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research paper tips

Social studies: finding a good topic for a research paper


To describe social studies you could say it’s the study of how human beings relate to each other as well as to their environment. It’s all about exploring people, their behaviors and cultures. Since there are many disciplines connected to the main topic of social sciences, there are many fields to choose from when selecting your topic.

Your social studies research paper is perhaps the greatest undertaking of your class. Often they are worth a significant portion of the final grade and because of that, you will want to take great care to do the best you can. The success of your essay is partially dependent on the topic you choose, so choose one you can write about with passion and conviction.

Here are some ideas to get you started on:

  • The settlement of the West
  • Nutrition of the civil war soldiers
  • Local architecture patterns
  • The Yukon Gold Rush
  • The 2014 Ebola epidemic
  • Child Labor in 19th Century Canada
  • Britain’s Role in Confederation
  • The contributions of the Brown Berets to civil rights demonstrations
  • The trail of tears in Native American culture
  • Scientific advancements in early Mayan cultures
  • Obscenity in the media
  • Role of religion in modern America

Your social studies research paper topic may be in history, sociology, psychology, immigration, culture, globalization, multiculturalism, evolution of government and many more.

Take time choosing your topic. Look and see how much research material is available to use for your favorite 2 or 3 topics before making your final decision. There’s nothing worse than getting started on a topic only to hit a brick wall and have to start all over again with a new topic!

Current events or local issues also make good social studies topics. Items in the news that are current and affect local groups in the community are always a hit for topic ideas. Scan your local papers or online news sites and see what topics jump out at you. Just remember to do some research before you make your decision, to ensure you have enough background information to support an entire research paper.

Most requirements call for a minimum of 5 legitimate sources of information. Check with the guidelines for your assignment. Some of them may have to be primary sources, so that’s also something to watch for. A primary source means the people involved in the event were the ones who actually wrote the information you are using.