Controversial Topics for a Research Paper


College students are usually required to write research papers as part of their coursework. When given freedom to choose a topic, some students opt for controversial subjects. Certain students do this for a chance to write about causes they strongly believe in. Others use controversy in an attempt to make their work stand out. There are some particular research paper topics that will almost always spark controversy.

Should Abortion Remain Legal?

  • Controversy surrounding abortion typically centers upon whether the unborn baby is truly a human life. Since legal abortions require terminating the pregnancy, those against it call it murder. Those in support of abortion usually stand on this basis of a woman's right to choose. A research paper ultimately agreeing with one side is going to create fierce opposition from an opposing side. Such a paper could also stir emotion from someone with personal experience, such as a woman now regretting a previous abortion.

Does the U.S. Need Stricter Gun Control Laws?

  • The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms. However, those wanting stricter gun laws today argue that the document's framers wrote it based on firearm technology of the 1700s. They say that today's more efficient weapons should be regulated much better or even banned. On the other side, some people see gun control laws as taking away a guaranteed freedom. A research paper opinion swaying one way or the other could trigger heated reactions, possibly from someone that lost a loved one to gun violence.

Should the U.S. Have a National Health Care Plan?

  • A debate currently rages in the U.S. over the need for government-sponsored heath care. Supporters point out that medical coverage is becoming unaffordable for most people. They believe government can get costs under control. Those against national health care believe government involvement would only cause more problems. Many opponents believe medical coverage is a privilege and not a right. A paper on the subject might evoke strong emotions from either people with no current insurance or those in the medical field.

Alaska Oil Drilling: Should it be Expanded?

  • Currently oil drilling is done in a remote section of northern Alaska. Certain lawmakers want to expand this to allow drilling nearby in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). People in favor say it would lessen reliance on foreign oil. Opponents of ANWR drilling say it would destroy the landscape and displace wildlife. Those with strong beliefs about environmental protection might react to such a research paper. People affected by the oil industry in some way may speak out as well.


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