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.

Robot Ed Sheeran: Making an AI Composer

Current state-of-the-art ML for music (see: OpenAI, Google Magenta) is bad at learning long-form structure. I believe this is because their approach of swallowing and vomiting MIDI files does not reflect the vast amount of prior information we have as humans: we have ears that pick up on the subtle ways that pitches interact, and we're hard-wired to understand linguistic structures. Let's build a better AI with these inductive biases and generate some funk!

Neuroscience, Linguistics, Math, AI/ML

Jeffrey
Jeffrey

Learn How to Do a Scientific Presentation

Being able to clearly communicate technical information, especially to non-experts (i.e. people in different fields), is one of the most important skills employers in academia and industry look for. Choose a topic within the fields of forensic science, linguistics, computer science, or cognitive science and get lost learning all about it. You will gain experience finding and reading scientific literature as well as comparing different research approaches. Not only will you deepen your knowledge in this area, but you will also learn how to effectively communicate this knowledge to others in a scientific presentation.

Cognitive, Linguistics, Languages, Comp Sci

Cristina
Cristina

Explore slang trends in twitter corpora

Slang is rapidly changing, and may vary a lot depending on the age/gender/community of the speaker. The student will extract tweets from Twitter and explore trends in slang use over time. The student, through this project, can get an introduction into basic text analysis/processing techniques.

Linguistics, Languages, Comp Sci

Jennifer
Jennifer

Authorship Text Analysis Project

Stylometry counts the occurrences of words and expressions in a piece of writing. These frequencies can reveal important information, such as who wrote the text. For example, J.K. Rowling was identified as writing under a pseudonym based on similar patterns of words in both The Cuckoo’s Calling and the Harry Potter books. There are many different applications of stylometry, especially in the fields of linguistics, computer science, forensic science, literature, and history. A project could be in any of these fields and could range from lighter computation (i.e. analyzing different word patterns produced by software) to heavier computation (e.g. calculating statistics, coding in Python to extract the frequencies yourself). You will gain skills in setting up a scientific experiment, conducting a quantitative analysis, reviewing scientific literature, and writing up your results.

Cognitive, Linguistics, Languages, Comp Sci

Cristina
Cristina

Criminal/Legal Case Study

Are you fascinated by crime? Pick a particular court case and dive into the evidence, trial transcripts, and case law. Or, pick a certain kind of crime and review the range of cases that fall under that verdict. You can share your findings in an investigative report or in a true crime podcast. You will gain experience reading legal texts, sorting through different kinds of information, checking the validity of sources, and learning about crime, law, and the justice system.

Cognitive, Linguistics, Languages, Comp Sci

Cristina
Cristina

Creative Writing: Blending Genre, Exploring Form

In this project, we'll learn the rules of literary craft while finding innovative ways to break them. We can explore poetic forms like the sonnet, ghazal, or epic and how to remix them in your own artistic style. I can teach you tools from poetry and memoir to explore your lived experience in a lyric essay. This is not a project about fitting the bounds of tradition; it is about learning to create literature that is uniquely and authentically yours.

Linguistics, Creative Writing

Kira
Kira

Language variation and identity

Speakers of the same language vary in terms of pronunciation, word choice, and other dimensions. This variation is structured, and can often be correlated with factors such as gender, ethnicity, geography. The student will collect data on a case of linguistic variation, and explore how this variation is tied to markers of identity. The student can learn methods for collecting speech and analyzing speech data (e.g. fieldwork methodology, working with online text corpora).

Linguistics, Languages, Comp Sci

Jennifer
Jennifer

Detecting bots on Twitter

Now that computers are good enough to generate very convincing text completely on their own, people have become quite concerned about "fake news". In this project, we will investigate how easy it is to detect Tweets that have been written by computers in four steps: 1) Collect some data, some possibly labelled already as "fake". 2) Look at the statistical properties of "real" Tweets versus "fake" Tweets. 3) Write a computer program, for example a Naive Bayes classifier, for labelling new Tweets as "real" or "fake". 4) Evaluate how good the program is using a sensible metric.

