2,893 Inspirational Research Project Ideas
Turn inspirations into your passion project.
This collection of project ideas, shared by Polygence mentors, is meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.
- Comp Sci
- Comp Sci - Game Design
- Creative Writing
- Environmental Science
- Fluid Dynamics
- Literature and Languages
- Organizational Leadership
- Public Health
- Social Science
- Sports Analytics
Research Paper- Does Autism cling to Leukemia?
Determining Incidence/prevalence of Leukemia among those with different forms/severities of autism (e.g., Downs Syndrome, Asberger Syndrome, etc.)
Using research-based methods to support word and category learning
Children’s vocabulary rapidly expands during their preschool years. There are lots of factors that contribute to word and category learning, and many can be directly applied by the adults teaching them these new concepts. For this project, you will research the factors that facilitate children’s learning and create a learning opportunity (e.g., a book, podcast, experiment) that effectively utilizes these findings to successfully teach children new concepts. The project will culminate in a research paper detailing your proposal, how you plan to test it, what you expect to find.
Cognitive, Creative Writing
Rate of Cognitive Decline in Different Elevations
Oxygen partial pressure decreases with altitude, challenging blood oxygenation which may affect brain function. What is the affect on brain health/ cognition in sudden increased elevation: say, climbing Mount Everest? Does chronic exposure to high elevations increase the likelihood of dementia? In this project, a meta-analysis of published works examining the effects of altitude on cognition would be conducted.
Data Analysis of an Open EEG Data Repository
Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive neural recording that measure electrical potentials generated by the brain using scalp electrodes. In an effort to open scientific collaboration to global researchers, scientists have released EEG datasets as open repositories on websites such as OpenNeuro and PhysioNet, among others. This project would involve analyzing a dataset using data science and statistical methods in pursuit of scientific insight regarding a hypothesis-driven research question. This project will utilize skills ranging from scientific literature review, hypothesis generation and research design, implementation of statistical methods, and programming in Python/MATLAB. This project would be ideal for a student interest in neuroscience or medicine with an aptitude for quantitative methods and coding.
Bringing Your Story to Life
Storytelling has been around for thousands of years. It's an essential part of being human. In this project, let's bring your story to life, whether it be through film, theatre, song, or any other concept that you have in mind.
Patient Case Simulation
Explore 2-3 case-based patient scenarios which will involve a review of their medical history, treatments, and plans for discharging home from the hospital. This project will focus on learning about what factors might influence a person's ability to live at home independently following an injury/illness and ways to evaluate/treat them from the rehabilitation standpoint. This will involve researching into different conditions and critical thinking of how someone's personal or environmental factors may influence their health outcomes and how to problem solve through those difficulties.
Literally speaking, how figurative are we?
When it comes to metaphors and other figures of speech, people generally equate them with some artistic talents that are shared only among poets and writers. Not to mention, some tend to believe that rhetorical devices are at best useless ornamental pieces scattered here and there to beautify one's language, or worse yet, deviant twists of tongues insidiously lead the recipients astray. But hold on a sec! Did I just unintentionally left a full trace of metaphors as I'm typing down these words? Isn't "equate" a metaphor - mapping maths values to general ideas? Isn't "scatter" a metaphor - mapping candies to words? Isn't "astray" a metaphor still - mapping a physical path to a mental path? It turned out, figuration (especially metaphor) might as well be a fundamental mechanism of human cognition! In this project, you will: - experience the magic of "Conceptual Metaphor Theory", a powerful and still developing theory in Cognitive Linguistics - gather evidences and examples of "metaphors of our mind" in linguistic data, cultural and social artifacts - Carry out a corpus study OR a discourse analysis based on arguments for or against "Conceptual metaphor
Cognitive, Linguistics, Psychology
Parent Evaluation of the UCLA TIES Infant Mental Health (IMH) program.
Develop an online parent survey as well as conduct qualitative interviews with referred foster/adoptive parents. The objective would be to obtain input from foster and adoptive parents participating in IMH to analyze the effectiveness of this program, perceptions of relationships with TIES, and if perceptions of relationships differed between families and UCLA TIES clinicians. The survey should include demographic and family history data that can be used to identify children that have been placed in care with higher risk factors (e.g., prior abusive history, number of placements, age of placement) who are statistically likely to experience emotional, social, and academic dysregulation in life. This evacuation is intended to be used to improve the quality of services received by adoptive/foster parents so that children placed in resource care are wholly supported.
Psychology, Social Science, Public Health, Cognitive, Organizational Leadership, Nutrition, Psychiatry, Music, Social, Neuroscience
Investigating sleep and disease
Sleep disruption (i.e. not being able to fall asleep, stay asleep, etc.) is common comorbidity in many neurodevelopmental disorders (such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Schizophrenia), aging diseases (such as alzheimer's disease), and depression. I am envisioning these types of projects to investigate what the potential role of sleep loss is in one of these diseases or disorders. The project could be in the forum or a blog post or review about this topic. If you are interested, I could see a very interesting survey/ 'study' asking patients with any of these conditions about how they sleep. The main questions for this type of project would be: Is there a connection between chronic sleep disruptions and this disease/disorders? What could be the potential role of sleep loss in one of these diseases/disorders?
