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35 Good Research Topics for High School Students

Research Paper Topics for High School— Whether they’re writing a paper for a class or preparing to work on college essays, high school students in all grades will be asked to write a number of research papers before they finally graduate. It’s always good for them to get extra practice—which is why we’ve come up with a wonderful list of good research topics for high school students. (Plus, there’s a bonus list of 13 historical research topics, too!)

High School Research Topic Ideas

Finding a Good Research Topic

For many students, writing a non-literary, off-topic research paper in an English class can be a fun exercise. Though teens may grumble about it when they receive their assignments, many of them will enjoy the process when they get to explore and learn more about a subject that interests them. With that in mind, we recommend letting your students choose from several prompts to find the topics that most appeal to their interests and passions.

These research paper topic ideas range from the political to the cultural and from the current world to the future. Covering everything from cell phone usage to immigration to space exploration, there is plenty for teens to research and explore—and plenty of opportunities for them to become better informed and more skilled in communicating their positions.

Use these high school research paper topics with your high school students to help them learn all about the process of writing an intelligent, coherent, and well-researched paper! Some of these topics may also be appropriate for middle school writers.

35 Good Research Topics for High School Students

  1. Should it be illegal to use a cell phone while driving?
  2. How do food deserts contribute to obesity in America?
  3. What is the DREAM Act—and why does it matter?
  4. Should children receive vaccinations?
  5. What causes people to fall prey to conspiracy theories?
  6. Research the evolution of social media and explore its changing role in people’s lives.
  7. Can people be as productive working from home as they are in the office?
  8. Is there evidence to show that gun control prevents or lowers rates of gun violence?
  9. Write about the history of minimum wage in the US.
  10. What factors contribute to the wage gap between men and women? How does the wage gap change when race is also taken into consideration?
  11. How are racial demographics in America expected to change over the next 30 years—and what does this mean for our country?
  12. How does access to the Internet affect a child’s development?
  13. Do college athletes receive good educations?
  14. What are the arguments for and against campaign finance reform?
  15. What differences do we see between communities with good public transportation and areas without it?
    Reasearch Ideas for High School Students
  16. Research net neutrality and explain why it should or shouldn’t matter to the average person.
  17. Why is intersectionality considered an essential aspect of modern feminism?
  18. Why do governments around the world tax their citizens so differently—and how do those differences impact people’s daily lives?
  19. Is it in the government’s best interest to provide universal healthcare? Why or why not?
  20. Is widespread cell phone usage harmful in any way to people? Why or why not?
  21. How do maternity leave, paternity leave, and family benefits in the US compare to laws in other countries?
  22. What are the negative impacts of donating old clothes and used goods to impoverished nations?
  23. Why is space exploration so important in today’s world?
  24. What is the cycle of abuse?
  25. Should euthanization be legalized?
  26. Write a research paper exploring the environmental impact of eating meat.
  27. Research the history of cigarette ads and explore how they influenced people from various demographics to take up smoking.
  28. Research and explore racial inequalities in our justice system, choosing one area to focus on.
  29. How much privacy should people be entitled to when it comes to matters of national security?
  30. Do age minimums and drinking laws in the US have any effect on alcoholism rates?
  31. Does abstinence education work?
  32. What are the ethical concerns of people who are for and against animal testing?
  33. Research the problems associated with waste and landfills that are running out of room and propose a potential solution.
  34. Is overpopulation a real concern in today’s world?
  35. What are the arguments for and against redistricting?

Research writing is a vital skill for high schoolers to master. So, if for some reason, the above list of ideas doesn’t thrill and inspire your students, perhaps one of the research paper topics for teenagers listed below will engage their minds.

Bonus List of 14 History Research Paper Topics

More research topic ideas to inspire your teenage writers. This time, the topics have a historical angle to them. Encourage your writers to determine the specifics of their chosen research topic from this list of ideas:

  1. Suffrage Movement
  2. Affirmative Action
  3. Regulations in the workplace over the past 100 years
  4. Salem Witch Trials
  5. Great Depression
  6. The forming of Israel
  7. Stereotypes from the past
  8. Global warming and climate change effects on the planet over the years
  9. The creation of nuclear energy
  10. The history of the United States and North Korea
  11. The history of racism
  12. Socialism throughout the world
  13. Bizarre treatments for mental health disorders of the past
  14. The history of the death penalty

Some students may struggle with finding interesting research topics that appeal to their specific interests – choosing the best research paper topic is not always easy, but it is important. Hopefully, these lists of research topic ideas help your students. 

Controversial Topics

Lastly, some consider these topics controversial, yet they may be a great interest to some students. Topics include:

  • Human health, health issues, access to healthcare, medicine costs (especially in the US)
  • Birth control
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Abortion rights, laws, limitations
  • Animal rights
  • Endangered species
  • Natural resources misuse 
  • Child abuse
  • Drug abuse/Substance abuse
  • Journalism and the future of mass media
  • College tuition costs, student loans, access to higher education…
  • Gender discrimination

Now, see this…

94 More Essay Writing Resources

Ok, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoy and use these ideas with your students.

Until next time, write on…

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Research Paper Topic Ideas for High School Students
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