Debate Topics

Need to write an argumentative essay? Preparing for an upcoming debate? has over 100 topics complete with pro and con arguments, quotes and statistics from experts, historical information, and other pertinent research.

Abortion – Should abortion be legal?

Alternative Energy – Can alternative energy effectively replace fossil fuels?

American Socialism – Should the U.S. become socialist?

Animal Dissection – Should K-12 students dissect animals in science classrooms?

Animal Testing – Should animals be used for scientific or commercial testing?

Artificial Intelligence – Is artificial intelligence good for society?

Banned Books – Should parents or other adults be able to ban books from schools and libraries?

Binge-Watching – Is binge-watching good for you?

Bottled Water Ban – Should bottled water be banned?

Cancel Culture – Is cancel culture (or callout culture) good for society?

CBD for Pets – Is CBD good for pets?

Cell Phone Radiation – Is cell phone radiation safe?

Cheerleading – Is cheerleading a sport?

Churches & Taxes – Should churches (including mosques, synagogues, etc.) remain tax-exempt?

College Education – Is a college education worth it?

Congressional Term Limits  – Should term limits be imposed on U.S. Senators and Representatives?

Constitutional Carry of Handguns – Should permitless, “constitutional carry” of guns be legal?

Corporal Punishment – Should corporal punishment be used in K-12 schools?

Corporate Tax Rate – Should the federal corporate income tax rate be raised?

Cuba Embargo – Should the United States maintain its embargo against Cuba?

DACA & Dreamers – Are DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the DREAM Act good for America?

Daylight Saving Time – Should the United States keep daylight saving time?

DC AND Puerto Rico Statehood – Should Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico be granted U.S. statehood?

Death Penalty – Should the death penalty be legal?

Defund the Police – Should police departments be defunded, if not abolished?

Dress Codes – Should dress codes be implemented and enforced?

Drinking Age – Should the drinking age be lowered from 21 to a younger age?

Drone Strikes – Should the United States continue its use of drone strikes abroad?

Drug Use in Sports – Should performance-enhancing drugs be accepted in sports?

Election Day National Holiday – Should the election day be made a national holiday?

Electoral College – Should the United States use the electoral college in presidential elections?

Employer Vaccine Mandates – Should employers be able to mandate vaccinations?

Felon Voting – Should people who have completed felony sentences be allowed to vote?

Fighting in Hockey – Should fighting be allowed in hockey?

Filibuster – Should the U.S. Senate keep the filibuster?

Fracking – Should the United States continue fracking

Free College – Should public college be tuition-free?

Fur Clothing Bans – Should fur clothing be banned?

GMOS – Should genetically modified organisms (GMOs) be grown?

Gold Standard – Should the United States return to a gold standard?

Golf – Is golf a sport and are golfers athletes?

Gun Control – Should more gun control laws be enacted?

Historic Statue Removal – Should historic statues be taken down?

Homework – Is homework beneficial?

Illegal Immigration – Should the U.S. government provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?

Internet – Is the internet “making us stupid?”

Kneeling during the National Anthem – Is kneeling during the national anthem an appropriate form of protest?

Mandatory National Service – Should the United States have mandatory national service?

Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) – Should medical aid in dying be legal?

Medical Marijuana – Should medical marijuana be legal?

Milk – Should humans consume dairy milk?

Minimum Wage – Should the federal minimum wage be increased?

Net Neutrality – Should the U.S. have net neutrality laws?

Obesity – Is obesity a disease?

Olympics – Are the Olympic games an overall benefit for their host countries and cities?

OTC Birth Control Pills – Should birth control pills be available over-the-counter (OTC)?

Penny – Should the penny stay in circulation?

Pit Bull Bans – Should breed-specific legislation (“pit bull bans”) be enacted?

Pokémon – Is Pokémon Go good for our society?

Police Body Cameras – Should police officers wear body cameras?

Prescription Drug Costs – Should the U.S. federal government regulate prescription drug prices?

Presidential Election, 2024 – 2024 Presidential Election Site

Private Prisons – Should prisons be privatized?

Recreational Marijuana – Should recreational marijuana be legal?

Reparations for Slavery – Should the federal government pay reparations to the descendants of slaves?

Right to Healthcare – Should all Americans have the right (be entitled) to health care?

Sanctuary Cities – Should sanctuary cities receive federal funding?

Santa Claus – Is there really a Santa Claus?

Saturday Halloween – Should Halloween be moved permanently to Saturday?

School Uniforms – Should students have to wear school uniforms?

Social Media & Digital Addiction – Does social media spur digital addiction and other social ills?

Social Security Privatization – Should social security be privatized?

Space Colonization – Should humans colonize space?

Standardized Tests – Do standardized tests improve education in America?

Student Loan Debt – Should student loan debt be eliminated via forgiveness or bankruptcy?

TikTok Bans – Should TikTok be banned?

Uber & Lyft – Are ride-sharing companies a benefit to society?

Universal Basic Income (UBI) – Should the United States implement a universal basic income?

U.S. Supreme Court Packing – Should packing the U.S. Supreme Court ever be considered?

Vaccines for Kids – Should states be allowed to mandate vaccines for school attendance??

Vaping E-Cigarettes – Is vaping e-cigarettes safe?

Vegetarianism – Should people become vegetarian?

Video Games & Violence – Do violent video games contribute to youth violence?

Voting Age – Should the voting age be lowered to 16?

Voting Machines – Are electronic voting machines the best method for voting?

Zoos – Should zoos exist?

Archived Topics

Please note that ProCon no longer updates these debates.

ACLU – Is the ACLU good for America?

Big Three Bailout – Should the big three car manufacturers be bailed out by the U.S. government?

Born Gay – Is sexual orientation determined at birth?

Climate Change – Is human activity primarily responsible for global climate change?

College Football Playoffs – Should college football replace the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) with a playoff system?

Dakota Access Pipeline – Should the Dakota Access Pipeline be completed?

D.A.R.E. – Is the D.A.R.E. program good for America’s kids (K-12)?

Gay Marriage – Should gay marriage be legal?

Congressional Insider Trading – Should insider trading by Congress be allowed?

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – What are the solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Obamacare – Is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) good for America?

Paying College Athletes – Should colleges and universities pay college athletes?

President Bill Clinton – Was Bill Clinton a good president?

President Ronald Reagan – Was Ronald Reagan a good president?

Presidential Election, 2008 – Which candidate would make the best U.S. president?

Presidential Election, 2012 – Which candidate should be U.S. president in 2012?

Presidential Election, 2016 – The candidates and where they stand on the issues

Presidential Election, 2020 – 2020 Presidential Election Site

Prostitution – Should prostitution be legal?

School Vouchers – Should states have school voucher programs?

Tablets v. Textbooks -Should tablets replace textbooks in K-12 schools?

Teacher Tenure – Should teachers get tenure?

Under God in the Pledge – Should the words “under god” be in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance?

U.S. Drone Shot down by Iran – Was the U.S. drone shot down by Iran over international waters?

U.S.-Iraq War – Should the U.S. have attacked Iraq?

WTC Muslim Center – Is it appropriate to build a muslim community center (aka the ”ground zero mosque”) near the World Trade Center site?

ProCon/Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 325 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 200 Chicago, Illinois 60654 USA

Natalie Leppard Managing Editor [email protected]

© 2023 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. All rights reserved

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150+ Unique Debate Topics That Will Spark Epic Discussions

Explore 150 fascinating debate topics, from politics to AI to silly banter. This list will provide engaging conversations and thought-provoking debates.

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Practicing debate is a personal growth powerhouse activity! It trains you to think deeply about a topic, communicate persuasively , and become flexible with your perspectives. It also trains your critical thinking and public speaking skills. 

While two people could debate anything, finding the right topic can bring passion and inspiration to the conversation, where there is a fire in the room, and everyone is learning and expanding their worldview.

Below, you’ll find all the best debate topics for different situations.

Debate Topics for Friends

Debating with friends can be a fun and provocative way to connect. Try any of these prompts with a friend. Consider flipping a coin to see who gets which side.

  • Is it better to travel to a new place or revisit familiar destinations for vacations?
  • Is it more fun to watch a movie at home or in a movie theater?
  • Is it acceptable to double-dip chips in a communal dip?
  • Is it better to have a large circle of friends or a few close friends?
  • Is it more exciting to receive a surprise gift or choose your own present?
  • Is it better to be an optimist or a realist in life?
  • Is it acceptable to re-gift presents you received but don’t want?
  • What’s better, jeans or sweatpants?
  • Is it acceptable to break up with someone through a text message?
  • Is it acceptable to pick friends based on how attractive they are?
  • What’s worse, people who monopolize every conversation or people who only complain?
  • What’s more important, success or happiness?
  • Is suffering necessary for personal growth and development?
  • Should art have a higher purpose to help people and society?
  • Are AI-generated images considered art?
  • Is peer pressure predominantly negative, leading individuals to make harmful choices, or can it also have positive effects by encouraging personal growth and positive behavior changes?

Popular Debate Topics

Whether you’re setting up a debate for a club, a class, or a friend group, here are some of the most popular debate topics of the day. These are also phenomenal debate topics you can use as an office activity.

  • Should college education be free for all students?

Some European countries 1 offer free college tuition for their residents. The top American colleges 2 cost up to $264,000 for four years of tuition. Is it worth it?  

  • Is climate change primarily caused by human activities?

Examining the causes of climate change sparks critical conversations on environmental responsibility, sustainable practices, and their global impact.

  • Should the minimum wage be raised to a livable wage?

This debate explores income inequality and the well-being of workers, addressing social and economic implications for individuals and society.

  • Is universal healthcare a fundamental right?

Universal healthcare debates touch on public health, social justice, and the role of government in ensuring healthcare access for all citizens.

  • Is online privacy a thing of the past in the digital age?

Online privacy is important to about 90% of people 3 . So, this is a topic that almost everyone has some stake in. With the increasing prevalence of data breaches and surveillance, this topic explores the challenges of safeguarding personal information in the modern digital landscape.

  • Should the government regulate the content on social media platforms?

This debate addresses the balance between free speech and curbing misinformation, hate speech, and harmful content on widely-used platforms.

  • Is it ethical to use animals for scientific research?

The ethical considerations surrounding animal testing and the pursuit of scientific advancement raise questions about the treatment of animals and the value of research outcomes.

  • Should social media platforms regulate political advertising?

If political campaigns have free reign on social media, we’re doomed to highly influenced and manipulated elections. Is it worth it?

  • Should standardized testing be eliminated from education?

What is intelligence? How many types are there, and what are the best ways to measure it? Debates on standardized testing focus on its impact on educational quality, student stress, and alternative methods of assessing academic achievement.

  • Is censorship ever justified in the media?

Exploring media censorship involves discussing freedom of expression, cultural sensitivity, and the need to protect societal values.

  • Is space exploration worth the significant financial investment?

Should we solve our problems on Earth before bringing them to Mars? This topic considers the value of space exploration in scientific discovery, technological advancements, and international collaboration.

  • Should there be a bigger tax on gas to dissuade driving?

The more the government taxes gas, the less people will drive. This will benefit the environment, but oil companies won’t like it. This debate addresses environmental concerns, infrastructure funding, and incentivizing alternative transportation methods to reduce emissions.

Debate Topics for School

Statistics show that debate is super positive for students. One study 4 found that of the students with the highest risk factors, 72% of those who participated in high school debate successfully graduated, while only 43% of non-debaters graduated.

Not to mention, the more debate rounds a student participated in, the likelier they were to graduate.

Plus, the more students engaged in debate, the higher they scored on the ACT.

This section is for teachers who want to bring some debate topics into the classroom. The topics will be salient for your students to ensure they feel invested and inspired in their debate.

  • Should high schools implement mandatory financial literacy courses?
  • Is the use of cell phones in classrooms beneficial or distracting for students?
  • Should schools switch to year-round education with only 4 school days per week?
  • Is homeschooling a better option than traditional schooling?
  • Should students have the freedom to choose their curriculum?
  • Is it ethical for schools to use surveillance cameras in classrooms?
  • Should the school day start later to accommodate teenagers’ sleep patterns?
  • Is the grading system an effective way to assess students’ abilities?
  • Should schools eliminate homework assignments?
  • Is it appropriate for teachers to use social media to communicate with students?
  • Should schools teach comprehensive sex education?
  • Is it beneficial for schools to have a school uniform or dress code?
  • Is the use of corporal punishment in schools ever justified?
  • Should schools provide free breakfast and lunch for all students?
  • Is it necessary for high schools to teach courses on mental health?

Interesting Debate Topics

Here are some fascinating debate topics to get your brain turning.

  • If an AI could write a better novel than any human, would it ever be worth reading human creative works?
  • Is it ethical to use artificial intelligence in art and music creation without human involvement?
  • Should all public transportation be free to reduce traffic congestion and emissions?
  • Should there be a limit on the number of terms a politician can serve in office?
  • Is art necessary for society?
  • Is it acceptable to have a universal basic income to address income inequality?
  • Should space exploration be a global collaborative effort?
  • Should there be stricter regulations on social media platforms to combat misinformation?
  • Can we prove the existence of other minds, or is solipsism a valid possibility?
  • Are humans inherently good, evil, or morally neutral?
  • Should there be a global ban on single-use plastics to reduce pollution?
  • Is there a direct link between playing violent video games and real-world aggressive behavior?
  • If something online is written with the help of AI, should it have a watermark to indicate this?
  • Should vaping be banned in public spaces to protect non-smokers from secondhand exposure and discourage youth from taking up this habit?
  • Should there be mandatory vaccinations for all children to prevent disease outbreaks?
  • Is it ethical to use AI to create deepfake videos and audio recordings?
  • Can we ever achieve true justice, or is it a utopian ideal?

If you liked those questions, here are 255 more philosophical questions .

Fun Debate Topics 

Sometimes, it’s great to turn the practice of debate toward topics that are just fun! Here are some topics that won’t help change the world but are fun to debate for the sake of debate.

  • Is pineapple an acceptable pizza topping?
  • Should “Rock, Paper, Scissors” be considered a sport?
  • Is it better to be a night owl or an early bird?
  • Should emojis be used in formal communication?
  • Is it okay to recline your seat on an airplane?
  • Is the Oxford comma necessary in writing?
  • Is it better to binge-watch TV shows or watch them weekly?
  • Is it acceptable to wear pajamas in public?
  • Is it more fun to celebrate your birthday or someone else’s?
  • Should clapping be replaced with jazz hands to avoid noise?
  • Is it better to have a long or several short vacations throughout the year?
  • Should “ dad jokes ” be considered the highest form of humor?
  • Should adults have a designated nap time during the workday?
  • Is it better to have a superpower of invisibility or time travel?
  • Is it more fun to celebrate Halloween or Christmas?

Debate can be a super fun form of conversation. Though if you don’t just want to boost your debate skills but also your overall conversation skills so that you can build more meaningful relationships, you might enjoy this free training:

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Controversial American Debate Topics

For any US reader, the political climate is hot! Here are a few debate prompts that might stoke some lively debate.

They aren’t for the faint of heart and could hopefully result in some charged conversations—to create more understanding and insight.

  • Should the voting age be lowered to 16?

At what age can people make informed, intelligent decisions? Should we empower youth more? Plus, the earlier people start voting, the more likely they’ll vote later. Some juicy topics! 

  • Should there be stricter gun control laws in the United States?

This is a huge one, especially with all the shootings over the past years. About 40% of Americans 5 say there is a gun in their household. Gun control debates tackle public safety, the Second Amendment, and measures to reduce gun-related violence.

  • Is the death penalty an effective form of punishment?

About 60% of Americans 6 support the death penalty, even though nearly 80% agree that there is some risk that an innocent person will be unrightly put to death. If that’s not grounds for an interesting debate, I don’t know what is!

Here are more stats:

An infographic exploring stats around the death penalty as an effective form of punishment. This is one of many American debate topics.

  • Should the sale and use of recreational marijuana be legalized?
  • Is abortion a woman’s right to choose or a moral issue?
  • Should hate speech be protected as free speech?
  • Is affirmative action in college admissions fair or discriminatory?
  • Should euthanasia be legal for terminally ill patients?
  • Is the use of torture justified in extreme circumstances?
  • Should the United States abolish the Electoral College?
  • Should there be restrictions on immigration to the United States?
  • Should the United States provide foreign aid to countries in need?
  • Is the use of autonomous weapons in warfare ethical?
  • Should businesses be required to provide paid parental leave?
  • Is the surveillance of citizens by the government a violation of privacy?
  • Should sex work be legalized and regulated?
  • Should there be limits on the freedom of the press to prevent fake news?
  • How much of addiction is due to individual choices, and how much is biology and trauma-related?

American Political Debate Topics 

Try out these topics for some hot political debates to explore your deeper philosophies around politics. These topics are specific to the US government system but might provide interesting debate to folks from any country.

  • Should gerrymandering be eliminated from the redistricting process?
  • Should the United States implement a national ID card system?
  • Should the United States transition to a parliamentary system of government?
  • Is it ethical for politicians to accept campaign contributions from corporations?
  • Is it acceptable to use blockchain technology for secure and transparent voting systems?
  • Should people be required to pass a basic knowledge test to be eligible to vote?
  • Is it important to implement term limits for members of Congress?
  • Should political parties be required to disclose their donors publicly?
  • Is it acceptable for the government to monitor citizens’ online activities for security purposes?
  • Is it ethical for politicians to use social media for campaign purposes?
  • Is establishing a third major political party in the United States important?
  • Should nations pursue disarmament and work towards a world without nuclear weapons, or should they maintain and modernize their nuclear arsenals for deterrence and security purposes?

Unique Debate Topics 

Try out these debate topics to explore new domains of thought and conversation that you might not normally touch on.

  • Is it ethical to colonize other planets to ensure the survival of humanity?
  • Should governments provide a universal basic income for all citizens?
  • Should there be a legal limit on the number of hours people can work each week?
  • Is it justifiable to create a global language to promote unity and communication?
  • Should there be a tax on disposable plastic products to reduce waste?
  • Should there be a cap on the number of children a person can have to control overpopulation?
  • Should countries invest more in renewable energy sources, even if it leads to job losses in fossil fuel industries?
  • Is it appropriate to use AI algorithms to match people with potential life partners?
  • Is it ethical to use gene editing to eliminate hereditary diseases from the human gene pool?
  • Should voting in elections be mandatory for all eligible citizens?
  • Is it acceptable for companies to use AI to create personalized advertisements based on individuals’ online behavior?
  • Should a global ban exist on developing and using autonomous killer robots in warfare?
  • Is it justifiable to offer tax breaks to companies that implement environmentally friendly practices?
  • Are zoos ethical institutions that contribute to conservation and education, or should they be phased out in favor of alternative methods for wildlife protection and public education?
  • Is it ethical to use AI algorithms to predict and prevent crimes before they happen?
  • Should higher education be more affordable and accessible, with reduced reliance on student loans, or is the current system of student loans necessary to support educational opportunities and institutions?

If you liked those questions, here are 110 more mind-blowing questions to get you thinking about life.

Funny Debate Topics  

These debate topics are sure to bring out some chuckles from you and your debate adversary. 

  • Should ketchup be allowed on pizza?
  • Is cereal a soup, a breakfast food, or something else entirely?
  • Is a hotdog a sandwich, or is it in a category of its own?
  • Should toilet paper hang over or under?
  • Is water wet, or is it just a perception?
  • Does a straw have one hole or two?
  • Should adults be allowed to play with toys without being judged?
  • Was Darth Vader a tragic hero or a villain who ultimately redeemed himself?
  • Would an underwater life be more appealing than a life in space?
  • Should GIFs be pronounced with a hard “G” or a soft “G”?
  • Are cartoons more entertaining than documentaries?
  • Is it okay to talk to yourself out loud?
  • Should unicorns be considered mythical creatures or real animals that haven’t been discovered yet?
  • Is it okay to eat fries with a fork, or do you have to use your fingers?
  • Is it better to have a messy bedroom or a messy kitchen?

Easy Debate Topics 

If you’re new to debate or want some starter topics, here are some topics everyone can relate to. These topics are especially good for kids, high schoolers, and students.

  • Is it better to have a dog or a cat as a pet?
  • Should students have homework every day?
  • Is it more fun to play indoor or outdoor games?
  • Should kids be allowed to have a later bedtime on weekends?
  • Is it better to read books or watch movies for entertainment?
  • Should schools have a longer summer break?
  • At what age should children be allowed to have their own cell phones?
  • Should kids be allowed to have a say in family decisions?
  • Is it important to have a regular exercise routine ?
  • Should kids be allowed to choose their bedtime?

Silly Debate Topics

If you want to get silly, goofy, and playful, then try out these debate topics.

  • Is it better to have a pet dinosaur or a pet dragon?
  • Is it acceptable to wear a superhero cape to work or school every day?
  • Should people walk backward instead of forward to see where they’ve been?
  • Should all food be served in the form of ice cream?
  • What’s better, a snowball fight in the summer or a hot water balloon fight in winter?
  • Is it acceptable to have a day dedicated to wearing mismatched shoes?
  • If everyone had to get 8 hours of sleep a night, would it help with world peace?
  • Is it better to have a pet dragon that breathes confetti or one that breathes fire?

Frequently Asked Questions About Debate Topics

Debate topics can include climate change, healthcare reform, education, and the impact of technology on society.

Good topics to debate about encompass subjects like social justice, privacy in the digital age, and the influence of media on society.

Fun debate topics may revolve around topics like the best movie genre, the existence of extraterrestrial life, and the merits of pizza toppings.

Popular debate topics often include gun control, immigration policy, climate change, and the role of technology in daily life.

Good debate topics for high school students can include issues like the importance of standardized testing, the impact of social media on mental health, and the relevance of classic literature in the modern curriculum.

Takeaways on Debate Topics

Best of luck setting up your debate!

If you hope to become a better debater, it can also help to invest in your oration skills. If you’re interested, here’s a great article to help boost your public speaking.

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601 Controversial Questions & Topics for Research, Essays, & Debate

601 Controversial Questions & Topics for Research, Essays, & Debate

People constantly participate in passionate debates about sensitive and divisive societal issues. Some may utilize memes or social media to discuss hot topics, while others join online forums and blogs. Even though controversial topics are believed to address trivial issues, many may have a tangible impact on the world and global problems.

