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.

Chinese Religions and Philosophies

Interested in understanding how different religions and philosophies contributed to the development of China's culture before the 1800's? Take a deep dive into one or more Chinese religions or philosophies. Choose an additional focus, such as their history or societal/political/economic impact.

Economics

Wren
Wren

Building a Data Analytics Dashboard or Portfolio

Prerequisites: AP Statistics or equivalent, an interest in a social science question you want to ask Do you want to analyze your home state’s mortgage data to map out racial discrimination in housing opportunities? Have you ever wondered if a nation’s military spending can predict its success in fighting an insurgency? Do speakers of minority languages across the world have lower standards of living than speakers of majority languages? If you have ever had a burning question about a social science question of any type, I would love to work with you to build a data analytics dashboard or portfolio. If you are interested in the concept but don’t have a topic in mind, I’d love to work with you to find one! This project includes a few phases. First, we must outline your question and figure out the exact parameters of what you’re asking. Then, we have to find data. If we’re lucky, someone may have already collected a dataset. If not, we can think of ways to do our own primary data collection. Then, we will clean and analyze the data. If you only have experience with Excel, that’s okay! Excel can be a powerful tool. If you have experience with Python or R, or are interested in learning some of these coding languages, we can also use these tools for data cleaning and analysis. Finally, we will produce a dashboard or portfolio to visually tell a story with the results of your analysis. We can accomplish this using Excel, Python, R, and Tableau. If you don’t have experience with one of these tools but would like to use them, I would be more than happy to help!

Languages, Economics, Social Science

Perry
Perry

A Study on the Mathematical Properties of Elections

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about which election mechanism is most effective at achieving various goals. Proposed mechanisms in united states elections include majority elections, the electoral college, approval voting, and ranked choice voting. All of these mechanisms have benefits and drawbacks, and it turns out that no perfect election mechanism can exist. In this project we will look at the work being done by political scientists, economists, mathematicians, and computer scientists to understand when elections fail, and what can be done to improve them.

Math, Economics, Comp Sci

Grayson
Grayson

What is a Corporate Veil?

We can take an in-depth look at the concept of corporate personality, including its legal origins and what it means to 'pierce the corporate veil.'

Economics

Nathaniel
Nathaniel

Are Medicare and Medicaid optimal for social welfare?

While many economists agree that some people in the society need the government's help to get better medical services, not all agree on the best method to do so. We can use data on Medicare and Medicaid spending and some measured outcomes to evaluate these policies.

Math, Economics, Comp Sci

Majid
Majid

Evaluation of President Joe Biden's Climate Plan Rollout

Have you heard about President Biden's climate initiatives in his first several months in office? He's made it no secret he's moving the U.S. towards what appears to be a top-down approach to achieve the initial Paris 2016 goals. But, how much of this needle has already been and will be moved by policymaking or joint engagement with the private sector? You could be the one to determine that! Prerequisites: Some familiarity with U.S. attitudes towards climate policy would be helpful, but not necessary!

History, Economics

Andrea
Andrea

Data focus:

The bulk of your time will be spent getting your hands dirty analyzing real-world economic data. Interested in household balance sheets? Dive into the Survey of Consumer Finances. How the economy affects elections? Merge regional economic growth indicators and voting records. Some online topic? Scrape information yourself from that website. You'll learn the art of cleaning, organizing, and analyzing data. You will present a story with the data using figures and statistics you created yourself.

Economics

Jonathan
Jonathan

Machine Learning for Handwriting Recognition

One of the earliest and most successful applications of machine learning is extracting text from images. For this project, we can investigate different machine learning models for handwriting recognition. We can start with the easier task of extracting digits, and then move to alphanumeric text.

Math, Economics, Comp Sci

Aditya
Aditya

Economics

How are different economic variables related? Do business cycles affect all states/counties the same? How do policy-makers affect the economy? Projects here are intended to help you learn about the economy either through a literature review or independent data collection and analysis.

Business, Math, Economics, Quantitative

Oscar
Oscar

Art Education

Where do artists come from? How do we teach the arts? Come talk to me if a qualitative research project about the history and best practices of art education excites you! I love art and education, and would be more than thrilled to supervise and mentor a qualitative research project where we study the history of the field of art education and learn about best practices across contexts! For example, we can review themes in extant literature about art education and set up informational interviews with art educators to learn more about contemporary practices.

Economics

Clare
Clare

Uninvolved parents

since becoming parents every couple thinks about their children future. Some off them might not be to involve in their child life. Which means the child attitude hits different in different environments. We can find what was the reason to these parents to not be part of their children's life, if they cause any mental health problem to their kids for not being part of their life. If they have sent any child for therapy and how long did this treatment take (months or years). How much money have they spent and was it worthy for not being involve to the child life but instead running after the career.

