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.

How Does Stigma Affect Mental Health?

Many marginalized identities face social stigma and discrimination, including people who are LGBTQ, from a minority race or religious group, or have a disability. A review paper can help us understand how these experiences affect the mental health of people with a particular identity, and how mental health providers can better support members of this community.

Social, Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Daniel
Daniel

Confession and Camouflage: On Saying What's Hardest to Say

My favorite subject to teach is the novels of Thomas Mann, who had to find artful and sometimes sneaky ways to talk about forbidden subjects, most of all his own queerness. We can look at how writers and artists "say without saying" the things that they most need to express but are most afraid to say--and how we, as critics, often do the same thing!

Languages, Literature and Languages

R.J
R.J

Music evolution through the decades: Analyzing the history of your favorite music genre

Students could pick their favorite genre of music, for example Hip-Hop, Jazz, Rap, RnB, etc., and learn about the history of this genre, including key artists who influenced the genre, cities where the genre was developed, and different styles and phases the genre went through. Students could analyze different societal factors, like political climate, racial tension and community structures, that impacted music production during each time period. The student would have the opportunity to pick the genre, decide what elements of the genre to focus on analyzing, and put their research together in a unique artistic representation (website, blog, social media account, collage).

Psychology, Organizational Leadership, Social Science, History, Literature and Languages, Arts

Mimi
Mimi

The Impacts of COVID-19 on Adolescents' Mental and Social Health

This research project explores the impacts the pandemic has had on young people's mental health and interpersonal relationships. Shio is a health and sexuality educator in different schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, so they have been able to witness firsthand how students have been shaped by the pandemic and thus will be able to provide guidance on the research project. The student can investigate issues such as alternative avenues through which young people have sought social engagement and relationships (e.g. online platforms, video games, pets), changes in mental health before and during the pandemic, and how the pandemic has affected students’ academic performance and outlook on the future. Depending on what approach, theme, and population the student wants to focus on, they will be able to learn research skills, including survey design, best practices in outreach and recruitment, and facilitation in focus groups with their peers. This research project can lead to a personal essay that a student can consider publishing to magazines, newspapers, and websites; a scientific research paper; a podcast, video, and/or blog; or a letter to the student's school district to advocate for better resources and support for students based on research findings.

Arts, History, Literature and Languages

Christine
Christine

Chris Ware's Building Stories and the Interactive Nature of Comics

Chris Ware, one of the most influential and admired living cartoonists, created a unique "graphic novel" that is actually composed of 14 distinctively discrete Books, Booklets, Magazines, Newspapers, and Pamphlets. Use this unique text to examine the immersive, interactive nature of comics and the ways that comics use 'the gutter' and 'closure.' Questions to consider- What does this text ask of its readers? What can readers expect from or ask of this text? What does storytelling look like when split into 14 different components? How does comics lend itself to this format?

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Lucy
Lucy

Wellness Fun - Public Service Announcement

As a result of the pandemic, wellness is on everyone's mind. In this project, you will develop a Public Service Announcement (PSA) about a fun wellness technique for students your age. Topics can range from " Getting outside into nature" to "the benefits of yoga". This process will teach you how to research wellness trends for your age group, develop a media presentation (Instagram story, TikTok video, or Powerpoint, etc) to promote this trend and disseminate your findings with your school or community. You will gain skills in writing, editing, communication, researching scientifically backed wellness trends and engaging your peers in fun activities!

Public Health, History, Languages, Literature and Languages

Rachel
Rachel

Podcast: Neurodiversity and Culture

You will develop a podcast centering on the impact of culture on teenagers who are neurodiverse. Culture can be described as family heritage and traditions, community culture, school culture or workplace culture. Topics can range from teenagers who manage having ADHD, ADD, Autism, Epilepsy, etc. This process will teach you how to tap into current studies regarding neurodiversity, communicate publicly about the intersection of culture and learning/living/being with neurodiversity, and to raise awareness about the services and resources associated with neurodiversity. You will gain skills in writing, editing, communication, technology, digital services, and community engagement statregies.

Public Health, History, Languages, Literature and Languages

Rachel
Rachel

Creative Writing

I have taught both introductory and advanced courses. Wherever you are in your writing process, I’d like to recommend readings, and provide you with the tools and resources to take your work to the next level! I have helped students develop book-length projects, create literary journals/ zines, short stories, essays, poems, and screenplays. First, we’ll determine which genre you’d like to explore (nonfiction, fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting) or if you’d like to create a hybrid project. We’ll discuss works in that genre, traditional approaches, and experimental opportunities. For example, if you wanted to write a short story, we’d discuss a range of writing styles and then focus on the plot, characters, pacing, and themes in your writing. I’ll ask you to consider your goals for your project. If you’re still figuring out what you’d like to write about, don’t worry: I can help you brainstorm or provide tips and tricks to thwart writer’s block. Next, I’ll help you find your writerly voice, and guide you through producing drafts. Then we’ll learn the art of revision, and how your work can evolve. Finally, we’ll discuss resources for further honing your craft and publication.

