40 Interesting Historical Research Topics

If you’re passionate about history and want to do historical research, but don’t know where to start, read our article about 40 interesting historical research topics!
40 Interesting Historical Research Topics

History is typically a required course in high school, under the umbrella of social science. History is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea; however, understanding American, European, and World History will give you an opportunity to escape your little bubble of life and gain broader perspectives about historical events and how they influence current and future events. History repeats itself, is often said. Learning about history will not only give you knowledge of the past, but also predictions for the future.  

History may sound boring at first, but historical events were influenced by numerous factors, ranging from politics, technological advancement, and social circumstances. Especially, when you dive deeper into history with historical research, you will develop critical analysis and technical analysis skills through uncovering events and analyzing how they have impacted the future through convincing arguments.    

So now, you’re very interested in doing historical research, but you don’t know where to start. Every research paper starts with an interesting topic. So, ask yourself, what topic is of the most interest to you and most unique and interesting to readers? Maybe you are interested in learning more about European History during the Renaissance period, or the decolonization of Asia under the event of the Second World WarDepending on the topic, you will be able to integrate and discuss multiple perspectives that contribute to the events or incidents. Examples include: the economy, education, politics, social life, etc. While brainstorming a topic, you should also look for reliable resources. Reliable resources can come from your school’s library, scholarly and peer-reviewed articles, etc. For more details about steps in the research process, we’ve written in detail 8 critical steps while doing research you should check out.  

Before going into the list, we recommend that you should have a clear direction of what historical aspect you should focus on. There are 5 main aspects when it comes to historical events:  

  • Religion/Philosophy: belief, creator, place of worship, ideas 
  • Politics: government, laws, leaders, crimes, war, military, democracy 
  • Economics: currency, jobs, bank, trade, stocks, gold, production 
  • Society: communication, personality, age, nationality, gender, religion 
  • Culture: traditions, clothing, appearance, festivals, food, language, sports, education, architecture 

You can write any one of those preceding aspects, or a combination of two or three aspects in relation to each historical event. We’ve compiled and categorized topics to guide you on your historical research paper writing process. Using the topics, you can dive deeper into exploring which topics you’re most interested in writing about, and should be most relevant to your history career in high school and college.  Now, let’s get started!  

1. World History 
world history

World History is a broad and diverse research topic that covers a wide period of time: from civilization to social movement. Therefore, there are multiple topics students can choose from. Remember, world history discusses the development in the world in response to interchanges among significant countries in the world.  

  1. World Wars I and II, the links between them, and how they could have been prevented  
  2. American Revolution – Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783  
  3. Trade in the Roman World designed by The Romans created one of the most impressive road networks of the ancient world. 
  4. The rise and fall of empires, in relation to conflicts, protests, and riots against corporate globalization, and the threat of worldwide terrorism against the West. 
  5. Cradle of civilization: Ancient Discoveries of China, Egypt, Mesoamerica, or India, or any other civilization that led to a high level of craft specialization and artistic production from each civilization, creating opportunities for trade  
  6. Architecture through the ages: the changes in architecture through various traditions, regions, and dates, growing from human’s basic needs of shelter and protection.  
  7. Women’s rights movement around the world. To see the overall timeline of women’s rights movements, you can explore women’s activism from generations past and present on the UN Women website 
  8. Math and Science discoveries throughout ancient history that contribute to how we apply math and science today 
  9. Ancient conquests and their influence on the modern world map formation 
  10. Nuclear warfare, a military conflict or political strategy which deploys nuclear weaponry.  
2. United States History
us history

For students studying in the US, United States History has always been fascinating, given its declaration of independence in 1776. American History ranges from prehistory, European colonization, American Revolution, the Federal period, the Gilded Age, the Great Depression, or the Cold War. Below are some examples for U.S Historical Research paper:  

  1. Attack on Pearl Harbor, the military strike by Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. 
  2. The Vietnam War: Social consequences and treatment of veterans returning from the war 
  3. Immigration in the late 1800s: the “melting pot” and “salad bowl” metaphors 
  4. Gold Rush and its development of the California state 
  5. Civil War and the participation of women and African Americans 
  6. JFK Presidency, Policy and Assassination  
  7. My Lai Massacre, incidents of American violence committed against unarmed civilians during the Vietnam War 
  8. Sept 11, 2001 attacks and their impact on American security policies, foreign policy, and views on Islam through media and movies 
  9. Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, its tactics, movements and outcomes 
  10. Yellow journalism and its impact on Spanish-American War  
3. European History
european history

The history of Europe began with the first appearance of anatomically modern humans in Europe. European History is considered the best-documented history compared to that of other regions in the world of history. Through conducting European studies, you will be able to understand its people, culture, and the way they saw the world.  