Biology, Neuroscience, Biotech, Chemistry
Research Proposals and Project Development
If you've never done research before, it can be intimidating to figure out where to start. I can help you develop a research proposal idea, and learn how to put together a written proposal, and possibly even go through the experience of collecting your own data. You want to be passionate about what you study, so we will start with brainstorming what excites YOU! You would then go through a literature review process to identity existing research and find gaps in the literature to discover an interesting question you want to try to answer. We could then put together the project surveys and then possibly even collect your own data through interviews, surveys, or other methods.
Analogy and its links to learning and creativity
The ability to reason by analogy is an important marker in human cognition. There are two types of analogy problems: the first, referred to as the classic analogy, takes the form A:B::C:D (e.g., Hot:Cold::Small:Big), the second is the problem solving analogy, in which the individual is given an explanation for one problem then must transfer the solution to a novel, more difficult problem. Both types of analogies are commonly used, and the latter is especially crucial as we move through the education system. What kind of role does analogy play in learning and creativity? What factors help analogical reasoning? A project like this could involve doing a literature review and writing a paper for a student journal.
Cognitive, Creative Writing
A project dedicated to making your research passions more accessible to the general audience. I would start a research blog with new findings in my field or interesting research, while keeping the tone more casual than I would in a research paper. It would not be as daunting and could be a fun side project.
Cognitive, Neuroscience, Psychology
Fear of missing out (FoMO) and its possible implications for our moral interactions
The fear of missing out (FoMO), an anxiety that others may be having rewarding experiences that you aren't taking part in, is likely something most of can relate to. Higher levels of FoMO have been found to be associated with increased social media use, texting while driving, and decreased life satisfaction. More recently, I have found that college students with higher levels of FoMO engage in more inappropriate activities (selling drugs, cheating in school, stealing) than their lower FoMO peers. This suggests there may be an effect of FoMO on moral cognition, for surely they know these things are wrong but choose to do them anyways. There is little to no current research done regarding this area of psychology so a paper discussing how FoMO may influence our moral cognition and resulting behaviors would be an incredibly interesting and meaningful contribution to the field!
Let's talk psychology (podcast)
There are so many fascinating topics in psychology --- from understanding the causes of mental illness to unraveling how children develop a sense of right and wrong. For this project, we would develop a podcast together and interview top psychologists around the world about their favorite topics in contemporary psychology.
Cognitive, Social, Psychology
Detecting Malingering in Psychological Evaluations
Did you know we can determine if someone is faking a cognitive disorder, such as an intellectual disability or psychosis, during a forensic evaluation? In this project, we can investigate tests used to detect whether someone is legitimately suffering from cognitive or psychiatric dysfunction. For instance, we could examine the following: (1) Detection of non-legitimate cognitive or psychiatric symptoms for secondary gain; (2) Detection of non-legitimate illnesses to escape death row; (3) Prevention of misclassifying people for exaggerating, feigning, or malingering symptoms.
Class Presentation - The Developing Teenage Brain
Adolescents take more risks than children and adults. Neurobiological theories suggest that increases in adolescent risk taking can be explained by some brain regions maturing faster than others. Learn about the function and development of many brain regions involved in adolescent risk taking. Create a presentation for your classmates explaining key theories of how brain development shapes adolescent behavior.
The Far Reaches of Diabetes
This project can explore the long-lasting and far-reaching effects that Type II Diabetes has on the human body. Diabetic patients face a risk of chronic pain and debilitation when considering the increased possibility of developing neuropathy. This project can help raise awareness of diabetes and the secondary diseases that may result from it. The end result can take the form of a podcast or public advisory warning about proper health and nutrition for prevention of diabetes and diabetic neuropathy.
Biology, Psychology, Psychiatry, Social Science, Cognitive, Neuroscience
Create your own play, musical, or monologue
One of the fun things about working in the arts is it is an opportunity to get creative and express your own work! Your goal would be to put together a short piece, be it a personal monologue, a musical, or a play. You can dream big, and express yourself anyway you want! Once we get some ideas flowing, we would focus on how you tell the story, what your goals are, and how to get them across to your audience. There are no limits in this type of work. We would discover together the best way forward!
Optogenetics: Controlling the Brain with Light
One of the coolest and most widely used techniques in neuroscience research today is optogenetics, which gives us the ability to control the activity of brain cells with a flash of light! In this project, we can learn about: -How light-sensitive proteins were discovered and the basic principles of how they work in genetically-modified neurons -How optogenetics is used in research experiments to answer different types of questions in neuroscience -Some of the most important scientific discoveries from optogenetics and how it has changed the way we think about the brain ...or any other aspect of optogenetics (or a different technique in neuroscience) that interests you!
How do scientists study brain? The use of neuroimaging in human research
The development of neuroimaging has helped researchers to better understand the structure and the function of the brain. Particularly, the use of advanced neuroimaging methods allows researchers to track brain changes as people developing certain diseases. In this project, we will review papers using different neuroimaging tools and how they helped advance our knowledge of Alzheimer's disease.
Cognitive, Neuroscience, Psychology