Below, you’ll find a list of controversial questions and topics for research that can come in handy on days when you lack inspiration!

🔝 Top 10 Controversial Questions in 2024

🤔 most controversial questions — and why.

  • 🏫 Topics for High School Students
  • 🎓 Topics for College Students

🔎 Controversial Research Topics

  • 📝 Controversial Argumentative Topics

💼 Controversial Business Topics

🏥 controversial medical topics, 🔬 controversial science topics, 💡 controversial philosophical questions, 😛 funny controversial topics, 🗣️ controversial debate topics, 🔗 references.

  • Why should brain control techniques in psychology be banned?
  • How to stop sexual abuse in the motion picture industry?
  • How is homosexuality discriminated against in the 21st century?
  • Does drug control help to reduce drug consumption among teenagers?
  • What is the role of plastic pollution in global warming?
  • How to make domestic violence victims speak out?
  • Why are alternatives to prison sentences more effective?
  • What is the impact of human overpopulation on food security?
  • What is the positive impact of free trade on the international market?
  • Why do abusive power and control often take part in modern relationships?

A controversial topic differs from others in that it causes considerable disagreement, debate, and varied emotional reactions in society. It usually involves opposing points of view, beliefs, or interests.

Below, we’ve listed several most controversial questions and explained what makes them such.

❔ Should abortion be legalized around the world?

Abortion is controversial due to its ethical, moral, and legal consequences. It raises the question of the fetus’ rights to life and a person’s right to govern their own body.

❔ What are the most effective measures to prevent gun violence?

Gun control is among the most controversial and emotional topics in many nations. Its discussion is mainly centered around two questions:

  • Can the limit on people’s right to bear weapons be considered an unfair restriction on liberty?
  • Is there a link between gun ownership and crime?

❔ Should capital punishment be canceled?

Opponents of the death sentence point out its inhumanity, irreversibility, and unfairness due to the persistence of racial and economic inequalities. Proponents believe that it is reasonable retribution for specific acts and is effective in deterring crime and protecting society.

❔ To what degree should freedom of speech be protected?

Freedom of speech is controversial because society struggles to define its limits. There is still a need to find a balance between safeguarding the freedom of expression and protecting individuals against the harm caused by speech.

❔ What measures should be taken to stop global warming?

The global warming controversy refers to the public dispute over whether the planet is getting warmer. Also, people argue about the leading causes of climate change, its consequences, and methods to stop it.

This image shows the most controversial topics.

🏫 Controversial Topics for High School Students

Investigating controversial topics may help high school students develop critical thinking skills, engage in meaningful dialogues, and expand their awareness of challenging social issues. Below you can find some controversial questions for students!

  • Should sports classes in school be mandatory?
  • Abortion as a controversy .
  • Why can technologies destroy the world?
  • The benefits of year-round school.
  • Circumcision as a controversial topic in the United States .
  • Social networks make people less social.
  • Alcohol should be banned under 25.
  • Child labor and exploitation controversies .
  • Bad parenting is a leading reason for childhood obesity .
  • Is it time to decriminalize prostitution ?
  • Same-sex marriage as a moral controversy .
  • Happiness is more crucial than a career.
  • Zoos around the world should be closed.
  • The controversy over marijuana legalization .
  • Why will cryptocurrencies replace cash?
  • The institution of marriage is a relic of the past.
  • Genetic engineering and cloning controversy .
  • Climate change has already become irreversible.
  • Why is playing online games a sport?
  • Controversy about global warming: skepticism and reality .
  • Alternative medicines are more dangerous than helpful.
  • Why is remote studying the future of education?
  • Victorian period corset controversy .
  • Leisure time is critical for working productivity.
  • Is nationalism beneficial or harmful?
  • The Barbie doll controversy in a Latinx community .
  • The government should permit gay couples to adopt children .
  • The positive side of smoking and vaping .
  • Why is immigration a controversial topic in the US ?
  • Should we outlaw the use of fatal force by police ?

🎓 Controversial Topics for College Students

Controversial topics often reflect current social challenges , allowing college students to contribute to discussions and decisions that influence the world around them. Look at the most interesting controversial debate questions for college that we have prepared for you!

  • The crime behind animal testing in the beauty industry. 
  • Biracial adoption and its controversies .
  • Why are many people ignoring cybersecurity ? 
  • The benefits of expanding stem cell research .
  • The gun control controversy in the constitutional context .
  • Why should churches and religious institutions pay taxes? 
  • The issue of media bias and discrimination in the modern world. 
  • Women in army infantry: controversial issues .
  • Non-chemical cleaning products: worth the cost or not? 
  • Capitalism is an economic system that perpetuates inequality. 
  • The United States Patriot Act controversies .
  • Should the death penalty be abolished in the US? 
  • The effectiveness of using hacking skills in business. 
  • Ethical controversies in COVID-19 pandemic regulations .
  • Why is being transgender not a gender disorder ? 
  • The risk of religious discrimination in a multi-cultured society. 
  • Controversial art and censorship .
  • Does a smoking ban reduce lung cancer rates? 
  • The influence of mixed-race backgrounds on personal development. 
  • Minimum wage policy and its impact: controversy .
  • The importance of policies and religious accommodations at the workplace. 
  • How to raise awareness of women’s rights in society? 
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis controversy .
  • Legalization of marijuana for medical usage: for and against. 
  • What are the potentially harmful effects of consuming genetically modified food ? 
  • Dementia and its controversial treatment .
  • The effects of globalization on national economies and job losses. 
  • How to reduce the incidence of alcoholism and drug addiction in society? 
  • The Jamestown massacre controversy .
  • The efficiency of drug testing programs in schools . 

Controversial research topics inspire discussions and push limits on established beliefs. In the following paragraphs, you can find risky but interesting controversial questions for your future study!

Controversial Topics in Education

  • How do cell phones decrease learning productivity?
  • The role of textbooks in education .
  • The impact of fast food on students’ learning skills.
  • Do armed guards reduce crime rates in schools?
  • Why does education require political intervention ?
  • The negative side of individualized approach in education .
  • Advantages and disadvantages of tracking and grouping in classes.
  • School sex education and teenage pregnancy in the United States .
  • Does a college education lower the unemployment rate ?
  • Early childhood education and its influence on success in the future.
  • Education: internet courses versus traditional courses .
  • Does a low level of IQ affect academic performance?
  • The importance of detention in disciplining students.
  • Labeling in special education .
  • Does homeschooling provide a better education than traditional schooling?

Controversial Psychology Topics

  • What factors contribute to the persistence of stereotypes in diverse societies? 
  • Happiness as a Way of Living and Perceiving Reality .
  • The impact of advertising on the human brain and mental health. 
  • How does yoga affect a person’s mental state? 
  • Gaming influence on psychology and personality .
  • The effect of biological factors on sexual orientation . 
  • Do violent video games influence real-life aggression? 
  • Psychology: does a criminal mind exist ?
  • Placebo effect and its role in demonstrating the power of the mind. 
  • Can psychological profiling accurately forecast criminal behavior? 
  • Psychological testing: beneficial or harmful ?
  • The impact of subconscious biases on decision-making. 
  • Does testimony from witnesses properly represent historical events?
  • Experimental psychology: science vs. ideology .
  • Do near-death experiences provide evidence of an afterlife? 

Controversial Criminal Justice Topics

  • Do mandatory minimum sentences lower crime rates?
  • Racial bas in criminal justice systems and workplaces .
  • The ethical side of capital punishment in the US .
  • The role of racial bias in the criminal justice system.
  • Recidivism in criminal justice: the prison system of America .
  • Do private prisons put profit above inmate welfare?
  • The effectiveness of body cameras in maintaining accountability and transparency.
  • Ethical dilemmas in the criminal justice system .
  • Is the drug war successful in lowering drug abuse?
  • The impact of solitary confinement on the occurrence of mental disorders in prisoners.
  • Non-inclusiveness of the criminal justice system .
  • How to prevent sexual assault in the military ?
  • The role of restitution in dealing with prison overcrowding .
  • Cyberbullying as a criminal offense in Singapore .
  • How does the prison system impact the mental health of prisoners ?

This image shows current controversial criminal justice topics.

Controversial Political Questions

  • Is wealth redistribution a successful way of addressing income inequality?
  • Political culture: failure of democracy in Iraq .
  • Do restrictive abortion policies decrease the abortion rates among teens?
  • What impact do campaign funding regulations have on political corruption ?
  • Mexican immigration as a political controversy .
  • How do religious factors shape public opinion on LGBTQ+ rights?
  • How to regulate the misinformation or propaganda inside the country?
  • Abortion in Texas as a political issue .
  • How does the accessibility of weapons affect the frequency of mass shootings ?
  • What effect does immigration have on crime and public safety in host countries?
  • Tolerance and political diversity in the US .
  • Why does power concentration negatively affect press freedom?
  • How do politicians reconcile private power interests and democratic values?
  • Political ecologies of electronic waste: does it really make a difference ?
  • What is the role of government in providing affordable healthcare ?

Controversial Environmental Topics

  • Does the ban on plastic help to stop climate change?
  • Environment: oil drilling in the Arctic National Refuge .
  • Nuclear power as the solution for sustainable energy production.
  • Can banning fast fashion be beneficial to the environment?
  • The controversies of climate change .
  • How does noise pollution affect marine life?
  • Does recycling cause more trash in the environment?
  • Global warming and the free rider problem .
  • The benefits of efficient toilets in conserving water.
  • The establishment of the carbon tax as a way to reduce carbon footprint.
  • Global warming: myth or reality ?
  • What threat to the Earth does overpopulation pose?
  • The negative consequences of leftover foods in restaurants.
  • It’s not my fault: global warming and moral responsibility .
  • Would the ban on mining aid in preserving the environment?

📝 Controversial Argumentative Essay Topics

Controversial argumentative essay topics require the student to investigate a problem, examine the evidence, and present a concise viewpoint on an issue. Some of the hottest topics are already waiting for you below!

  • Should athletes be checked for steroid usage regularly?
  • The controversy between free will and determinism .
  • Procrastination has a negative influence on critical thinking.
  • Pharmacies should provide teenagers with free contraception.
  • Operation Geronimo: controversy and the legal authority .
  • Torture can be efficient in solving some crimes.
  • Why should computer addiction be treated seriously?
  • Should illegal immigrants be made legal citizens ?
  • Prenuptial agreements can strengthen families’ relationships.
  • Why should media violence be censored?
  • Should smoking be illegal ?
  • Are social networks helpful, or are they just a waste of time?
  • Cyberbullying should have legal consequences.
  • Have “three-strikes” laws been effective and should they be continued ?
  • Religious courses should be mandatory for everyone.
  • Why is modern technology too isolating?
  • Should Georgia legalize gambling to raise revenue ?
  • Tourist tax is essential to protect cultural heritage .
  • All individuals should have the right to possess firearms.
  • The Right-to-Die bill: why all states should pass it .
  • Do TV shows reinforce harmful stereotypes?
  • Values of fashion should not contradict the healthy body image .

Controversial Questions About Art

  • Why is the depiction of nudity in art considered vulgar?
  • Pornography vs. artistic nude photographs .
  • Should obscene artistic expression without “serious artistic value” be censored?
  • Why is art not an objective branch of human culture?
  • Graffiti as a monumental form of art .
  • Can governments stop the trafficking of antiquities?
  • What role does criticism play in modern art?
  • Art and entertainment: is there any difference ?
  • Are museums ready to cope with competition and demands for change?
  • Why is visiting a theater good for cultural growth?
  • Freedom of expression in artworks .
  • Why are new directions in architecture widely criticized?
  • Is an artwork’s worth determined by its price?
  • Defining art in the past and present .
  • Can graffiti be considered a legitimate form of art?

Controversial History Questions

  • Is the existence of Atlantis not entirely mythical?
  • How has the invention of gunpowder affected the world ?
  • Why is it not true that pyramids were built by slaves in Egypt?
  • What would be with Germany if Hitler had not happened?
  • How did WWI change women’s role in America ?
  • What was the leading cause of the American Civil War ?
  • Who funded the assassins of Archduke Ferdinand?
  • What led up to the assassination of Julius Caesar ?
  • Why was slavery unprofitable for enslavers?
  • From whom did Charles Darwin get his idea of evolution?
  • Jacksonian democracy: who benefitted ?
  • Why was Galileo tortured for his beliefs?
  • Who actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays?
  • Was the Industrial Revolution positive for society ?
  • How did European pathogens cause the decline of the Cahokia and Mississippian mounds?

Controversial Opinion Questions

  • Why should religion be separated from politics?
  • Euthanasia in public opinion and policy-making .
  • Do a person’s thoughts and behavior contribute to mental illnesses?
  • How can curfews keep teens out of trouble?
  • Internet in our life: personal opinion .
  • Why are immigrants more of a benefit rather than a problem?
  • Are social media platforms accountable for the material they publish?
  • Money and expenditures: personal opinion .
  • What is the harmful impact of homework ?
  • Should LGBT+ problems be discussed during school sex education classes?
  • Our opinions on vaccines and what factors influence them .
  • Why allowing a child to be overweight is a form of child abuse ?
  • How can smartphones damage our IQs?
  • Opinions about euthanasia: for and against .
  • Why is war never an option for solving international disputes?

Like any other sphere, business has many exciting topics that provoke deep discussion and boost people’s curiosity. Here are some ideas that you can use for your papers!

  • The issue of discrimination and harassment at the workplace.
  • Business ethics and CSR: when corporate values must be upgraded .
  • How does abuse of leadership authority impact employees’ productivity?
  • The risks of nepotism and favoritism in big corporations.
  • Samsung and child labor: business ethics case .
  • How to find the balance between work and personal life?
  • The ethical side of corporate espionage.
  • Business ethics: Indian tea plantation workers .
  • Social media networks should be blocked at work.
  • Why are remote workers more productive?
  • Business ethics of concealing facts in a report .
  • The efficiency of open-space offices in creating fresh business ideas.
  • Companies should provide health care to part-time employees.
  • Management issues: diversity in the workplace .
  • How to avoid ethical issues in the business industry?
  • A casual dress code should be mandatory in the office.
  • Socialization of people with disabilities in the workplace .
  • Will AI replace human jobs soon?
  • Minimum wages should be increased around the world.
  • Workplace sexual harassment and legal boundaries .
  • Stakeholder capitalism as a fundamental violation of fiduciary duty.
  • How to deal with a toxic working environment?

Controversial Topics in Business Management

  • How to obtain an advantage over competitors ethically?
  • Artificial intelligence in strategic business management .
  • The importance of workforce diversity in global organizations.
  • Participative management approach as a method to empower the workforce.
  • Women minorities in business management .
  • Why is it vital to implement quality management systems ?
  • Employers should make accommodations for employees with mental health issues.
  • The marginal productivity of labor in business management .
  • All workplace relationships should be banned.
  • Time management as a way to boost productivity.
  • Moral wayfinding for a business manager .
  • Outsourcing as a way of redirecting the company’s resources.
  • The effectiveness of banning political discussion in resolving labor conflicts.
  • Technological changes in business management .
  • Why is focusing on customer service not vital in the business industry?

Controversial Marketing Topics

  • Overpromising as a harmful way to gain customers’ trust.
  • Marketing: social responsibility and the law .
  • Misusing customer data should be punished by the government.
  • How does misleading pricing affect the number of sales?
  • Is it necessary to develop a marketing plan ?
  • The risks and benefits of controversial marketing.
  • The impact of colors on the brand and marketing campaigns .
  • Advertising to children and social responsibility .
  • Why should advertising potentially dangerous products be banned?
  • Virtual influencers in marketing and their impact on teenagers.
  • Sex in advertising and its harmful effects .
  • Recycling content as a way to draw more customers.
  • What is the role of social justice issues in ads of popular brands?
  • Pharmaceutical advertising is propaganda .
  • The role of racial diversity in marketing campaigns.

This image shows examples of controversial marketing campaigns.

Controversial medical topics can inspire passionate discussions within healthcare. In the following paragraphs, you can check out the hottest ideas to discuss in the medical field!

Controversial Nursing Topics

  • The importance of nurses in end-of-life care .
  • Staffing issues in nursing .
  • How long should nurses rest between patients?
  • The benefits and drawbacks of nurse-physician collaboration .
  • Circumcision ethical dilemma and a nurse’s role in it .
  • The efficiency of nursing unions in defending nurses’ rights.
  • Medical errors and disclosure in pediatric nursing .
  • Nurse Robaczynski’s case: crime or mercy killing ?
  • Nursing approaches to ophthalmic care for older adults.
  • What is the value of informed consent in nursing practice?
  • Drug addiction among nurses .
  • The worth of nursing leadership in fostering a culture of transparency.
  • The role of nurses in addressing medical futility.
  • Nurses’ work-life balance and patient safety .
  • How to balance patient autonomy and healthcare professional expertise?

Controversial Public Health Topics

  • Should medical experiments on humans be legalized?
  • Vaccination as a public health policy issue .
  • The pros and cons of exercising for pregnant women.
  • Social media disinformation as a key cause of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy .
  • Abortion from legal and public health perspectives .
  • How should the issue of obesity be treated?
  • The impact of the coronavirus on a specific vulnerable population.
  • Sugary drink tax as a public health policy .
  • Did COVID-19 give a boost to telemedicine ?
  • The opioid crisis is a public health catastrophe.
  • Is bottled water safe for public health ?
  • The impact of aging water and sewer infrastructure on health.
  • Why are electronic cigarettes more harmful than regular ones?
  • Firearm violence as a public health issue .
  • Federal privacy laws should protect the privacy of patients.

Controversial Medical Ethics Topics

  • Medical students’ involvement in patient care: for or against.
  • Patient’s violence and the use of the doctor’s force .
  • Is it ethical for healthcare workers to accept gifts from patients?
  • The peculiarities of working with surrogate decision-makers.
  • Medical ethics: a do-not-resuscitate order .
  • How to address disparities in health care professionally?
  • The importance of patient privacy and confidentiality.
  • Medical ethics: performing an unnecessary test .
  • The possible pitfalls of legalization of organ transplantation .
  • Euthanasia should be a free choice of a patient.
  • Is lying to patients against medical ethics ?
  • What is the ethical side of DNR orders ?
  • Moral dilemmas concerning physician-assisted suicide .
  • Medical ethics: pet euthanasia .
  • How should malpractice and negligence in healthcare be punished?

Controversial Questions about Mental Health

  • Why is self-help in coping with mental disorders a waste of time?
  • What are the dangers of fad diets for mental health ?
  • Are mental health issues a result of personality weakness or character flaws?
  • Do children experience mental health issues?
  • What causes medication administration errors in a mental health hospital ?
  • How to prevent a mental health condition?
  • What is the role of psychosurgery in treating depression?
  • How does ageism affect mental health and addiction ?
  • Why do people use self-harm to overcome traumatic experiences?
  • Is hearing voices the first symptom of schizophrenia ?
  • What are the mental health issues in incarcerated adults ?
  • Why is having bipolar disorder considered fancy among teenagers?
  • What is the role of practical pharmacotherapy in child psychiatry ?
  • How can violence potential be assessed in forensic psychiatric institutions ?
  • How can suicidal behavior be unnoticed in society?

Do you need a controversial scientific topic for your term paper or essay? Read on to find the perfect topics on science that you can use in your favor!

  • Science should try to revive extinct species.
  • Vaccines and autism: does the controversy persist ?
  • Will expanding stem cell research be beneficial?
  • The role of genes in determining a person’s behavior.
  • Controversies related to technology: newborn screening .
  • What is the evidence of life on other planets?
  • The scientific side of reincarnation .
  • Controversies between religion and science .
  • Why should alternative medicine be forbidden?
  • Genetic variations as the leading cause of alcoholism.
  • How is science demarcated from pseudoscience ?
  • The efficiency of symptomatic care in the separation of conjoined twins .
  • Is it possible to create a virus in the lab?
  • Faith and science: did Darwin kill God ?
  • The impact of scientific creationism on education.
  • Why should the development of neural lace technology be banned?
  • Cyber-science: fiction or modern reality ?
  • Why should people have the right to refuse vaccinations?
  • Should governments invest significant resources in space exploration ?
  • The promises and perils of artificial intelligence .
  • The ethical aspects of human cloning for medical purposes.
  • Why is animal testing necessary?

Controversial Biology Topics

  • Drinking a lot of water wipes away the vital nutrients the body needs.
  • Is gender a culturally or biologically perscribed role ?
  • Why are overweight people more likely to develop chronic diseases ?
  • Current generations are responsible for preventing climate change.
  • Mind-body problem in psychobiology .
  • Charles Darwin’s evolution hypothesis may not be flawless.
  • The potential for gene editing to heal genetic diseases .
  • Substance abuse: environmental influences and biology .
  • Cancer treatment does additional harm to the health.
  • The debate in evolutionary biology regarding the validity of the molecular clock.
  • Biotechnology: impact on biological warfare and biodefense .
  • What are healthy bacteria that should remain in the body?
  • The impact of synthetic biology on the environment.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of stem cell research .
  • What are the evolutionary origins of homosexuality ?

Controversial Engineering Topics

  • The design and construction of weaponry should be banned.
  • Engineering professionalism and ethics .
  • What is the ethical side of bioengineering?
  • The possible consequences of the “conflict mineral” exploitation.
  • Loudness war in sound engineering .
  • How can AI replace humans in engineering processes?
  • The debate between imperial and metric measurements.
  • Green engineering: principles, benefits, and constraints .
  • Why do environmental engineers play a huge role in mitigating climate change?
  • The safety of products and structures is a crucial concern for engineers.
  • Human factor engineering problem: carpal tunnel syndrome .
  • Manipulation of organisms with the help of genetic engineering .
  • Why do males dominate the engineering industry?
  • Ethical dilemmas in software engineering: Volkswagen ethical dilemma .
  • The efficiency of chemical engineering technologies in diagnosing diseases.

