Join thousands of product people at Insight Out Conf on April 11. Register free.

Try for free
GuidesResearch methods10 creative research topics for students (2024)

10 creative research topics for students (2024)

Last updated

25 November 2023

Author

Chloe Garnham

Research is the lifeblood of human knowledge. It drives us forward, enabling us to discover new insights, learnings, and evidence to make sense of the world and humanity. 

Research is a key part of student life, but deciding which topic to research can take time and effort. The right research topic typically aligns with your skills and interests, has current relevance, and can positively impact the world.

In this article, you’ll find some helpful examples to help you get started.

What is a research topic, and what is it for?

Research topics enable students to drill down into a specific aspect of a subject to broaden their knowledge and share learnings with others. They are typically used to make discoveries or develop fresh viewpoints.

A research topic defines the specific theme that research will be conducted around. It’s essential for providing a key focus for the work to be completed. Ultimately, it defines a core problem or knowledge gap that needs to be solved. 

A clear topic helps define what is being studied and how that information will be communicated to others.

Research topic vs. research question

A research topic is a broad theme of focus that requires further investigation. It’s the project’s overall subject—an aspect of which will be studied.

A research topic example could be “The effects of meditation on stress reduction.”

A research question is a specific inquiry that researchers want to investigate and answer to broaden their knowledge and make new discoveries. Research questions are much more specific, focussing on a very small aspect of the overall topic.

The right research question will specifically set out what is being researched so there is no ambiguity.

Here’s an example of a research question within the topic: “How does meditation impact stress, anxiety, and burnout in the workplace?”

What makes a good research paper topic?

Here are the characteristics that make some topics more favorable and useful than others:

  • Clarity: a helpful research topic should be clearly understood to ensure the integrity of the research. It should be clear to the student and mentor/professor what the topic is and how it will be explored.

  • Originality: answering questions that have already been researched and answered many times before could be a waste of resources. Answering original questions is key to getting the most out of research. This might involve researching topics that have already been covered from a different angle or exploring an entirely new topic.

  • Relevance: it’s helpful to ensure that a research topic is related to your expertise and your access to resources. This will ensure that the research topic is relevant to you.

  • Ethical: ethics should always be considered when conducting research. Your research shouldn’t cause physical or mental harm to any participants. You should also consider animal and environmental ethics.

How can I choose a good topic for my research paper?

With so many topics to choose from, selecting a topic for your research paper can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider these three points to make the best choice:

1. Lean into personal interest

Being interested and experienced in a particular field will make the research more interesting, relevant, and straightforward to conduct.

Your interest will mean you’re committed and motivated to discover the answer to your research question. Being personally engaged also makes the process more enjoyable.

One caveat to keep in mind is the potential for bias. If you are invested in the research having a particular result, you must ensure it’s accurate, double-checked, and reviewed by an impartial party.

2. Choose a topic with enough information

Your research project might fail if you don’t have access to sufficient information and resources. There needs to be enough information to gain deep insights into the research at hand.

Consider the resources you have within your project limits. If your research has funding, carefully work out what that funding could be used for. If not, you may need to consider research that you’ll be able to complete with access to public records and other free resources.

Timings, finances, access to participants, and publicly accessible information will all need to be considered before choosing the final topic to research.

3. Consider the guidelines

You’ll need to adhere to the specific guidelines that your school, mentor, or professor have laid out. They may request that the topic be related to public interest, a currently challenging topic for the environment, or another parameter.

When considering those guidelines, make ethical considerations. Your school or university is unlikely to permit unethical research.

How to find research topics to write about

Even though there’s an endless range of topics to research, you might not know where to begin. Starting with background reading, mind mapping, and speaking with mentors can help mold general ideas into useful topics and questions.

  • Extensive reading: completing background reading of educational databases, journals, and scientific studies can help provide a good working knowledge of what is currently being researched and identify key gaps.

  • Social problems: current challenges on both a local and global scale can make excellent research questions. Whether it’s investigating climate change, human health, or the impact of pandemics, there’s likely to be large human interest if you research social problems and challenges. The research you conduct may even have a positive impact on the world around you.

  • Mind mapping: brainstorming different ideas inspired by your background reading and personal interests can lead to ideal research topics. Create a large mind map, whether in a notebook or on a whiteboard, to get all your ideas down on paper. You may be surprised at what unique ideas you come up with.

  • Speak to mentors: running topics over with your professor or mentor could prove very helpful. They may be able to help you refine your ideas, provide feedback on research questions, and offer useful suggestions to ensure the topic you pick is appropriate.

The top 10 research topics for students

Here are some of the top 10 research topics and research areas for students. Whether in high school, senior high school, or college, these topics are important and relevant for students today.

