At some point in your life as a student, you'll be required to write a research paper. A research paper can be an interesting task because it will give you an opportunity to learn more about a subject that you may not have known as much about before. Though some teachers or professors may give you some examples of research paper topics that you could do your assignment on, others may want you to have complete freedom with it. However, if you're having some difficulty choosing a topic, then you'll have to consult a helpful list of simple research topics in order to get you going.
Choose a Category
Sometimes you'll have a research topic idea that comes to your mind right away, and that's great. Other times, it's not so easy. Therefore, in order to choose a simple research topic, you must first think about a category. This will really help you narrow down your search. Sometimes, the category you need to choose from will be related to the course you're taking or the major you're enrolled in. For instance, if you're a science major, then you might not choose to do a topic on world history unless it related to science in some way. This is especially true for college students because your research paper is something you can perhaps include in your portfolio or reference in your thesis later on.
For younger students who are simply learning the skill of writing a research paper, getting to choose your own topic is half the fun. Parents and teachers should encourage students to choose a topic from a category that really interests the student. The more interest they have in the subject, the more inclined they will be to see the assignment through. Either way, no matter how old the student is, there are a variety of different categories to choose a research topic from:
- Drugs and addiction
- Crime and Law
- Human Rights
- Social Studies
Brainstorm Different Ideas
Once you have a general idea of which category you want to choose from, it's time to start brainstorming simple research topics within that category. For this, ask yourself some questions to get the juices flowing. For instance, "What interests me?" "What do I want to know more about?" "What's a problem that exists that has not been fixed?" "Why do we do things the way we do?" "What's a trending topic people are talking about in the news?" "Is there a connection between two things, or is it a myth?"
The whole point of doing a research paper is to find answers to questions that people wonder about. By backing up your research topic with solid information and credible sources, you can write confidently about the subject. For this assignment, you'll have to read through tons of information and most importantly, do the research that's required. Therefore, you want to be sure that when creating your brainstorm list, that you cross of any topics that could lose your interest after some time.
Consult a List of Research Topics
If you're still not having any luck coming up with a research topic even after choosing a category and brainstorming ideas, then it might be time to consult a list of research topics. It's very easy to find tons of simple research topics online or in a book at the library. At the same time, you don't want to be overwhelmed by the number of ideas out there, so try to look at smaller lists and go for something that makes a spark go off in your brain. Something that's controversial or that many people can't seem to agree on is generally something worth researching. But be sure it's something you can remain objective on, while still trying to showcase your own perspective on the issue:
- Animal rights
- Gun control
- Healthy lifestyles
- Best practices for education
- Causes for addiction
- Legalizing controversial laws
- Global warming
- Wildlife conservation
- Influence of technology
- Societal norms
- Healthcare systems
- The role of media
Examples of Research Paper Topics
Are you still having trouble finding simple research topics that intrigue you? Then perhaps you need to take a look at examples of research paper topics that you can either use for yourself or base your ideas on. There's no issue with doing a research topic that's been done before because every person will use different sources and take their own individual angle on the topic. That being said, your teacher or professor may ask that you claim your topic and share it with your classmates, so two people in the same class aren't doing the same one. To come up with a clear topic idea, see if it answers a question or provides some kind of solution:
- Are products that claim to be "animal testing-free" better for humans?
- Would the U.S. be safer without guns?
- Which diet is the best diet to lose weight?
- Are prisons effective in society?
- What are the pros and cons of vaccinations?
- Are the Common Core Standards improving the education system?
- Is there a correlation between addiction and where someone lives?
- How legalizing marijuana nationwide impacts the economy.
- The best ways to reduce global warming.
- Are zoos helping wildlife conservation efforts?
- Is technology causing more health problems?
- Do those who attend college make more money than those who don't?
- Which countries have the best healthcare systems and why?
- Is there a connection between higher taxes and happier countries?
- Do violent video games actually impact an individual's psyche?
