Good Research Paper Topics for History

Updated on April 15, 2018
Jule Romans profile image

Jule Romans is a retired high school teacher with more than 25 years of experience helping students succeed in the classroom.

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What are Good Research Paper Topics?

Good research paper topics are focused on a narrow, manageable subject that is easily divided into sections


Once you understand the structure, it becomes much easier to find a good research paper topic.

How to Create Good Research Paper Topics in History

Here are two good examples of how to create a research topic that is narrow, manageable, and easily divided into three sections.

1. The Rise and Fall of Benito Mussolini in Italy, 1922-1945.

  • This paper would have three sections: how Mussolini gained political power, what happened during the height of his reign, and how he was defeated.
  • Use this structure for ANY political or historical figure. Simply replace "Mussolini" with the name of your selected leader, and choose a country and date range that fits that person.
  • For example, this topic could also be used to describe The Rise and Fall of Napoleon in France, 1804-1815.

2. Joan of Arc and the Siege of Orleans in 15th Century France.

  • Divide this paper into sections by first describing Joan of Arc as a person. Then, explain the Siege of Orleans and her role in the battle. Finally, demonstrate how these two things fit within the context of 15th century French history
  • Use this structure for any historical figure associated with an important battle or war. Just keep it narrow and focused.
  • For example, this topic could also be used to describe Alexander the Great and the Battle of Issus in Ancient Macedonia.

You can generate a good research paper topic for almost any historical, religious, or political figure.

Source

40 Good Research Paper Topics for History

European History

1. What were the three main causes of the Boer War?

2. How were cathedrals built?

3. What is the Gutenberg Bible?

4. What was the purpose of Morality plays in Medieval England?

5. How did Italian Renaissance painters benefit from the art patronage system?

6. What was the impact of the slave trade on the European economy?

7. How did the guillotine influence the French Revolution?

8. Who was Germany's most influential composer?

9. How did the feudal system operate?

10. Royalty and the concept of Divine Right rulership in 17th century Italy

US History

1. How was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory an example of social injustice?

2. How did the Mormons influence the settling of the America west?

3. Mississippi riverboat/showboat culture

4. The origins of automobile drag racing in the U.S.

5. How and why were National Parks created?

6. Which US state has the most disputed borders?

7. How did the highway system change American culture?

8. The creation and maintenance of New York's Central Park

9. Traveling circuses in the midwest United States, 1850-1950.

10. The role of lighthouses in Great Lakes maritime history.

World History

1. What were the top three battles in the Korean War.

2. How did the Jaffa Riots begin in the British Mandate of Palestine, 1921?

3. What was the Battle of Hochst and how did it influence the Thirty Years' War?

4. How did the Siege of Turin take a key position in two separate wars?

5. What were the conditions of life for soldiers in the First Crusade.

6. What was the role of the Shogun in Japanese history?

7. How did Buddhism alter the Chinese Empire?

8. How did the Byzantine Empire succeed?

9. What is the organization of the Hindu gods?

10. How, when, and where did the Silk Road operate?

Ancient History

1. Roman gladiators: life, lifestyle, and living conditions.

2. Child Emperors of Rome.

3. Who was the most influential Egyptian Pharoah

4. The building of the Sphinx.

5. What was the Code of Hammurabi?

6. How were ziggurats used in ancient Mesopotamia?

7. Which cultures originated in the Nile valley?

8. The origin of African tribal culture

9. The world of the Ancient Maya.

10. The story of Carthage.

How To Create Your Own Good Research Paper Topics

Avoid topics that are too broad.

The topic of "energy" is much larger than most research papers can cover. It is also too vague. What kind of energy? Electrical? Gas? Wind? You can easily see why this topic would make it very difficult to write

Narrow it down by using questions. Ask yourself exactly what it is you want to say.


Source

Good Research Topics for Ancient and Early European History

  1. Conditions for Slaves During the Building of the Great Pyramid
  2. Three Events from the First Greek Olympiad
  3. How, Where, and When Rome was Founded
  4. The Battle of Marathon: How the Greeks Defeated Persia
  5. How Plato and Aristotle Collaborated to Reinvent Philosophy
  6. Alexander’s Conquest of Egypt: Strategies for Victory
  7. The Great Wall of China: Construction Plans and Implementation
  8. Julius Ceasar’s Most Successful Attacks on Great Britain
  9. The Huns’ First Invasion of Europe
  10. Mohammed: From Mecca to Medina
  11. The Hijiri Era
  12. The Arab Invasion of Spain

How to Make a Topic Manageable

Thus, the broad topic of "energy" becomes "Alternative Sources of Power Developed by US Energy Companies in the 21st Century."

Even better, take this focus one step further. "Three Major Companies Using Wind Energy to serve Customers in the United States."

A good research paper topic will be easy to outline using three main sections.


Good History Research Paper Topics by Century

11th-16th Century

  1. The Norman invasion of England
  2. Victory of William the Conquerer over the English King Harold II at Hastings.
  3. The Invention of Gunpowder: Roger Bacon’s Legacy
  4. Events that Started the Hundred Years War
  5. England and the Black Death
  6. The Turkish Capture of Constantinople
  7. Europe’s Artistic Renaissance: Painters and Sculptors
  8. Vasco de Gama and the Sea Route to India
  9. The Defeat of the Spanish Armada

17th – 18th Century

  1. The Establishment British East India Company
  2. The Execution of Charles I: Causes and Effects
  3. Why Monarchy was Restored in England
  4. The Great Plague of England: Death Returns
  5. England’s Glorious Revolution
  6. Significance of The Battle of Blenheim
  7. Three Reasons for the Union of England and Scotland
  8. Injustices Leading to the French Revolution

19th Century

  1. Political and Social Effects of Nelson's Death
  2. Physical Conditions at the Battle of Trafalagar
  3. Unexpected Events at the Battle of Waterloo
  4. Napolean’s life on St. Helena
  5. Key Features of The Reforms Bill
  6. Queen Victoria’s first Years on the Throne of England
  7. The Opening of the Suez Canal
  8. Roentgen’s Discovery of X-Rays
  9. The Inventions of Marconi

How to Narrow a Topic

Use the classic 5-W strategy. Focus on Who, What, Where, When, and Why. For example, the overly broad topic of abortion can be narrowed to something more specific using these questions.

