Education students who are participating in academic classes requiring a thesis, research report or other similar paper have a variety of topics to choose from. Depending on the concentration of study, the research paper topic may be chosen from a number of different areas such as educational methods, curricular content and societal implications of education.
Educational methods include the theories and philosophies behind curriculum development and instructional practices. A research paper on educational methods may include information on current best practices in education, methods used for a specific age group such as early childhood or secondary education, a specific educational philosophy such as Reggio Emilia or Montessori, the effects of educational practices or the history/progression of academic theories. For example, according to the International Montessori Index, the Montessori method refers to an educational method of instruction derived from the research and practices of Dr. Maria Montessori. A research paper on this educational method might include facts about the history of Dr. Montessori and describe various aspects of the educational program. It could also include a scientific investigation into the effectiveness of the method and describe how the method is administered. All information should come from reputable sources such as academic textbooks or scholarly journals.
A research paper on curricular content allows the education student to focus on either a general school curriculum or a specific focus of study. General content areas may include elementary curriculum, middle school curriculum or secondary curriculum. Specialized or focused curricular content topics are comprised of individual subjects such as art or mathematics, special education or other related areas. Additionally, students may want to consider focusing on content creation, administrative decisions behind curricular inclusion, standards based curriculum or the effects of standardized testing on instructional content.
A research paper could discuss the role culture plays in the U.S. educational system. Or, for example, it could discuss how educational policy differs between certain countries. These, and other similar topics, fall under the category of society and education. Students interested in writing a research paper on these topics may want to include information about the affects that a specific society has on the educational system or, conversely, how the system affects the society. Specific themes may focus on race or gender within high schools, standardized testing and race, education in rural and urban communities, comparative global educational analysis, public education in a specific country, family influences on a child's education or the government's role in the education system.