List of Research Paper Topics Help
Choosing a Research Paper Topic
When considering different topics for your research paper, you have to pick and choose carefully. How do you choose a good topic? Most often, if you write your paper for a specific class or instructor, it is very likely that the content and subject matter of your assignment is already dictated for you. However, if you are simply doing research and writing a general paper, then it's a good idea to distinguish which subject areas will be rewarding for you.
In general, you can classify research papers in two basic categories:
- There are those that explore, interpret, or investigate
- various controversial issues/subjects.
- established historical incidents.
- well-known individuals.
- There are those that examine/assess data and experimentation conducted in a particular field. These papers seek to add new knowledge to an established discipline.
Generally, but not always, the first type of paper is one that involves research in the humanities and includes topics found in the arts, politics, literature, and music. The personal lives and accomplishments of particular individuals also fall under this category. A good way to begin to consider interesting topics is to group ideas in the following areas:
This includes any historical event, action, legislation, or phenomenon that has occurred. A list of possible topics may include:
- World War II
- the French Revolution
- the Enlightenment
- the assassination of President John F. Kennedy
- the Vietnam War
In other words, any event that has occurred anywhere in the world could be a potentially interesting topic to examine, interpret, and explore. Be sure, however, that no matter what topic you choose—familiar or not—it should be broad enough to research. In other words, sometimes you may have difficulty finding enough material written in English about events that have occurred in non English-speaking countries. In a case like this, you may have to ask for translations of texts written in different languages, and this can be time-consuming. Finally, when exploring historical themes, take care not to fall into the "description" trap. Remember, you are not simply retelling a historical incident, you are using your own facts and data to analyze it and interpret it according to your own perceptions.
World history is full of individuals who have revolutionized and shaped the world in which we live and whose lives are constantly being reassessed. These individuals have worked in a wide spectrum of different professions, and their lives can make potentially fascinating subjects for explorations and research. Some of the most frequently researched, controversial, and colorful individuals are:
- Martin Luther King
- Helen Keller
- Chairman Mao
- Joan of Arc
- William Shakespeare
- Nelson Mandela
Naturally, the list could go on and on. Once again, be particularly careful when writing any type of biographical paper. It is easy to fall into the trap of merely describing or documenting an individual's life—much as you might document or describe an historical incident. There are many professional creative writers, journalists, official biographers, and academics who have spent a lifetime writing and researching these kinds of individuals and writing comprehensive, multi-volume works on their lives. Very often these books are considered to be definitive texts. If you are simply writing a paper, then you will most likely never compete with these scholars and experts, nor should you feel compelled to do so. To avoid writing a paper that could almost be a book about a famous individual, remember how you formed your thesis statement. Think of a particular era or part of this person's life, a particular action taken, or a critical decision made. The more you can narrow your focus to a period of no more than approximately five years, the better your results will be.
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