11 Smart Sociology Research Topics That Will Get You an A
Sociology is a fascinating field of study. If you're taking a sociology class or interested in doing some independent research, this list can help you get started.
What is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of groups of people and their cultures, customs, practices. Because this topic is so broad, and our culture is always changing, the possibilities for writing and research are endless. With sociology, you can research just about anything, from Beyonce to Scientology.
This list will also guide you to make your own, original topic. The top ten sociological subjects are listed below with plenty of ideas for your research.
What is Covered By Sociological Research?
The list is organized around 10 umbrella topics, each with its own set of mini-topics. These umbrella topics include:
- Race, Nationality, and Ethnicity
- Mass Media
- Sociology of Food
- Youth Cultures
- Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
- Social Movements
- Cults, Clans, and Communities
- Class Conflict and Inequalities
- Spirituality, Superstition, and Legends
- The Family
1. The Sociology of Race, Nationality, and Ethnicity
Race, nationality, and ethnicity are some of the most written about subjects in sociology. The classical sociologist Emile Durkheim discussed the effects of origin on a person and the solidarity that they feel with others from the same or similar origin. Sociologists like to study these bonds as well as the effects of difference.
Census data provides raw data for literally thousands of research papers. The following are some sociological topics on race, nationality, and ethnicity:
- Racial Segregation in Cities
- The Correlation between Class and Race
- [insert race] and Education Levels
- Interracial Marriage Then and Now
- Racial Stereotypes and their Effects
- Culture and Race: Is Environment More Important than Race?
- Attitudes Toward Race and Police Brutality
- Race Riots: What's the Cause of Racial Unrest?
- Relationship Between Race and Class
- Relationship Between Race and Educational Levels
- Ethnicity and Race: What is the Difference/What is the Correlation?
- How Ethnicity Affects Class
- Multi-Ethnic Individuals and their Position in Society
- Multicultural Society and the Dominant Culture
- How the Italians and Irish Became "White"
- Patriotism in [insert country]
- How [insert plural nationality] views [insert plural nationality]
- Nationality and Pride: What Makes a Patriot?
- Immigration and Assimilation
- America: Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?
2. The Sociology of Mass Media and Social Media
One of the most interesting topics of sociological research is the media. What we see on television, in magazines, and in theaters has an effect on us as members of society. There are endless topics to study in the media. Below is a list of topic ideas.
How ________ are Presented in the Media
- [insert a race]
- Young Women
- Young Men
- Disabled Individuals
- Celebrities [choose one]
- The Disabled
The Media's Target and Portrayal for Profit
- What Commercials Play at What Times During the Day? [Also, which channels do they play on?]
- Who Consumes the Most [insert genre] Music?
- Sexuality and Disney Movies
- Romantic Comedies and Women
- Gym, Tan, Laundry: A Study of Jersey Shore and its Viewers
- Children's Television
- Ratings and New Technologies: How Youth Watch Television
- Youth and Social Media
- Social Media and Celebrity
- Harassment and Bullying on Social Media
- Social Networking in the New Millennium
- Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Instagram: Who Uses Each and Why?
- Does Social Media Make Us Lonely?
- Does Social Media Promote Narcissism?
3. Sociology of Food and Eating
Food culture is a very interesting topic to research not only because of how food is produced and distributed but also because of how it's consumed. Here are some possible research topics for those of you who want to learn more about how our food is grown, distributed, and consumed.
How Food is Made
- Where Does Food Come From? Meats, Vegetables, and More
- How Does [insert fast food place] Make their Food?
- Food Laws and Regulations
- Which Companies Supply Food to the US?
- The Use of Pesticides in Farms
- Monsanto Seeds
- The Seed Bank
- Farmers Markets and The "Slow Food" Movement
- The Rise of "Organic" Farming
How Food is Distributed
- Import-Export Practices around the World
- Food Packaging Messages
- The Locations of Fast Food Chains in Relation to Low-Income Areas
- The Geographical Difference in Food Distribution: Class Inequality
How Food is Consumed
- The Difference in Serving Sizes Over Time
- Do You Know What's In Your Food? A Study of Nutritional Facts and Food Education
- Where Do People Eat?
- Family Dinners and the Modern Day
- [Insert Country/State/City] Food Culture
- Are We What We Eat? A Study on Obesity
- Child Obesity
- Has Technology Changed the Way We Eat?
- Vegetarians, Vegans, and Others with Personal Food Regulations
- How the Media Advertises Food
- Attitudes Toward GMOs
- How Eating Habits Change Over Time
4. The Sociology of Youth Culture Today
Youth culture is another fascinating sociological topic. Young people belong to many subcultures, which they illustrate in their attitude, clothing, music, and more. Studying these cultures allows us to understand how our world works—particularly how the media affects youth because the majority of American media consumers are between the ages of 14 and 21.
