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.

Yesterday's Technology Today

In this project you create a history of technology podcast. You research and learn about the way that new technologies impact our understanding of old technologies. Choose a non-current technology, whether recent (for example, typewriters, film camera, retro computing, etc.), older (quill and parchment books, owl post), or ancient (papyrus, clay tablets, etc.); then we tackle the big idea of how our modern technological world impacts our take on the previous world. You present your research as a podcast or a more retro audio product. In addition to learning about and researching the history of technology, you also can try your hand at audio production.

History, Languages, Comp Sci, AI/ML

Allen
Allen

Art Interpreting Art: Where One Medium Meets Another

Though my own work is mostly about the interface between music and literature, we can explore any kind of art that combines art forms, such as music and painting, painting and poetry, drama and music, and so for. The possibilities are endless!

Languages, Literature and Languages

R.J
R.J

The Tower of Babel: Languages of the World

We will explore the key topics in global linguistic diversity, enabling students to contextualize the language(s), region(s), or culture(s) in which they are interested. The student can pick one of the following themes to explore: a) the relationships between the world’s languages and language families; b) how languages vary in different social and cultural contexts; c) how the sounds and structures of the world’s languages may vary in general.

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages, Languages, Linguistics, Social Science

Jade
Jade

Documenting past society through a single object

For this project, the student would visit a local museum and choose one object that is on display (e.g. a tool, art piece). Beginning with the museum archives, the student will document basic facts on the object: date, location of origin, description of object (size, color, shape, basic function), and how the object came to the museum. Using the local library and online sources, the student would carry out a deeper history on the object to understand its cultural context and life history. The student will situate this object within the broader society and culture at the time of its use. As a final outcome of the project, the student will provide their new research to the museum to keep in the museum's archives or to add to the museum display. Furthermore, the student could publish their results in a school or local paper or journal. This project could also be expanded into a larger project on the site or environment of the object's origin or on other associated objects to further reconstruct the culture and society in question.

Environmental Science, Arts, Languages

Amanda
Amanda

Who Wants to Work? Analyzing Unemployment, Social Welfare, and Wages across Economies

"No one wants to work anymore" has recently become a common refrain for US hiring managers. How true is this sentiment though? This research aims to compare economies similar to the US and find the factors that contribute the most to America's "Labor Shortage".

Psychology, History, Languages

Nathan
Nathan

Create a podcast! Amazon Rainforest

Create a podcast and convince or inform your audience on an issue facing the Amazon- from the tribes who are native to it, the threats it faces today or the role it plays as an essential ecosystem as the “lung of the planet.” Students can choose their analytical approach (culture, climate or current events, for example). This will allow you to gain cultural writing and editing skills as well as critical thinking skills by seeing how different fields approach the same topic.

Languages

Clay
Clay

Intertextuality: When Books Read Each Other

Some novels inspire other novels. Others make reference to older books and critique them outright. When this happens, there are many kinds of reading going on. The student will select a set of literary works in conversation with each other and “listen in.” How does one book read another, and what happens when we read both? The aim of the project is to immerse ourselves in a literary tradition, perhaps across continents and languages, and emerge having spoken.

Arts, History, Languages, Literature and Languages

Hector
Hector

Female Leadership in the Middle East

This project would explore how female networks of power, as knowledge workers, social leaders, and political figures, have functioned in different social contexts in the Middle East and North Africa.

Languages

Stephen
Stephen

User-centered Design in Healthcare System

Have you ever wondered why healthcare apps mainly use blue as their primary color? Have you ever been frustrated with a healthcare system? How can we reduce the feeling of anxiety while waiting in an emergency room? In this project, you will learn about the scientific process, user interviews, secondary research, gather data, and present that data on multiple different forms or a research paper. More importantly, you will explore many different ways of how system design can improve or impact people's lives and use your creativity to come up with a solution.

Biology, Arts, Languages

Tian
Tian

Practicing Boundaries at x school

Developing the ability to set and respect boundaries is a vital social skill that often is neglected within formal education spaces. In this study, we are going to survey students at X high school about their knowledge and use of different types of boundaries (emotional, physical, material, etc.). We will then introduce students to a curriculum focused on supporting individuals in identifying, setting, sharing, and respecting boundaries. After two weeks, participants will receive a second survey about their knowledge and use of different types of boundaries (emotional, physical, material, etc.). At this time, participants will be invited to participate in an interview to discuss these topics further. We will use this information to measure the success of our intervention and to finalize a shareable curriculum that will include quotations and findings from our study.

