College Research Paper Topics


Writing a college-level research paper often begins with a broad subject that needs to be winnowed down to a manageable level. The key is narrowing down the topic to one that is manageable, yet still has produced enough reference material to ease that particular burden. Keep in mind that writing about current topics means finding the absolute latest and up to date information whereas writing about issues of the past allows more leverage in your research.

Reinforcement Strategies in Education

  • B.F. Skinner's theories on behaviorism and Ivan Pavlov's studies of classical conditioning have been used to support the concept of reinforcement strategies to motivate students. Opponents to this strategy argue that it amounts to paying students to learn and interferes with intrinsic desires to become educated. This research paper should introduce the concepts of Skinner and Pavlov and then lead into how they are used and whether that use is effective or not.

Second Amendment

  • The Second Amendment to the Constitution is one of the most controversial in that document. Gun control opponents often leave out the second part of this amendment that suggests it may have been written not to apply to individuals, but to a militia that was intended to act as a law enforcement organization. Research should focus on discovering precedents that indicate whether the Second Amendment actually was devised with individual gun ownership in mind.

Medical Malpractice Caps

  • A research paper could be written that examines the ongoing argument over whether medical malpractice awards should be capped. The justification for this call is that insurance rates are skyrocketing and health care providers are being forced to cut back on some services or move out of state. The argument also goes that trial lawyers encourage patients to sue doctors frivolously rather than for actual negligence. A research paper can collect data to find out just how accurate these claims really are.

Advertising and the Frankfurt School

  • A valuable research paper topic is the study of advertising through the lens of Frankfurt School of social theorists like Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse. Research should lead into how these writers deconstruct many of the paradoxes inherent in advertising as well as how advertising equates freedom of choice with the option of buying one of several options of the very same brand of product. The research should incorporate how these writers deconstruct the manner in which images are manipulated and exploited to reiterate idealized expectations of wealth or small town America.


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