How to Find Good Argument Topics for Research Papers

A research paper is going to be judged on how well you can integrate existing research into an original essay. But, you should strive to say something significant about whatever you are researching, not just repeat what others have said. When a teacher assigns you a research paper, they want to know that you haven’t just read primary and secondary sources; they want to know that you have thought about the material, considered it carefully, and can talk about it intelligently! A research paper is about learning on your own time, outside of the classroom.

That may seem hard, especially when you don’t even know what you’re going to write about! The first step is to find a topic that you can write about, one that you are confident in. Keep these tips in mind as you begin your search for the argument topic of your next research paper.

  • Choose a topic you are passionate about. Whether it’s a particular author, a contemporary social issue, or a science topic, you should pick something that you are interested in learning more about. It’s much more fun to study something you care about, and you will find yourself forming new ideas easily!
  • Brainstorm. If you think you have an inkling of what you want to write about, grab a piece of paper and a pen and start jotting down ideas. If you stall and can’t think of things you might want to say about a chosen topic, it may not be the right one.
  • Choose a topic that has a lot of sources. Unless you are in a doctoral program, there’s no reason you should have to scrape up literature from the 15th century to back up your thesis statement! When you think of something you might want to write about, do a cursory internet search or head to your library and check out what sort of literature is available on the subject. The more sources, the better.
  • When all else fails, google is your friend. If you find yourself really struggling to pick something to write about, consult your teacher or the internet. There are a plethora of resources available online that will help you find a topic.

Here are examples of some strong topics for research papers:

  • Acid rain: is it a major concern?
  • Animal rights: do animals have rights?
  • Iraq war: what is the impact on America?
  • Global warming: does it really exist?
  • Obesity: why is it on the rise?
  • Illegal pirating: does it hurt the music industry?
  • Feminism: is it still relevant?
  • Gun control: does it help?
  • Internet: how has it changed the world?
  • Marijuana: does it have benefits?