Who? Energy companies What? Seeking alternate sources of power Why? because of increased public demand. When? In the 21st century. Where? In the United States. You don't have to use all of these, but they definitely can help narrow down a broad topic.


Avoid topics that are too broad. Overwhelming topics can lead to frustration and writer's block.

Good Research Paper Topics for History: 1900-1950

  1. An Overview of Japan’s War with Russia
  2. How Japan Defeated Russia
  3. The Discovery of the Theory of Relativity by Einstein
  4. The Chinese Revolution
  5. Why the Republic of China Was Established
  6. Events that Caused the Beginning of World War I
  7. The Russian Revolution: People and Places
  8. How the End of World War I was Accomplished
  9. The Signing of the Treaty of Versailles
  10. The Formation of the League of Nations
  11. How Turkey Became a Republic
  12. Why Hitler Became the Chancellor of Germany
  13. The First 20 Days of the Spanish Civil War
  14. World War II: The Beginnings
  15. How Russia was Invaded by Hitler
  16. Events After Pearl Harbor was Invaded by Japan
  17. The Establishment of UNO
  18. The Final Days of World War II in France
  19. Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Effects of the Atom Bomb
  20. President Roosevelt’s Life and Death
  21. Three Major Events in China’s Civil War
  22. How Burma and Ceylon Gained Independence
  23. How Indonesia Gained Independence
  24. The Communist Ascension to Power in China

How to Divide a Topic into Three Sections

"Three Major Companies Using Wind Energy to Serve Customers in the Untied States" makes the division completely obvious from the start.

The paper can be divided into three sections, with one section devoted to each major company.

Within each section, the paper can outline how the company developed the use of wind energy and how it is using wind energy to serve US customers.

Good Research Paper Topics for History: 1950-1970

  1. General Eisenhower: Critical Actions of His Presidency
  2. Stalin’s Death and its Effect on the Political Landscape
  3. The Team that Conquered Mt. Everest for the First Time
  4. The Conditions of the Military Aid Pact between China and Pakistan
  5. Chou En-lai’s Visit to India
  6. Austria’s Struggle for Independence
  7. The Bandung Conference
  8. President Nasser and the Nationalization of the Suez Canal
  9. Britain Attacks Egypt: Why it Happened
  10. The Connections Between France and Israel
  11. Russia’s First Artificial Satellite
  12. The United Arab Republic (UAR): Egypt and Syria United
  13. How the Chinese captured Tibet
  14. The Dalai Lama’s Escape to India
  15. The Design and Creation of Sputnik by Russia
  16. France and the Explosion of an Atom Bomb Device
  17. The First Man in Space: Yuri Gagarin of the USSR
  18. The Signing of the Partial Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty
  19. The Establishment of Malaysia
  20. The Life and Career of Sir Winston Churchill
  21. Singapore as a Sovereign Independent Nation
  22. Causes of the Outbreak of Indo-Pak War
  23. The Tashkent Pact
  24. The Russian Aircraft that Landed on the Moon.
  25. China and the Hydrogen Bomb
  26. The Arab-Israel War
  27. The Closing of the Suez Canal

You can divide complex topics in multiple ways. Choose the angle that makes the most sense to you. It will be easier to write.

How to Divide More Complex Topics

A less obvious example is "Alternative Sources of Power Developed by US Energy Companies in the 21st Century." This paper can be divided by discussing three different alternative sources of power.

For example, one section can discuss how US energy companies have developed the use of wind power since the year 2000. The next section can discuss how the same energy companies have developed the use of solar power. The third section can describe how these companies have developed the use of wave/water energy.

The interesting thing about this topic is that it can also be divided a different way. The paper can describe three different energy companies and how each one is developing alternative sources of energy for customers.

The research paper topic is the same, but the focus and division of sections is different.

Good Research Paper Topics for History: 1970-1980

  1. The Birth of Bangladesh
  2. Pakistan and the Surrender of 93,000 Troops
  3. The Death of Khruschev
  4. President Z.A. Bhutto of Pakistan
  5. The Incarceration of Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
  6. Bangladesh: Critical Events 1970-1980
  7. Nixon’s Auspicious Visit to China
  8. King Mahendra of Nepal
  9. The Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty
  10. The Fourth Arab-Israeli war
  11. The Algiers Summit
  12. The Assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, President of Bangladesh
  13. The Assassination of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia
  14. The Reopening of the Suez Canal
  15. The Red Cross and the Surrender of the Cambodia Government
  16. The Life and Times of Chou-En Lai, Prime Miniter of China
  17. The Independence of the Seychelles
  18. Viking I Mars Landing
  19. Israeli-Egypt Agreement
  20. Vietnam’s attack on Cambodia
  21. Afghanistan’s Bloody Coup
  22. The Assassination of Mohammed Daoud
  23. Chinese aggression in Vietnam
  24. Cambodian rebels in Pnom Penh
  25. Margaret Thatcher, First Female Prime Minister of Britain

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© 2018 Jule Romans

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