A List of Debatable Topics for an Argumentative Research Paper

  • Was it necessary to start the war in Iraq to bring those responsible for 9/11 to justice? Could it have been done in a different way?
  • Does the extending presence of public surveillance systems do more harm than good?
  • Should the use of guns be restricted to prevent mass shootings? Consider that many recent cases of shootings have happened in places such as public schools or cinemas, where entrance with guns is prohibited.
  • Can the introduction of the death sentence help reduce crime levels? Can it have other positive effects on society, such as a feeling of true justice being done to murderers? Compare the situations in countries or states where capital punishment exists to those that do not have it. How many people would like the death penalty introduced (or eliminated) in the area where they live?
  • Are genetically modified foods a danger to human health? Or, is it simply a more efficient means of creating tastier and stronger foods than natural selection is?
  • Should Western countries keep providing monetary aid to poorer nations, despite the recession in their own economies? Does this kind of aid really work? Or, would it be better to spend this money to help the poor in the Western world?
  • Should there be any limitations on parenting for gay couples?
  • Are computer games good or bad for children? Consider the possible use of computer games in the learning process, and better socialization promoted through online games.
  • Was the enforcement of the National Defense Authorization Act justified? According to this law, which was enacted in 2012, anyone can be detained without a trial for being suspected of terrorism. The definition of terrorism in this act is also rather vague. Critics say that the limitation of civil rights caused by this law is not worth the beneficial effects.
  • Will technological innovations lead to mass unemployment? Industrial robots and office software are becoming more and more advanced, taking on the occupations of assemblers, secretaries, call center operators, and many others that were previously handled by humans. The recent invention of e-mobiles can make human drivers obsolete as well. This process might not stop until there is no job that humans can do better than machines. Discuss how probable this scenario is, and what governments can do today to ease this painful social transformation in the future.

Whatever topic you choose, remember to ground your arguments on the works of scholars and experts and discuss both views on the problem.