Controversial Chemistry Topics

  • How do chemical agendas impact cultural values or religious ideas?
  • Government preparedness to chemical and bio terrorism .
  • The role of chemistry in the prediction of environmental or health problems.
  • Chemical weapons as a primary threat to the world.
  • Chemical pollution and loans in business ethics .
  • The role of chemical laboratories in increasing drug abuse rates.
  • How does desalinated water impact human health?
  • Dumping chemical wastes in the lake .
  • The negative side of using nuclear energy .
  • Why is avoiding pesticides in agriculture vital?
  • An unethical decision of the Rongping Chemical Company .
  • The use of radiant energy in making food safer.
  • What is the potential side effect of fluoridation?
  • Chemical impact on the US vulnerable communities .
  • The safety of using BPA in food packaging .

This image shows controversial topics in science.

Deep, controversial questions can challenge our beliefs and prompt introspection. Check out the most contentious philosophical questions that you can use for your essay or paper below!

  • How can we identify good without knowing what evil is?
  • What is the problem of evil in relation to philosophy and religion ?
  • Do you have control over your destiny, or does everything happen by fate?
  • Is happiness the most essential goal in life?
  • Philosophy prospectus: why should we be moral ?
  • Does life exist somewhere else in the universe?
  • Is it immoral to distribute riches inequitably?
  • Issues in philosophy: does God exist ?
  • Is love simply a physical desire or something more?
  • Can a life without friends still be fulfilling?
  • Are there limits to what should be questioned ?
  • What will happen when the world ends?
  • Does religion have an impact on scientific thinking?
  • Is euthanasia morally acceptable ?
  • How can you know that your perceptions are accurate?
  • What is the distinction between being alive and living?
  • Is watching football morally acceptable ?
  • Is beauty a subjective or objective concept?
  • Are we ethically obliged to help others?
  • Are rich countries morally obligated to assist poor countries ?
  • Is suffering an unavoidable aspect of human life?
  • What does an afterlife look like?
  • When is the use of military force justified ?

Moral Controversial Topics

  • Would you kill one person to save the lives of hundreds?
  • What is the moral doctrine of active and passive euthanasia ?
  • Why is there no absolute morality in the world?
  • Is refusing life-saving medical care morally wrong?
  • What is the moral status of an abnormal fetus ?
  • Would you lie in the name of love?
  • Does putting others before yourself give your life purpose?
  • Should athletes be held to a higher moral standard ?
  • Would you want to know when you are going to die?
  • Would you go against the law to save someone you care about?
  • What is the moral status of the human embryo ?
  • Would you use a dating service to find a lover?
  • Can money buy happiness?
  • Is it morally permissible to drive after having one drink ?
  • What would you change in the world if you could?

Controversial Religious Topics

  • How does religion impact a woman’s right to have an abortion?
  • Religion in schools: is there a place for it ?
  • What are the negative consequences of blasphemy laws?
  • Why should animal sacrifice be banned in every religion?
  • What are the consequences of religious freedom in America ?
  • Why do autopsy laws conflict with religious objections?
  • Is there scientific evidence for God’s existence ?
  • Is religion the root of terrorism ?
  • Why is gay marriage not supported in many religions?
  • Can prayer affect the fate of events?
  • What are the religious and moral aspects of slavery ?
  • How should the church respond to racial injustice and discrimination ?
  • Why can’t Satanism be a valid religion?
  • Is Islam a religion that practices just war ?
  • Do religions cause more conflict than they solve?

Do you know that funny, controversial questions can provide you with a dose of laughter and debate at the same time? Look at the entertaining topics we have prepared for you!

  • Why are women often used as inspiration for writing poems?
  • Should apartments ban dogs based on breed ?
  • How quickly can children become addicted to video games?
  • Why is procrastination necessary for achieving goals?
  • Should stimulants be prescribed to boost grades ?
  • What impact does noise pollution have on human well-being?
  • Why should guys avoid wearing skinny jeans?
  • Should plant-based dairy be labeled as milk ?
  • How to choose a role model for your children?
  • Why do people enjoy making things complicated?
  • Should schools distribute condoms ?
  • Why may clowns frighten both children and adults?
  • How to win an argument with the husband?
  • Why pitbulls should not be banned .
  • What are the most effective ways to survive a zombie apocalypse?
  • What is the most useless talent in the world?
  • Should spamming be illegal ?
  • Why is listening to podcasts instead of music more beneficial?
  • The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
  • Should people be paid to stay healthy ?
  • Only hardworking people can achieve their goals.
  • What makes someone a “good person”?

Random Controversial Questions

  • What are the leading causes of awkward dates?
  • Gender stereotypes: should real men wear pink ?
  • What is the importance of mandatory napping hours for adults?
  • What is the proper technique for applying toothpaste on a brush?
  • Should wolves come back to Colorado ?
  • How does laughter influence academic success in elementary school?
  • When is it useful to be a good liar?
  • Why shouldn’t you have grades in school ?
  • Why should pajamas be a part of the work dress code ?
  • Why is retail therapy an effective method for boosting happiness?
  • Repatriate or keep: should museums return artifacts ?
  • What are the possible consequences of falling coconuts for human health?
  • Why should wearing socks with sandals be banned?
  • Should societies impose monogamy ?
  • Why are emojis the superior way of communication?

Controversial Sports Topics

  • Why should the use of animals in the sports industry be banned?
  • The issue of violence in sports .
  • The benefits and drawbacks of social media’s influence on the sports world.
  • Why does money play an essential role in professional sports?
  • Steroid use and sports .
  • Advertising during football matches should be banned.
  • Why should sports betting be legalized?
  • Transgender women athletes in professional sports .
  • The impact of funny nicknames on sports career.
  • Gender discrimination is the biggest problem in the sports industry.
  • Accessibility of sports facilities for people with disabilities .
  • What are the risks and rewards of steroids in sports?
  • The role of sport in preventing mental problems.
  • Public funding for professional sports facilities .
  • Why are all Brazilian athletes good at soccer?

Controversial Music Topics

  • Why is rap music considered to promote rape?
  • The need for censorship in the music industry .
  • Michael Jackson : a musical genius or a mentally ill man?
  • The role of classical music in improving learning skills.
  • Hip-hop and violence: does this music genre promote crime ?
  • The effectiveness of piracy laws in curbing illegal copying of songs.
  • What is the secret behind the success of Justin Bieber?
  • Tupac’s fake death conspiracy theory .
  • The impact of music types on sleep quality .
  • Why isn’t auto-tuned music real music?
  • Controversies about how to interpret music .
  • The importance of lyrics in modern pop songs.
  • The relationship between music and lifestyle of a music fan.
  • Legalizing free downloads of music and movies .
  • Why is talent not important in the music industry in the 21st century?

Controversial Animal Topics

  • Why is animal testing never justified?
  • Is animal creativity possible ?
  • The efficiency of government laws in protecting animals’ rights.
  • The ethical drawbacks of horse racing.
  • Using animals in medical experiments .
  • What should there be the penalty for animal poachers?
  • What are the effective ways to prevent animal extinctions?
  • Animal welfare: why animals should be treated with kindness and respect .
  • Sacrificing an animal for religious reasons: an ethical side.
  • What are humans’ responsibilities to animals?
  • Captivity in zoos adversely affects animals .
  • Using animals for food should be banned.
  • The impact of farming on the environment.
  • Animal transplantation and commerce in organs .
  • Why should keeping exotic animals as pets be illegal?

Social Media Controversial Topics

  • The influence of social networks on self-esteem.
  • Social media’s influence on the children and teens .
  • Social networks as a method to manipulate people.
  • The importance of digital connectedness in modern society.
  • Transparency of services: social media and the Internet usage .
  • How to stop the dissemination of fake news on Twitter?
  • Digital friendship: benefits and possible drawbacks.
  • Social media for children: threat or opportunity ?
  • How does the platform BeReal differ from other social networks?
  • The impact of Instagram masks on the perception of one’s appearance.
  • Law enforcement: online crimes and social media .
  • Why should politicians be banned from social media?
  • Social networks as a platform for the emergence of new professions.
  • Nursing professionalism in social media .
  • Social media destroys creativity in teenagers.

Controversial Relationship Questions

  • How does divorce impact a child’s mental health?
  • Money issues in romantic and marital relationships .
  • Is there a place for monogamy in today’s world?
  • Why are mothers expected to prioritize their children’s needs over their own?
  • Family relationships and dominant culture .
  • Why is it important for a couple to move in together before marriage?
  • How does violence in a family affect a child?
  • Family relationships and response to health issues .
  • Why is a man considered the head of the family?
  • Is it good for spouses to have different religious beliefs?
  • Domestic violence in same-sex relationships .
  • Should couples put their careers above their relationships?
  • Why should adoptive parents not hide information about a child’s biological origins?
  • Interpersonal qualities for good relationships .
  • How does betrayal impact relationships?

Controversial Food Questions

  • What are the health risks of genetically modified foods?
  • Labeling food with genetically modified organisms .
  • Why should pineapple on pizza be banned?
  • How does food misinformation in the media impact consumers’ choices?
  • Food additives: dangers and health impacts .
  • Why is McDonald’s the best fast-food restaurant in the world?
  • What is bad about taking photos of food at restaurants?
  • Is fast food really harmful and can it be healthy ?
  • Why should people not eat meat daily?
  • What is the role of a healthy diet in dealing with childhood obesity?
  • Food consumption: enjoyment and ethics .
  • Can your diet be modified to match your genetic profile?
  • Why do people in different countries have opposite views on nutrition?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of biotechnology in improving the nutritive value of foods .
  • What are the main risks of eating too much sweets?

Looking for controversial questions to debate in the classroom or during the conversation? Check out the list we’ve created especially for you!

  • Addicts should receive help rather than punishment. 
  • Breastfeeding and bottle feeding controversies .
  • Why does the beauty industry create unrealistic beauty standards ? 
  • Is it possible for alternative energy to replace fossil fuels effectively? 
  • Rationalism and empiricism controversy .
  • The possible drawbacks of binge-watching . 
  • The importance of a parenting class before having a child. 
  • Holocaust denial and antisemitism ideas .
  • Why is war never justified? 
  • Smoking e-cigarettes should be made illegal. 
  • Contemporary global controversies: labor standards .
  • The single-gender schools are better for teenagers. 
  • Why should we ban “diet culture”? 
  • Debate on circumcision: is it unethical and unlawful ?
  • Effective ways of solving the problem of ageism in society. 
  • The drawbacks of patriotism exceed the advantages. 
  • Mass starvation: is it a real danger for humans ?
  • Why is it impossible to achieve world peace ? 
  • The negative impact of beauty pageants on self-esteem. 
  • Graffiti: is it art or vandalism ?
  • Are pharmaceutical medication prices reasonable? 
  • Women are better at managing large corporations than men. 
  • Sport hunting: is it cruel to kill animals for sport ?
  • Organ donation should be made compulsory. 
  • Why is feminism out of date in the 21st century? 
  • Criminal profiling: is it science ?
  • Cryptocurrencies will replace traditional currencies soon. 
  • Corporate jobs are a new form of slavery. 
  • Obesity: is it a disease ?
  • Why is blockchain technology the future? 

❓ Controversial Questions FAQ

What is a controversial topic.

Controversial topics are topics that elicit strong emotions and divide opinions. Dealing with controversial issues may be highly emotional, especially if they involve values, beliefs, and ethical standards. At the same time, such topics help distinguish between fact and opinion and teach respect for other people’s viewpoints.

What Are Some Controversial Questions?

  • Is freedom of speech essential in a functional society?
  • Should burning the flag be punished?
  • Is solar power the energy of the future?
  • Should more people become vegetarian?
  • Is tourism harmful to the environment?
  • Will technology kill the world?

How to Present a Controversial Topic?

  • Ensure you have all the necessary information and are well-versed in the subject.
  • Avoid unnecessary jargon or technical terminology.
  • Consider your target listeners’ age, gender, and ethnicity.
  • Establish credibility by sharing accurate facts or relevant stories.
  • Present both sides of the argument to be objective.
  • Hot Topics and Controversial Issues | Texas State University  
  • Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or High-Stakes Topics | University of Michigan  
  • What Do Americans Think About Controversial Topics in Schools? | USC Dornsife  
  • Topics | Brookings  
  • Issues and Controversies: Find a Topic | Marquette University  
  • Political Issues | Pew Research Center  
  • Issues & Controversies: topics on Crime and Juvenile Justice | A&M University  
  • Engaging in Discussions about Controversial Issues | Alys Avalos-Rivera  
  • Business Management Topics | The University of Maine  
  • Topics: Issues Related to Religion | The First Amendment Encyclopedia  
  • 5 Major Controversies and Challenges in Engineering | Interesting Engineering  
  • What Are the Top 10 Public Health Challenges in 2023? | News Medical
  • Select a Research Topic: Current Events and Controversial Issues | Southern Adventist University  
  • 110+ Controversial Debate Topics to Challenge Your Students | We Are Teachers  
  • Addressing Controversial Issues | Council of Europe  
  • 100+ Interesting Debate Topics | Owlcation
  • Room for Debate | The New York Times
  • The 22 Debates That Made Us Rage, Roll Our Eyes, and Change Our Minds In 2022 | The New York Times  
  • Current Debates | SAGE edge
  • Current Debates in Health Care Policy: A Brief Overview | Brookings
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50 Argumentative Essay Topics

Illustration by Catherine Song. ThoughtCo. 

  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

An argumentative essay requires you to decide on a topic and argue for or against it. You'll need to back up your viewpoint with well-researched facts and information as well. One of the hardest parts is deciding which topic to write about, but there are plenty of ideas available to get you started. Then you need to take a position, do some research, and present your viewpoint convincingly.

Choosing a Great Argumentative Essay Topic

Students often find that most of their work on these essays is done before they even start writing. This means that it's best if you have a general interest in your subject. Otherwise, you might get bored or frustrated while trying to gather information. You don't need to know everything, though; part of what makes this experience rewarding is learning something new.

It's best if you have a general interest in your subject, but the argument you choose doesn't have to be one that you agree with.

The subject you choose may not necessarily be one you are in full agreement with, either. You may even be asked to write a paper from the opposing point of view. Researching a different viewpoint helps students broaden their perspectives. 

Ideas for Argument Essays

Sometimes, the best ideas are sparked by looking at many different options. Explore this list of possible topics and see if a few pique your interest. Write those down as you come across them, then think about each for a few minutes.

Which would you enjoy researching? Do you have a firm position on a particular subject? Is there a point you would like to make sure you get across? Did the topic give you something new to think about? Can you see why someone else may feel differently?

List of 50 Possible Argumentative Essay Topics

A number of these topics are rather controversial—that's the point. In an argumentative essay , opinions matter, and controversy is based on opinions. Just make sure your opinions are backed up by facts in the essay.   If these topics are a little too controversial or you don't find the right one for you, try browsing through persuasive essay and speech topics  as well.

  • Is global climate change  caused by humans?
  • Is the death penalty effective?
  • Is the U.S. election process fair?
  • Is torture ever acceptable?
  • Should men get paternity leave from work?
  • Are school uniforms beneficial?
  • Does the U.S. have a fair tax system?
  • Do curfews keep teens out of trouble?
  • Is cheating out of control?
  • Are we too dependent on computers?
  • Should animals be used for research?
  • Should cigarette smoking be banned?
  • Are cell phones dangerous?
  • Are law enforcement cameras an invasion of privacy?
  • Do we have a throwaway society ?
  • Is child behavior better or worse than it was years ago?
  • Should companies market to children?
  • Should the government have a say in our diets?
  • Does access to condoms prevent teen pregnancy?
  • Should members of Congress have term limits?
  • Are actors and professional athletes paid too much?
  • Are CEOs paid too much?
  • Should athletes be held to high moral standards?
  • Do violent video games cause behavior problems?
  • Should creationism be taught in public schools?
  • Are beauty pageants exploitative ?
  • Should English be the official language of the United States?
  • Should the racing industry be forced to use biofuels?
  • Should the alcohol-drinking age be increased or decreased?
  • Should everyone be required to recycle?
  • Is it okay for prisoners to vote (as they are in some states)?
  • Should same-sex marriage be legalized in more countries?
  • Are there benefits to attending a single-sex school ?
  • Does boredom lead to trouble?
  • Should schools be in session year-round ?
  • Does religion cause war?
  • Should the government provide health care?
  • Should abortion be illegal?
  • Should more companies expand their reproductive health benefits for employees?
  • Is homework harmful or helpful?
  • Is the cost of college too high?
  • Is college admission too competitive?
  • Should euthanasia be illegal?
  • Should the federal government legalize marijuana use nationally ?
  • Should rich people be required to pay more taxes?
  • Should schools require foreign language or physical education?
  • Is affirmative action fair?
  • Is public prayer okay in schools?
  • Are schools and teachers responsible for low test scores?
  • Is greater gun control a good idea?

How to Craft a Persuasive Argument

After you've decided on your essay topic, gather evidence to make your argument as strong as possible. Your research could even help shape the position your essay ultimately takes. As you craft your essay, remember to utilize persuasive writing techniques , such as invoking emotional language or citing facts from authoritative figures. 

  • 100 Persuasive Essay Topics
  • 50 Great Topics for a Process Analysis Essay
  • 100 Persuasive Speech Topics for Students
  • Examples of Great Introductory Paragraphs
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
  • Preparing an Argument Essay: Exploring Both Sides of an Issue
  • Bad Essay Topics for College Admissions
  • How to Write a Narrative Essay or Speech
  • Controversial Speech Topics
  • How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement
  • High School Debate Topics
  • MBA Essay Tips
  • 25 Essay Topics for American Government Classes
  • How to Write a Persuasive Essay
  • A Sample Essay for Common Application Option #7: Topic of Your Choice
  • Common Application Essay Option 6: Losing Track of Time

good debate topics for research papers

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Follow the link to our current hours ., for professional development day, seattle central library will close early this wednesday. our open hours will be 8am-1pm, november 3rd., while we are closed for the holiday and college closure, from december 19-27, library staff will be spreading good cheer and will not be available by email nor phone. we will return on december 28th., controversy and opinion: pro/con topics & research resources.

  • Pro/Con Topics & Research Resources
  • S.I.F.T. Method
  • Fact or Fiction?
  • Opinion Polls

good debate topics for research papers

People have strong opinions about almost everything, and their conflicting ideas often spark intense debates that can go on for many years and even lead to violence and war. Issues become controversial over values, different cultural norms, economic disparity, and social power relationships. 

Controversial issues can be difficult to discuss, especially when they concern race, injustice, and personal freedom--which all have material or psychological consequences for marginalized groups.  Because of the stakes, there is a lot of intensity to these sources and they must be analyzed carefully.  Sometimes sources make false claims and misrepresent facts ( fake news ). Look for well-argued, well documented opinions by recognized authorities as appropriate information sources for your research paper. Examine diverse viewpoints, including those voices that have been marginalized in the past, and possibly even those voices you disagree with. Be immediately cautious of any sources that question the right of any group to life, dignity, or well-being. These are never legitimate "viewpoints."

You can strengthen your argument by evaluating sources, comparing points of view, fact checking, and understanding the motives of the writers. You can seek objectivity, but most importantly train yourself to recognize the bias in your source and whether it is appropriate for your assignment. It is equally important to use it responsibly and treat in your paper for what it is. Ask your instructor or librarian if you are not sure.

Find a Topic

  • Conversations on Social Issues (COSI) Archives The Library's COSI series is a forum for the exchange of ideas on social issues. Find recordings, presenter slides (if provided), and recommended resources on a variety of topics.


  • Every CRS Report "Reports by Congress’s think tank, the Congressional Research Service, which provides valuable insight and non-partisan analysis of issues of public debate."
  • Interesting Debate Topics for College Students: Education, Technology & Politics Debate topics also make good topics for a Pro/Con research paper.
  • Topics: Center for Strategic & International Studies Current topics of global concern and American interest.
  • Wikipedia: List of Controversial Topics "This is a list of Wikipedia articles deemed controversial because they are constantly re-edited in a circular manner, or are otherwise the focus of edit warring or article sanctions. This page is conceived as a location for articles that regularly become biased and need to be fixed, or articles that were once the subject of an NPOV dispute and are likely to suffer future disputes." more... less... The divisive nature of disputed subjects has triggered arguments, since opinions on a given issue differ. These subjects are responsible for a great deal of tension among Wikipedia editors, reflecting the debates of society as a whole. Perspectives on these subjects are affected by the time, place, and culture of the editor.

Researching Pros and Cons

  • Newsbank: The Latest Topics To Help Inspire You Current research topics covering key global issues, and people about business, economics, crime, politics, science, health, sports, the arts and more. Links to articles in the Newsbank database.
  • Non-profit, non-partisan website that promotes critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, primarily pro-con format.
  • More Databases

Reading Critically

  • News Literacy Project The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.
  • A Dose of Science This bi-weekly web series from the McGill Office for Science and Society (OSS) covers a variety of science topics that are on everyone's minds. Myth-busting, science-in-the-news, stories of general interest, and of course a little bit COVID-19, the OSS team chats about it all.

Background and Reference

Featured encyclopedias.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 50 great argumentative essay topics for any assignment.

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At some point, you’re going to be asked to write an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay is exactly what it sounds like—an essay in which you’ll be making an argument, using examples and research to back up your point.

But not all argumentative essay topics are created equal. Not only do you have to structure your essay right to have a good impact on the reader, but even your choice of subject can impact how readers feel about your work.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of writing argumentative essays, including what argumentative essays are, how to write a good one, and how to pick a topic that works for you. Then check out a list of argumentative essay ideas to help you get started.

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is one that makes an argument through research. These essays take a position and support it through evidence, but, unlike many other kinds of essays, they are interested in expressing a specific argument supported by research and evidence.

A good argumentative essay will be based on established or new research rather than only on your thoughts and feelings. Imagine that you’re trying to get your parents to raise your allowance, and you can offer one of two arguments in your favor:

You should raise my allowance because I want you to.

You should raise my allowance because I’ve been taking on more chores without complaining.

The first argument is based entirely in feelings without any factual backup, whereas the second is based on evidence that can be proven. Your parents are more likely to respond positively to the second argument because it demonstrates that you have done something to earn the increased allowance. Similarly, a well-researched and reasoned argument will show readers that your point has a basis in fact, not just feelings.

The standard five-paragraph essay is common in writing argumentative essays, but it’s not the only way to write one. An argumentative essay is typically written in one of two formats, the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.

