Good research paper topics are focused on a narrow, manageable subject that is easily divided into sections
Here are two good examples of how to create a research topic that is narrow, manageable, and easily divided into three sections.
1. The Rise and Fall of Benito Mussolini in Italy, 1922-1945.
- This paper would have three sections: how Mussolini gained political power, what happened during the height of his reign, and how he was defeated.
- Use this structure for ANY political or historical figure. Simply replace “Mussolini” with the name of your selected leader, and choose a country and date range that fits that person.
- For example, this topic could also be used to describe The Rise and Fall of Napoleon in France, 1804-1815.
2. Joan of Arc and the Siege of Orleans in 15th Century France.
- Divide this paper into sections by first describing Joan of Arc as a person. Then, explain the Siege of Orleans and her role in the battle. Finally, demonstrate how these two things fit within the context of 15th century French history
- Use this structure for any historical figure associated with an important battle or war. Just keep it narrow and focused.
- For example, this topic could also be used to describe Alexander the Great and the Battle of Issus in Ancient Macedonia.
1. What were the three main causes of the Boer War?
2. How were cathedrals built?
3. What is the Gutenberg Bible?
4. What was the purpose of Morality plays in Medieval England?
5. How did Italian Renaissance painters benefit from the art patronage system?
6. What was the impact of the slave trade on the European economy?
7. How did the guillotine influence the French Revolution?
8. Who was Germany’s most influential composer?
9. How did the feudal system operate?
10. Royalty and the concept of Divine Right rulership in 17th century Italy.
1. How was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory an example of social injustice?
2. How did the Mormons influence the settling of the America west?
3. Mississippi riverboat/showboat culture.
4. The origins of automobile drag racing in the U.S.
5. How and why were National Parks created?
6. Which US state has the most disputed borders?
7. How did the highway system change American culture?
8. The creation and maintenance of New York’s Central Park
9. Traveling circuses in the midwest United States, 1850-1950.
10. The role of lighthouses in Great Lakes maritime history.
1. The top three battles in the Korean War.
2. How did the Jaffa Riots begin in the British Mandate of Palestine, 1921?
3. What was the Battle of Hochst and how did it influence the Thirty Years’ War?
4. How did the Siege of Turin take a key position in two separate wars?
5. The conditions of life for soldiers in the First Crusade.
6. What was the role of the Shogun in Japanese history?
7. How did Buddhism alter the Chinese Empire?
8. How did the Byzantine Empire succeed?
9. What is the organization of the Hindu gods?
10. How, when, and where did the Silk Road operate?
1. Roman gladiators: life, lifestyle, and living conditions.
2. Child Emperors of Rome.
3. Who was the most influential Egyptian Pharoah?
4. The building of the Sphinx.
5. What was the Code of Hammurabi?
6. How were ziggurats used in ancient Mesopotamia?
7. Which cultures originated in the Nile valley?
8. The origin of African tribal culture.
9. The world of the Ancient Maya.
10. The story of Carthage.
Avoid topics that are too broad.
The topic of “energy” is much larger than most research papers can cover. It is also too vague. What kind of energy? Electrical? Gas? Wind? You can easily see why this topic would make it very difficult to write
Narrow it down by using questions. Ask yourself exactly what it is you want to say.
- Conditions for Slaves During the Building of the Great Pyramid
- Three Events from the First Greek Olympiad
- How, Where, and When Rome was Founded
- The Battle of Marathon: How the Greeks Defeated Persia
- How Plato and Aristotle Collaborated to Reinvent Philosophy
- Alexander’s Conquest of Egypt: Strategies for Victory
- The Great Wall of China: Construction Plans and Implementation
- Julius Ceasar’s Most Successful Attacks on Great Britain
- The Huns’ First Invasion of Europe
- Mohammed: From Mecca to Medina
2 Bonus Topics
- The Hijiri Era
- The Arab Invasion of Spain
Thus, the broad topic of “energy” becomes “Alternative Sources of Power Developed by US Energy Companies in the 21st Century.”
Even better, take this focus one step further. “Three Major Companies Using Wind Energy to serve Customers in the United States.”
A good research paper topic will be easy to outline using three main sections.
- The Norman invasion of England
- Victory of William the Conquerer over the English King Harold II at Hastings.
