Research Ideas for High School Students
Research ideas put students in the driver seat of their education.
Rather than following a prescribed curriculum, students doing research get to decide what topics most interest them, create and execute a plan for expanding their knowledge, and select the best method for sharing what they’ve learned.
In the increasingly test-optional world of college admissions, research ideas help distinguish truly exceptional, self-motivated students from hordes of applicants with stellar grades and similar extracurriculars.
Types of Research Ideas
Not all researchers wear lab coats. Performing your own experiments is only one option in a world of possibilities for exploring your passions through research. Polygence has expert mentors equipped to guide students through writing research papers, creating blogs, recording podcasts, composing music, designing video games, and so much more! No prior experience is required – just a passion for learning.
Research papers are the gold standard for making a rigorous, concrete contribution to the advancement of any academic field. When you publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal, what you learned in your project becomes publicly available to other researchers whose own work may benefit from your insights. There are many peer-reviewed journals that publish outstanding papers from researchers of all levels, even high schoolers!
Review papers provide a comprehensive analysis of the existing research within a certain academic niche and the conclusions we can draw from prior work. These papers become useful tools for other researchers and are often the most cited works within a given discipline. With a simple internet connection, you can use tools like Google Scholar to start reading scholarly articles and writing your own review paper today!National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Placement in U.S. Government and its ImplicationsResearch Paper on the Effect Dance Therapy has on Neurological DisordersGenetic Engineering as an Effective Cancer Therapy: A Research Paper Focused on CRISPRCalifornia in Flames: A Literature Review on the Causes and Effects of WildfiresResearch Paper Discussing Cybersecurity Policies and International Relations: The Case of the US and Iran
Original data collection
Collecting and analyzing data sets is critical to identifying patterns and solving problems across many scholarly fields. Many research papers can present original data in the form of charts and graphs and present the conclusions the researchers have drawn from their data.
- Quantitative data can come from experiments that can be conducted at home or that do not require a wet lab.Fire and dry grass: Effects of Pennisetum villosum on a California native, Nassella pulchra, in drought timesResearch Paper Exploring the Connection Between Test Performance and Listening to Familiar or Unfamiliar MusicDiversity and abundance of organisms in tide pools as a function of distance from the ocean in Southern California.Research Paper on the Effect of K-Pop on Eating Disorders and Body Image in Teenagers
- Surveys and questionnaires can be distributed online to collect quantitative or qualitative data.Coping During Covid-19: A Study on How Locus of Control Influences Coping Response in an Uncontrollable SituationA Research Paper Exploring Pakistani Youth in the U.S
- Interviews can be conducted in person or virtually to amass qualitative data.Homelessness and COVID-19, Exploring Long Term Solutions Over Short Term StabilityA Research Paper Exploring Pakistani Youth in the U.S
Original analysis of public data set
There is a surabondance of robust data freely available which has yet to be analyzed to its full extent and which can save researchers the trouble of collecting original data. Researchers often make use of existing data sets to investigate their own unique research question or to train their algorithms, making sure to cite the original researchers who collected the data, of course!
- Training an algorithm using a datasetA Machine Learning-Based Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Data analysis of a publicly available datasetRibosome distribution affects stalling in amino-acid starved cancer cells
If your research interests lie in the humanities, your research paper may examine certain works of art, historical events, and cultural phenomena. By making close observations and applying particular aesthetic and theoretical lenses – feminism, post-colonialism, gender theory, and more – humanities scholars uncover hidden significance and proposed new understandings of cultural objects.The Evolution of the Disney Princesses: Our Once-Flawed Role ModelsHow has the treatment of Asian women throughout American history shaped societal perception and self-perception of Asian women?The Changing Ideals of War as Reflected Through Poetry of the First World War
Comparative studies examine two or more different phenomena, typically across different cultures and/or time periods, to see what new knowledge arises from bringing them into conversation.Say His Name: Reading L’Étranger and Meursault, contre-enquête in the Age of Black Lives Matter
Creative art projects
Research is an inherently creative process, which is why we welcome students who want their output to reflect their artistic talents. You can channel what you learn through research into a poem, a painting, a musical composition, a photography portfolio, a fashion design, a multimedia collage, and more!
If you have skills in a visual medium like drawing, painting, or sculpture that you want to cultivate, you can make an art piece or portfolio inspired by your research.Da Vinci inspired drawing portfolio
Whether you’re a seasoned instrumentalist or just hoping to make some beats in GarageBand, Polygence mentors can help you create an original composition inspired by your area of interest.Starry Night: A Love Song
From smartphone photography to professional shoots, Polygence has mentors who are experts in helping students learn to take stunning photos that explore themes and tell a story.Photo Essay Exploring Tenderness and Violence from a Levantine Perspective
Research papers are geared towards an academic audience, but you may have a different target audience in mind. If your focus is sharing what you’re passionate about with your friends, family, peers, and community members, you have a vast array of media formats to choose from.
Blogs are great tools for growing as a writer, expressing yourself with a personal flair, all while creating a designated space for spreading information about a topic you’re passionate about. You can make your own webpage or use Medium, Substack, or another existing platform to house your blog.A Blog All About Proper Health and NutritionBlog on Social Inequalities and Policy MakingBlog on Anxiety and Stress in Teenagers
If you prefer talking out your ideas and taking in information through listening, podcasting can be your medium of sharing your insights, contributing to important conversations, and expressing your passions. Just find a podcast hosting service, and you can easily share your episodes to Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen!Mind the SkinThe Composition of a LeaderFoggy Mind.The Myth of Io in Ovid and Beyond: Voice, Sexuality, and Lamentation
In a Youtube video, you can combine text, voiceover, images, video footage, music, interviews, and more to find the best method of sharing your message. Researching and creating one video can spark ideas for entire series on your Youtube channel.Youtube video about biomimicry in octopus’Informative video animation about Vascular Elhers-Danlos Syndrome
Social media page
Social media is a great way to reach a wide audience of young people, and most platforms allow for many different formats of content sharing and communication.The Nung
Research is inventive! Sometimes a proposed solution to a problem can take the form of a design for a product, a tool, a policy, an algorithm, and more. Design can serve specific social purposes like making education fun through a game or advocating for positive change through policy proposals.
Have an idea for a product and a love for tinkering? Polygence mentors can help you design and build your invention!AutoMeler: An Anti-Snow System for Driveways and Streets
Algorithms are powerful tools for problem solving. You can use your coding skills to write an original algorithm to address a need you see. Be sure to share it on Github!Award-winning machine learning algorithmResource administrator AIA Machine-Learning Based Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease
Game design is a dynamic way to build your problem solving skills and express your creativity all at once. Whether you make a game for entertainment or for educational purposes, you will learn invaluable skills throughout the process!Web app that gamifies algorithm learningBuilding a Green City Simulation Game