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.

Chapbook

Develop a series of linked stories or thematically connected poems that hone your distinct style and voice. Prepare your chapbook for submission to contests and writing programs.

Creative Writing

Ian
Ian

Short Story Project

Whether you want to explore a personal childhood memory or create a whole new science fiction world, we can work together, from idea to final product, in order to develop a short story you are proud of.

Creative Writing, Social Science, Literature and Languages

Olivia
Olivia

Cultural Criticism: Have you ever been interested in cultural commentary?

Far from a snobby hobby for red-wine-drinking turtlenecks, cultural criticism is how academic scholars have developed theories of the world for centuries. It’s a skill that few people understand but many people can do with the right help! If you’re interested in this project, we will explore methods, theories, and practices of cultural criticism that will leave you feeling excited about the humanities. By the end of this project, you will have the tools necessary to generate your own theory about the self, culture, and the world.

Dance, Creative Writing

Lucas
Lucas

Family History Project:

Where do you start? What resources do you use? This project helps you answer a timeless question: where do you come from? This is a project that can be tackled with traditional historical work, or you can pursue it with a creative twist. Sometimes art illuminates family stories better than textbooks ever can. If you’re interested in bringing the past to life, this is the project for you. Skills you will improve include: historical archival interpretation, analysis, oral history methods, creative art practice, and more. This project might culminate in a variety of ways—whatever helps you best understand the past. Some examples might be a devised theater piece, an historical article, or a family keepsake.

Dance, Creative Writing

Lucas
Lucas

Poetry Chapbook

I have been a part of numerous poetry workshops. Coupled with the creative development strategies I've learned during my graduate program, we would work on tightening your skills and sharpening your focus so you have the ability to craft a cohesive chapbook of poetry.

Creative Writing

Lawrence
Lawrence

Creative Writing

I have worked with students on projects ranging from book-length memoirs, personal essays to poetry collections. Contact me if you're interested in learning how to engage in creative writing, especially in writing creative non-fiction and poetry. We will begin our sessions with reading a wide range of work, explore the world with words and look for your spark. As we read along, we will also engage in multiple fun writing exercises which may turn into something longer (possibly) or something beautiful (definitely). The project will be an exploration of self and the world around us, which is what creative writing is all about!

Creative Writing

Wisteria
Wisteria

A Girl in Haarlem

My student wrote a five-act play based on the 80 years Dutch Wars of Independence.

Creative Writing, History

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Research Paper

Writing a research paper on a specific theme or question related to history, art, cinema, or literature

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Chelsea
Chelsea

Narrative Nonfiction

Is there a story from your life you have the burning urge to tell? Or maybe there's a narrative, an object, or a story out in the world that you hope to explore through writing. Come talk to me if you want to learn more about narrative nonfiction — a wide and far-reaching discipline that encompasses everything from personal essays and essay collections to public-facing articles and critical work. We'll explore work that aligns with your interests and explore your own voice and process, culminating in a project that allows you to tell your story — whatever that may be!

Creative Writing

Christopher
Christopher

Perceptions of therapy

Although many people would say that mental health counseling is helpful, many people have feelings or beliefs about going to therapy that prevent them from utilizing mental health resources. We can develop a project to explore the perceptions that your family, community, peers, or a specific population hold regarding mental health counseling. Do they believe therapy is important? Do they utilize therapy themselves? What do they think of others who utilize therapy? Once we understand the beliefs that discourage individuals from participating in therapy, we can come up with interventions that can challenge those beliefs and improve mental health outcomes!

Psychology, Creative Writing, Social, Social Science

Nat
Nat

the Seahorse

i want to live underwater. so i paint underwater worlds with water color, sometimes on paper, sometimes on my bedroom walls. the drawings are calling to be animated. so i wrote this short story: One day I spotted a seahorse. That is odd, I thought. It was approaching me. It also had a suit on, and carried a briefcase abruptly on one of its fins. I lifted my tentacle and shook its fin. The next day I spotted a seahorse. That is odd, I thought. It was approaching me. It had the same suit on, and carried the briefcase on its fin. I lifted my tentacle and shook its fin. The next day I spotted the seahorse. That is no longer odd, I thought, it happened yesterday and it will happen tomorrow. It was approaching me, with the same suit and briefcase on its fin. I lifted my tentacle and shook its fin. On my way home, I counted my tentacles again. Five. It happened yesterday and it will happen again tomorrow.