- Hip Hop Culture in the '80s, '90s, and 2000s
- Punk: Anarchy, Rebellion, and Revolution
- Extreme Sports Culture: Surf, Skate, and Snow
- How Adolescents are Affected by the Media
- "Emo" Culture: The Self-Destructive Teen
- Mean Girls: A Study of Competition between Young Women
- Jock Culture
- At-Risk Youth and Deviant Behavior
- Messages Promoted in [insert genre here] Music
- Masculinity and Femininity in High School
- Cliques and Outcasts: A Study of a High School Social Structure
- Cyber Bullying
- Maturity and the Media: Are Teens Pressured to Mature as Fast as their Favorite Stars?
- Sex and Adolescents
5. The Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
The gender divide has been one of the most important subjects that sociologists study because it exists in every culture around the world. Men and women have always been opposites in society, which has contributed to numerous inequalities. The following is a list of sociological research topics on gender.
- Gender Inequality on the Job
- Gendered Occupations: Nurses and Contractors
- Women in the Workplace
- Transgendered Individuals
- Homosexuality and How it is Portrayed in the Media
- "Coming Out": Feared or Loved
- The Gender Bias: How Men and Women are Treated Differently in Law, Media, and Social Interactions
- Anorexia and Women
- Gender Stereotypes in [media/workplace/region]
- The Feminist Revolution
- Women's Rights and Movements
- The White (Man's) House
Are gender studies interesting to you?
6. The Sociology of Social Movements
Studying social movements and revolutions can illuminate how communities that share the same beliefs and goals form. Social movements are always surfacing, which makes them current as well as historical, so choosing a topic is easy!
To study a movement, just choose a movement or a group of people. In addition to studying the movement itself, you can also choose to research its oppression or support, formation, accomplishments (or downfall), or its impact on society at large. Here are some movements to get you started:
- The Civil Rights
- Feminism (Suffragettes)
- Occupy Wall Street
- Animal Rights
- The French Revolution
- The Tea Party
- Disability Rights
- Gay Rights (Gay Marriage)
- Fair Trade
- Human Rights
- Anti-Nuclear Movement
- American Indian Movement
7. The Sociology of Cults, Clans, and Communities
People in society want to be a part of a group that shares their same beliefs. Sometimes these groups become so united that they are destructive, whereas some of the groups create solidarity, community, and fellowship.
The following is a list of religions, cults, and other groups that share similar beliefs and can be studied.
- Ku Klux Klan
- Charles Manson
- Montana Doomsday Religious Cult - "Church Universal and Triumphant"
- Heaven's Gate
- Branch Davidians
- The People's Temple (Jim Jones)
- Aum Shinrikyo (Japanese cult responsible for 1995 sarin gas attack on Tokyo subway)
8. The Sociology of Class Conflict and Inequality
Classes are treated differently in every society. Because the inequalities are so deeply embedded in our society, it is difficult to eliminate them. Geographically, classes are segregated, which further complicates the pursuit of equality. Here are some topics to study:
- Class and Geographical Segregation
- Ghettos and Gated Communities
- Food in Rich and Poor Areas
- Schools in Low-Income Neighborhoods
- Taxes and Wages
- The Effects of the Ghetto on Youth
- The "Ghetto" Cycle: A Study of Recidivism and No Opportunities
- Wealth and Race
- City Funding and District Zones
- The Geography of Upward Mobility
- The "Culture of Poverty"
- The Relationship Between Poverty and Education
- Class and Parenting Styles
- The Welfare State
- Class and Contentment: Does Money Buy Happiness?
9. The Sociology of Spirituality, Superstition, and Folklore
One of my personal favorite topics to write about is ancient Hawaiian culture. The ancient Hawaiians have many myths and legends. Sociological studies about myths and legends study the purpose behind cultural storytelling. Below are some interesting cultures and legends to get you started.
- Dolphins and the Amazon
- Pele, the Hawaiian Fire Goddess
- Viking Legends
- Egyptian Legends (Tombs, Afterlife, and Tut)
- Biblical Events
- Pandora's Box
- Mayan Culture
- Lochness Monster
- The Legend of the Three Sisters
- Big Foot
- Alien Abductions
10. The Sociology of Consumerism
Research about commodities can be done with little fieldwork. Information can be found mostly with available data online and in books. Try writing on one of the following:
- Vinyl Records or Music in other forms
- Currency/Gold/Rare Gems and Minerals (Inflation, Deflation)
- Artifacts (Rare or Other)
- Fashion Accessories
11. Sociology of the Family
The family is another fascinating topic for sociologists. Not only do most people have a family, but one's family is often incredibly influential in one's life, for better or worse! Since our view of what a family is and should be is changes culturally and historically, there's always something different to research. Here are a few topics to get you started:
- Unconventional Family Structures
- Influence of Parents on Child Behavior
- Long-Term Effects of Child Abuse
- Cross-Racial Adoption
- Effects of Divorce on the Family
- Single Parenting
- Family Differences Across Race and Ethnic Groups
- Teenage Mothers