  1. The Nude in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: religious or erotic?  
  2. Italian unification  
  3. The relationship between Turkey and the European Union, and its impact on the position that Turkey has today 
  4. Black Death, cause, symptoms and impact  
  5. Religious crisis in the 16th century: the birth of Protestantism 
  6. The Agricultural Revolution and the development of market economies 
  7. The spread of Christianity: the political aspects 
  8. European imperialism, in relation to the economic and political power overseas 
  9. The Industrial Revolution and societal consequences 
  10. The influence of Locke and French philosophies on the rise of liberal political thought in Europe in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries 
4. Asian History
asian history

Asian History remains unknown to many people in the Western world. However, in the discussion of world history, the civilizations of Asia display a preeminence prior to the age of Western civilization. 

  1. Western imperialism in Asia and Asian transformation in the areas of religion, economy, and society  
  2. The Story of Vietnam: From Prehistory to the Present 
  3. Open Door policy and its impact on the economies in the US and China 
  4. Ancient Korean & Chinese Relations  
  5. The Forgotten History of South Korean Massacres in Vietnam 
  6. Invasions of the Korean Peninsula and its struggle for unification  
  7. Yasuke and its defense on Japan’s Greatest Warlord 
  8. British Malaya: British involvement in Malay Politics 
  9. The Great Game: a political and diplomatic confrontation between the British Empire and the Russian Empire over Afghanistan and neighboring territories in Central and South Asia. 
  10. The Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world’s earliest civilizations  

History is a topic of great breadth and depth. Historians today are fascinated by the new findings of history through the examination of archaeology and anthropology. The above are the few examples we hope will inspire you to take the next step to conduct historical research. If you are passionate about history and would like to conduct a research project in preparation for history or other liberal arts major in college or a history career in the future, we are here to help! We recently launched a new Historical Research project, along with the long-standing American, European, and World History courses. 

Aralia’s History tutors are inspired teachers and professors who are committed to student success. They are recognized in their field or are currently teaching at top high schools and colleges/universities in the US. 

HISTORICAL RESEARCH & WRITING

Description:Through Historical Research and Writing, students will learn about choosing a topic, composing research questions, effective research methods, drafting, composing, and revising. These skills will be taught with an emphasis on historical research, allowing students to engage in analysis of primary and secondary sources, discover interesting insights in history, and partake in the active pursuit of understanding the importance of the historical study.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

AP US HISTORY

Description: In AP United States History (APUSH), students will review key content concepts and course objectives found in the APUSH course description through writing long essay questions (LEQ), document-based question essays (DBQs), and short answer questions (SAQs). Furthermore, students will practice using historical thinking skills tested on the exam by answering stimuli-based multiple-choice questions and through their written responses.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

EUROPEAN HISTORY

Description: In this course, we will cover a period from the height of Ancient Greece to the middle of the sixteenth century, as we study the emergence of the first civilizations around modern day Europe and the trajectory of their development into Western society. We will examine the contributions of Greece and Rome and how they expanded their empires; how ideas are conceived, put into practice, and have social consequences; how and why their empires collapsed; how people and societies existed during the Middle Ages; how numerous cultures developed values and coexisted/clashed with others; and how a broken Europe, after several starts, reinvigorated itself with the Renaissance, and split again in the Reformation.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

WORLD HISTORY

Description: This course will allow students to discover important moments in World History while developing academic, writing, and communication skills. By studying, reading, and writing about World History, students will gain a better understanding of how the modern world came to be and how past events dictate current ones.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

AMERICAN HISTORY

Description: Explore the rise and fall of empires, the clash, and encounter of cultures, plagues, religious fervor, and political intrigue and war. This course aims to discover the complex interactions between Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans in different regions of North America across more than 500 years of history​.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

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