History Research Paper Topics
No matter what program of study you have selected for a major, you will be required to take at least one history course. If you also happen to like history, you may take more than one, as electives. And if you are a history major? Well, you will be looking for history research paper topics every semester.
Finding Topics Appropriate for the College Level
Writing a research paper on the causes of World War II was fine for a high school history class. You could find books and maybe even an article or two in a history journal and write an 8-10 page paper on all of the issues that brought about the War. At the college level, however, this will not do. Research paper topics must be far more focused and in-depth. You might, for example, select one cause of World War II, and produce a full paper just on it.
With that in mind, here are some potential topics:
- How did the Opium Wars impact China/West relationships?
- What impact did Rasputin have on the Romanov family and public policy?
- How does the genocide in Rwanda reflect a failure of colonial powers to properly transition African nations from colonies to independent states?
- How did the division of the Middle East into countries after World War II result in the mess we have there today?
- What role did reparation payments and filed economies play in the rise of Fascism in post-World War I Europe?
- Compare medieval social structures with societies in third-world nations today.
- Who were the Philistines and why were they some of the most hated people?
- What was the impact of the Bubonic Plague on population growth in Europe?
- What remnants of Jim Crow remain, and what recent state laws seem to be an attempt to bring some of the Jim Crow era back again?
- What modern examples of protest activities can be compared to the Boston Tea Party?
- What conspiracy theories surround the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Is there any merit to them?
- How was the Indian Removal Act like the Japanese internment activities during World War II?
- In what way has Plessy vs. Ferguson really not settled the issue of segregation?
As you look at these topics, you will see they are all questions. This is because, at the college level, the concept of research means to ask a scholarly question and then to set about researching that question for answers.
Gone are the days of second-hand resources and encyclopedias. Now, you will be looking for primary source materials and, when they are not available, for the writings of those who are considered experts on the research question you have chosen. This means you will be reading other research woks on your topic, such as dissertations and articles published in respected academic journals.
College research comes with high expectations from professors for the questions you pose, for the research sources you use, and, of course, for a high quality level of composition. Structural and grammatical errors that were acceptable in high school no longer are.
If you really dis-like history or have difficulty producing high quality research papers, then you should get some professional help. These are major factors in overall semester grades!