Social science research encompasses a broad range of topics related to human society and social relationships. Researchers in sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, political science, and other social science fields contribute to our understanding of social phenomena and trends. Selecting an interesting and timely research topic is an important first step for social science students and professionals looking to conduct studies and publish their findings. This article highlights 15 compelling social science research topics ranging from social media to workplace culture to human behavior and relationships. Whether you are developing a thesis, dissertation, research paper, or collecting data for a project, focusing your efforts around a novel and meaningful research question can lead to impactful conclusions and academic contributions.
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1. How social media platforms shape political discourse and public opinion
Examining how features and algorithms on sites like Facebook and Twitter amplify controversial views, allow misinformation to spread, and influence voters.
2. Factors influencing workplace satisfaction and employee retention
Investigating relationships between compensation, work-life balance, management style, and an employee’s decision to stay with or leave an organization.
3. Changing gender norms and family dynamics over the past 50 years
Tracking shifts in gender roles, division of labor, and decision-making in households since the 1970s.
4. Causes of polarized partisan identities and impacts on policy making
Analyzing how ideological polarization affects lawmakers’ ability to compromise and govern effectively.
5. Strategies for reducing implicit bias and discrimination in hiring practices
Testing interventions like blind resume screening to increase diversity by minimizing unintentionally biased recruiting.
6. Effects of increased automation and artificial intelligence on jobs and inequality
Estimating the impact of technologies like self-driving vehicles, robots, and AI on employment rates and income gaps.
7. Public attitudes and social movements surrounding climate change
Surveying beliefs on the urgency of climate action and involvement in protests among generations.
8. Dynamics of human attraction, dating, and mate selection in the digital age
Exploring how online dating platforms and social media affect courtship rituals and partner choice.
9. Media representations of mental illness and impacts on stigma
Assessing how positive vs negative depictions of psychiatric disorders in news and entertainment shape public perceptions.
10. Social predictors of conspiracy theory beliefs and dissemination
Identifying demographics and psychological factors associated with the endorsement and spread of false conspiracy narratives.
11. Risk factors for teen drug abuse and approaches to prevention
Determining influences like peer pressure and mental health that increase substance misuse among adolescents.
12. Origins and practices of new religious movements and cults
Documenting how fringe sects form around charismatic leaders and unconventional belief systems.
13. Social and economic effect of an aging population worldwide
Projecting the fiscal, healthcare, and labor market effects of declining birth rates and longer lifespans.
14. Causes and solutions to political tribalism in democracies
Diagnosing drivers of hyper-partisanship and investigating reforms like nonpartisan districting to ease tensions.
15. Psychological motivations underlying online trolling behaviors
Uncovering inner drives like sadism, psychopathy, and fragile self-esteem that predict aggressive online acts.
This article highlights the diversity of research topics that social scientists can explore to better understand human society and behavior. Factors like emerging technologies, demographic shifts, evolving social norms, and new communication platforms are constantly reshaping our world. Keeping up with contemporary issues and changes provides no shortage of compelling research questions for studies in the social sciences. Whether examining causes of social division, effects of technology on inequality, shifting gender roles, human psychology, and relationships, or any number of other topics, social science research has the potential to provide data-driven insights into the problems facing humanity and inform efforts to create positive change. For students developing theses or professionals producing scholarly works, focusing research around novel, relevant social science topics can lead to impactful findings and fuel ongoing discourse.