Creating Winning Topics For A History Research Paper


Writing a research paper for any class is much easier once you have the topic. There seems to be no one right way to choose a topic - you just have to pick one. Research papers tend to be assigned in liberal arts courses, like literature, history, and language arts. Literature and language arts topics are always evolving as more books and stories are being written. History also continues to evolve as a topic, but not as quickly as literature. Since many history topics have already been written about, students usually have difficulty crafting winning topics for their history research papers.

  • Assigning a Historical Period
  • When you need to write a research paper for history class, the first thing you need to know is the historical period that you need to investigate. Once you know the time period and the location of your assignment, you will have an easier time developing a topic because your options will be limited. You research paper needs to answer a question, but not just any question. The question should be historical in nature and it needs to be limited in size.

  • Shrink Your Broad Topic
  • Once you know what time period you need to research, you then need to choose a topic. Most students pick a broad topic, like slavery or World War II. These topics have thousands of books written about them, so the topic needs to be narrowed. You can do this by thinking about what interests you most about the topics. So, if you are interested in the music of slaves or female pilots in World War II, you have topics that are more accessible. Then, the topics need to be developed into questions that can be answered.

  • Decide on an Answerable Question
  • Your answerable questions need to be something that you can prove. For example, you could ask “How did a woman become a pilot during World War II?” or “How did slaves use music to communicate with each other?” These topics are small enough that they can fit into a research paper, but broad enough that they can be researched.

Here are a few other popular topics that can become winning topics:

  • What are the educational differences between the early 1900s and the 2000s?
  • How did the Gentleman’s Agreement of 1907-1908 affect Japanese-American relations?
  • What political parties flourished in the US and how did they develop?
  • How is the real story of Pocahontas different from the animated cartoon story?

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