The Toulmin model is the most common, comprised of an introduction with a claim (otherwise known as a thesis), with data to support it. This style of essay will also include rebuttals, helping to strengthen your argument by anticipating counterarguments.

The Rogerian model analyzes two sides of an argument and reaches a conclusion after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Both essay styles rely on well-reasoned logic and supporting evidence to prove a point, just in two different ways.

The important thing to note about argumentative essays as opposed to other kinds of essays is that they aim to argue a specific point rather than to explain something or to tell a story. While they may have some things in common with analytical essays, the primary difference is in their objective—an argumentative essay aims to convince someone of something, whereas an analytical essay contextualizes a topic with research.


What Makes a Good Argumentative Essay?

To write an effective argumentative essay, you need to know what a good one looks like. In addition to a solid structure, you’ll need an argument, a strong thesis, and solid research.

An Argument

Unlike other forms of essays, you are trying to convince your reader of something. You’re not just teaching them a concept or demonstrating an idea—you’re constructing an argument to change the readers’ thinking.

You’ll need to develop a good argument, which encompasses not just your main point, but also all the pieces that make it up.

Think beyond what you are saying and include how you’re saying it. How will you take an idea and turn it into a complex and well thought out argument that is capable of changing somebody’s mind?

A Strong Thesis

The thesis is the core of your argument. What specific message are you trying to get across? State that message in one sentence, and that will be your thesis.

This is the foundation on which your essay is built, so it needs to be strong and well-reasoned. You need to be able to expand on it with facts and sources, not just feelings.

A good argumentative essay isn’t just based on your individual thoughts, but research. That can be citing sources and other arguments or it can mean direct research in the field, depending on what your argument is and the context in which you are arguing it.

Be prepared to back your thesis up with reporting from scientific journals, newspapers, or other forms of research. Having well-researched sources will help support your argument better than hearsay or assumptions. If you can’t find enough research to back up your point, it’s worth reconsidering your thesis or conducting original research, if possible.


How to Come Up With an Argumentative Essay Topic

Sometimes you may find yourself arguing things you don’t necessarily believe. That’s totally fine—you don’t actually have to wholeheartedly believe in what you’re arguing in order to construct a compelling argument.

However, if you have free choice of topic, it’s a good idea to pick something you feel strongly about. There are two key components to a good argumentative essay: a strong stance, and an assortment of evidence. If you’re interested and feel passionate about the topic you choose, you'll have an easier time finding evidence to support it, but it's the evidence that's most important. 

So, to choose a topic, think about things you feel strongly about, whether positively or negatively. You can make a list of ideas and narrow those down to a handful of things, then expand on those ideas with a few potential points you want to hit on.

For example, say you’re trying to decide whether you should write about how your neighborhood should ban weed killer, that your school’s lunch should be free for all students, or that the school day should be cut by one hour. To decide between these ideas, you can make a list of three to five points for each that cover the different evidence you could use to support each point.

For the weed killer ban, you could say that weed killer has been proven to have adverse impacts on bees, that there are simple, natural alternatives, and that weeds aren’t actually bad to have around. For the free lunch idea, you could suggest that some students have to go hungry because they can’t afford lunch, that funds could be diverted from other places to support free lunch, and that other items, like chips or pizza, could be sold to help make up lost revenue. And for the school day length example, you could argue that teenagers generally don’t get enough sleep, that you have too much homework and not enough time to do it, and that teenagers don’t spend enough time with their families.

You might find as you make these lists that some of them are stronger than others. The more evidence you have and the stronger you feel that that evidence is, the better the topic.  Of course, if you feel that one topic may have more evidence but you’d rather not write about it, it’s okay to pick another topic instead. When you’re making arguments, it can be much easier to find strong points and evidence if you feel passionate about our topic than if you don't.


50 Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas

If you’re struggling to come up with topics on your own, read through this list of argumentative essay topics to help get you started!

  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should parents be able to modify their unborn children?
  • Do GMOs help or harm people?
  • Should vaccinations be required for students to attend public school?
  • Should world governments get involved in addressing climate change?
  • Should Facebook be allowed to collect data from its users?
  • Should self-driving cars be legal?
  • Is it ethical to replace human workers with automation?
  • Should there be laws against using cell phones while driving?
  • Has the internet positively or negatively impacted human society?


  • Should college athletes be paid for being on sports teams?
  • Should coaches and players make the same amount of money?
  • Should sports be segregated by gender?
  • Should the concept of designated hitters in baseball be abolished?
  • Should US sports take soccer more seriously?
  • Should religious organizations have to pay taxes?
  • Should religious clubs be allowed in schools?
  • Should “one nation under God” be in the pledge of allegiance?
  • Should religion be taught in schools?
  • Should clergy be allowed to marry?
  • Should minors be able to purchase birth control without parental consent?
  • Should the US switch to single-payer healthcare?
  • Should assisted suicide be legal?
  • Should dietary supplements and weight loss items like teas be allowed to advertise through influencers?
  • Should doctors be allowed to promote medicines?


  • Is the electoral college an effective system for modern America?
  • Should Puerto Rico become a state?
  • Should voter registration be automatic?
  • Should people in prison be allowed to vote?
  • Should Supreme Court justices be elected?
  • Should sex work be legalized?
  • Should Columbus Day be replaced with Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
  • Should the death penalty be legal?
  • Should animal testing be allowed?
  • Should drug possession be decriminalized?


  • Should unpaid internships be legal?
  • Should minimum wage be increased?
  • Should monopolies be allowed?
  • Is universal basic income a good idea?
  • Should corporations have a higher or lower tax rate?
  • Are school uniforms a good idea?
  • Should PE affect a student’s grades?
  • Should college be free?
  • Should Greek life in colleges be abolished?
  • Should students be taught comprehensive sex ed?


  • Should graffiti be considered art or vandalism?
  • Should books with objectionable words be banned?
  • Should content on YouTube be better regulated?
  • Is art education important?
  • Should art and music sharing online be allowed?


How to Argue Effectively

A strong argument isn’t just about having a good point. If you can’t support that point well, your argument falls apart.

One of the most important things you can do in writing a strong argumentative essay is organizing well. Your essay should have a distinct beginning, middle, and end, better known as the introduction, body and opposition, and conclusion.

This example follows the Toulmin model—if your essay follows the Rogerian model, the same basic premise is true, but your thesis will instead propose two conflicting viewpoints that will be resolved through evidence in the body, with your conclusion choosing the stronger of the two arguments.


Your hook should draw the reader’s interest immediately. Questions are a common way of getting interest, as well as evocative language or a strong statistic

Don’t assume that your audience is already familiar with your topic. Give them some background information, such as a brief history of the issue or some additional context.

Your thesis is the crux of your argument. In an argumentative essay, your thesis should be clearly outlined so that readers know exactly what point you’ll be making. Don’t explain all your evidence in the opening, but do take a strong stance and make it clear what you’ll be discussing.

Your claims are the ideas you’ll use to support your thesis. For example, if you’re writing about how your neighborhood shouldn’t use weed killer, your claim might be that it’s bad for the environment. But you can’t just say that on its own—you need evidence to support it.

Evidence is the backbone of your argument. This can be things you glean from scientific studies, newspaper articles, or your own research. You might cite a study that says that weed killer has an adverse effect on bees, or a newspaper article that discusses how one town eliminated weed killer and saw an increase in water quality. These kinds of hard evidence support your point with demonstrable facts, strengthening your argument.

In your essay, you want to think about how the opposition would respond to your claims and respond to them. Don’t pick the weakest arguments, either— figure out what other people are saying and respond to those arguments with clearly reasoned arguments.

Demonstrating that you not only understand the opposition’s point, but that your argument is strong enough to withstand it, is one of the key pieces to a successful argumentative essay.

Conclusions are a place to clearly restate your original point, because doing so will remind readers exactly what you’re arguing and show them how well you’ve argued that point.

Summarize your main claims by restating them, though you don’t need to bring up the evidence again. This helps remind readers of everything you’ve said throughout the essay.

End by suggesting a picture of a world in which your argument and action are ignored. This increases the impact of your argument and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

A strong argumentative essay is one with good structure and a strong argument , but there are a few other things you can keep in mind to further strengthen your point.

When you’re crafting an argument, it can be easy to get distracted by all the information and complications in your argument. It’s important to stay focused—be clear in your thesis and home in on claims that directly support that thesis.

Be Rational

It’s important that your claims and evidence be based in facts, not just opinion. That’s why it’s important to use reliable sources based in science and reporting—otherwise, it’s easy for people to debunk your arguments.

Don’t rely solely on your feelings about the topic. If you can’t back a claim up with real evidence, it leaves room for counterarguments you may not anticipate. Make sure that you can support everything you say with clear and concrete evidence, and your claims will be a lot stronger!

What’s Next?

No matter what kind of essay you're writing, a strong plan will help you have a bigger impact. This guide to writing a college essay is a great way to get started on your essay organizing journey!

Brushing up on your essay format knowledge to prep for the SAT? Check out this list of SAT essay prompts to help you kickstart your studying!

A bunch of great essay examples can help you aspire to greatness, but bad essays can also be a warning for what not to do. This guide to bad college essays will help you better understand common mistakes to avoid in essay writing!

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Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.

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150+ Debate Topics To Spark Conversations & Conquer Minds

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Debating has long been a vital part of human culture, helping us sharpen our critical thinking and shaping our beliefs. Regardless of your skills, engaging in debates is a great way to learn and grow. 

However, the success of a debate depends on the right topic. Choosing the perfect debate topics is super important to make the conversation exciting. Finding a strong topic for your debate can be tricky. 

Dive into this article where we have compiled a diverse list of debate topics for you. We also explore the art of topic selection, the purpose of debate, and tips for a winning performance.

Table of Contents

Interesting Debate Topics for College Students

  • Can a college degree assist with better employment opportunities? 
  • Incorporating more AI-powered education is better for the future generation.
  • Is online  paper writing service  necessary to respond to the increasing academic workload and pressure college students face?
  • Mandatory nature education for all students, regardless of their major 
  • Should colleges invest in developing online assignment help platforms to ensure quality and academic integrity?
  • Is it justified to impose a tuition fee for college education? 
  • Should we compensate college athletes for their participation in sports?
  • Is affirmative action in college admissions necessary to promote diversity and equality?
  • Should colleges offer free mental health services to all students?
  • Is it fair for colleges to consider an applicant’s social media presence in the admissions process?
  • Should colleges prioritize vocational and trade programs over traditional academic degrees?
  • Should colleges implement stricter speech codes and restrictions to create a more inclusive and respectful campus environment?
  • Is a liberal arts education still relevant and valuable in today’s job market?

Interesting and Controversial Debate Topics 

  • Should we permit abortion as a regular medical practice?
  • Should human cloning be allowed? 
  • Is Animal testing ethical? 
  • Should society grant animals the same rights as humans? 
  • Should people give up their privacy rights to protect their nation? 
  • Is animal testing necessary? 
  • Is animal cloning ethical? 
  • Is it justified to ban books under any circumstances? 
  • Can we actively prevent cyberbullying?
  • Is the MeToo movement currently stirring controversy?
  • Why do students actively engage in smoking initiation?
  • Are fast-food chains the main cause behind the growing rate of obesity? 
  • Should terminally ill patients have the right to request and receive assistance in ending their lives?
  • Should governments have the authority to regulate social media platforms to address issues such as misinformation, hate speech, and privacy concerns?
  • Is capital punishment an effective deterrent against crime? 
  • Has “Censorship” benefited society in any way?

Debate Topics For High-School Students

  • Can schools prohibit their students from using certain social media platforms? 
  • Impact of social media on high-school Students’ mental health 
  • More students should volunteer for community work 
  • Schools should prohibit the use of personal gadget in class 
  • Is the prevalence of cheap essay writing services a reflection of flaws in the education system?
  • Which is a better learning experience for students: online classes vs. traditional
  • Which is more beneficial for high schoolers: outdoor learning or indoor learning 
  • Do homeworks contribute to a student’s learning experience? 
  • Should students have a lunch break and a separate recess to relax? 
  • Students excel more when allowed to attend more subject-oriented fairs and expos.
  • Are high school students more frequently subjected to online stalking?
  • Is it easy for most students to open up to their parents about any harassment cases? 
  • Do students need proper training from school professionals and parents to identify predators online? 

Unique Topics for University Students

  • Does  APA heading  structure have any special impact on the academic writing quality?
  • Free speech vs. safe speech on university campus 
  • The value of liberal art education in today’s job market
  • The importance of sustainability and environmental awareness in university policies 
  • Role of extracurricular activities in university education 
  • Et al. meaning  in academic writing: is it necessary or redundant? 
  • The effectiveness of affirmative action in university admission 
  • The necessity of student loan forgiveness programs 

Political Debate Topics

  • Should the United States transition to a socialist system collectively?
  • The government still neglects minor disabilities. 
  • Are current government policies and actions sufficient to combat the effects of climate change?
  • How to approach the global refugee crisis: including issues of border control, asylum policies, and international cooperation
  • Can governments address the growing wealth gap?
  • Rise of populist movements and growing political polarization, and how can societies address the resulting divisions and strengthen democratic institutions?
  • The imposition of the same-sex marriage agenda upon individuals should be avoided.
  • Rise of authoritarian governments and their impact on human rights, democracy, and global stability
  • The feminist movement no longer talks about women’s rights
  • Gay couples should be able to adopt children

Topics to Debate on Environment

  • Alternative energy: Is it a better option than traditional courses of energy? 
  • Should we ban bottled water to minimize the Plastic waste? 
  • Does Climate change pose a real threat to human existence?
  • Does climate change impact humans in a negative way? 
  • Should people fund  animal research  institutes? 

Debate Topics on Ethics

  • Should ethical considerations play a role in business decisions?
  • Should we encourage the use of cell phones in public places? 
  • Is it ethical to use AI in the decision-making process? 
  • Is it unethical to have different viewpoints from your teachers?
  • Why has the use of Facebook not been prohibited despite the revelation of user exploitation? 

Easy Debate Topics on Education

  • Should schools make it compulsory for every student to contribute in debate contests? 
  • Should schools invite professionals for informative speeches more often? 
  • Should schools arrange for more motivational speakers to visit schools? 
  • Should schools provide a separate class for public speaking for students to combat social or stage anxiety 
  • Should educational curriculums have religious subjects in them? 
  • Do student dress codes help achieve anything in a student’s overall upbringing? 
  • School cafeterias should not have junk food in them 
  • There should be monthly wellness and cleanliness checks of school cafes from higher authorities or the government 
  • Should schools allow students to use mobile phones within school premises?
  • The perceived value of virtual degrees in comparison to traditional degrees
  • Should victims of school violence and bullying sue their educational institutes for physical and mental damages?
  • Should schools provide educational bonuses?
  • Schools should make monthly psychological evaluations necessary
  • Schools should encourage AI-powered education for all subjects 
  • Educational institutes should invest more in subject-oriented fairs and expos 
  • Schools need to take students on more sight trips for a better learning experience 
  • More educational institutes should offer educational bonuses. 

Conversational Debate Topics 

  • Should society decriminalize the usage of drugs? 
  • Video games induce violent behavior in children 
  • Does the television series “Euphoria” idealize or glorify self-destructive behavior?
  • Should CPS get involved in cases of school violence?
  • Is Barbie a good role model for impressionable girls? 
  • Has society benefited more from social media?
  • Should society ban Zoos? 
  • Do Netizens really assist authorities in solving true crime cases?
  • Has technology intensified human communication? 
  • Does reading books hold significant importance?
  • Does violence in cartoons affect the upbringing of children
  • Should governments implement a universal basic income to address income inequality and poverty? 
  • Should we ban games like “IGI”, “Grand Theft Auto”, “Call of Duty”, or “Delta Force”? 
  • Do shows like “ The Glory ” and “13 Reasons Why” make any impact against the physical and mental turmoils students face? 
  • What is the most effective method to attain financial literacy?
  • Should society lower the official voting age to 16?
  • Should minimum wages be increased in accordance with inflation? 
  • Public speaking can give you a boost of confidence 
  • Cons of using social media
  • Does global warming have serious effects on humanity 
  • Does financial wealth yield greater benefits than moral values?
  • What transpires after the occurrence of death? 

What is a Debate?

A debate is a structured discussion between individuals or teams with contrasting viewpoints on a specific issue. Most debates aim to persuade an audience to support one side.

They explore various subjects, including philosophy, politics, social sciences etc. Usually, debate contests occur in academic settings. But it may also occur in legislative assemblies, public meetings, and law-making assemblies. 

Debate is a contest of ideas, often occurring in academic institutes, legislative assemblies, public meetings, and lawmaking assemblies. It involves defending a viewpoint that one agrees with. 

Types of Debates:

Debates come in various formats, each with its unique structure and style. Understanding these types of debates will help you choose the right debate topics. And navigate the world of intellectual discussions with ease. Let’s explore some popular debate formats:

Rebuttal Debate

In rebuttal debates, participants present their arguments and then have the opportunity to respond directly to the opposing side’s points. These debates encourage quick thinking and sharp analytical skills. 

Example of a rebuttal debate:

 The 1960 Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate, both candidates had the chance to refute each other’s arguments.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Named after the historic debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, this format typically focuses on values and philosophical issues. In Lincoln-Douglas debates, participants emphasize logic, ethics, and philosophy when discussing debate topics. 

The original Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, centered around the issue of slavery, are prime examples of this format.

One-Rebuttal Debate

In one-rebuttal debates, each speaker has only one chance to refute the opposing side’s arguments. This format demands strong initial arguments and strategic thinking. 

Example of one-rebuttal debate:

The 2012 U.S. vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. In this debate both debaters had limited opportunities to counter each other’s points.

Public Forum Debate

Public forum debates focus on current events and involve teams of two speakers. These debates aim to engage the audience and make complex issues accessible to a broader audience. 

For example: A 2014 Intelligence Squared U.S. debate showcases a public forum debate. The subject was contemporary on whether “Snowden was justified”.

Cross-Examination Debate

Also known as policy debate, cross-examination debates involve two teams that propose and oppose a specific policy. Participants must research and prepare extensively, as they need to defend their stance and question their opponents effectively. 

The annual National Debate Tournament showcases the best cross-examination debate topics and performances.

Oregon-Oxford Debate

The Oregon-Oxford debate format features two teams with two to three speakers each. Debaters present their arguments in alternating speeches, followed by cross-examination.

A prominent example of Oregon-Oxford debate is the 2015 Munk Debate on the global refugee crisis 

Understanding these different debate formats will help you choose good debate topics. These topics will best suit the structure and style of your desired intellectual exchange.

Significance of the Right Debate Topics.

Picking the right debate topics is essential because it sets the stage for an engaging and thought-provoking conversation. A strong topic captures everyone’s interest, sparks lively discussions, and challenges debaters to think deeply and present persuasive arguments. 

You should analyze several factors about a topic before preparing for a debate. 

  • Is the chosen topic worthy of debate? 
  • Is there enough research material available for you to organize an argument?
  • Are you interested in the topic? 
  • Will the topic impact your audience?

So, the next time you’re picking a topic consider checking all these boxes. 

How to Choose Good Debate Topics? A Quick Guide 

Here is a quick guide on how to pick your next debate topic for an epic win. These simple steps will help you find one that’s engaging and thought-provoking:

  • Your Interest:  Choose debate topics that genuinely interest you. Your passion for the subject will make your arguments more compelling and motivate you throughout the debate.
  • Proper Research:  Explore various debate topics and gather information on them. Look for topics with abundant resources, making building strong arguments easier and staying well-informed.
  • Your Target Audience : Consider the interests and preferences of your audience. Select debate topics that will resonate with them and spark their curiosity.
  • Argument Potential:  Pick debate topics allowing diverse perspectives and strong arguments. This will ensure a lively and engaging debate, encouraging critical thinking and intellectual growth.
  • Controversy and Relevance : Opt for debate topics that address current or controversial issues. These topics generate more interest and provoke deeper discussions, as they often have real-world implications and affect people’s lives.
  • Balance and Fairness:  Ensure that the debate topics you choose allow for a fair and balanced debate. Both sides should have equal opportunities to present strong arguments and valid points, making the debate more engaging and intellectually stimulating.

Tips and Techniques to SpellBound Your Audience 

In this blog’s last part, we will touch on some tips for delivering a strong debate. By following these tips and techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to deliver a winning debate on various topics.

  • Prepare thoroughly:  Confidence and believability come from being well-prepared. Research your debate topics and anticipate your and your opponent’s arguments.
  • Stay on topic:  Time is limited, so focus on your points and allocate appropriate time for each.
  • Speak slowly and clearly:  Avoid rushing through your speech. Engage your audience by being charismatic and amicable.
  • Exude confidence:  Even if you feel nervous, maintain confidence to appear credible and knowledgeable about your debate topics.
  • Mind your body language:  Use gestures, maintain eye contact, and adopt a relaxed posture to convey confidence and credibility.
  • Engage your audience:  Observe your audience’s reactions and adjust your tone or content accordingly to keep them interested.
  • Take notes during the debate:  Jot down your opponent’s points and potential rebuttals to stay organized and focused.
  • Anticipate your opponent’s arguments:  Try to understand your opponent’s perspective and show your audience why your stance matters more.
  • Use stories and illustrations:  Humor and anecdotes can help break the ice and make your debate topics more relatable.
  • Conclude strongly:  Summarize your points and tie everything together in a memorable closing statement.
  • Be graceful:  Refrain from resorting to low tactics. Like derogatory remarks or disruptive behavior. Ensure that you treat your opponent with the utmost respect.
  • Keep it interesting:  Adapt your delivery based on audience feedback. Add anecdotes, and maintain a light tone to keep your debate topics engaging.


We’re confident that our diverse selection of debate topics will leave you spoilt for choice. With so many options, you can find the perfect topic that ticks all your boxes. Our seasoned professionals are ready to lend a helping hand in crafting the most compelling debates out there. Elevate your debating game with our expert guidance. Rest assured that we’re committed to delivering nothing but the best for our valued customers. So, dive into these debate topics and let the engaging conversations begin!

