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  • Scientia Research

How to generate a research project topic

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Common questions asked around the high school research community (especially in the science fair Discord servers) are “how do I choose a research topic?” or “How do I know if my idea is good enough?

Generating research ideas as a high school student requires a blend of curiosity, critical thinking, and a systematic approach. To start, begin by introspecting your interests, passions, and curiosities. Reflect on the subjects that genuinely captivate your attention – whether they stem from your coursework, extracurricular activities, or personal experiences. A strong connection to your chosen topic will fuel your motivation and sustain your enthusiasm throughout the research journey.

Building on your interests.

Dive into existing research and literature within your chosen field. This exploration helps you identify gaps, unanswered questions, or emerging trends that warrant (your) further investigation. As you delve into articles, papers, and online resources, make note of areas that intrigue you and areas where you sense a lack of comprehensive understanding.

Attend seminars, workshops, or lectures within your community or online on your field of interest. These events broaden your exposure to aspects of certain topics and offer insights that can stimulate your own investigative questions.

For a comprehensive guide on this, see our partner's posts on how to find the right research field and exploring fields of research pages.


Collaborating and conversing with teachers, mentors, and peers is another invaluable strategy. Engage in discussions about scientific advancements, current events, or dilemmas that intrigue you. By bouncing ideas off others, you exchange of ideas, insights, and perspectives that can lead to the discovery of novel research angles and possibilities.

Teachers, with their academic expertise, can provide invaluable guidance in identifying research gaps within specific subjects. Their experience and knowledge can help you discern areas where high school-level research can make a meaningful contribution and your discussions can lead to the refinement of your research questions and the exploration of avenues you might not have explored on your own.

Mentors, whether they’re professionals in your chosen field or experienced researchers, offer a treasure trove of insights. They can provide firsthand accounts of their research journeys, share challenges they’ve encountered, and offer advice on honing your research questions. Conversations with mentors not only expand your understanding of research methodologies but also expose you to the broader context of your field.

Talk with your friends! Engaging in discussions with fellow students who share your interests can lead to collaborative brainstorming sessions where diverse viewpoints merge. By sharing your ideas and hearing theirs, you can identify fresh angles, innovative approaches, and unexpected intersections that you might not have considered independently.

Use personal experiences.

Integrate your personal experiences into your research ideation process. Reflect on challenges you’ve encountered, observations you’ve made, or changes you’ve noticed around you. These real-life insights can form the bedrock of research questions that hold personal significance and resonate with broader audiences.

Consider the observations you’ve made in your daily life. Think about changes you’ve noticed in your school, community, or environment. These shifts could relate to anything from sustainability practices to behavioral trends. By delving into the reasons behind these changes, you can unearth research questions that contribute to understanding societal shifts and informing future actions.

Beyond challenges and observations, your passions and hobbies can also guide your research ideas. Think about what truly excites you outside of academics. Whether it’s a sport, art, technology, or social activism, your enthusiasm can inspire research inquiries that blend your interests with academic exploration. Your personal investment lends authenticity and emotional depth to your work, making it more relatable and engaging.

However, it’s crucial to maintain objectivity and avoid bias when integrating personal experiences into research. Strive for a balanced approach that combines your insights with rigorous investigation and evidence-based analysis. This ensures that your research retains its integrity and contributes to the broader body of knowledge.


Conduct structured brainstorming sessions–either independently or collaboratively–to expand your idea pool. Write down your initial thoughts, pose open-ended questions, and explore various angles of your topic. Don’t hesitate to entertain seemingly unconventional ideas; some of history’s most groundbreaking research has sprung from unconventional thinking!

Embrace the potential of interdisciplinary connections. Often, the most innovative research arises at the convergence of different fields. Explore how concepts from seemingly unrelated disciplines could intersect and spark new ideas.

Remember that research ideas are iterative and can evolve over time. As you gather more information and insights, be open to refining and adapting your initial concepts. Leverage tools such as concept maps, mind maps, and idea journals to document your ideation process.

Generating research ideas might take time, but it’s a crucial step in laying the foundation for impactful inquiry. Embrace the joy of exploration, and let your curiosity guide you. Good luck!

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