.

Good research paper topics don’t necessarily need to capture the zeitgeist but there is certainly a lot going on in the business world today to capture your imagination. Try to think about some modern concepts that are new to the academic world. There will always be plenty to discuss when it comes to research paper topics like social media or e-commerce.

Tip: Think ahead and ensure that you’re going to have enough research to work with when you start writing your research paper outline. If your topic is lacking important data or research, perhaps it’s best to choose another field. Unless you’re a postgraduate student and you’re ready to conduct your own research.

Finding a research paper topic can be difficult, as it feels impossible to narrow your selection down. Of course, the topic that you choose will depend on what you’re studying and whether you’re writing your bachelor’s thesis or a postgraduate thesis. Some examples include:

  • Bio or business ethics
  • The education system
  • The current political climate
  • Environmental issues

These examples will need to be further narrowed down, but hopefully they were able to get you thinking. Scroll down on this article for some further research paper topic examples.

Your research paper topic needs to be clear from the very beginning of your research paper. It is vital that the reader is able to understand what they’re reading about and your thesis statement should assist them with this. Your research paper should be generating new questions in the academic community so that research in this field is able to thrive.

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Interesting Topics to Write about

We’ve talked about the importance of finding research paper topics that are interesting to you. We’ve also talked about the importance of not restricting yourself to researching what you already know about.

Read and let ideas come to you naturally. Good research paper topics can’t be forced. Don’t fixate on a particular possibility. Ask yourself if your possible research paper topics are to broad or to narrow.

Research on coffee consumption in your town might be too narrow a subject, coffee consumption in the country could be too wide, but coffee consumption in your state might form the basis for some great research paper topics.

GOOD TO KNOW: Read our article about table of contents!

Examples for research paper topics:

business field research paper topics enviromental field research paper topics health field research paper topics communications and media field research paper topics law field research paper topics medical field research paper topics
• e-commerce
• globalisation
• ethics
• cyber security
• deforestation
• global warming
• population growth
• renewable energy
• bio ethics
• scourge of mental illness
• the affordability or otherwise of basic healthcare
• fad diets
• fake news
• the rise of the trash media
• defamation issues
• the ongoing legislative gridlock in Washington
• the rise of private prisons
• the decline in use of the death penalty
• the ongoing debate around Roe v. Wade
• The rise of obesity
• The prevalents of depression

Research paper topics – Medical

Researching for a medical research paper has some similarities and some differences from research papers in other fields. In determining research paper topics in the medical area you need to figure out a topic and decide whether it’s going to be based on quantitative (original) or synthetic research (building on other people’s research).

Medical information can be incredibly complex so a good medical research paper topic will involve lots of notes and those notes need to be well organised to be an effective aid. Good medical research paper topics are frequently written up using the IMRAD method: introduction, (research) methods used, results, and discussion.

Of course there is no shortage of medical subjects that will make good research paper topics. Look around you. We’re a rich and prosperous nation. So why is obesity rising? Why is depression so prevalent? We should be happy. Why are medical issues like autism and dyslexia affecting more children than ever? Why is drug use proving so impossible to rein in? And why are so many kids suddenly allergic to nuts and why are so many adults suddenly gluten intolerant? There are no shortage of medical subjects to form the basis of research paper topics.

Interesting  Topics for College

Every College and every student is different so there are no hard and fast rules that apply to everyone and everything when determining what makes an interesting research paper topic. But no matter where you are and what you are studying, following these five golden rules can help you pick out the most interesting research paper topics.

  • Be specific and focused: Know where your research is going and what you want to achieve. I want to establish that sub Antarctic squid are mating more frequently than usual and having more baby giant squid.
  • Be original: Fresh research on fresh topics is always more engaging. Who wouldn’t want to read about the mating rituals of sub Antarctic deep water giant squid?
  • Make it important: Those giant squid are moving out of sub Antarctic waters and coming to waters near you and they’re hungry. This makes it important.
  • Make it relevant: If the squid come to waters near you and your College, it’s also relevant, especially if they are going to eat all the local prawns and there will none left for the professors marking your paper.
  • Is the subject matter trending?: Well, in this case, if you are right about the squid, it soon will be. Good research paper topics capture the zeitgeist.
GOOD TO KNOW: Read our article about how to cite a book!

In a Nutshell

Okay, so we’ve talked a bit about what makes for good research topics and how to choose one.

The key piece if advice is to let it come to you naturally. It’s a creative process and creativity isn’t a process that can be forced.

Of course there are parameters and guidelines. When your great idea does come – usually at an inopportune time, your job is to harness it and mould it in a topic that works within the formal constructs of writing good research paper topics.

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