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How to Research for a Debate Using Library Resources: Defining the Terms of Your Debate

  • Defining the Terms of Your Debate
  • Researching Pro and Con
  • Newspapers and Magazines
  • Think Tanks
  • Speaker Point Boosters: Rhetoric and Logic

Defining the Terms of Your Debate Is Crucial to Winning a Case

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Have a Question About our Resources ?

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Very Short Introductions to Key Debate Subjects

Available From Home with Library Card and At Library

Oxford Handbooks For Debaters

National and local leagues and organizations.

National Speech and Debate Association 

International Debate Education Association 

American Parliamentary Debate Association 

National Catholic Forensic League 

National Debate Coaches Association 

Brooklyn Queens Catholic Forensic League 

New York City Urban Debate League 

English-Speaking Union New York Debate League 

Reference Resources with Authoritative Definitions of Terms

The online version of the Oxford English Dictionary contains all work to date of the third edition, reflecting daily updates and revisions. Also includes the full-text of the second edition, and a historical thesaurus. **Patrons should read the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy of this resource before searching.**

Contains the complete text of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition. The following information is provided for each word: etymology, definition, part of speech, date of origination, pronunciation, quotation, and cross-references.

Credo is a vast, online reference library, providing access to the full text of hundreds of highly regarded and popular titles. And Credo brings the facts alive with images, sound files, animations, and much more. Find speedy, simple answers and authoritative, in-depth articles.Credo Reference contains dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopaedias, quotations and atlases, plus a wide range or subject-specific titles covering everything from accounting to zoology, via maps, math, management, martial arts, media studies, medicine, mountains, moons, music, multimedia, mythology.

Covers the organization and key features of the American political system. Material is divided into general overviews (Topics) and explorations of issues (Perspectives), supported with articles, images, speeches, and other documentation. **Patrons should read the Privacy Policy of this resource before searching.**

Gale eBooks (formerly Gale Virtual Reference Library) is an online library of reference titles for multi-disciplinary research, including texts related to American and world history, biography, health, arts, business, travel, religion, and multicultural studies. **Patrons should read the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy of this resource before searching.**

Want to figure out the difference between Utopianism and Utilitarianism ?

It's essential to compare definitions of all terms in a couple of different resources. For example, your can look at the definition of utilitarianism in  Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy  and compare it to the one found in Gale Encyclopedia of Philosophy. For a more substantial overview of Utilitarianism, read Utilitarianism: A Very Short Introduction . To see how utilitarianism compares to other ethical theories, read Ethics by Peter Cave or Ethics 101 by Brian Boone.To figure out how Utilitarianism compares to Utopianism, read Utopianism: A Very Short Introduction . Still wondering if utilitarianism is a good framework for your case? Read Utilitarianism as a Criterion for State Action in   Oxford Handbook  of Public Choice, Vol 1.

To further advance your understanding of utilitarianism, utopianism, or any other complex concept,  use Online Journals, Newspapers,Periodicals and Scholarly E-Books.

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Finding Online Journals, Newspapers, Periodicals and Scholarly E-Books

The  Find E-Journals and E-Books by Title Page   is the best place to locate journals in electronic format and scholarly e-books.

  • Title or ISSN/ISBN
  • By journals only, books only, or both
  • You can also browse by letter or subject
  • The date coverage
  • The database the serial is in (click on the database name to access the serial)
  • Whether the database is available remotely or onsite only
  • ​ If you are looking for books by scholarly publishers or text books this is the place to do it. Many of these books you will not find in NYPL's other e-book applications, such as Simply-E, Overdrive or 3M because they are part of collections specifically curated for different research topics.

Need an alternative primer to subject ? Try Beginners Guide Series

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What Every Debater Needs to Know

A number of titles in  What Everyone Needs to Know , another excellent series from Oxford, can be of great help to all debaters. 

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  • Next: Researching Pro and Con >>
  • Last Updated: Apr 3, 2024 4:26 PM
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200+ Engaging Debate Topics for Students & How to Choose the Right One!


Table of contents

  • 1 Interesting Debate Topics for College Students
  • 2.1 15 Elementary School Debate Topics
  • 2.2 Debate Topics for Middle Schoolers
  • 2.3 High School Debate Topics
  • 2.4 Debate Topics for University Students
  • 3.1 Best Education Debate Topics in 2024
  • 3.2 Best Science and Technology Debate Topics
  • 3.3 Debate Topics on Health and Medicine
  • 3.4 18 Psychology, Sociology, and Ethic Topics
  • 3.5 Debate Topics about Policy and Finance
  • 3.6 15 Leisure (Music, Games, Etc.) Topics
  • 3.7 16 Environmental Debate Topics
  • 3.8 Current Debate Topics in History
  • 4 35 Funny Debate Topics
  • 5 How to Choose a Debate Topic?
  • 6.1 Persuasive Debate Topics
  • 6.2 Controversial Debate Topics
  • 6.3 Argumentative Debate Topics
  • 7 How to Debate Using Pro and Con Arguments?

A debate is a common and powerful exercise in colleges. It is a crucial part of the academic program and an engaging activity for young people. However, many students find it challenging to prepare for debates.

One of the most common difficulties is choosing a debate topic. The topic should be interesting to you and relevant to your class or the audience you are addressing.

So, how do you find such a topic? Follow these simple tips:

  • Pick a Topic You Care About: Choose something you are passionate about. Your interest in the topic will make your preparation more enjoyable and your arguments more compelling.
  • Consider Your Audience: Make sure the topic is relevant and understandable to your audience. Think about what issues matter to them and what will keep them engaged.
  • Research Availability: Ensure there is enough information available on both sides of the topic. You’ll need solid evidence to support your arguments and counterarguments.

If you need to prepare an essay, we can help with that too using the custom essay writing service PapersOwl for students.

Interesting Debate Topics for College Students

Here is our best list of debate topics for college students that will spark passionate debates: Debating in school: does it help children get engaged in the classroom?

  • Would you rather be honest and poor or dishonest and rich?
  • Is there a valid justification for the American war on terror?
  • Should the death penalty exist in the modern world, and why?
  • How effective are alternative sources of energy?
  • Are social networking platforms useful for communication, or are they mainly tools for stalking?
  • Is it appropriate to use torture as a part of national security measures?
  • Is it justified to develop nuclear energy for commercial use?
  • How should we use stem cells in medicine?
  • Is there a real way to prolong a human’s life?
  • Is it more ethical to use humans for clinical trials than animals?
  • Is our behavior determined only by our genes, or do we have personal responsibility?

All these topics can be a good match, but we have prepared even more interesting topics in this article. Continue reading to find your perfect debate topic!

If you feel strongly about choosing the theme of your debate but have no time to prepare all arguments for speech, PapersOwl is here to help you. We offer a wide selection of argumentative essays that are written by professional writers, who are experienced in researching and crafting compelling arguments.


Debate Topics By Levels of Education

Going to debate, students have to consider their level of education to pick a relevant topic that suits both their needs and their level. How to choose a topic that suits you? Below, we have prepared a few tips and examples for different levels.

15 Elementary School Debate Topics

When searching for a perfect topic for elementary students, remember that kids of this level are not experienced and mature enough to handle complex controversial issues, so it’s a good idea to opt for something less complicated. Here you can see a few great ideas for debate topics for elementary students:

  • Should our class go on field trips every year?
  • Should elementary students be allowed to bring as many toys to school as they wish?
  • Is it a good idea for each class to have a pet?
  • Should students be allowed to watch cartoons during study hours?
  • Should students be able to wear whatever they want to school?
  • Should elementary students be required to participate in community service?
  • Are outdoor classrooms beneficial for elementary students?
  • Is learning to write by hand still important in today’s digital world?
  • Should storytelling be used more often in teaching?
  • Can board games be used effectively in education?
  • Should elementary schools include daily meditation in their schedules?
  • Is it important for students to learn basic cooking skills at school?
  • Should financial literacy be taught starting in elementary school?
  • Is learning a second language early beneficial for students?
  • Should schools focus more on physical fitness than academic performance?

Debate Topics for Middle Schoolers

Topics for this level may be more complex and boost students’ analytical and critical thinking skills. For this level, you can opt for slightly controversial topics. Debate topics for middle school still shouldn’t require too much from a student but should give some information to think about for a student to develop an individual position on a specific issue. Here are a few ideas to opt for:

  • Do gadgets in the classroom improve or impair learning?
  • Which is more educational: books or movies?
  • Is participation in sports beneficial for students?
  • Should we increase or decrease the number of seasonal holidays?
  • What are the effective methods to enhance student participation in class?
  • Should schools enforce uniforms?
  • Is a vegetarian diet healthier for students?
  • Should schools ban the use of smartphones?
  • Is it necessary for all students to learn a second language?
  • Are annual standardized tests beneficial for students?
  • Should arts education be mandatory in schools?
  • Is year-round schooling more effective?
  • Should physical education be compulsory throughout schooling?
  • Are online courses a suitable alternative to traditional learning?
  • Should community service be a graduation requirement?

High School Debate Topics

In high school, debates are excellent tools for getting students involved in the class and helping them gain new knowledge and skills that would be important for their future education and life. Debate topics for high school have become more controversial and complex. Below are some good examples of good high school debate topics:

  • Do the risks of peer pressure in schools outweigh the benefits?
  • Should schools abolish final exams?
  • Is sex education necessary for high school students?
  • Are GPAs an outdated method of assessing student knowledge?
  • What are the best methods to combat bullying in schools?
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory?
  • Should smartphones be banned in schools?
  • Is it essential for students to learn a second language?
  • Should arts education be compulsory in schools?
  • Are online courses a viable alternative to traditional learning?
  • Is too much money harmful to society’s well-being?
  • Does a high income guarantee a successful future career?
  • Should the minimum wage be linked to the cost of living?
  • Are standardized tests failing today’s students?

Debate Topics for University Students

When it comes to choosing debate topics for college or university, there are many things to keep in mind – it has to be controversial, relevant, have significance, and clearly demonstrate a student’s knowledge and skills. Choosing a good topic can be hard. However, in our article, you will find many good examples, and here are a few of them:

  • Does living in a dorm help students assimilate into the college community or hurt the educational process?
  • Does cheating get worse when students enroll in university or college
  • Does technology get in the way of studying, or does it help?
  • Should student ID cards come with a tracking device
  • Is face-to-face interaction with professors more effective than online sessions and lectures?
  • Alternative sources of energy: explain why they are effective or not
  • Should we take away the death penalty completely?
  • The impact of social networking on the development of our society
  • Single-sex schools: are they more effective than traditional ones? Why?
  • Should we use school vouchers?
  • Prescription drugs: explain why they should or shouldn’t be advertised to consumers
  • Beauty pageants: are they a way to objectify women
  • Drug testing: explain why we should or shouldn’t make it mandatory for all schools
  • Should parents have the possibility to ban certain books from libraries and schools?
  • Is setting special curfews an effective way to keep teenagers out of trouble?
  • Should financial incentives be offered to teachers in underperforming school districts?
  • Are financial incentives effective in improving student performance?
  • Should school districts receive more autonomy in curriculum design?
  • Is lowering the drinking age beneficial or harmful to society?
  • Should underage drinking be treated as a criminal offense?
  • Are current social security benefits adequate for today’s elderly?
  • Should changes to social security include a minimum guaranteed income?
  • Should birth control be made available to teenagers without parental consent?
  • Is making birth control accessible a solution to social issues?

List of Debate Topics by Field of Knowledge

It is not possible to  become a great debater if you have no clue how to choose an engaging and relevant topic for your debates. Choosing topics can be hard. However, we have done all the hard work to give you a list of great ideas that can work for any purpose or level, so we hope each of you will find something suitable and interesting in the list below.

Best Education Debate Topics in 2024

  • Is home-schooling better than studying at school?
  • Should we ban homework, or is it an essential part of our studies that teaches us to work independently?
  • Do we consider a college education useful and essential?
  • Should schools allow the use of computer tablets?
  • Is it better for students to wear school uniforms, or should they have a choice?
  • In what ways do standardized tests improve education in America and around the world?
  • Should universities require students to know at least one foreign language?
  • Is it time to cancel the electoral college system?
  • Should universities and colleges pay athletes for playing on their teams?
  • Is it necessary for all students applying to college to complete a certain period of community service?
  • Should we require elementary school students to wear uniforms?
  • Is it beneficial for school to last all year long?
  • Should physical education be a compulsory part of the school curriculum?
  • How should we address the rising student loan debt crisis?
  • Are private schools better than public schools in providing quality education?
  • Should school districts receive more funding to improve educational resources?
  • Is secondary education adequately preparing students for the workforce?
  • Should we reform the electoral college to reflect the popular vote?

Best Science and Technology Debate Topics

  • Are cell phones and smartphones safe for us?
  • How can science and religion coexist?
  • Should children use smartphones?
  • Is online study more effective than traditional classroom learning?
  • Are people with a mathematical mindset more successful?
  • Is space travel worth the cost economically?
  • What are the hazards and benefits of genetically modified children?
  • Can science progress without animal testing?
  • What are the pros and cons of fully automated cars?
  • Can laws keep up with today’s internet technology?
  • Does technology harm our future?
  • Do violent video games lead to aggressive behavior in children?
  • Should we regulate artificial intelligence to prevent job loss?
  • How can artificial intelligence influence our career?

Debate Topics on Health and Medicine

  • What are effective methods to quit smoking, and is smoking reasonable or not?
  • Is euthanasia justified?
  • Should recreational marijuana be legal or not?
  • Should performance-enhancing drugs be acceptable for athletes?
  • Is vaccination necessary for young children, or are there valid counterarguments?
  • How can the legalization of drugs decrease the level of organized crime?
  • How does the Internet influence our health?
  • What are the hazards of technology for human health?
  • Should health insurance be obligatory?
  • How does air pollution impact our health?
  • Should antibiotics be banned or not?
  • Why are some parents against vaccinations?
  • What are the pros and cons of alternative medicine?
  • Should animal testing be banned?
  • How should schools address mental health issues among students?
  • Is standardized testing an effective measure of student performance?
  • Should junk food be banned in school cafeterias?

18 Psychology, Sociology, and Ethic Topics

  • Should adults have the right to carry guns and defend themselves?
  • What are the pros and cons of adoption, and why should people adopt children instead of having their own?
  • Should same-sex marriage be legal?
  • Should abortion be legal?
  • Can religious belief make you happy?
  • What if prostitution were legal?
  • Is there any true proof of God’s existence?
  • How has psychology as a science developed over the last decades?
  • What explains violent behavior among school students?
  • Should students study ethics in schools?
  • Is hunting ethical?
  • How do social groups influence child behavior?
  • Should society ban cigarettes?
  • How do we achieve gender equality in the workplace?
  • Should human cloning be allowed?
  • Should countries eliminate nuclear weapons?
  • Should birth control be available over the counter?
  • Is it necessary to regulate hate speech on social media platforms?

Debate Topics about Policy and Finance

  • Do our votes really matter?
  • Is it necessary to preserve rights for different types of intellectual property?
  • What are the main factors of a country’s financial stability?
  • Is taxation good or bad?
  • Is the repeal of anti-sodomy laws important for national development?
  • Will the USA soon have a woman President?
  • Is mobile banking secure?
  • Should we trust banks?
  • Can we have free education around the world?
  • Is it time to adopt a fee-only standard for financial advice?
  • Should children learn to manage finances in school?
  • Can financial problems destroy a country?
  • Should we lower the voting age?
  • Should certain minor offenses be decriminalized?
  • How should the government handle undocumented immigrants?
  • Do stricter laws lead to more crime?

15 Leisure (Music, Games, Etc.) Topics

  • Books and TV: which is more interesting and which is more useful?
  • Games and television. Which is better?
  • Social networking: discuss how social networks are useful or harmful to our society.
  • Social networking restrictions: explain why social networks should be available for children or why they should be restricted to those over 18.
  • Discuss how social media can make people more or less sociable and give a few examples that prove its usefulness for us.
  • Drinks: discuss what are the reasons alcoholic drinks should or should not be available for young people who are less than 21 years old
  • How can music help reduce stress?
  • Is art therapy a good tool for fighting mental illness?
  • Is listening to music good for pregnant women?
  • Should we use video games in education?
  • Are movies good tools for education?
  • Are scientific clubs in school good for students’ leisure time?
  • Are concerts good or bad for us?
  • Pros and cons of attending a circus with children
  • The role of games in early education

16 Environmental Debate Topics

  • Should animals be used for scientific achievements?
  • What are the best ways to protect nature and save the environment?
  • What causes global climate change, and what can people do about it?
  • How might future cities look in 200 years?
  • Why should we eliminate all plastic packages?
  • Should we ban plastic bags to protect the environment?
  • How can we prevent an environmental catastrophe?
  • Is solar energy more expensive than other energy sources?
  • Should people do more to protect wildlife?
  • Is reforestation a reasonable solution to global warming?
  • What are the risks, pros, and cons of vegetarianism?
  • Should we allow oil drilling in wildlife refuges?
  • Are zoos good or not?
  • Should countries impose special taxation on international aviation?
  • Is a carbon tax an effective way to combat climate change?
  • Should we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels?

Current Debate Topics in History

  • Does history matter?
  • How effective was Haig’s British generalship during the war?
  • Did King Arthur really exist?
  • Did Genghis Khan do more good than harm?
  • Did the Soviet Union instigate the Six-Day War?
  • What is the historical background of World War Two?
  • Should all immigrants pass a historical test, or is it unimportant?
  • What was Britain’s role in the First World War?
  • Who discovered the effect of gravitation first: Newton or Haitham?
  • Was the USA a provocateur for Japan in the war?
  • Did South Korean provocations spark the Korean War?
  • What are the alternative views of historians on World War Two?
  • What were the causes and outcomes of the Revolutionary War?
  • How should the international community address North Korea’s nuclear program?
  • Is it fair for other countries to impose sanctions on nations violating human rights?
  • Should other countries intervene in conflicts to prevent genocide?
  • How can other countries collaborate to combat climate change effectively?
  • Should there be a global agreement to regulate the use of artificial intelligence in warfare?
  • What are the global implications of the Ukraine-Russia war?
  • Should other countries provide military aid to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia?

The discussion can help you talk about hot and interesting topics and learn other’s points of view. It can also allow you to overcome stage fright. While performing at such an event,  students learn to think spontaneously and defend their points of view politely.

35 Funny Debate Topics

Not every time you prepare for the debate, you will have to be serious. Sometimes you will get an opportunity to set your creativity free and just enjoy the process as you participate in a debate on funny or interesting debate topics. However, this does not mean you won’t have to prepare. To not lose face, you will still have to choose a topic and prepare arguments, so here are some fun topics to debate on we have prepared for you:

  • Art and music as tools for reducing stress in schools
  • Are celebrities good role models or not?
  • Can vampires get AIDS from sucking blood that is affected?
  • Which is better: daydreaming or nightdreaming?
  • Homework should be dismissed in elementary school
  • Importance of extracurricular activities and clubs in schools
  • Should we make cartoons and TV a part of the educational process in elementary school?
  • What is the best TV show of all time?
  • Should zoos be done away with?
  • What is the best pizza topping?
  • Can we call superheroes misleading role models?
  • Schools shouldn’t track students by academic level
  • Public prayers should be banned in schools
  • Should social networks be blocked in schools?
  • Students should have an opportunity to get an after-school job
  • It’s a good idea to allow high school students to leave school during lunch
  • Did God create our world, or did it just occur naturally?
  • Which of these are more real – pirates or ninjas?
  • Should juveniles be treated as adults?
  • Should people live together before they marry?
  • What are the perks of being a woman?
  • What are the perks of being a man?
  • The harm and benefits of peer pressure
  • Do nursery rhymes have secret interior meanings?
  • Fast food shouldn’t be on the school menu
  • Phones should be allowed in schools
  • Schools should have an option for online attendance
  • Do people depend on computers and other gadgets too much?
  • Animal dissections have to be prohibited in schools
  • Should parents not purchase war or destructive toys for their children?
  • Nuclear energy and its impact on our society and environment
  • Is human cloning a real thing, and should it be allowed?
  • Sex education: should it be started in middle school or later
  • How do books influence personality development?
  • Is there life after death?

Debating is a useful practice for all people, thanks to the experience and skills it gives you. Preparing for a debate, you gain more knowledge on a specific topic. In addition, you get the possibility to develop your problem-solving and communication skills, which are the most in-demand skills for modern employers. By taking professional help from an assignment writing service , you can refine your debating skills even further and make sure you are well-equipped to tackle any debate.

How to Choose a Debate Topic?

Where does one find some easy debate topics? There are many things to debate, but choosing the right topic that will be interesting for most students is challenging. Here are a few tips on how to make the right choice:

  • Think about some topics that interest you – what sort of discussions do you like the most? You can pick something from the curriculum also. This way, you will be able to help other students learn the material they will have on their tests and the topics they may face in the future. It is possible to work with this the way you work with your essay topic ideas .
  • Also, remember that your discussion topics must fit the other students’ level – some of them can be unable to handle the topic with too many aspects to consider. Highly complex issues should fit the students with a great standard of reasoning. But most students usually come up with a few arguments, and these arguments rarely relate to the opposing parties’ points. In this situation, the debate can become confusing or embarrassing. Make a list of suitable debate questions.
  • Consider your students’ access to research all necessary materials – if other students have to conduct significant research while preparing for the debate, it can’t be a good debate. This is something you have to keep in mind. For example, when you pick a modern art and literature theme with many specific terms and present it to a math class, your debate won’t have good results. Do not forget to prepare your personal speech or buy one from a reliable speech writing service online .
  • Do not forget about the time! All students must have enough time to prepare for the debate, so it is reasonable to pick out a topic they are studying now or one they have already studied. This way, they will be able to come up with strong and clever arguments.
  • While debating, assume that you are right – in order to succeed, you have to be completely sure of your position and have some strong supporting facts.
  • Do not insult the opposition. Be polite in every situation that could happen.

When choosing the best debate topic ideas, we considered several criteria: level of education, type of debate, and subject or sphere of knowledge. We’ve divided the best ideas into categories to make your search simpler.