You might use these ideas as starting points for your own original research topics and research questions.

1. High school research paper topic ideas

Research topics in high school can promote critical thinking, personal growth, and problem-solving skills.

Some of the most relevant research topics for high schoolers revolve around social and political issues, as those are often core topics within the school curriculum. Also, students are often interested in how they can positively impact the world around them, so topics within social change and social issues are particularly relevant.

The impacts of bullying

Bullying and its impacts are an interesting and relevant topic for high school students. Students may want to consider ways to mitigate bullying or explore whether bullying can affect people long-term.

Some specific research questions within the bullying topic are:

  • What is the evidence that parental support can alleviate the impact of bullying in schools?

  • What are the effects of bullying and victimization on short-term mental health?

  • How can we predict adolescents’ bullying participation and understand the participant roles of bullying in different grades?

Social media in high schools

With social media use prolific in the modern world, students may be particularly interested to learn about how it impacts humans. Students may want to research the effects of different social media types, ways to reduce social media use, or how social media is impacting people around the world.

Some topics within social media could be:

  • Is there a correlation between social media use and academic performance?

  • What are the effects of social media use on mental health in people aged 12–18?

  • How does social media use affect self-esteem in students?

2. Psychology research paper topics

Psychology is a broadly studied topic with many possible avenues for exploration. Whether you’d like to understand how the human brain works, ways to boost mental health, or treatment options in psychology, there are endless options.

Here are some of the top 10 research topics for college students in psychology: 

Increasing happiness

With anxiety and depression on the rise, there is a greater demand for studies into happiness. In fact, most people want to know how to feel more content, calm, and happy in their lives. Happiness, therefore, will likely always be an essential topic for research exploration.

Some specific research questions related to happiness include the following:

  • What are the factors driving the fear of leaning into happiness in American society?

  • How can practicing vulnerability reduce stress and boost happiness?

  • What impact does forest bathing have on overall mood scores?

Mitigating anxiety

With 37% of US adults more anxious in 2023 than in 2022, anxiety as a research topic is very relevant.

Below are some example research questions:

  • How does chronic anxiety impact people’s day-to-day lives?

  • What is the impact of meditation interventions on anxiety?

  • Is there data to support physical exercise interventions for anxiety disorders?

3. Science research paper topics

Scientific research covers many study fields. From biology and chemistry to physics and biochemistry, science helps researchers discover critical information about humans and our world.

Here are a few potential topics for exploration:

Reducing pandemic risk

Given the impact of COVID-19, mitigating the risk of a future pandemic is of significant human interest. A student may look at ways to improve pandemic responses, identify future pandemics, boost vaccine adoption, and reduce the spread of misinformation. 

Specific research questions include the following:

  • How can AI help predict future pandemics?

  • How does animal breeding contribute to zoonotic disease risk?

  • What are the key ways to identify and control a potential future pandemic before it becomes widespread?

Renewable energy

With climate change and the planet’s health a major concern for many scientists, investigations into more environmentally friendly and renewable energy sources are of great social interest.

Here are some research questions about renewable energy to consider:

  • What is the economic feasibility of widespread renewable energy use across the US?

  • How could wind, water, and solar energy reduce global emissions?

  • What are the core factors preventing the widespread use of renewable energy?

4. Good environmental research topics

Climate change impacts every person on the planet, so it can make an excellent research topic. Particularly for the younger generation, climate change is an interesting and often concerning discussion topic. Gen Z, for example, speaks much more actively about climate change both on and offline.

Climate change on a global scale

Some specific research questions within the climate change topic are:

  • What is the impact of climate change on biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest?

  • What impact could the use of solar power have in the US in relation to carbon emissions?

  • How do carbon dioxide emissions affect ocean acidity levels?

5. Argumentative research paper topics

Setting out a specific argument and exploring the topic can make for interesting research. Argumentative research topics are typically related to human interest, issues that impact us on a global scale, or challenges that particular social groups face.

Affirmative action

With rising interest in equality, researching affirmative action—designed to prevent the impacts of discrimination—is a relevant research topic for high school and college students.

Some specific questions relating to affirmative action could be:

  • Does affirmative action promote equality in the workplace?

  • What is the evidence that affirmative action is helpful in university admissions?

  • How has the affirmative action ban impacted the tech industry?

The ethical use of AI

AI use is expanding rapidly across the globe, so there’s growing interest in its impacts and the need for ethical usage.

Some research questions relating to AI include the following:

  • Could AI lead to more global conflict?

  • Can ethical legislation reduce the risk of AI and its implementation?

  • How many jobs could be impacted by AI in 2025?

