20 Easy Research Paper Topics for English
Most students have to produce papers on the English language or literature at some point, but few are passionate enough about these subjects to pick a deep and complicated one to explore. If you are looking for a topic that is easy to write and rich in material, here are twenty ideas:
- Origins of the English language. The assimilation of Anglo-Saxon dialects into those of early British tribes. The Roman influence; similarities and differences with continental Germanic languages.
- Old English. The effects of Viking raids on its development.
- Middle English. The impact of the Norman Conquest.
- Early Modern English. The influence of the Industrial Revolution. The history of London’s dialect being accepted as the standard.
- Cross-cultural influences of the English language. The origins and development of a particular English dialect: American, Afro-American, Creole, Aboriginal, Indian, or Asian.
- Gender controversy in modern English. The correct use of nouns and pronouns in situations where gender is unclear. Gender-sensitive words. The relationship between the increasing role of women in the public sphere and gender changes in the English language.
- Challenges of learning English as a second language (ESL). This topic may especially appeal to you if English is actually your second language.
- Shakespeare’s contribution to English literature. This is one of the most obvious choices, but you can still produce an interesting paper about Shakespeare’s work or a character that you are really passionate about.
- Victorian literature.
- The imagist movement in English literature.
- American literature. The differences between literature of the North and the South.
- Afro-American literature.
- Contributions made to English literature by Indian writers.
- Female writers in English literature.
- Scottish writers in English literature.
- Irish writers in English literature.
- An author’s life story. Investigate the impact of the author’s biography on the style, topics, and characters of his or her books – for example, what made Upton Sinclair write “The Jungle.” Such papers are always interesting to read, and they do not take much effort to write.
- Presentation of women in literature. Compare and contrast female characters in old and new books, or conduct a case study on a famous female character.
- The sociological and political impact of a particular book.
- A banned book. Explore the story of a famous book that has been banned from school libraries, e. g. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Harry Potter. Identify and evaluate the reasons for its removal. Such a controversial topic will arouse the interests of readers.
When it comes to English Literature, there's no end to the topics that you can research on that novel or other piece that you've been reading. The easiest way to get an idea for that next research topic on English literature for your essay is to start broad and then work toward making it more specific and interesting for your readers. Here are a few examples of research topics in literature to get you started (for a more extensive list of research topics in literature, please check out the link that can be found at the bottom of this article):
1. Gender roles
How are the roles of men and women portrayed in the novel? Are they distinctly different? Do they have equal rights? What gender expectations do they follow or fight against?
2. Comparisons between genres
How does each genre tell its story? What are the differences and similarities between the two? Is one more effective than the other?
3. Historical background
Who is the author and what is their story? Were there controversies associated with him/her or their work? What is the significance of this novel in the time it was written? How does it reflect the society and beliefs of its time?
What issues in politics does this novel address? Discrimination? Rights? Equality?
How is this novel religious? What beliefs is it promoting or questioning?
6. Comparisons between two characters
This can be between characters in the same novel or two different ones. How are their differences and similarities important to the novel?
7. Comparisons between two novels
If the novels seem completely different but represent the same genre or come from the same time period, this may be something you want to explore.
8. Allusions within the novel
What are some significant allusions within the novel? These could be religious, refer to other novels or authors, etc. How is this important to understanding the novel and its place in English Literature?
What are some of the most notable criticisms out there? What is your response and how does it compare to other critics out there?
What are important symbols in the novel? How are they significant?