Types of Debate Topics by Format

Apart from the academic level, you should also consider the type of debate format to choose from and an appropriate topic. When choosing the format, consider the audience and the course objectives. Some formats, such as a persuasive format, will develop a student’s ability to give presentations where they need to convince the audience of an idea. On the other hand, an argumentative topic develops skills in negotiating, and a controversial format gets students accustomed to speaking about ideas that may not be comfortable or popular. Here is a breakdown of the primary three formats:

Persuasive Debate Topics

The main goal of such topics is to persuade the audience. Persuasive debate topics have to cover a problem or subject that people care about, and it also has to be something you are personally interested in and knowledgeable in. If you choose this type, you will have to carefully study the subject you have and prepare a powerful base of arguments and facts to prove the validity of your opinion.

Controversial Debate Topics

The main characteristic of such topics is they are always challenging for a student – controversial debate topics usually cover significant and powerful issues and have lots of space for arguments. Such issues may have two or more absolutely different public opinions. Therefore, they also assume prolonged and intensive public discussion. A good controversial theme arouses different opinions among the people and makes them come up with questions that can’t have one specific answer.

Argumentative Debate Topics

Argumentative debate topics cover specific issues, problems, phenomena, or subjects that you can deliberate on. Selecting such topics, you have to be ready to do in-depth research, study materials, and pick arguments from time-tested and reliable sources to support your ideas.

These three formats are different in nature and purpose. However, regardless of what type you are looking for, to choose a good topic, you have to follow these basic rules:

  • It has to be fresh and relevant.
  • It has to be something that people and you personally care about.
  • It has to be interesting.
  • It doesn’t have to be too broad or too narrow.
  • It has to have value.
  • You have to be able to find enough supporting material on it.

How to Debate Using Pro and Con Arguments?

One of the most important things you should consider when going into a debate is that your opponent from the opposite side of the table, and your audience, will have controversial opinions on your topic. They will have some points against your position, and you must be ready. The best way to be prepared for such situations is to outline both pro and con arguments on your chosen topic. This will help you see the whole picture. After all, providing pro and con arguments on a specific topic is a popular practice in debates, so you should understand how to do it right. For this reason, we have prepared an example of how you can do it with the topic “How social media can make people more or less sociable”:

  • Pro: The popularity of social media has helped us meet new people and communicate easier
  • Con: With the appearance of social networks, people started to interact less in the real-life
  • Pro: Social media helps less sociable people develop their communication skills without discomfort
  • Con: Social media takes almost all our free time, making us too busy to connect with each other in the real world

We have already written some essays about social media. You can check it out  here .

Debating helps enhance rigorous critical thinking and higher-order skills. It teaches people to organize and structure their thoughts well. If you participate in debates, you can also develop your research, note-taking, and analytical skills, as well as gain the ability to create balanced, informed arguments and use evidence and reasoning. All the skills mentioned above are vital for every successful student. If you need help developing your debating skills, there are plenty of essay helpers online that you can use. Remember, practicing debating is the best way to gain and improve skills!

If this article was useful for you, why not share it with your friends? Writing your assignment can be tough, and having resources to help you out is great. By sharing this article, you can help your friends when it comes to tackling their own writing assignments. Consider saving it for reference if you think you might need it again in the future!

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good debate topics for research papers

30 Controversial But Good Debate Topics For High School Students

Are you searching for thought-provoking and engaging debate topics for your students? Look no further! In this article, we have compiled a list of 159 very good debate topics that will challenge and stimulate discussions in your classroom. Whether you’re a teacher, student, or parent, these topics will surely pique your interest and inspire critical thinking.

Debate Topics For Students

In this section, we will explore a variety of controversial debate topics that are perfect for students to discuss and analyze. These topics range from issues within schools such as cell phone usage and dress codes, to larger societal issues like social media’s impact and the death penalty.

Each sub-section will provide thought-provoking debate questions and keywords to help guide the discussion. So whether you’re looking for an ESL activity or a stimulating classroom debate, these topics are sure to engage and challenge your students.

1. Should Cell Phones Be Allowed In Schools?

  • Research the Policy: Investigate the cell phone policy in both public and private schools to understand the current regulations.
  • Evaluate the Pros and Cons: Consider the impact of cell phone usage on student learning, safety, and social interactions.
  • Collect Data: Gather statistics and studies about cell phone usage in schools to support your arguments.
  • Consider Alternative Perspectives: Explore the viewpoints of parents, teachers, and students through debate questions on platforms like Kialo Edu .

Pro-tip: Use this topic as an engaging ESL activity by encouraging students to debate the issue using their English language skills and critical thinking abilities.

2. Is Social Media More Harmful Than Beneficial?

Social media’s impact on mental health is a topic of concern, particularly among younger individuals. The debate on whether social media is more harmful than beneficial raises significant points.

Users, including white people and individuals of other races , are affected by cyberbullying and negative self-comparison. On the other hand, it provides connectivity and a platform for activism. Balancing these aspects is crucial.

3. Should Schools Implement Dress Codes?

  • Public schools: Assess the existing dress code, gather feedback, and involve students in the decision-making process.
  • Private schools: Research the rationale behind dress codes, evaluate the impact on students, and consider alternative approaches.

When debating this topic, students can explore the impact of dress codes on self-expression, examine cultural and gender implications, and discuss the balance between individual freedom and school discipline.

For ESL activities, encourage students to articulate their viewpoints, use debate questions from educational platforms like Kialo Edu, and foster critical thinking skills.

4. Is Homework Necessary?

For the debate topic ‘Is Homework Necessary?’ considering teens’ daily leisure time is crucial. College Vine suggests that homework should be meaningful, original, and not just busy work. Public libraries are excellent resources for teens to conduct research and gather evidence to support their arguments on this topic. Understanding how homework affects teens’ lives is essential, as it sparks interest and impacts their academic performance.

5. Should The Voting Age Be Lowered To 16?

In Scotland, the voting age for Scottish Parliament and local council elections was lowered to 16 in 2015. It allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the Scottish independence referendum, marking a historic democratic expansion. Should other countries model after this?

  • Research the current voting age laws in your country.
  • Understand the impact of lowering the voting age on government structure and policies.
  • Consider the maturity and responsibility levels of 16-year-olds in making informed decisions concerning national matters.
  • Analyze the potential implications of the voting age on other age-restricted activities, such as same-sex marriage and drug legalization.
  • Review case studies from countries where the voting age has been lowered to 16.

6. Is Climate Change A Hoax?

Climate change is not a hoax, evidenced by scientific consensus and observable phenomena. In the United States, government structures have implemented policies to mitigate its impact. This topic sparks intense debate, reflecting the relevance of environmental issues. Just as same-sex marriage, drug legalization, and other controversial topics, the urgency of climate change demands attention.

The relevance of the topic is crucial, influencing its significance in modern discourse.

7. Should The Death Penalty Be Abolished?

  • Research the history and impact of the death penalty on society.
  • Evaluate the ethical and moral implications of capital punishment.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent for crime.
  • Consider the financial and social implications, such as the cost of legal proceedings and the impact on families.
  • Examine the societal impact, including potential biases in sentencing and the concept of rehabilitation.
  • Explore the concept of a livable wage and its implications for society.

8. Is Gun Control Necessary?

Yes, gun control is essential for public safety and crime prevention. It’s a hotly debated issue in the United States due to its government structure and constitutional rights. Finding a balanced approach is crucial, similar to the deliberation on same-sex marriage or the legalization of drugs.

One true story that aligns with this discourse is the advocacy for stricter gun regulations following tragic mass shootings, reflecting the ongoing debate on this pivotal topic.

9. Should College Education Be Free?

Whether college education should be free is an engaging debate topic for students. Considering College Vine data, 79% of teens love to know they can access higher education without financial constraints. It’s a pertinent topic, given that students spend their daily leisure time at public libraries , and original sources indicate the rising cost of tuition. To encourage critical thinking, students can research and organize arguments, preparing for an insightful discussion.

10. Is Online Learning As Effective As Traditional Classroom Learning? (Keywords

The effectiveness of online learning compared to traditional classroom learning has been a topic of debate. Both methods have their own advantages, with online learning offering flexibility, accessibility, and a wide range of resources.

Traditional classroom learning , however, allows for face-to-face interaction and immediate feedback. The effectiveness of each method may vary depending on individual learning styles, subjects, and teaching approaches.

11. Universal Basic Income (UBI)

The debate over Universal Basic Income (UBI) centers on whether providing a fixed income to all citizens, regardless of employment status, is an effective strategy to alleviate poverty and reduce income inequality. Proponents argue that UBI can offer financial security and address economic disparities, while opponents express concerns about feasibility, economic sustainability, and potential disincentives to work.

12. Climate Change Policies

This debate delves into the adequacy of current global initiatives to combat climate change. Advocates argue for more ambitious policies, emphasizing the urgent need to address environmental issues, while skeptics may question the feasibility, economic impact, and effectiveness of proposed measures.

13. Is the trade-off between convenience and online privacy justified in the digital age?

The debate on online privacy revolves around the balance between the convenience of digital services and the protection of individuals’ privacy.

Supporters of a more permissive approach argue that convenience is essential for technological advancements, while privacy advocates stress the importance of safeguarding personal data in an era of increasing digital connectivity.

14. School Uniforms need to be enforced for students benefits

Supporters argue that uniforms promote equality and reduce distractions, while opponents emphasize the importance of students’ freedom to express themselves through clothing.

15. Censorship in the Arts

Should there be limits on artistic expression, and to what extent should art and media be censored Advocates for censorship may emphasize societal values and protecting audiences, while opponents argue for artistic freedom and the importance of diverse perspectives in creative works.

16. Social Media Regulation

Should governments regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of misinformation and protect user privacy? Supporters of regulation highlight the need to curb the spread of misinformation and protect user privacy, while opponents may express concerns about potential infringements on free speech and innovation.

17. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Are genetically modified foods safe for consumption, and should they be more widely embraced to address global food security? The discussion on GMOs focuses on the safety of genetically modified foods and their role in addressing global food security. Advocates argue that GMOs offer solutions to food scarcity and agricultural challenges, while critics raise concerns about potential health risks, environmental impact, and ethical considerations.

18. Mandatory Voting

Proponents argue that mandatory voting ensures broader representation and a more engaged electorate, while opponents may express concerns about individual freedoms and the potential for uninformed voting.

19. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Should there be ethical guidelines and regulations for the development and use of artificial intelligence The discussion on artificial intelligence delves into the ethical implications of AI development and use.

Advocates for regulation stress the need to address potential risks, biases, and accountability issues, while proponents of a less restrictive approach may emphasize the benefits of technological advancement and innovation.

20. Affirmative Action

Is affirmative action in college admissions a fair and effective way to address historical inequalities?

Affirmative action is a contentious policy that seeks to redress historical disadvantages faced by certain groups. The debate centers on whether this approach is justifiable and successful in promoting diversity in educational institutions or if alternative methods should be considered to address inequality.

21. Space Exploration Funding

Should governments invest more in space exploration, or should those funds be allocated to address pressing issues on Earth?

The allocation of resources for space exploration is a perennial debate. Advocates argue that space exploration drives scientific innovation, while opponents question the prioritization of these endeavors over more immediate and pressing concerns on Earth. This debate delves into the balance between advancing human knowledge and addressing critical issues on our planet.

22. Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Should individuals have the right to choose euthanasia or assisted suicide when facing terminal illnesses?The ethical dilemma surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide revolves around individual autonomy, the sanctity of life, and medical ethics.

This debate explores the extent to which individuals should have the right to make end-of-life decisions, considering the implications for personal autonomy, medical ethics, and societal values.

23. Animal Testing

Using animals in scientific research raises ethical concerns regarding animal welfare and the necessity of such practices. Advocates argue that animal testing is crucial for medical advancements, while opponents advocate for developing and implementing alternative methods.

This debate delves into the balance between scientific progress and the ethical treatment of animals. Is animal testing justified for scientific and medical research, or should alternative methods be prioritized?

24. What level of gun control is appropriate to balance public safety with individual rights?

Gun control debates revolve around finding a balance between individual rights to bear arms and the need to ensure public safety. Advocates for stricter gun control measures argue that they are necessary to reduce gun violence, while opponents emphasize the importance of protecting individual liberties. This debate explores the nuanced relationship between personal freedoms and societal safety.

25. How should the education system be reformed to better prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century?

The ongoing debate on education reform centers on the need to adapt traditional educational models to meet the demands of the 21st century. Discussions often revolve around curriculum changes, the integration of technology, and the fostering of critical thinking skills. This debate explores how educational systems can evolve to prepare students for an ever-changing world.

26. Should countries have more open or restrictive immigration policies, and how should they address the refugee crisis?

Immigration policies are a global issue, with debates surrounding national security, economic impact, and humanitarian considerations. Advocates for more open policies emphasize cultural diversity and economic benefits, while those favoring restrictions focus on cesources and national identity. This debate delves into the complex balance between humanitarian efforts and national interests.

27. To what extent does the use of social media contribute to or alleviate mental health issues among young people?

The pervasive use of social media among young people has sparked discussions about its impact on mental health. Advocates argue that social media provides a platform for connection and support, while critics highlight its potential adverse effects, such as cyberbullying and unrealistic body image standards. This debate explores the nuanced relationship between social media use and mental well-being.

28. Is nuclear energy a viable and safe alternative to fossil fuels, or should we focus more on renewable energy sources?

The debate on nuclear energy centers on its potential as a clean energy source and concerns about safety and environmental impact.

Advocates argue that atomic energy can significantly reduce carbon emissions, while opponents express reservations about the potential for accidents and the long-term effects of nuclear waste. This debate explores the trade-offs between addressing climate change and ensuring energy production safety.

29. Should the start times of high schools be adjusted to better align with students’ sleep patterns and well-being 

The debate on school start times revolves around the impact of early start times on students’ sleep patterns and overall well-being. Advocates for later start times argue that they contribute to improved academic performance and mental health, while opponents question the logistical challenges and potential disruptions to family schedules. This debate explores the intersection of education and student health.

30. Privacy vs. Security – What should be our focus?

Balancing individual privacy rights with national security measures in the age of technology. Advocates tend to argue that privacy is a fundamental human right that should be protected against unwarranted intrusion.

Proponents emphasize the necessity of robust security measures to safeguard citizens from various threats, including terrorism and cyberattacks.

Where can I find varied viewpoints on controversial issues?

Websites like 5 Star Essays and The Top Tens offer lists of debate topics with varied viewpoints. You can also look for articles and resources from reputable sources to gather different perspectives on an issue.

Can students participate in group discussions on controversial issues?

Yes, group discussions can be a great way for students to explore controversial issues and hear different perspectives. You can facilitate a respectful and productive discussion by setting ground rules and actively listening to others’ viewpoints.

Key Takeaways:

  • Debate allows students to explore varied viewpoints and engage in ongoing discussions, providing a valuable learning experience for both public and private school students.
  • Debate helps students develop critical thinking skills, gain new perspectives, and engage in important discussions on social topics such as drug tests and government assistance.
  • Preparation is key for a successful debate – from choosing a topic and conducting research to organizing arguments and practicing delivery. Debate topics range from controversial issues to everyday concerns like cell phones in schools and homework.

That’s it for our guide on broad, controversial debate topics that are good for students. You can delve into each topic in more detail and of course adjust each debate topic for relevance and appropriateness depending on the maturity and age of your students.

good debate topics for research papers

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good debate topics for research papers

60 Debate Topics for High Schoolers

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What’s Covered:

What makes a good debate topic, good debate topics for teens.

  • Where to Get Feedback on Your Debate Topics

Learning to view, think, and discuss ideas from contrasting viewpoints builds a host of skills that will benefit high schoolers both in and out of the classroom—including improving public speaking, reinforcing listening, and sharpening research. Good debate topics for high school students are key to lively discussion and an engaged classroom; they’re issues that students care about. 

A good debate topic for high school is one that inspires students to think and learn about both sides of the issue. There are a few factors to consider when searching for good debate topics for high school students.

  • Clear Idea: A good debate topic clearly, simply, and specifically states an often complex idea that students can argue the affirmative (pro) side of and the negative (con) side of.
  • Interest: The more interesting the topic is, the more engaged and excited students are to take positions and defend them. 
  • Passion: Topics that students feel strongly about work well. If students are super-passionate about a particular issue, it can challenge them to see both sides of the argument. 
  • Argument: Good debate topics do not have a clear “right” answer—rather, they have opposing views that participants can make persuasive arguments in favor of or against. 
  • Evidence: The availability of evidence and data is key to a good debate topic; without them, participants are merely stating a personal position on a topic. 
  • Avoid Cliches: There are a handful of topics that seem to always materialize for debates and can cause students to lose interest. 

good debate topics for research papers

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  • Are the arts an important aspect of education? 
  • Should we make financial education mandatory? 
  • Should students attend school year-round? 
  • Should schools punish students for bullying that occurs outside of school?
  • Will computers replace teachers in the future?
  • Should students grade their teachers?
  • Should all high school sports become gender-neutral?
  • Is a college education as valuable as it once was? 
  • Are student loans exploitative? 
  • Is it time to eliminate standardized tests? 

Science and Technology

  • Is social media making us less social?
  • Is Google the best search engine or just the one we’re accustomed to using? 
  • Is Android better than iOS? 
  • Will technology save the world or destroy it? 
  • Can the law keep pace with technology?
  • Is the future of school online?
  • Will cryptocurrencies replace cash?   
  • Is technology taking jobs or creating them? 
  • Should every American have the right to access the internet? 
  • Are electronic libraries more equitable than traditional ones? 

Government and Politics

  • Should the government make vaccinations mandatory?
  • Is it time for Supreme Court justices to have term limits? 
  • Should we make voting mandatory?
  • Should we make all drugs legal?
  • Is it time to decriminalize sex work? 
  • Is our privacy more important than national security?
  • Is it fair to take the right to vote away from felons? 
  • Should we raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour?
  • Should the government provide universal basic income? 
  • Is providing healthcare the job of the government?
  • Can governments implement policies that will actually combat climate change?   
  • Should we allow the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports?
  • Should we remove racial epithets from books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ?
  • Can the U.S. achieve gender equality?
  • Is nationalism beneficial or dangerous? 
  • Does religion do more harm than good?
  • Should we bar police from using lethal force?
  • Do we still need the institution of marriage? 
  • Can the U.S. ever achieve racial equality?
  • Are we living in a dystopian society?
  • Should we punish or help drug addicts? 
  • Is bad parenting responsible for the rise in childhood obesity?
  • Should we sell birth control over the counter? 
  • Is it time to ban cigarettes and vaping? 
  • Are alternative medicines helpful or harmful?
  • Should we ban businesses from advertising to children?
  • Is the eight-hour workday outdated? 
  • Should we treat corporations like people?
  • Should corporations be involved in politics? 
  • Is remote work the future of employment? 
  • Is gaming a sport? 
  • Are books a better entertainment option than television?
  • Should social media companies censor content? 
  • Is civil disobedience the most effective form of protest? 
  • Should we ban football? 
  • Should Black Friday sales start on Thanksgiving Day?
  • What better determines success: skill or will?
  • Should you feel guilty for killing zombies during the zombie apocalypse? 
  • Should you choose pizza toppings based on taste or nutrition? 
  • Are hot dogs sandwiches?

Where to Get Feedback on Your Debate Arguments 

A vital part of debate preparation is to test your arguments to ensure they specifically address the topic and collectively form a cohesive point. Make sure you consider both sides of the argument to better be prepared for a rebuttal.

Before stepping up to argue your side of the issue, test your argument on CollegeVine’s free peer review essay tool to get feedback for free from a peer!

As you get ready for college, it is important to understand how your extracurriculars, like debate, factor into your chances of acceptance. Check out our free chancing calculator to find the best-fit school for you.

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130 Argumentative Research Paper Topics for You

argumentative research topics

The spark of truth is struck on the anvil of discussion and the most passionate conversations are almost always debated. We all like to dispute over something, and if you believe arguing isn’t for you, you just haven’t found an interesting topic to argue about. Usually, teachers give you a topic to write about. But when you are asked to choose your topic, it might give you some serious headaches. And this is where we come in.  

In this article we’ll give you a list of captivating topics to write an argumentative research paper on. You’ll be able to choose any topic you like based on many different niches of a research paper, from cryptocurrencies to mental health. But first, let’s go into the basics of what an argumentative research paper topic is all about.  

What Are Argumentative Research Papers?

The main objective of an argumentative research paper is to convince the reader about a certain point of view and make them agree with it. It can also present counter-arguments so that the reader can see all sides of an argument, and then make up their mind about it. These are done by presenting facts, statistics, or any other type of information that supports the main thesis.

A good way to find these types of topics is to look for problems that are occurring in society or the world around you. For example, if you live near a beach and you see trash on the shoreline, this may be an argumentative research paper idea for you. You might take this idea and make a claim about why people should not litter their trash on the beach.

Another example would be if you read an article that said that smoking cigarettes were bad for your health, but then another article came out saying it wasn’t as bad as everyone thought. This would also be a good topic for an argumentative research paper because there is no definitive answer either way and both sides have valid points.

Argumentative research papers can be challenging to write, but they can also be a lot of fun. The key is to make sure you’re choosing a topic that you’re interested in. If you’re not into the subject, it’s going to be hard to convince other people to care about it! If you’re looking for some great topics for an argumentative research paper, here are some suggestions for high school, college, and different niches.  

Argumentative Research Paper Topics College

Every student has to be able to write an argumentative essay, especially when you’re in college. If you have problems with finding argumentative research topics for your college essay, we’ve got you covered! Here are some topics you can choose from!

  • Students should be required to take a course in politics/law/justice studies.
  • Should colleges offer free tuition for students who graduate high school with excellent grades?
  • Should colleges be allowed to have fraternities and sororities?
  • The impact of technology on college education
  • Should students be allowed to use laptops in class?
  • The importance of environmentalism
  • Should student loans exist?
  • Is it ethical to eat animals?

Good Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Many students find it difficult to come up with a decent arguing topic, especially if they are unfamiliar with how to do so. If you’re having trouble coming up with a solid topic for your argumentative college essay, here are some good topics for an argumentative research paper.  