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Brooke
Brooke

Finding Meaning In Game: How Video-Games Use Literature and Philosophy to Create Meaningful Experiences

In this project, a student focuses on a popular video-game and explores how the game's setting, story, characters, and maybe even mechanics are influenced by works in Literature and Philosophy. The student's research would focus on drawing parallels between the game a specific literary/philosophical works and also explores how the presentation of those ideas in the context of the game deviate or align with the original work. A particularly ambitious student might also work on developing a thesis addressing why these texts serve as inspirations for the game or even how the game's use of specific themes and ideas can help illuminate social, political, or economic problems in the present.

Psychology, Arts, Literature and Languages

Douglas
Douglas

Critical Race Theory and the Media

This project would involve determining how media outlets portray critical race theory and which political parties individuals who align themselves with media outlets tend to associate themselves with.

Arts, History, Literature and Languages

Meaghan
Meaghan

Poetry Collections

Do you want to write your own poetry collection, or chapbook? What turns a series of individual poems into a collected whole? What frameworks - mythology, dialogues - do other poets use to make their work into a cohesive collection? And what distinguishes a poem - and a collection of poems - from a story, a song, or a novel? I'm especially interested in working on poetry projects focused on nature/the environment, horror/crime, or love/romance.

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Suzie
Suzie

Story Collection

One of the greatest challenges of writing is conveying a full story in short form. In this project you will write a collection of five or more pieces - poems, flash fiction, personal essays, etc - that center around a cohesive theme. Throughout the process you’ll break down other authors’ works to better understand their methods, and how to improve upon your own. Lastly, you’ll organize and design your finished pieces into a printable booklet with a polished and professional look and feel!

Arts, Literature and Languages

Sarah
Sarah

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

Creating Your Own Chapbook or Literary Magazine

Have you ever wanted to create your own collection of poetry or short stories? What about running your own literary magazine? Either of these are fantastic projects that can allow you the freedom and excitement of creating original work and/or collecting and editing work from others. In the first style of project, a chapbook, you would be encouraged to come up with an overall theme and then create a collection of poems and/or stories to arrange in your own self-published work. You might also look into traditional publishing and even learn about how to write query letters to propose your book. You can choose to build on work you've done previously, or you can start fresh. This is the type of project that will appeal to those who are highly creative but who need some assistance from someone with experience in arranging works for flow after revising them. You can choose either a traditional publishing option if you want to leave the project open-ended (since in a typical Polygence mentorship there would not be enough time to secure a traditional publisher) or you can work through the process of self-publishing, which might also include a bit of instruction on techniques of marketing via social media. The second option, if your inclinations lie more towards editorial work, is to create your own literary magazine. You might still choose to include a work of your own in the collection, and you'd likely write an introductory essay as the editor, but the rest of your project would entail creating a concept for a magazine, setting up a call for submissions, and then advertising your call to either people at your high school or even beyond. As submissions come in, you would then read and evaluate them for suitability in your magazine. You would arrange the pieces you've chosen, edit them, and either self-publish and/or electronically publish. You would also learn about marketing this kind of publication. Both of these projects would be excellent choices for someone interested in literature, editorial work, publication, and social media marketing.

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Susan
Susan

Short Stories

We will work together to develop one or more short stories from an inkling or idea to a complete draft. We'll study and discuss the elements of craft relevant to fiction and read contemporary fiction and short stories in your genre to help you develop your writing.

Creative Writing, Math, Engineering, Literature and Languages

Vahid
Vahid

Web Content

In my editorial work and marketing communications positions, I created marketing materials, news briefs, event listings, e-newsletters, and social media posts to gain new clientele, fundraise, promote community engagement, and achieve a consistent, visually appealing design for the organization. I tailored written content to appeal to a wide range of audiences, for a variety of marketing materials and the institute’s website. A potential project could be creating copy for your website, in which case, we’d determine your target demographic, your site’s purpose, and how to write engaging online material. Next, we’d consider how the writing fits with the layout of your site and accessibility. Then we’d publish your site.

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Brooke
Brooke

Explore Personal Identity Through Creative Writing

Writing fiction or creative nonfiction about one's own experiences can be a powerful way to gain self-understanding, connect with others, and even advocate for social change.

Social, Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Daniel
Daniel

If the Shoe Fits: An Exploration of Fashion in Fairy Tales

This project could begin with either a themed study of fairy tales and fashion or a variant study. In a themed study, the student would choose a particular thread that runs through several tales of different types, such as "tales that feature a significant cloak or covering for the protagonist and/or others" and then the student would choose several different classic tales and their corresponding contemporary re-imagined versions. If the student wanted to choose a variant study, then the student would begin with a tale by type, such as the "Cinderella" tale type, and then research a selection of classic and contemporary tales that are all similar and considered "Cinderella" type tales, with an eye towards comparing the fashion in each one for similarities and differences. More than simply making a list of the garments and accessories in the tale selection, though, would be an exploration of the WHY in terms of the authors' and/or editors' costume choices. Research questions would consider if there is a reason, historically, for instance, that a type of garment was/is referenced. We might also consider if gender roles play into this subject, or if social customs or social classes played a role. So the focus would be on the way characters are adorned, the objects and accessories that are significant and coveted, but also look into why those choices were made at different times in history and how such things play a part in the telling of tales and the reflection, accurate or distorted, of the "real" world that exists outside the realm of fairy tales.

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages

Susan
Susan

Translation

Translate Spanish poetry, fiction or non-fiction material into English. Improve your knowledge of both languages and dive deep into the world of translation.

Creative Writing, Literature and Languages, Languages

Kendall
Kendall

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