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52 Interesting Research Paper Topics for High Schoolers

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A research paper can be a daunting task for first-time writers. In addition to making sure you’re using concise language and your thoughts are organized clearly, you need to find a topic that draws the reader in. CollegeVine is here to help you brainstorm creative topics! Below are 52 interesting research paper topics that will help you engage with your project and keep you motivated until you’ve typed the final period. 


How to Pick the Right Research Topic


You can’t have a good research paper without a good research paper topic. “Good” is subjective and different students will find different topics interesting; however, what’s important is that you find a topic that makes you want to find out more and make a convincing argument. Maybe you’ll be so interested that you’ll want to take it further and submit your paper to a competition!


A research paper is similar to an academic essay but more lengthy and requires more research. This is bittersweet: although it is more work, you can create a more nuanced argument and learn more about your topic area. Research papers are a demonstration of your research ability and your ability to formulate a convincing argument. How well you’re able to engage with the sources and make original contributions will decide the strength of your paper. 


Elements of a Strong Research Paper


The best topic for a research paper is one that asserts a clear idea, interests the writer, and has evidence behind it. These factors culminate to create a compelling research paper. Although there are no limits to what you can write about, there are limits to what will make your paper readable, accurate, and A+ worthy. Below are some tips to help you achieve that great grade.


Clear Idea


To write an effective research paper, you must present a clear idea. This could be a discussion of history, an analysis of policy, or an explanation of a complex invention or idea. Take a look at the list below to become inspired. Feel free to edit the topics in a way that matches your academic passions.




The most important part of writing a research paper is being engaged. You won’t want to put effort into your project if you don’t care about the final outcome. Pick a topic that is meaningful, interesting, and fascinates you. This way, you’ll be excited to find reputable sources to present the best possible argument.




After finding a topic that interests you and has a clear thesis, you must find sources to support your research. If there isn’t any reputable research, you have two options: choose a new topic or conduct your own research. If conducting your own research is intimidating, we have some helpful resources. Make sure to have multiple sources for your research topic so that you can have a diversity of voices and time periods.

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Interesting Research Paper Topics for High Schoolers




  • Discuss and analyze the impacts of a famous musician on pop music.
  • How has pop music evolved over the past decade?
  • How has the portrayal of women in music changed in the media over the past decade?
  • How does a synthesizer work?
  • How has music evolved to feature different instruments/voices?
  • How has sound effect technology changed the music industry?
  • Analyze the benefits of music education in high schools.




  • Analyze the benefits of diversity in education.
  • Are charter schools useful for the national education system?
  • Track the rising price of universities and show its effect on current students.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of standardized testing.
  • What are the benefits of a gap year between high school and college?
  • What funding allocations give the most benefit to students?
  • Does homeschooling set students up for success?
  • Should universities / high schools require students to be vaccinated?




  • Are rehabilitation centers more effective than prisons?
  • Are congestion taxes useful?
  • Discuss the differences between Trump’s immigration policies and Biden’s immigration policies.
  • Does affirmative action help minorities?
  • Can a capitalist system effectively reduce inequality? 
  • Is a three-branch government system effective?
  • What caused polarization in today’s politics?




  • Choose a historical invention. Discuss its impact on society today.
  • Choose a famous historical leader who lost power. What led to their eventual downfall?
  • How has your country evolved over the past century?
  • Has the government’s response to national disasters improved or declined throughout history?
  • Discuss the history of the American occupation of Iraq.
  • Explain the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict.




  • What are the responsible limits on abortion, if any?
  • How does an MRI machine work?
  • Analyze the effects of medical marijuana use on:
    • Elderly populations
    • Health
    • The education system
    • State tax bases
  • How do anti-vaxxers affect the health of the country?
  • Analyze the costs and benefits of diet culture.
  • Should companies allow employees to exercise on company time?
  • What is an adequate amount of exercise for an adult to attain per week?
    • Per month?
    • Per day?
  • Discuss the effects of the obesity epidemic on American society.




  • Are students smarter since the advent of the internet?
  • What departures has the internet made from its original design?
  • Has digital downloading helped the music industry?
  • Discuss the benefits and costs of stricter internet censorship.
  • Analyze the effects of the internet on the paper news industry.
  • What would happen if the internet went out?


Mental Health


  • What are the benefits of daily exercise?
  • Discuss how the pandemic has affected people’s mental health.
  • What things contribute to poor mental and physical health?
  • Analyze how mental health is talked about in pop culture.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of more counselors in high schools.
  • How does stress affect the body?




  • What are black holes?
  • What are the effects of deforestation on climate change?
  • Discuss the biggest success and failures of the EPA.
  • Can coral reefs be saved? 
  • How has the Flint water crisis affected Michigan life?


Where to Get Your Research Paper Edited for Free


Paramount to the success of your research paper is the strength of your argument. Your research should bolster your thesis and you should have multiple reputable sources.


For an extra set of eyes, use CollegeVine’s free peer review essay tool to get feedback for free! A strong research paper is only made stronger with a second pair of eyes.


Ally Merrett
Design Researcher

Short Bio
Ally Merrett is a senior at the University of Illinois double majoring in Urban Planning and Sustainable Design, triple minoring in Sociology, Art & Design, and Informatics, and pursuing a certificate in Technology Entrepreneurship. When he's not studying, he can be found playing music, skateboarding, or eating an egg sandwich. Maybe all at the same time!