Linguistics, Math, Comp Sci

Clayton
Clayton

Rhetorical questions

Many questions aren't asked in order to get an answer, like "Are you trying to get yourself killed?". What do they communicate, and can we build models which help us understand this more precisely?

Linguistics, AI/ML

Reuben
Reuben

Politeness

Study how politeness, kindness and other behavioral phenomena are expressed differently across languages (e.g. English vs Mandarin Chinese), by using large-scale datasets.

Linguistics

Dora
Dora

Bilingualism and cognition

How does bilingualism affect general cognition? In turn, how does cognition affect bilingualism? In this project, we will examine the intersection of bilingualism and domain-general cognitive processes such as attention, executive function, cognitive control, and memory. We will also review the similarities and differences between various types of bilinguals, such as simultaneous bilinguals vs. late learners.

Cognitive, Neuroscience, Linguistics

Karina
Karina

Social Media and NLP

Study data from social media to better understand how, when and why do people change their opinions (e.g. about immigration, globalization).

Linguistics

Dora
Dora

Natural Language Processing: Linguistics/CS Project

In this project, students will be focused on learning the necessary linguistic knowledge to create a program of their choice. Some project idea examples include but are not limited to : NLP/ Syntax Tree Generator/Part of Speech Tagger. Goal of the project is for students to obtain linguistic knowledge and display it using technical skills. Advanced students will be able to bootstrap their end project using React.

Linguistics, Comp Sci

Karl
Karl

Research Proposal

Looking to get approval or even some funding towards a project you're passionate about? Together, we will work through the steps to developing a strong proposal, including researching existing literature, developing research questions or project goals, and devising a timeline and/or budget. We will also discuss persuasive writing strategies and adapting writing to institutional contexts.

Linguistics, Languages

Rachel
Rachel

Sociolinguistics: A Dialectic Investigation

Conduct a study in sociolinguistics—who speaks how and why? In this project, we will learn how to scientifically observe the speech patterns of those around us and uncover some possible social, political, and historical reasons why. No prerequisites in linguistics required—only an inquisitive mind and an eager ear!

Linguistics, Creative Writing

Kira
Kira

Student Led Web Application

Project purpose would be open ended: essentially students can pick whatever idea/problem they would want to tackle and be guided through the process of creating a web application for it. This includes understanding the full layout of designing a web application, picking what tech stack to develop in (e.g. React front end, Python backend), creating a dynamic UI front end, deploying a robust back end, and testing the project out! Students are encouraged to create a data visualization component as part of the application (humans are visual creatures!). End goal of this project is to be able to deploy the project to go live as well as having the student develop a proficient understanding on how modern day web applications are created and how to solve software engineering problems!

Linguistics, Comp Sci

Karl
Karl

Our world

How can we leverage experiential learning to deepen our understanding of the world we live in? This project will take personal experiences and match them with student-driven learning ranging from culture, language, environment, and more.

Linguistics, Comp Sci

Ingrid
Ingrid

Sentiment Analysis: Twitter Data and Market Shifts

Analyzing tone and sentiment of prominent political and industry figures as they correlate with market movements, based on company and industry-specific tweet content.

Linguistics, Comp Sci, AI/ML

Evan
Evan

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

Learning (and coping) strategies in this fast-paced and eventful era

When more than half of our global population was confined to bedrooms and to learn and to work, when online courses and meetings became the norm, when our average human attention span is rapidly shrinking while everything else is booming and luring, how do we keep our focus and keep important information from fading? In this project, you will: - gain comprehensive understanding of attention, memory and learning processes - get to know useful tools and methods (such as mindfulness) in boosting attention, memory and general life satisfaction - Evaluate the validity and reliability of certain intervention-based studies that trying to promote/demote certain practices - conduct interviews and/or questionnaires on one or several of the tools and methods we have discussed

Cognitive, Linguistics, Psychology

Elaine
Elaine