- The Invention of Gunpowder: Roger Bacon’s Legacy
- Events that Started the Hundred Years War
- England and the Black Death
- The Turkish Capture of Constantinople
- Europe’s Artistic Renaissance: Painters and Sculptors
- Vasco de Gama and the Sea Route to India
- The Defeat of the Spanish Armada
- Construction and Architecture of Monasteries
17th – 18th Century
- The Establishment British East India Company
- The Execution of Charles I: Causes and Effects
- Why Monarchy was Restored in England
- The Great Plague of England: Death Returns
- England’s Glorious Revolution
- Significance of The Battle of Blenheim
- Three Reasons for the Union of England and Scotland
- Injustices Leading to the French Revolution
- Organization and Daily life in Convents
- City Walls and Defenses
- Political and Social Effects of Nelson’s Death
- Physical Conditions at the Battle of Trafalagar
- Unexpected Events at the Battle of Waterloo
- Napolean’s life on St. Helena
- Key Features of The Reforms Bill
- Queen Victoria’s first Years on the Throne of England
- The Opening of the Suez Canal
- Roentgen’s Discovery of X-Rays
- The Inventions of Marconi
- Scientific Advances and Medical Practices
Use the classic 5-W strategy. Focus on Who, What, Where, When, and Why. For example, the overly broad topic of abortion can be narrowed to something more specific using these questions.
Who? Energy companies What? Seeking alternate sources of power Why? because of increased public demand. When? In the 21st century. Where? In the United States. You don’t have to use all of these, but they definitely can help narrow down a broad topic.
- An Overview of Japan’s War with Russia
- How Japan Defeated Russia
- The Discovery of the Theory of Relativity by Einstein
- The Chinese Revolution
- Why the Republic of China Was Established
- Events that Caused the Beginning of World War I
- The Russian Revolution: People and Places
- How the End of World War I was Accomplished
- The Signing of the Treaty of Versailles
- The Formation of the League of Nations
- How Turkey Became a Republic
- Why Hitler Became the Chancellor of Germany
- The First 20 Days of the Spanish Civil War
- World War II: The Beginnings
- How Russia was Invaded by Hitler
- Events After Pearl Harbor was Invaded by Japan
- The Establishment of UNO
- The Final Days of World War II in France
- Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Effects of the Atom Bomb
- President Roosevelt’s Life and Death
- Three Major Events in China’s Civil War
- How Burma and Ceylon Gained Independence
- How Indonesia Gained Independence
- The Communist Ascension to Power in China
- The Japanese Geisha: Her Role Japanese Culture
“Three Major Companies Using Wind Energy to Serve Customers in the Untied States” makes the division completely obvious from the start.
The paper can be divided into three sections, with one section devoted to each major company.
Within each section, the paper can outline how the company developed the use of wind energy and how it is using wind energy to serve US customers.
- General Eisenhower: Critical Actions of His Presidency
- Stalin’s Death and its Effect on the Political Landscape
- The Team that Conquered Mt. Everest for the First Time
- The Conditions of the Military Aid Pact between China and Pakistan
- Chou En-lai’s Visit to India
- Austria’s Struggle for Independence
- The Bandung Conference
- President Nasser and the Nationalization of the Suez Canal
- Britain Attacks Egypt: Why it Happened
- The Connections Between France and Israel
- Russia’s First Artificial Satellite
- The United Arab Republic (UAR): Egypt and Syria United
- How the Chinese captured Tibet
- The Dalai Lama’s Escape to India
- The Design and Creation of Sputnik by Russia
- France and the Explosion of an Atom Bomb Device
- The First Man in Space: Yuri Gagarin of the USSR
- The Signing of the Partial Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty
- The Establishment of Malaysia
- The Life and Career of Sir Winston Churchill
- Singapore as a Sovereign Independent Nation
- Causes of the Outbreak of Indo-Pak War
- The Tashkent Pact
- The Russian Aircraft that Landed on the Moon.
- China and the Hydrogen Bomb
- The Arab-Israel War
- The Closing of the Suez Canal
A less obvious example is “Alternative Sources of Power Developed by US Energy Companies in the 21st Century.” This paper can be divided by discussing three different alternative sources of power.
For example, one section can discuss how US energy companies have developed the use of wind power since the year 2000. The next section can discuss how the same energy companies have developed the use of solar power. The third section can describe how these companies have developed the use of wave/water energy.
The interesting thing about this topic is that it can also be divided a different way. The paper can describe three different energy companies and how each one is developing alternative sources of energy for customers.
The research paper topic is the same, but the focus and division of sections is different.
- The Birth of Bangladesh
- Pakistan and the Surrender of 93,000 Troops
- The Death of Khruschev
- President Z.A. Bhutto of Pakistan
- The Incarceration of Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
- Bangladesh: Critical Events 1970-1980
- Nixon’s Auspicious Visit to China
- King Mahendra of Nepal
- The Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty
- The Fourth Arab-Israeli war
- The Algiers Summit
- The Assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, President of Bangladesh
- The Assassination of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia
- The Reopening of the Suez Canal
- The Red Cross and the Surrender of the Cambodia Government
- The Life and Times of Chou-En Lai, Prime Miniter of China
- The Independence of the Seychelles
- Viking I Mars Landing
- Israeli-Egypt Agreement
- Vietnam’s attack on Cambodia
- Afghanistan’s Bloody Coup
- The Assassination of Mohammed Daoud
- Chinese aggression in Vietnam
- Cambodian rebels in Pnom Penh
- Margaret Thatcher, First Female Prime Minister of Britain