The Easiest Topics for Research Papers
When searching for ideas for your research paper, you'll start to notice that some ideas seem simpler than others, and that's because it's true. Some topics may be a little bit too controversial to do solid research on, and others may be too broad to support. Others may not have enough information available to research the topic, and others may have too much contradicting information that it may be hard to really research the topic well. Therefore, in order to make sure you're choosing from the easiest topics for research papers, select a few ideas and carry each of them through a series of checks to see which is the best option for you.
See if There's Information Available
Before ultimately deciding on your research topic, you'll need to be sure that there's enough good information available. This is part of narrowing down your topics to the simplest one. Head to the library or do a quick internet search to reveal what kind of information is out there already, and whether or not it's accessible. Consider factors like whether or not you have to pay to access the research articles you want to use, whether or not it seems you'll have a variety of different sources at your disposal (not just a website and not just a book), and whether or not you're able to take the sources with you in order to conduct your research in more depth. If there is a topic you like and you're not really finding much information out there, then you may need to choose a different topic.
Deciding on Your Topic
Once you've seen that there's enough information out there to support your research paper, then it's time to confirm your topic. The important part about this step is that once you really decide on your topic, you shouldn't change it halfway through. You want to be sure that you've nearly got everything you need in order to write this paper. As simple as your topic may be, the process of writing a research paper, in general, can be long and extensive.
In order to conduct solid research for a paper, you'll need to cross-check a lot of your references and make sure that you pull the most important information to support your topic, sifting out the information that's irrelevant to your specific research. At this point, you may need to share your topic idea with your teacher. If you see that someone else has claimed your topic, you may have to go back and go through this process again to choose another topic that no one else has claimed. That's why it's a good idea to have two topics at the ready, in case one is already taken, you have another one that you can fall back on.
Come Up With a Simple Research Title
Once you're cleared for your research topic, you'll need to come up with a strong title to work with. Coming up with a title is not only necessary, but it will also provide you with some guidance when it comes time to formulate the outline for your research paper. If you're wondering whether or not you can have a question as a title for a research paper, the answer is yes. In fact, starting your essay with a question in the title is a great way to capture the readers' attention and to encourage them to continue reading in order to find the answer.
Conduct Additional Research
Although you've already done some preliminary research in order to find your topic, you'll need to continue doing more research to fully support the content in your essay. After coming up with a title, it should be easier to really narrow down your sources and discover where you need to go to clarify any additional information. If in your preliminary search you only checked the internet and a few books, then here is your opportunity to expand your research further. Try everything from old newspapers and current news articles to conducting interviews with experts in the field and researching magazines and encyclopedias.
Write Your Research Paper
After having all your research together, it's time to start writing the actual research paper. If you've done your research well, then you should have no problem writing this essay. Create an online that features an introduction, several body paragraphs discussing each of the various points you discovered and wrap it all up with a conclusion. Make sure that your essay flows and your ideas connect smoothly. Remember to stay as unbiased as possible, and include research that even surprised you. When you're finished with your draft, go back for edits, and write another draft or two before submitting your final paper.
Additionally, remember that you'll also have to cite your resource sources within your essay. Different teachers may require this to be done in different ways, and it depends on a lot of factors. For instance, a fifth-grader writing a research paper for the first time may cite their sources on a separate piece of paper, whereas a high-schooler will practice with parenthetical citations and a reference guide. College students will need to take this to another level. This is when it's very important to also check that you're not plagiarizing the material, and you're citing every source you've used. If you're unsure as to whether or not a source is credible, then it may be best to find another source that you're absolutely certain about.
Hana LaRock is a freelance content writer from New York, currently living in Mexico. Before becoming a writer, Hana worked as a teacher for several years in the U.S. and around the world. She has her teaching certification in Elementary Education and Special Education, as well as a TESOL certification. Please visit her website, www.hanalarockwriting.com, to learn more.