Finance, Statistics, Math, Economics

Enerik
Enerik

Education inequity within the United States

This project involves synthesizing the existing body of research on educational inequality within the United States, and using the information gleaned from existing academic literature to come up with a research topic of your own. It's generally easiest to come up with an idea that is focused on a specific region (i.e. the American South), age group (i.e. elementary school education), or other relevant category, rather than looking at the United States as a whole.

Math, Economics

Caylee
Caylee

Ever wondered how a summer internship can help students?

We can work together to design a research project that looks at how summer internships affect high school students. Do they experience increased aspirations to pursue a certain career? Are they more motivated to do well at school? Do they get better grades? This project will offer you the chance to learn how to design a survey, collect data, conduct interviews, analyze data, and improve your academic writing style. I am open to working on this topic, or any other economics topic(s) of your choosing! For a previous research project, I worked with my advisor on a similar topic. Here is what we found: Recently, policymakers and researchers have explored how time spent outside of the classroom, including early work experience, can affect educational outcomes and reduce inequality across racial and socioeconomic groups. Although research has demonstrated that high-intensity work-based learning programs improve high school graduation and post-secondary enrollment, little is known about the effects of stand-alone private sector employment experiences on student outcomes. We study a unique program that brokers employer-paid summer job internships for Boston public school youth across 150 private sector firms in a variety of industries such as healthcare, finance, biotechnology, higher education, and real estate. Using data from school administrative records, we employ both fixed effects and matching models to estimate the impact of receiving a private sector placement on both high-school and post-secondary outcomes. Both models show similar impacts on outcomes that can be measured repeatedly over time with significant improvements in high school attendance and course failures associated with having had a private sector placement during the summer. Furthermore, we use our matching model to explore outcomes that occur only once, finding that private sector job experience increases standardized test taking as well as the likelihood of on-time high school graduation and college enrollment. These results suggest that private sector employers have an important role to play in the “ecosystem” of summer jobs, beyond government sponsored programs, to support experiences that help prepare youth for both educational and career pathways into adulthood.

Business, Statistics, Math, Languages, Economics

Urbashee
Urbashee

Graph Theoretic Model of Procrastination

In this project we'll look at an existing model of procrastination in graph theory. Procrastination can be significantly expensive, so can we augment the model to help agents? For example, my M.S. thesis added competition to reduce the impact of procrastination. What other tools help combat procrastination, and how can we formally analyze their effectiveness? This project requires significant mathematical maturity (e.g., ability to write and read proofs, familiarity or ability to quickly learn discrete math, etc.).

Math, Economics, Comp Sci

Aditya
Aditya

Cookie Wars: How Lawsuits Shape Firm-Level Evaluations

A possible research project could explore the impact of being sued on small businesses, specifically in the food industry. The study could focus on the example of Crumbl suing Dirty Dough, as well as other similar cases. Using data from Yelp, the study could examine changes in customer ratings and reviews before and after the lawsuit. Additionally, natural language processing techniques could be used to analyze customer comments to understand their perceptions of the company before and after the lawsuit. The study could also investigate any changes in the company's social media presence and overall reputation. By conducting this research, the study could provide insights on how being sued could potentially benefit small businesses by bringing more positive attention to the firm, depending on the audience and their preferences.

Economics, Social Science, Quantitative

Grady
Grady

Historical Exhibition:

Do you love visiting museums? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to create an exhibit about a topic of your choice? We can work together to create one! In a project like this, we would first select a period or event in history to talk about. I would then guide you toward relevant primary and secondary resources which we can talk through and analyze together. From there, we will work on curating those pieces you found to be most relevant into an exhibit that you could, if you wanted to, display for family or friends to see!

Public Health, Economics

Dominique
Dominique

Analyze your music listening data from Spotify!

Use Python to analyze your music or podcast streaming data (easily downloaded from Spotify) to show trends, your most popular music genres, or whatever else you can think of! Then design a dashboard to view these trends, and deploy it online.

Math, Engineering, Economics

Frank
Frank

General Law and/or Economics

I would be happy to explore any topics near the intersection of law and economics. We could look at jurisdictional comparisons, learn to read case law for any area of interest, or investigate the subject of judicial activism.

Economics

Nathaniel
Nathaniel

What makes or breaks an Influencer?

In this project you will use techniques from machine learning and graph theory to analyze social network graphs and determine the characteristics of influencers.

Economics, AI/ML

Youssef
Youssef

Final Notes

Economics informs policy by using theoretical models to identify key forces and empirical tools to test and quantify these in actual data. Any project will have elements of policy discussion, theoretical modeling, and empirical analysis.

Economics

Jonathan
Jonathan