6. Human rights paper topics

Human rights impact everyone on the planet, so it’s a topic that’s of continual interest.

Research in this area could cover human rights in the workplace, privacy rights, gender equality, and much more.

International human rights

International human rights is a complex yet critical area of global interest. Human rights help protect people’s freedom and safety around the world.

  • What are ways to reduce human rights violations in conflict zones?

  • What is the impact of organizations such as Amnesty International on international human rights?

  • In what ways can governments enforce human rights globally?

LGBTQI+ rights

With LGBTQI+ issues gaining a brighter spotlight in mainstream media, research into this area can be very beneficial, not just for those impacted by discrimination but for society as a whole.

Here are some potential research questions:

  • How can gender dysphoria impact transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) adolescents’ mental health and quality of life?

  • What are ways to boost mental health for those who experience discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity?

  • How could genderless bathrooms increase access and safety for LGBTQI+ people?

7. US history research paper topics

The US has a vast and interesting history, which forms part of the curriculum in many high schools and colleges. Different aspects of this history can make relevant fields of research, such as the following:

  • What factors that led to the abolishment of slavery in the US are relevant in politics today?

  • How did the Founding Fathers shape the US political system, and what can be learned?

  • Why did the Louisiana Purchase have such a significant impact on US history?

8. Law enforcement research topics

Maintaining law and order in society is highly complex. Exploring how law enforcement can benefit society as a whole can be a rewarding field of study.

Some possible law enforcement topics include the following:

  • How can data analysis and intelligence-led policing reduce crime?

  • What is the role of Crisis Intervention Training in policing?

  • How can data improve the enforcement of cybersecurity laws?

9. Business research paper topics

Business is a broad area of study with many possible directions for research papers. Business drives the economy, providing jobs and industry. It’s the cornerstone of society, so research in this area is always of social interest. 

Here are some possible business research topics to consider:

  • How can data analysis impact consumer purchasing decisions?

  • What are some of the key dilemmas in ethical business practices?

  • How can diversity and inclusion be boosted in the workforce?

10. Economics research paper topics

Whether you choose to focus on microeconomics, macroeconomics, or applied fields, economics research can take you in many directions.

Below are some general economics paper topics:

  • What are the widespread impacts of the gig economy?

  • How can investing in female-founded businesses impact economies in developing countries?

  • How does progressive taxation impact income inequality?

It all starts with the right research question 

Successful research starts with the right question, regardless of your chosen topic.

Taking time to pose a relevant and clear research question will help you discover new insights, learnings, and evidence.

Research is the very thing that drives human knowledge. Remember, your research might not just impact you but also the world and people around you.

FAQs

How can I get research ideas?

To come up with research ideas, you might find it helpful to do some background reading, consider current social issues, lean into your skills and interests, and speak to a mentor or professor. Brainstorming and mind mapping can also help.

What is a good research question?

A good research question should be clear, relevant, original, and ethical. You should also have access to the necessary resources to perform the research thoroughly.

How do I create a title for my research topic?

The right title for a research topic is clear and relevant to your field of study. Ideally, it’s an original idea and refers to the specific question you’re posing.

What are some good qualitative research topics?

Qualitative research involves analyzing people’s attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors.

There are qualitative research topics across almost every field of study, including psychology, education, social sciences, human resources, technology, and healthcare.

What qualitative research topics can be good for STEM students?

For STEM (​​science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students, qualitative research topics could revolve around social impacts and perceptions of science and technology.

Here are some examples:

  • How the general population views climate change

  • The potential social impacts of AI

  • How to use Big Data ethically

Get started today

Go from raw data to valuable insights with a flexible research platform

Try for freeContact sales

Editor’s picks

Understanding the representativeness heuristic: A deep dive

Last updated: 21 September 2023

What is information bias in research?

Last updated: 19 November 2023

What is the Dunning–Kruger effect?

Last updated: 5 February 2024

How to present limitations in research

Last updated: 30 January 2024

What is informed consent in research?

Last updated: 19 November 2023

Diary study templates

Last updated: 10 April 2023

Related topics

Product developmentPatient experienceResearch methodsEmployee experienceSurveysMarket researchCustomer researchUser experience (UX)

Your customer insights hub

Turn data into actionable insights. Bring your customer into every decision.

Try for free

Product

InsightsAnalysisAutomationIntegrationsEnterprisePricingLog in

Company

About us
Careers9
Legal

© Dovetail Research Pty. Ltd.
TermsPrivacy Policy

Log in or sign up

Get started with a free trial


or


By clicking “Continue with Google / Email” you agree to our User Terms of Service and Privacy Policy