  • Can online education be as effective as a traditional education?
  • Should universities have the right to decide what their students wear on campus?
  • Do you think that men and women should be treated equally in the workplace?
  • Should students who have already graduated high school be able to take college courses for free?
  • Rigorous testing is the best way to prepare students for college and career choices
  • The necessity of standardized tests as a measure of accountability
  • Should you take a nap after lunch?
  • Should we have a national health care system?
  • Is there such a thing as a perfect parent?

Easiest Argumentative Research Paper Topics

The easiest argumentative research paper ideas aren’t always easy to come up with. If you need easy topics to work on, here are some straightforward argumentative research topics.

  • Can you trust your dentist?
  • Is America racist?
  • Are you a good person?
  • Should you be allowed to say whatever you want on social media?
  • Should you be allowed to smoke weed?
  • The importance of sleeping well
  • What is the best way to handle the global warming problem?
  • Should there be harsher punishments for criminals who commit crimes against children?

Best Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Sometimes, it takes a lot of effort to come up with the best topics for an argumentative research paper. Here are some argumentative research paper topics that are sure to blow your mind.

  • Whether or not the United States should be involved in foreign wars, and if so, when it should become involved.
  • If a woman has the right to choose what happens with her body when it comes to abortion or birth control.
  • Whether or not there should be a law that requires all Americans to be vaccinated against measles before they turn 18 years old.
  • How to make America’s healthcare system better.
  • Should we allow people who have been convicted of sex crimes against children to be able to work as teachers?
  • The effectiveness of stricter gun control laws in preventing violent crime in the United States.
  • Who should be responsible for student discipline: the teacher or the principal?
  • How schools can better address students’ mental health needs without infringing on their privacy rights.

Argumentative Research Paper Topics High School

Are you looking for a list of high school argumentative research paper topics? We’ve put together a list of some high school argumentative research paper topics.

  • Should students be allowed to bring their dogs to school?
  • The benefits of working with a team
  • The benefits of taking online courses
  • The benefits of getting a college degree
  • The benefits of a vegan diet
  • Are cellphones a distraction in the classroom?
  • Is it possible to teach students how to be good citizens in school?
  • How can teachers use technology in the classroom more effectively?

Topics for Argumentative Research Paper

Sometimes, it can be really stressful to come up with topics for argumentative research papers. But no worries! Here are some argumentative topics for research paper you can choose from!

  • The evolution of social media and its impact on society.
  • The role of the media in influencing public opinion.
  • The best way to teach children about their gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • What are the pros and cons of standardized testing in schools?
  • Should people with disabilities be able to drive?
  • Is it better to be alone or in a relationship?
  • The environmental impact of using plastic straws
  • Do you prefer one-night stands or relationships?
  • The psychological impact of social media on mental health

Mental Health Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Finding an appropriate argumentation topic for mental health can be difficult. But if you’re seeking argumentative ideas about mental health for your research paper, this list of topics can help you!

  • Mental health can be improved with self-care activities and exercise, but not with medication
  • The effects of sleep deprivation on mental health
  • How technology is helping to treat mental health disorders
  • What’s the difference between a mental illness and an emotional disorder?
  • How do we know that mental health is just as important as physical health?
  • People with mental illnesses are more likely to commit crimes than those without mental illnesses
  • Mental health issues should be treated by medication, not by talking about them (or “counseling,” which is just another form of talking).
  • There’s no such thing as “mental illness” because it’s not an illness—it’s just a part of being human!
  • To be considered mentally healthy, one must be able to perform well at work, school, or in other areas of their life
  • Mental illness is a myth

Psychology Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Looking for debatable topics to write about for your upcoming psychology debate? We’ve got your back! The following is a list of ten good psychology research paper argument topics:

  • The relationship between creativity and mental illness
  • The effect of social media on the development of personalities in children
  • The role of stress in the development of mental illness
  • The impact of social media on the development of personalities in children
  • The connection between creativity and mental illness
  • The effect of sleep deprivation on thoughts and memory
  • How women and men perceive each other’s sexuality
  • The effects of music on early childhood development
  • The impact of social media on the self-esteem of young people
  • The effects of pornography on society (and vice versa)

Controversial Topics for Argumentative Research Paper

Finding a controversial topic for a debate is not easy, and many students struggle to come up with a topic worth discussing. That is why we have compiled a list of 10 controversial ideas for argumentative research papers from which you can choose.

  • Should the death penalty be abolished?
  • Should we allow same-sex marriage?
  • The legalization of marijuana
  • The use of genetically modified crops
  • Should we be allowed to eat genetically modified foods?
  • Is there such a thing as a war on women?
  • Publicly funded sports stadiums
  • The use of animals in scientific research
  • Gender equality: a fad?
  • The legalization of abortion

Argumentative Research Paper Topics on Social Media

The use of social media has risen dramatically in recent years, raising a slew of questions about how it influences the world. Are you seeking a good argumentative research paper topic to write on social media? You can choose from this list of topics.

  • Social media is destroying our ability to communicate with each other in the real world.
  • Social media is making us less human than we were before its invention.
  • The value of social media in healthcare
  • The usefulness of social media in law enforcement
  • What are the pros and cons of using social media?
  • Social media has created a society where we only care about ourselves and our feelings while ignoring the feelings of others.
  • Social media in education
  • Is social media addictive?
  • Social media is making people more depressed
  • What’s the most popular social media platform?

Sports Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Sports has evolved into a fascinating and engaging activity; virtually everyone has a favorite sport. Although sport is intriguing, coming up with topics to write about might be difficult! Here are ten sports-related argumentative research paper ideas to consider.

  • Is it fair to penalize an athlete’s entire team when one player violates a rule?
  • Should there be a cap on how much money professional athletes can make off their labor, or are they entitled to all that they earn?
  • The effect of steroids on professional sports
  • Is it right to give children sports scholarships?
  • Should sports be considered a professional career?
  • Why do people watch sports?
  • Who is the best athlete in the world today?
  • The role of sports in our society
  • What is the best way to contractually bind athletes and teams?
  • Is college athletics good for the academic experience of students?

Fun Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Sometimes, all you need is a fun argumentative topic to grab your audience’s attention and keep the debate exciting, But coming up with a fun topic to argue about isn’t easy because you’ll need to rack your brains for some ideas. That’s why we have compiled a list of some entertaining argumentative research paper topics!

  • Is it better to have a dog or cat as a pet?
  • Are you more likely to be the victim of a crime if you live in a big city or a small town?
  • Should we allow people to bring their dogs on planes with them?
  • Why people should not be forced to have fun
  • Why you shouldn’t drink and drive
  • Should we ban people from wearing flip-flops in public after Labor Day?
  • Are we all sociopaths?
  • What makes a great leader?
  • Is it ever okay to use a selfie stick?
  • Can you be gay and christian?

Cryptocurrency Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Cryptocurrency is a big thing right now. It’s been gaining popularity and attention from investors, governments, and other stakeholders for years. Writing or reading a cryptocurrency argumentative research paper is a great way to get started in the world of cryptocurrency. The topic area has a lot of potential for research, as there are many different viewpoints on cryptocurrencies and their place in our society today.

This list will give you some ideas for topics that would make great argumentative research papers about cryptocurrencies.

  • Should the government regulate cryptocurrencies?
  • Is cryptocurrency better than fiat money?
  • How do cryptocurrencies affect global economics?
  • What are the benefits of using cryptocurrency in our society?
  • Is cryptocurrency a bubble? Discuss
  • Is Bitcoin anonymous? How do governments regulate cryptocurrencies?
  • Should we use cryptocurrencies to buy goods and services?
  • What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies?
  • Is it possible to create a cryptocurrency that is not volatile?
  • Why are cryptocurrencies good for the world?

Historical Argumentative Research Paper Topics

When it comes to picking historical debate topics, who hasn’t been stumped? It’s difficult to retain all of the material presented in a classroom setting. Thankfully, any historical issue can be turned into a fantastic history argumentative research paper topic. To make it easier for you, we have compiled a list of unique world history argumentative research paper topics below.

  • What role did women play in WWII?
  • How did the Great Depression impact American society?
  • Was the Holocaust necessary to stop Adolf Hitler’s rise to power?
  • Did the Russians have a right to invade Afghanistan in 1979?
  • Did the world need a new religion?
  • Should the United States have invaded Iraq in 2003?
  • What is the cause of the current gun violence epidemic?
  • The causes of World War II in Europe
  • The effects of the Great Recession on the US economy. Discuss  
  • Was it right to execute Mary, Queen of Scots?


So here we are! 130 argumentative research paper topics to write your research paper on! We hope that you’ve been able to choose the topic you’ll like to work on for your argumentative research paper. Don’t forget to choose a topic that you’re comfortable and excited about writing about. And if you need some help with writing your research paper, we can help you!

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  • Mar 24, 2021

How Should I Research for Debate?

The best debaters are often the best researchers, simply due to the fact that if you find strong evidence yourself, you are far more likely to understand how to use it strategically in the round than if it was sent to you by someone else.

Like all things in debate, strong research skills are built with practice, but we at Debate Resource would like to give you a head start by helping you understand how to effectively use Google and how to effectively read studies. The tips and tricks provided in this article will give you a leg up as a researcher and help you find killer evidence.

Research goals:

To start, we will go over a debater’s goals when researching. We believe that all debate research boils down to five main objectives:

Objective 1: Stockpile evidence in favor of the argument in question

Whenever you find evidence that seems promising, save it! At the beginning, as we have said before, you are just looking for quantity: get good quotes and links into your documents. Later on, you will want to comb through these articles and studies to figure out exactly what they say, but for now just find the evidence, organize it in an efficient way (tip: use hyperlinks! Ctrl+K), and keep researching!

Objective 2: Stockpile evidence against the argument in question

What happens when you find evidence that directly contradicts your argument? Don’t move backward by scrapping your argument altogether; instead, save that evidence to be used on the other side! All you need is to have your “PRO Research Document” and your “CON Research Document” up in 2 tabs, and paste your quotes and links into the applicable doc.

We promise - you will thank yourself later! It is much better to save too many links than to remember you had found that killer evidence early on but you forgot to save it and it’s lost forever.

Objective 3: Identify new warrants

Research isn’t all about finding quotes – it is also about building your topic knowledge and advancing your ability to use unique, nuanced warrants. Whenever you find an author that has a unique take, a link you’ve never heard of before that gets around the most common responses, write it down and use it as a basis for further research. It may even end up as one of the core links in your final case!

Objective 4: Identify new keywords for future research

Oftentimes, research comes down to using the right keywords. This is where jargon is VERY useful! If your topic is about nuclear weapons, you need to know that a keyword like “Weapons of Mass Destruction” or “WMDs” will give additional search results that the competition isn’t looking for. As you find more and more keywords related to the topic, keep writing them down and using them in future Google Searches.

Objective 5: Discover new arguments

Beside talking to your friends and family, reading articles and studies is the best way to discover new arguments and contentions you can use. As you find new arguments, keep writing them down and adding them to your list to research more later, and to find relevant keywords for. Keep building your documents with content – later, you will work on forming them into arguments and formatting them for simple and easy access in-round.

How To Use Google

Everyone who has grown up in the twenty-first century understands the basics of Google search. However, here are some tips that are lesser known that will help you cut through the noise and find the evidence you are actually looking for.

Tip #1 : Use Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are the most powerful tool in Google search and should be used often. When you put a word or phrase in quotes, Google requires every result that comes up to contain that word or phrase. In other words, it sets those words or phrases as highest-priority-keywords, helping you cut through the noise.

While putting individual words in quotation marks is powerful, the beauty of this is you can search for exact phrases. All results will contain that “long-tail keyword” allowing you to find exactly the content you are looking for.

Tip #2 : Time Search

If quotation marks are the most powerful tool Google allows, time search comes in a close second. What’s crazy about time search is almost nobody uses it! It’s very simple to set up a custom date range.

First, enter your search. In the next row under the search bar, you have a variety of options, where you can look for “all,” “news,” “images,” etc. Look all the way to the right, past “settings,” over to “tools.” You will see a drop-down that says “any time.” Click it and scroll all the way down to “custom range.” This is where you put in the precise date range you want your search to filter through.

Why use time search? Usually for 1 of 2 reasons.

First, you likely want to find the most recent articles. If your evidence “post-dates” your opponent’s and you can provide a feasible reason that recency matters with regard to that topic, that is a clear point for you in the judge’s book, and they are likely to trust your evidence over your opponent’s.

Second, you may want to understand an event that happened at a certain period in history, or better yet, how a certain period in history interpreted a certain event. We often suffer from “recency bias,” in which we let the most recent headlines crowd out a deeper, fuller understanding. Time search helps you get around that.

This will build the depth of your understanding. If you can not only explain a topic, but how our understanding of that topic has changed over time, your legitimacy will skyrocket and the judge will want to vote for you because you clearly did your homework.

Tip #3 : File Type PDF

Tired of finding articles from illegitimate sites at the top of your Google results? Enter the phrase filetype:pdf right into the google search bar after your search keywords. The results will be exclusively pdfs.

These pdfs are likely to be academic articles, or articles published by other well-known and legitimate websites. They will also be longer articles, with more content for you to browse and learn from.

Tip #4 : Minus Sign

The minus sign helps you if you keep encountering the same type of wrong result. If a word has multiple meanings and you keep getting stuck with results on the wrong one, you can minus a keyword relevant to that “wrong” interpretation to maximize your chances of getting the right results.

If your keyword is “nuclear” because you’re looking for results on nuclear war, but you keep getting results about nuclear energy, just minus out energy by including in the search bar: “-energy.” Simple as that.

The minus sign doesn’t need to be used too often, but can be powerful in the right circumstances to get the exact results you’re searching for.

Tip #5 : Hotkeys

Finally, we want to provide you with a list of hotkeys to make your Google search process more efficient. Here is a list of helpful hotkeys:

Ctrl F: Find within the page

Ctrl W: Exit Tab

Ctrl Shift T: Reopen most recent closed tab

The most important of these is Ctrl + F. If you aren’t using Ctrl + F multiple times a day to see if the content you really want is within the article you found, you’re probably wasting time.

To end this article, here is an easy step-by-step process to finding strong evidence quickly .

Step 1: Enter the keywords you are searching for into google

Step 2: Add quotation marks around multi-word keywords as well as necessary keywords that must be included in any article you want to read.

Step 3: Past or type “filetype:pdf” into the search bar too, and SEARCH

Step 4: Click on an article or study

Step 5: Use Crtl + F to find any relevant keywords within the study

Step 6: Paste relevant quotes with those keywords into your document and hyperlink the URL to the author name and organization, which you will write down as base text just before the quotation.

Step 7: Repeat!

That’s it, and good luck searchin!

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125 High School Debate Topics To Challenge Every Student

Learn how to argue with logic instead of emotion.

good debate topics for research papers

Some teachers shy away from debate in the classroom, afraid it will become too adversarial. But learning to discuss and defend various points of view is an important life skill. Debates teach students to research their topic, make informed choices, and argue effectively using facts instead of emotion. You’ll find plenty of engaging high school debate topics in this list for inspiration. Each topic includes a link to an article from a reliable source that provides pros and/or cons to help kids make their arguments.

School and Education Debate Topics

Life and ethics debate topics, entertainment and technology debate topics, fun and funny debate topics.

Students should be required to wear school uniforms.

  • It’s better to be good at academics than to be good at sports.
  • Final exams should be abolished.
  • Students should be required to wear school uniforms.
  • Private schools are better than public schools.
  • Year-round school is better for students.
  • Standardized tests are effective.
  • Every student should have to participate in athletics.
  • All students should be required to volunteer in their community.
  • Junk food should be banned in school cafeterias.
  • Single-gender schools are better for students.
  • Schools should be allowed to teach critical race theory.
  • Math is the most important school subject.
  • Schools should teach sex ed instead of abstinence only.
  • Letter grades should be abolished.
  • Teachers should be replaced by computers.
  • People who get better grades in school will be more successful in life.
  • Sometimes it’s OK to cheat on homework or a test.
  • Students who fail a test should be given the chance to take it again.
  • Outdoor recess is important at every grade level.
  • Students should be allowed to grade teachers.
  • Everyone should be able to bring their pets to school.
  • Shorter school days are better for students.
  • Schools should eliminate dress codes.
  • Everyone should be required to go to college.
  • College should be free for everyone who wants to attend.
  • Schools should install safe rooms in case of mass shootings or natural disasters.
  • Schools should be allowed to ban some books from their libraries.
  • Book smarts are better than street smarts.
  • Schools should provide free mental health services to students and teachers.
  • Schools should teach life skills like cooking and personal finance.
  • School vouchers benefit students and schools.
  • Religion has no place in schools.
  • In-person school is better than online school.
  • Traditional school is better than homeschooling.
  • Charter schools should receive public school funds.

Cigarette smoking and vaping should be banned entirely.

  • Girls face more peer pressure than boys.
  • The voting age should be lowered to 16.
  • Humans should not eat animals.
  • Democracy is the best form of government.
  • All Americans should be required to vote.
  • Cigarette smoking and vaping should be banned entirely.
  • Giving is better than receiving.
  • Parents should be punished for their children’s mistakes.
  • Animals should not be kept in zoos.
  • Happiness is more important than success.
  • The driving age should be raised to 18.
  • The drinking age should be lowered to 18.
  • Plastic bottles should be banned.
  • People should have to take a parenting class before having a child.
  • If you find money on the ground, it’s automatically yours to keep.
  • It is better to be kind than to be truthful.
  • Learning about history can stop us from repeating past mistakes.
  • It’s important to spend money exploring space.
  • White-collar jobs are better than blue-collar jobs.
  • The death penalty should be abolished.
  • Drug addicts should receive help instead of punishment.
  • Euthanasia should be legal.
  • GMOs are more helpful than harmful.
  • Human cloning should be legal.
  • A progressive income tax is better than a flat tax.
  • Supreme Court judges should be appointed for fixed terms.
  • Vaccines should be mandatory.
  • We should ban fossil fuels.
  • Marijuana should be legal everywhere.
  • All drugs should be legalized, regulated, and taxed, like alcohol.
  • Nuclear weapons should be banned worldwide.
  • Police funding should be redirected to social services.
  • Religion does more harm than good.
  • Testing on animals should be illegal.
  • We will never achieve world peace.
  • The United States should implement a universal basic income.
  • We should require people of all genders to register for the draft.
  • Healthcare should be universal.
  • Gun safety laws infringe on the Second Amendment.
  • Anyone over 12 should be tried as an adult in court.

Social media does more harm than good.

  • Reality television depicts real life.
  • Schools should allow students to use phones in class.
  • Macs are better than PCs.
  • Androids are better than iPhones.
  • Social media is making us less social.
  • Social media does more harm than good.
  • Video games are better than board games.
  • Video gaming is a sport.
  • Reading books is better than watching TV.
  • We should replace all paper documents with electronic versions.
  • The book is always better than the movie.
  • Parents should use their kids’ cell phones to track them.
  • Playing video games makes you smarter.
  • Scientists should try to develop a way for everyone to live forever.
  • Paper books are better than e-books.
  • Schools should have surveillance cameras in classrooms and hallways.
  • All museums and zoos should be free to everyone.
  • There is intelligent life on other planets.
  • People rely too much on technology.
  • Everyone should play on the same sports teams, regardless of gender.
  • Net neutrality should be mandatory for internet service providers.
  • Expanded use of artificial intelligence will be good for humanity.
  • Technology is creating more jobs than it eliminates.
  • The United States should provide free internet access for everyone.
  • Cryptocurrencies should replace cash.

Dogs are better pets than cats.

  • Dogs are better pets than cats.
  • A taco is a sandwich.
  • Summer is better than winter.
  • Coke is better than Pepsi.
  • Pepperoni is the best pizza topping.
  • Fruit counts as dessert.
  • The number 13 is not unlucky.
  • People should eat to live, not live to eat.
  • Monday is the worst day of the week.
  • Clowns are more scary than funny.
  • Modern music is better than classical music.
  • Aliens live among us here on Earth.
  • It’s OK to put ketchup on a hot dog.
  • Was Robin Hood a thief or a rebel hero?
  • It would be better to be able to fly than to be able to turn invisible.
  • Pluto should still be considered a planet.
  • It’s better to be too hot than too cold.
  • We should allow people to go barefoot anywhere if they want to.
  • Fiction is better than non-fiction.
  • Using profanity is good for your mental health.
  • Leftover pizza is better cold than reheated.
  • It’s OK to wear socks with sandals.
  • Being famous is actually not all that great.
  • GIF should be pronounced “JIFF” not “GIFF.”
  • People shouldn’t have to go to school or work on their birthdays.

Did we miss one of your favorite high school debate topics? Then come share on the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook !

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These high school debate topics range from fun and funny to complex and ethical, with links to reliable pro/con sources for each.

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126 Good Informative Speech Topics – 2024

June 23, 2024

informative speech topics ideas

What is an informative speech? You may be asking this question if you find yourself needing to give one for a class or extracurricular. Unlike a persuasive speech , which is designed to convince an audience of something, or a debate , which can be polemic by nature, an informative speech is meant to educate its listeners on a topic, elucidate an unclear idea, or simply help an audience delve more deeply into a subject. In other words, while informative speeches can persuade or argue, they don’t have to. In this article, we’ll highlight a few tips on how to choose good informative speech topics, and then provide a list of 126 informative speech ideas to get you brainstorming for your next big speech!

How to Choose Informative Speech Topics

Your choice of informative speech topic will depend greatly upon the task at hand: is this speech for a class? A passion project ? A campus rally? A professional development conference? Recruiting for a particular major, club, or community service organization? A high school speech competition? Once you know the purpose and parameters of your speech, it will be easier to select an informative speech topic that is an appropriate subject and size. Additionally, it’s important to consider your audience, expertise, scope, research, and tone before you delve into your writing.

Knowing your target audience is key to creating reciprocity, or the necessary give and take between speaker and listener that creates communication and understanding. Speakers who know their audiences are better able to shape their speeches to be well-received. [i] Imagine, for example, you’re giving an informative speech on “Jane Austen’s narrators.” You must ask yourself: are you giving your speech to a panel of scholars, to educated adult non-experts, or to grade school-aged children? If your audience will be comprised of literature professors, your speech should provide fairly advanced and in-depth knowledge and should be filled with the latest developments in professional literary criticism. If your audience is made up of grade school-aged children, you’ll want to start with the basics, like who was Jane Austen? And what, exactly, is a narrator?