Business, Psychology, Languages, Literature and Languages

Yael
Yael

Writing Tragedy

In this project, we'll discuss Greek tragedy in its historical context. We'll read select plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides and explore what made their plays so enticing to ancient and modern audiences. Then, you will write your own version of a Greek tragedy. This project can be done by reading the Odyssey entirely in English translation, or, if you have prior knowledge of Ancient Greek, can be done by incorporating select key passages of the original Greek into our weekly readings. If you have prior experience in Greek composition, your own version of a Greek tragedy can be done in Greek. The final project for this could take the form of your written tragedy or a video or podcast performance of your written work.

History, Creative Writing, Languages

Sydnie
Sydnie

Designing and completing a research project

In this project, you will be a scientist and go through the entire process of a research project. You will craft a research question, write an introduction and background section by gathering scientific journal articles related to your topic, design a research method, collect data, complete statistical analyses, and interpret your results and their significance to the related field of research. This project will provide insight into the career of a scientist and a research student studying science. The final outcome of this project could be a poster presentation or a final written product such as a scientific journal article or report.

Biology, Public Health, Languages, Chemistry

Melanie
Melanie

What Difference Does Translation Make?

In the age of instant translation, what is the point of literary translation? Is it on the way out? Taking one central text, we compare both existing published translations and instant translations. We ask what translation aims to do and how it “works.” At the end of 10 sessions, we’ll either be vindicated or we’ll let Google take it from here.

Arts, History, Languages, Literature and Languages

Hector
Hector

Air Pollution and Neurological Impacts

With climate change effects impacting more and more communities, one possible research question could focus on how air pollution affects neurological pathways and influences neurodegenerative diseases. I have conducted a study that analyzed the impacts of air pollution exposure on Alzheimer's disease at acute and chronic exposure levels. Other projects could examine air pollution impacts on other diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, or on symptoms such as headaches and blurred vision. The final product could take on several different forms such as a formal report, a poster presentation, and even a policy memo.

Biology, Public Health, Languages, Chemistry

Melanie
Melanie

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Op-Ed

What does it mean to have an opinion worthy of an audience? We will learn how to critique, evaluate, and produce original and hard-hitting opinion pieces designed for publication in different media outlets. By reading across different genres of opinion pieces, you will learn to appreciate the nuance of communicating complex data and information in concise yet refined prose. Then, by practicing the art of writing about scientific policy, foreign military intervention, or the need to shore up public education, you will be better equipped to produce an original op-ed tailored for a targeted media outlet of your choosing. In this way, you too can shape public opinion.

History, Languages

Hunter
Hunter

Self-Compassion Intervention Literature Review

My most recent area of focus pertains to evaluating the effectiveness of self-compassion interventions for health behavior change. I would love to help students conduct a literature review project on the topic of self-compassion interventions by assisting them with literature searching, critically consuming literature on the topic, and writing a literature review paper.

Psychology, Arts, Languages

Caitlin
Caitlin

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

Ancient World Expert AI

In this project you'll train a computer AI to teach your fellow students about some part of the ancient world. Perhaps you'll create an expert AI in ancient myth, or Greek drama, or Ancient Egyptian history. You'll learn a lot more about your chosen subject area (remember, AI often lies, even when it sounds like it knows what it's doing) and gain skills in researching and understanding the ancient world. At the same time this project will teach you some programming basics and give you practical wisdom about both the opportunities and the risks of current AI.

History, Languages, Comp Sci, AI/ML

Allen
Allen

Cockadoodle doo! How do kids learn animal words?

Why do children seem to learn animal sounds ("meow") before they learn animals names ("cat"). We'll study how parents talk to children about animals and when children learn words for different animals.

Cognitive, Languages

Erin
Erin

Creating a short film

In this project, you will capture content on the topic of your choice, then use software such as iMovie or other editing platforms, to edit your clips together into a short film. This project gives you an opportunity to explore filmmaking by learning techniques to combine clips and add audio and visual effects.

Biology, Public Health, Languages, Chemistry

Melanie
Melanie