The Most Controversial Research Paper Topics

It’s common for students to choose a controversial topic because they have a chance to express their personal beliefs.  Such topics can make your assignment standout from the others. These types of topics can be a challenge since more research will be needed to clarify facts, while presenting personal opinions.  Some of the most controversial topics continue to spark controversy due to multiple perspectives leading to clashing opinions.  Ongoing conflicts from these topics will continue to have profound effects on how people live their lives around the world.

The Economy

This subject matter can include a variety of topics from the mortgage crisis, homelessness, ways to end poverty and handling consumer debt.  Equal pay for equal work and minimum wage requirements also continue to be hot topics.  Media and advertising has also become a controversial topic of concern; information and how it is reported to the masses has created mixed messages about how the economy in general is progressing. Example topics: How fair is the election process? Does exporting jobs hurt or help the economy? Should men and women be entitled to earn the same amount for the same job?

Relationships and Family

This subject presents topics that can be sensitive and personal. Gay marriage, dating outside of your race, adoption and teen sex are a few example areas.  Social networking is known for creating and breaking relationships including friends and family.  Example topics: Should a gay couple be allowed to raise children?  Will you allow your teen to be sexually active?  Does age difference matter while dating?


Over the years, this subject has had a great deal of controversy because of how it affects youth and their learning experiences.  Religion in schools, alcohol and drugs on school campuses, homeschooling, bullying and sex education are just a few areas of concern.  Example topics: Should schools offer students contraceptives?  Is it okay for students to pray in school? Are schools doing enough to keep bullying under control? Should females be allowed to participate in male sports?

Crime and Violence

In many cases, a crime committed doesn’t seem to fit the punishment.  Gun laws, gun violence and hate crimes also present controversial topics.  Hate crimes, date rape, child abuse and security measures are other issues of concern.  One of the most controversial of all time includes the death penalty, with many voicing their opinion for it or against it.  Example topics: Do law enforcement cameras invade personal privacy? Is legalizing marijuana a good idea?  Should an individual be allowed to own a gun?