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 to Make Good Pictures

What makes a "good" photograph? In this project, we'll learn about the history of photographic style and explore how new technologies and platforms from the 35mm camera to TikTok have changed how people make and share content. The final product could be an extended instagram story, a photo/fashion blog, or a portfolio for college apps or AP exams.

Photography

George Philip
George Philip

Inspired by Literature/history/poetry

When we look to the past, we tend to be inspired to develop something new. Our experience of history informs our movement towards the future. I love to listen to the past and let its stories permeate my creativity--both in musical composition and creative writing. Would you like to write and produce a song that expresses your experience with a particular piece of poetry? Or perhaps you want to write a story that is a continuation of your favorite classic novel? When connecting ourselves to previous human experience, the possibilities are unfettered.

Music, Photography, Psychology

Elyssa
Elyssa

Solo Performance/Acting Monologues

Creating a solo piece of video, theatre or performance art based on a conceptual idea that explores a personal, social or political subject. The process of the project can be based in writing or on research into any type of source material. This type of project could be helpful to anyone wanting to audition, build an artistic portfolio or applying for grants and scholarships or fellowship in film, theatre, performance or new media arts.

Photography, Dance, Creative Writing, Arts

Sami
Sami

Research into Performance Techniques

Help in writing a research paper and analysis on techniques and traditions used in acting, dance, performance, and film/video. The paper can be conceptual and/or theoretical, with possible case studies as examples.

Photography, Dance, Creative Writing, Arts

Sami
Sami

Documentary Film or Performance

Equipping and providing creative tools to that could guide a documentary process of filmmaking or performance making. The way one approaches a documentary project always influences and determines what is being documented, so understanding what type of approach work best in certain situations, while maintaining ethics, is key to a successful documentary project.

Photography, Dance, Creative Writing, Arts

Sami
Sami

Historical Dinner Parties

Using online research tools (like the New York Public Library's archive of historical menus, for example), you'll develop a series of historically-accurate dinner parties for your friends and family. You'll research food and culinary histories to source recipes, plan menus, and write descriptions that help to set the scene. Specific details about class, climate, traditions, and trade routes (among other considerations) will help your guests imagine how it might've felt to share a meal together in specific parts of the world, at specific points in time.

Photography

Anna
Anna

Synthesis Paper

In this project, you would choose 2-3 articles on a topic of your choice to study and compare. This paper would explain, compare, contrast, and offer your conclusion on the different approaches. You will develop your professional and scientific writing skills, research skills, as well as understanding and finding reliable sources. Topics could be anything from "Organic vs. Artificial heart valves" to "How the Grimm's Fairytales Changed Over Time".

Biology, Photography, Math, Arts, Chemistry

Gillian
Gillian

Solving Medical Problems

Let's identify a problem in patient care and develop a device design or other solution to help address it. We will learn the basics of the design process including needs assessment, research, prototyping, and testing. Students can learn to use any tools they need, including but not limited to CAD, 3D printing, physical manufacturing methods, and Matlab. If you can dream it you can make it!

Engineering, Chemistry, Photography, Cancer, Neuroscience

Austin
Austin

Narrative Tour

Pick a place, this can be your hometown or somewhere you have never been to before (use Google Streetview), use media and writing to represent a walking tour that traverses through an interesting part of the city. Notice buildings, infrastructure, shops public art, and public life. How would you talk about their significance to you or to others? This exercise involves using media to represent the built environment and using narrative to reveal the culture and history embedded in the built environment.

Illustration, Photography

Alice Jia Li
Alice Jia Li

Prototyping

In this project, you would choose a problem, gather user data, brainstorm solutions, and work on mock ups. Ultimately, you would gather feedback on your ideas and adjust them until we have a prototype. This would develop your engineering design process skills as well as analysis and synthesis of user feedback.

Biology, Photography, Math, Arts, Chemistry

Gillian
Gillian

Detecting Light Pollution with Astrophotography

Light pollution is easy to observe if you have ever been both inside and outside of a city. It affects everything from animal migration to our ability to clearly see stars. But how do we quantify light pollution? Photography is a way to capture photons—units of light. With consistent observations and some calibration, we can determine how much light affects various regions.

Photography, Math, Physics

Carissa
Carissa

Art as a form of expression

In a world full of chaos, expressing oneself is necessary. I believe there is an artist in everyone. In this project, I help you turn an issue, whether political, social, economic... and turn it into a body of work. The body of work can be physical if you wish it to be or it can remain conceptual through its description. The main purpose of this project is using our creativity to approach a concept or topic in a way that is outside of the box.

Photography, Arts

Rebecca
Rebecca

Artistic Medium Exploration

In this project, there are two major options: 1. Choose an artistic medium to learn or practice it by producing an array of pieces in a series. 2. Choose a topic and create an array of pieces using a different artistic medium for each. This project would be more open-ended and a good chance to explore something creative you may not have tried before.

Biology, Photography, Math, Arts, Chemistry

Gillian
Gillian

Molecular Toolbox

The creation of novel therapies and drugs in today's world leverages numerous technologies that span an array of disciplines including techniques in organic synthesis, protein engineering, biosynthetic chemistry, and cell engineering. We will select and review the literature on 1-2 methods from this vast sea of technologies and write a review article on the subject.

Engineering, Chemistry, Photography, Cancer, Neuroscience

Austin
Austin

Curating an Exhibition in VR

Curating an art exhibition requires a unique mixture of skills: research, writing, design, storytelling, and strong aesthetic sensibilities. It's essentially making an argument about politics and culture through images. In this project, students design an art exhibition from scratch using a virtual gallery space like artsteps. I'll work with you to define a research question, learn the principles behind curating, write a compelling catalogue essay about the show, and design a virtual space that you can explore in VR. You'll bring an issue that matters deeply to you and we'll work to assemble artworks, from Instagram to museum collections, that help to tell your story.

Photography

George Philip
George Philip

What Is The Carnivore Diet?

There has been a recent interest in the 'carnivore' diet - a diet consisting of consumption of purely meat-based products and meat - which has been anecdotally successful at treating patients with immune disorders. Clinical studies on the carnivore diet's impact on longevity, health, and other metrics have been few however. Is it a fad? Or is there a key insight about it that could be beneficial for those looking to improve their health? Learn how to design a clinical trial to test the impact of nutrition on human health through this 'tasty' project!

Chemistry, Comp Sci, Photography, Business, Math, Neuroscience

Steven
Steven

Photo-Based Fiction

Have you ever found a snapshot that really captured your imagination? Maybe you've seen loose photographs at an antique store, or discovered charming photos of your relatives from when they were younger. Together, we'll allow these photographs to open up researchable historical questions. You'll combine this research with your imagination and creative writing skills to craft fictional narratives around these photographs.

Photography

Anna
Anna

Photography and the Sites of Civil Rights

Recording history is a complex process, but sometimes a single image captures the mood of an entire era. In this project, you'll explore flashpoints in Civil Rights photography, ranging from 1960s era images by James Karales and Gordon Parks to contemporary photographs of Black Lives Matter protests by Philip Montgomery and Alexis Hunley. Reading newspapers, literature, and laws from these periods will contextualize specific events and the shockwaves they sent through American society. Your capstone for this project would be an online exhibition built on an open source platform like ArcGIS Storymaps. You'll compose short historical and interpretive essays on significant photographs and how they help to change opinions about race in America.

Photography

George Philip
George Philip

Write a Song

Do you want to learn how to take an idea and make it into music? Whether it's based on a topic/theme, or is experimental, we can work together to learn how to create a beautiful finished composition.

Music, Photography, Psychology

Elyssa
Elyssa