Another writing task and you have no ideas where to start? Sounds painfully familiar. Essay writing has been chasing me ever since the beginning of a high school. And it gets only harder after preparing hundreds of papers on the same omnipresent topics like pros and cons of legalizing marijuana (gun control, euthanasia, prostitution, etc.)
I know for sure that half of a success of any research paper is a well-chosen topic. It should not only regards some actual issue but be interesting for you. I mean, it’s pointless to spend weeks on researching the topic that is boring for you. So don’t make it the last argument for your topic choice - opt for something engaging.
Before moving to the topic, examples let’s outline how argumentative research paper differs from the persuasive one and what is the specificity of a topic choice for both of these types of papers.
An argumentative paper aims to present your opinion on a certain topic. In most of the cases, you write about some controversial issue and give your arguments for or against.
The distinguishing feature of this type of paper is that it requires well-researched arguments. Facts, statistic, charts - everything goes to illustrate your point. All of them must be on point and be supported by the links to authoritative sources. For each of your statement, you must provide proves. In other words, you give not simply your opinion. But present well-structured and researched materials to support one or other position. No matter what issue you consider (from biology, psychology or U.S. history) the goal is to convince the reader with the help of rational arguments.
A persuasive research paper also aims to convince. However, unlike the argumentative paper, this one concerns somewhat simpler questions. This is why it doesn’t require a deep research work and numerous links to reliable resources. Such paper examines your ability to convince not only with the help of facts but using special rhetorical twists. Long story short, in this paper you may appeal to emotions and sentiments of a reader. Illustrate your point with some vital examples from movies, books, or your personal experience.
The key difference: an argumentative paper aims at the rational thinking, the persuasive paper aims at emotions.
Let’s say you are writing about some criminal justice issue. Your topic Is Danger And Contradictions Of a Legal Positivism. For an argumentative paper, you should provide lots of facts and statistics about when and why this legal approach has proved its impracticability. For a persuasive essay, you can retell the plot of Time to Kill (film 1996) and conclude that according to a positivistic approach to criminal justice the father (starring Samuel L. Jackson) must have been sentenced to death (and that would be very sad). Furthermore, it would seem wrong from the perspective of what we call justice.
So you have a task to write an argumentative research paper. Your first step is to come up with a topic that would be:
A) debatable and thought-provoking. What means, when you hear it, you want to rush into a verbal battle to stand for one or other position.
B) feasible in scope. I’m saying that you can provide strong and comprehensive arguments on some religious, geopolitical or moral issue but not in a scope of a college research paper. This is the topic of rather a doctoral thesis level. So pick topics that are possible to unfold on several pages.
C) interesting to work with. Research paper writing takes not hours but sometimes days to write. So don’t make it unbearably boring for you to write on something you don’t care about.
D) it must correspond to your academic level (college, high school, Ph.D., etc.) I mean, mind a difficulty of the topic. Don’t try to jump over your head choosing an advanced level theme for your paper.
Make a list of topic ideas that come to your mind, for this you will need about an hour of brainstorming. So take your time. When you have the list in front of you make sure topics you’ve written down meet all the four requirements. Сross off those that don’t.
Ok, that's enough of a theory so let’s move on to the examples of good topics for a research paper.
You might now think something like ‘Whaat? Argumentative topics on chemistry?’. Well, yes, there are no limits of the subject range. The aim of such assignment is to examine your ability of critical thinking and to stand for your views. And you have ones in any field of knowledge, do you? Among considerably easy research paper topics for college students are the following:
Oh, this is a Klondike of issues to discuss, so you have a chance to come up with something that excites you. You should be mindful and remember about scope factor. As it usually happens, when you up to write about something exciting you neglect the time needed to complete it. Anyway, if you are assigned to write an argumentative essay on psychology, you have a strong chance to deal with unusual, controversial topics for a research paper.
History related topics are one of the most difficult to deal with. They require proper preparation and in-depth research. At first, it had seemed to me the least pleasant kind of essay, but then I’ve understood that everything I knew about the history of my country I’d learned through writing history essays. The argumentative paper helps to shape your perspective on some controversial subject. It allows developing an analytical and critical approach to the U.S. history and policy. In other words, history essays help to become a сonscientious citizen, who knows the victories and failures of his/her country.
One of the most debatable topics is, of course, sociological. This kind of questions directly concern us and that is why we cannot stay fully objective while answering them.
That is where the fun begins. A persuasive essay is a paper that can change your initial views on a topic throughout your work. It’s very engaging task that makes you not just defend some point but believe in it. What are the risks to choose not the best topics for a persuasive paper? The similar you have with argumentative one: it can be obvious, not feasible and be not of your study level. So the scheme is the same: brainstorm the list of topics. Then reduce those that are obviously not the best choice. Finally, when you have two-three topic left that meet all the requirements, chose the one that excites you the most. It’s the best part. A persuasive essay is more personal than argumentative one, so your interest in the topic is the key.
My best advice for you is to enjoy your writing. I know that it sounds a bit mockingly, but I mean it. Writing is one of the most exciting and creative adventures so relax and get your share of intellectual pleasure.