Arts, Creative Writing

Lina
Lina

Creative essay

The "essay" is a wide, ever-shifting form that you can make your own. Creative nonfiction--a genre that includes the personal essay, cultural criticism, memoir, life-writing, and more--is a way to explore your own experiences and perspective on the world. This project would focus on using writing as a tool of exploration, a way to ask questions, narrate your experiences, and figure out what meaning and significance you might make from it all. Your essay could be experimental -- with numbered sections, out-of-order storytelling; it could be short or long; it could be funny or introspective; you could ask questions you don't know the answer to. More than anything, the creative nonfiction essay is a place for you to be curious and inquisitive, to write about the subjects and ideas that make you feel most alive!

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Ian
Ian

Covid-19, Disability, and Accessibility in School

I invite research projects in which students examine the ways in which the pandemic has altered schooling and adolescent life in any number of ways, but perhaps particularly as they may relate to issues of access, ability, and class.

Creative Writing, Social Science, Literature and Languages

Jack
Jack

Novel or Short Story

Novels and Short Stories are some of the oldest and most enduring forms of human communication. Stories of all lengths exist across all cultures and in all genres. They help us learn about experiences that may be totally alien to us, or help us see our own lives in closer detail. What kind of story do you want to write? In this project, we can explore how to get ideas for stories, how to work from an existing idea, how to determine how long any story should be ("flash," "novella," or "extended prose"), how to get out of writer's block, how to figure out which perspective (first, third, or multiple) best showcases your story, how to develop openings, middles, and endings, how to deepen characters and ground stories in plots and settings, and finally, how to revise your own work.

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Suzie
Suzie

Satellite remote sensing and natural disasters

Using available data (Google Earth and others), we can study patterns and analyze trends in earthquakes, landslides, water resources, weather, climate, and more!

Biology, Creative Writing, Environmental Science

Margaret
Margaret

Association between Demographics and Prevalence of Various Mental Disorders in Local Community

This study examines the association between different demographics (e.g., gender, race, age, socioeconomic status) and the occurrence of different, highly prevalent mental disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, eating disorders) in the local community. We can reference larger statistics on national prevalence rates of mental disorders to compare whether the prevalence rates found in the local community are higher, lower, or average.

Creative Writing, Psychology, Literature and Languages

Hayley
Hayley

Perspectives on and Interventions for Well-Being: A Cultural Comparison

This project seeks to answer the age-old question: how can we become happier? What behaviors are scientifically proven to increase happiness and wellness, and who benefits from them? There's been tons of research on upper-class American populations, but what about other cultures? How do different cultures conceive of well-being differently, and do they act differently to increase happiness?

Social, Creative Writing, Psychology, Literature and Languages

Leela
Leela

Creative Writing

My goal is to everything I can to facilitate your creative process. I will provide you with (hopefully) exciting, new poets and authors to read, essays on craft, writing prompts, spirited discourse on any text or concept that catches your attention. All you need to do is set at least one goal—whether it's a chapbook-length poetry manuscript, a killer short story, the first few chapters of the novel you've been meaning to write—I will tailor our sessions around your objective.

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Alan
Alan

Impact of diet on skin microbiome

Many of us are familiar with the idea of a microbiome, and much has been made of the importance of the gut microbiome, and how our diet can affect it. However, there are many other microbiomes associated with the human body, one of the most important of which is the skin microbiome. It would be interesting to study the impact of different diets, e.g. a high fat/low-carb diet, or a calorically restricted diet, or a high-carb low fat diet, on the composition of individuals' skin microbiomes over time.

Biotech, Creative Writing

Ian
Ian

Research paper (any level)

This project would allow you to do two big things: 1) formulate a research question; develop a claim; summarize, analyze, and synthesize critical, peer-reviewed sources; and write a persuasive, compelling essay in support of your ideas, and 2) throughout this process, discover how you write most effectively: how does the writing process work for you? How do you move from brainstorming, through research and drafting, to final revisions? What tools, strategies, and approaches can you keep in your writing toolkit for your future endeavors?

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Ian
Ian