As you give your informative speech, you’ll want to think about not only your audience’s level of expertise in your speech topic, but also your own (and it’s okay if you’re a novice in the subject!). [ii] An informative speech often includes or takes into consideration a synthesis of preexisting scholarship in a field or information around a topic. While you don’t need to apprise your audience of an entire body of research before you begin delivering your speech, you do want to have a working knowledge of the preexisting conversation around your informative speech topic. [iii] This will inform the level of research you’ll need to perform before you begin writing your speech.

In terms of selecting research sources, it’s good to remember the three P’s: peer-reviewed , published , and prestigious . A peer-reviewed source is one that has been evaluated by a group of experts in the field of the writer. It has undergone the most stringent editing and fact-checking and, when first published, is the most up-to-date information in a field. A published source is one that has also usually undergone some editing before publication – though you’ll want to be wary of self-published sources and online publications (these usually don’t receive the same kind of scrutiny as printed texts).

Finally, it’s certainly okay to use online sources, but you want to make sure they are coming from a prestigious or at least well-known source like a national newspaper or even an established commercial website. A good tip for assessing a source’s quality is to check: does this source cite any outside resources in a works cited or in footnotes?

You want to be sure that you are able to cover a topic thoroughly, given the time and resources allotted. For example, if you have five minutes to give an informative speech to your psychology 101 classmates, you could choose a general topic like, “Why was Sigmund Freud important to psychology?” If you have an hour to give an informative speech at a professional psychology conference, you might provide a detailed account of Sigmund Freud’s most important contributions to a particular branch of modern psychology and explain its current significance to the field, including recent developments in research and clinical practice.

Finally, something crucial to consider is the emotional register of your speech. Is the subject matter something serious like an illness or climate change? Or is it a politically charged topic like immigration or gun control? Is it light, like “how to make pizza dough” or “the invention of the roller coaster?” Or is it merely intriguing or educating like, “personality typing and psychology,” “owning a poodle,” or “Ben Franklin’s top five aphorisms?” Gauging the emotional involvement of your audience will help you choose an appropriate informative speech topic for the project at hand and will ultimately let you craft a more effective speech.

The 126 informative speech ideas below run the gamut from broad to very specific and can all serve as starting points as you brainstorm what you’d like to give a speech on. Good luck!

Health & Medicine Informative Speech Topics

1) Ideas on curbing the spread of future global pandemics.

2) What is the endocrine system?

3) What is a physician’s assistant?

4) The importance of blood donation.

5) Disparities in healthcare between different demographic groups.

6) How did Marie Curie contribute to the medical field?

7) What is the role of nurses in primary care settings?

8) What subspecialties are there in women’s health?

9) What recent developments have been made in knee replacement surgery techniques?

Good Informative Speech Topics/Informative Speech Ideas (Continued)

10) What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

11) Telehealth and patient outcomes in recent years.

12) How to MRI machines work?

13) Comparing healthcare systems in different countries.

14) The five most important cancer research innovations in the past five years.

15) What is a plague?

16) How does social media affect mental health?

17) What is the World Health Organization?

18) What are the differences between a midwife and an obstetrician?

STEM Informative Speech Topics

19) What are some important differences between commercial and government-sponsored space flight programs?

20) How do rollercoasters work?

21) The relationship between AI and defense.

22) How are robots used in surgeries?

23) How do you solve a quadratic equation?

24) Why are information systems an important part of modern marketing?

25) What recent innovations have been made in the field of machine learning algorithms?

26) How has cloud computing changed in the past five years?

27) What is the role of engineers in mining and extraction?

28) What is a black hole?

29) What is internal combustion?

30) How self-driving cars work.

31) What are some differences between aeronautical and aerospace engineers?

32) What is Euclidian geometry?

33) How is probability be used in sport management?

34) Why are we running out of helium?

35) What is the relationship between cybersecurity and national politics?

36) The most important uses of 3D printing?

Arts & Humanities Informative Speech Topics

37) What are the most likely interpretations of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be?” speech ?

38) What was the Dadaism movement?

39) Why is the Mona Lisa so popular?

40) The differences between highbrow, lowbrow, and commercial cultural production.

41) What are the major tenets of postmodernism?

42) The influences of Alfred Hitchcock on modern cinema.

43) What is the difference between “performance” and “performativity?”

44) What are the differences between an early novel and a romance?

45) Recent developments in literature and ecocriticism.

46) What is the debate on the Elgin Marbles?

47) In what ways was fashion an important element of the Belle Epoch era?

48) The top five most influential texts in speculative fiction.

49) What is pop art?

50) Who was Andy Warhol?

51) What is The Iliad ?

52) Postcolonial studies as an academic field.

53) The history of the Louvre museum.

54) Jane Austen’s narrators and free indirect discourse.

Psychology and Sociology Informative Speech Topics

55) What is the Enneagram and how is it used in therapeutic settings?

56) How did Pierre Bourdieu define “fields?”

57) What is the Panopticon?

58) What is intersectionality?

59) The role of psychologists in school settings.

60) How is behavior psychology related to consumerism and marketing?

61) What is gentrification?

62) The role of the pharmaceutical industry in psychiatric treatment.

63) Who was Sigmund Freud and why is he important?

64) What is the difference between clinical and research psychology?

65) What is the relationship between social media and mental health?

66) What is neuropsychology?

67) What is an ethnographic study?

68) How did Habermas define the public sphere?

69) What is multiple personality disorder?

70) What is are the “gaze” and the “mirror stage,” according to Lacan?

71) Describe the prisoner’s dilemma.

72) What is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

Nature and Environment Informative Speech Topics

73) What are some pros and cons of wind farming?

74) Why are microbiomes important for health?

75) What is an axolotl?

76) Death Valley: the hottest place on Earth

77) What threats do spotted lanternflies pose?

78) What are the most significant climate change “points of no return?”

79) Water conservation strategies in the American West.

80) What is biodiversity?

81) How do dolphins communicate?

82) Why was Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring significant for the environmentalist movement?

83) How was the Santorini caldera created?

84) What are plate tectonics?

85) How and why tornadoes happen.

86) What is the El Niño phenomenon and why is it important?

87) Fungus and blue spruce disease in Northeast Ohio.

88) What measures are being taken to curb deforestation in the Amazon?

89) How is the Galapagos ecosystem preserved today?

90) Floridian ecosystems and the Red Tide.

Business, Marketing, Finance and Economy

91) The role of sports merchandising in U.S. women’s Olympic events.

92) Subprime mortgages and the housing market crash of 2008.

93) What are the eight best steps you can take to better your personal finances?

94) Which social media platforms are most lucrative for marketing to each current online generation?

95) What is inflation?

96) What is the relationship between politics and the unemployment rate?

97) What is market saturation?

98) How do we measure the GDP of emergent nations?

99) What developments to we expect to see in the industry competition between EVs and regular automobiles?

100) What is an index fund? What is a mutual fund?

101) Bond holdings late in retirement.

102) The role of social justice in branding.

103) How does search engine optimization work for marketing?

104) Is the influencer economy a bubble?

105) Describe the differences between a CFA and a CPA.

106) What developments have we seen in start-up economies in the past five years?

107) What is embezzlement?

108) What is the history of human resource departments?

History and Travel

109) The religious persuasions of each of Henry VIII’s wives .

110) How the aqueduct system worked in ancient Rome

111) What are the tallest buildings in the world?

112) What was the Black Death?

113) The Watergate Scandal.

114) In what ways was the printing press an important invention?

115) What is the Chernobyl site like today?

116) What was the relationship between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla?

117) Why was the Great Wall of China built?

118) Who were medieval anchorites?

119) The political significance of whistle-stop train tours.

120) What was the significance of the Second Boer War?

121) The Tennis Court Oath .

122) What are the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

123) Witch hunting in 1600s New England.

124) What was the Space Race?

125) Why are the bodies of Pompeiians preserved?

126) What is Machu Picchu?

Good Informative Speech Topics – Works Cited

[i] Lloyd-Hughes, Sarah. How to Be Brilliant at Public Speaking: Any Audience, Any Situation . Pearson Educated Limited, Edinburgh 2011.

[ii] Downs, Douglas and Elizabeth Wardle. “What Can a Novice Contribute? Undergraduate Researchers in First-Year Composition,” Undergraduate Research in English Studies (2010) pp. 173-90).

[iii] Graff, Gerard, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing . W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2006.

Informative Speech Ideas – Additional Reading

  • 149 Capstone Project Ideas and Examples
  • 100 Best Political Science Research Topics
  • 64 Social Issues Topics 
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Jamie Smith

For the past decade, Jamie has taught writing and English literature at several universities, including Boston College, the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University. She earned a Ph.D. in English from Carnegie Mellon, where she currently teaches courses and conducts research on composition, public writing, and British literature.

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Presidential Debates in History That Moved the Needle

O n Thursday, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will meet on stage in Atlanta for the first of two presidential debates ahead of the November 2024 election. While their performance in the televised debates could influence the outcome, it wouldn’t be the first time in history that a presidential debate moved the needle in a close race.

Presidential debates have been a staple of campaigns for decades, and history has shown that they can have the power to sway undecided voters and solidify public perception of the candidates. During debates, candidates stand beside their opponents and present their policies, personality, and vision to millions of viewers—often the biggest audiences of their campaigns. For instance, some 73 million people viewed the first Biden-Trump presidential debate in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

Patrick Stewart, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas, says that while there have been advancements in technology and changes in media consumption over time, the presidential debates still offer candidates an unparalleled opportunity to present their stances on issues and pitch themselves and their vision for the country. “As we have seen with our politics these days, flipping the margins a little bit influences elections,” he says. “And we have seen that in many of the elections.”

TIME spoke to several historians about the most important presidential debates and their impacts on the course of American history.

John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon (1960)

The first debate between Kennedy and Nixon is considered one of the most significant because it entrenched the idea that appearances are an important part of presidential campaigns, says Alan Schroeder, a professor of journalism at Northeastern University. The debate is considered the first nationally televised presidential debate in history.

The best-known narrative about the debate is that Nixon, then Vice President, ultimately lost the election because he looked old and tired during the debate, while Kennedy, then a Senator from Massachusetts, wore makeup and appeared young and vibrant. People who watched the debate on television generally believed that Kennedy had won the debate, but those who listened to their speeches on the radio believed that Nixon had performed better, according to the oft-repeated analysis of the 1960 election.

John F. Kennedy And Richard M. Nixon at Debate

However, some historians argue this explanation doesn’t hold up due to differing demographics between TV viewers and radio listeners. "It likely was the case that the debate helped Kennedy look younger and more presidential, but we have very little empirical research to suggest that’s why he won the election,” says Mitchell McKinney, a political communication scholar and dean at the University of Akron.

The debate’s biggest effect on public opinion was that it allowed Americans to see—or hear—the two candidates together. “That first debate probably made a big difference in Kennedy's favor because it legitimized him,” Schroeder says. “He was the underdog. Nixon was the sitting Vice President, and the more experienced and better known candidate nationally. But Kennedy had a very good series of performances in those debates that undoubtedly helped him.”

Jimmy Carter vs. Gerald Ford (1976)

After the Nixon-Kennedy election, a long period passed without any general election debates until President Gerald Ford fell behind during the 1976 campaign and decided he needed to debate then-Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter . McKinney says that Ford was "relatively unknown" to the public despite being the incumbent President, and not many people were familiar with Carter either. "They needed the exposure from the debates to help voters really get to know them,” he says of the matchup.

The debates are best remembered for a single moment during the pair’s second debate when Ford declared , “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration.” The moderator, Max Frankel of the New York Times, was unable to hold back his surprise: “I’m sorry, what?… Did I understand you to say, sir, that the Russians are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of influence in occupying most of the countries there and making sure with their troops that it’s a communist zone?”

It’s not clear whether the gaffe ultimately shifted the outcome of the election, which Carter won. But historians argue that the moment was particularly damaging for Ford because of the media reporting after the debate, which contributed to the narrative that he was clumsy and not up for the presidency. “You have to show that you can respond to the questions effectively,” Stewart says. “Someone who is able to be circumspect and has a good memory so we can get an idea as far as what they actually would do under pressure.”

Other scholars have suggested that there isn’t polling evidence that the debate hurt Ford’s campaign. “I wouldn't say that Ford lost the election because of that,” Schroeder says. “It certainly didn't help him… but it does show you certainly the power of a mistake that gets then magnified and the need to very quickly correct it.”

Jimmy Carter vs. Ronald Reagan (1980)

For most of the 1980 campaign cycle, Carter had been unwilling to debate Ronald Reagan, the former California Governor, who was considered a master of visuals and humor. But Carter changed his mind about 10 days before the election, realizing that he was trailing in the polls and needed a last minute pitch to undecided voters, McKinney says.

While Carter peppered his rhetoric with facts and policy, Reagan countered with one-line catchphrases, including “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” and “There you go again.” Reagan went on to win the election one week later, in part, because he understood a fundamental of the debates, experts argue. “Reagan came across as very confident and amiable in that debate,” McKinney says, “whereas Carter seemed to be under siege coming out of a hostage crisis, and he wasn’t able to reassure the public.”

George H.W. Bush vs. Bill Clinton vs. Ross Perot (1992)

Unlike most other presidential debates, where candidates stand at lecterns and respond to moderator questions, the second debate in 1992 was conducted in a more relaxed "town hall" format suggested by Bill Clinton’s campaign. The format was seen as benefiting Clinton, then-Governor of Arkansas, who voters thought seemed more likable than his opponents over the course of three debates.

Presidential Candidates Debating

In one famous moment during the second debate, President Bush was caught on camera looking at his watch as a voter in Richmond, Va. asked a question about the national debt, giving viewers the sense he was being passive or bored. “Every little gesture or word is subject to a lot of scrutiny,” Schroeder says, adding that it fed into the narrative that Bush was out of touch with the lives of voters.

The debates also introduced the public to third-party candidate Ross Perot, who garnered 18.9% of the vote, one of the most successful third party runs in American history. Exit polls suggested that Perot took votes from Clinton and Bush about equally, although some experts still disagree about Perot’s effect on the race. Mary Matalin, Bush’s former campaign director, later said that she was “absolutely convinced” that Perot cost Bush the election. “He got us off message. Every event that we found ourselves in—particularly the debates with him—caused President Bush to underperform,” Matalin said.

George W. Bush vs. Al Gore (2000)

In the tight 2000 election, which was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, the debates were particularly important. Vice President Al Gore had been in high-profile debates before, whereas Texas Governor Bush was a relative newcomer known to stumble over his words.

"Going into the debates, Gore was in a better position," McKinney says, "but he was seen as more aggressive and people didn’t find his style or demeanor that comfortable."

During the first debate, microphones caught Gore loudly sighing in response to Bush’s answers, and he was seen on the screen rolling his eyes and shaking his head in frustration at other points. At the third debate, Gore walked up to Bush as he was speaking, perhaps to intimidate him. Bush smirked and continued on, prompting the audience to laugh. 

As TIME wrote in 2000 , “Last week, George W. Bush and Al Gore stood at podiums, and Gore, as befitting the furniture, gave what came across as a lecture: correcting his opponent, holding forth, sighing in exasperation at Bush’s answers. The pundits and the polls agreed: Gore had won the debate. Then he lost: within a week, Bush had opened up a lead in several polls, as voters apparently decided they were tired of Professor Know-It-All.”

Final U.S. Presidential Debate Between President Trump And Democratic Candidate Joe Biden

Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump (2024)?

Historians say that presidential debates matter the most when there’s no clear frontrunner in the polls and undecided voters still make up a large chunk of the electorate. Both of those conditions could be true this year.

Polling data from FiveThirtyEight shows that Trump leads Biden by about one point nationally, and other polls show that roughly 10% of voters are still undecided . “These debates are so important because this election will likely be decided by just a percent or two,” McKinney says, comparing the current cycle to the Bush-Gore 2000 race that was so close that only several hundred votes in Florida determined the winner. “If you go back and look at the polling that year, it’s exactly the same case today.”

But that’s not the only reason the Biden-Trump debates have the potential to be significant. The debates are set to feature the two oldest major-party presidential candidates in history, and particular attention will be given to their age, stamina, and mental fitness. Trump, 78, has repeatedly called Biden, 81, too frail to handle a second term. “Television is a visual medium and people are going to be looking very closely at both of them,” Schroeder says. “One of the biggest tests is their stamina. When you’re in a debate for that long, you have to be at the top of your game. You have to be aware that the camera is on you.”

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A Debate Cheat Sheet for Business

Tax policy, inflation, the economy and markets will be some key issues for corporate America and Wall Street in tonight’s showdown between President Biden and Donald Trump.

By Andrew Ross Sorkin ,  Ravi Mattu ,  Bernhard Warner ,  Sarah Kessler ,  Michael J. de la Merced ,  Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni

President Biden and Donald Trump appear on a large outdoor screen on a pier that overlooks a body of water.

Talking points

All eyes will be on CNN at 9 p.m. Eastern, when President Biden and Donald Trump face off in their first debate since 2020 . Among the keenest watchers will be executives and investors looking for signs about how the candidates might handle the economy and business in a second term.

There will be plenty to scrutinize in the 90-minute, audience-free debate, including what the candidates say and how they say it. Here’s what we will be looking out for. (And, for a lighter take, check out our debate “bingo card” further below.)

The economy is the big question . Various measures show strong growth under Biden, but many voters feel differently. What will Biden and Trump say about some of the key issues?

Inflation: This is clearly a challenge for the president, as Americans complain about what they’re paying in the grocery store, at the pump and on their rent. Biden can say that price increases are slowing down, and will most likely emphasize his administration’s efforts to crack down on “ corporate greed ,” like taking on so-called junk fees . Trump will probably stress how good things were when he took office in 2017 — an economy many Americans want back.

Taxes: Biden’s proposals for higher corporate taxes will hit profits: “It’s simple math,” David Bahnsen, the founder and chief investment officer of the Bahnsen Group, told DealBook. Many business leaders don’t like Biden’s plan to increase taxes on the wealthy, either. Trump will probably stress his desire to extend his 2017 tax cuts and lower the corporate rate to 20 percent. But questions about corporate earnings and the economy may eclipse those concerns.

Protectionism: Both candidates want to increase tariffs on Chinese goods, but Biden has been more targeted in how he has done it during his presidency. Trump has proposed significantly higher across-the-board levies , though it’s unclear how serious he is about it. Economists have warned that Trump’s potential approach could aggravate inflation and hurt the economy .

Markets: The S&P 500 set 31 records this year; investors will hope neither party messes with that momentum. In Thursday night’s debate, “markets probably care more about presentation than policy pledges,” Paul Donovan, an economist at UBS, wrote in a client note. Biden may have a slight edge, he added, since investors would prefer keeping “some continuity.”

Other issues will probably feature prominently. Biden will most likely raise abortion rights, a topic that has helped Democrats win in recent elections. Trump will almost certainly speak a lot about immigration, perhaps his most potent issue — and one that many, including Elon Musk , say is a failure of Biden’s.

The intangibles will matter. Executives told DealBook that C.E.O.s will be paying attention to how Biden and Trump perform:

For Biden, 81, an important issue for business leaders and many voters is whether he is still fit to serve. A sharp, forceful performance could go a ways in quieting any concerns.

For Trump, 78, competence is a question as well. But his demeanor will also be under scrutiny, especially if he comes across as overly abrasive or erratic. Some executives said their feelings would come down to whether they can stomach another four years of a Trump presidency.

There’s also the show around the show. Trump has suggested that his potential running mate would be in Atlanta for the debate. The Times reports that his list is narrowing, with Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida being of particular interest.

The pick may matter a great deal to Trump’s campaign: The Republican megadonor Ken Griffin has said the choice could influence whether he opens up his wallet for Trump .

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What you need to know for tonight’s debate: From the Politics Desk

Banners are placed outside of CNN studios ahead of the first presidential debate in Atlanta.

Welcome to the online version of  From the Politics Desk , an evening newsletter that brings you the NBC News Politics team’s latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill.

In today’s edition, "Meet the Press" moderator breaks down what to watch for in tonight's debate. Plus, Natasha Korecki and Ben Kamisar share the lessons they learned from watching 19 past debate performances from Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Sign up to receive this newsletter in your inbox every weekday here.

What to watch for in tonight’s debate

By kristen welker.

The first 2024 debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will provide plenty of moments of opportunity and potential peril for both candidates. As the moderator of Biden and Trump’s last debate, I will be watching for some particular exchanges that could sway the small group of undecided voters who will be decisive in the election.

1. Which Trump will show up? As I prepared to moderate the final 2020 debate, one question loomed large: Would Trump deliver the same bombastic performance he displayed in the first debate? Trump’s allies urged him to show more restraint in the second debate, and he did. 

The former president’s inner circle is advising him to repeat that performance tonight, according to multiple Trump allies. One of them said that includes allowing Biden to speak at length, which Trump’s team believes could lead to moments that suggest to viewers that Biden is not capable of serving another term. Trump advisers also want him to attack Biden on such issues as the economy and border security.

Do you have a news tip? Let us know

2. Is Biden able to reverse perceptions about his strength? The Biden campaign and other Democrats view the debate as the first of several pivotal moments before early voting begins that they hope shift the dynamics of a race that remains incredibly close, with Trump narrowly leading in several key battleground states. 

Biden’s top aides know he needs to deliver a powerful performance, in no small part to prove to skeptical voters that he has what it takes to serve four more years in office.

“President Biden will have had a good night if he is able to make clear that he is doing this for all of the right reasons,” a top Democratic strategist told NBC News. “There will be some policy back-and-forth and zingers and a lot of disagreements, but at the end of the day the fundamental question will be who appears to have your back.”

3. How does Trump respond when his recent conviction becomes a topic? Trump has consistently and baselessly framed the criminal convictions as purely political and orchestrated by Biden to gain an advantage with voters. Tonight, he will have an opportunity to make that case in front of millions of Americans. So far, Trump’s convictions have done little to shift the overall dynamics of the race. 

A Trump adviser familiar with debate prep told NBC News: “Not only is Trump prepared but anticipating that Biden will hit him on the 34 felony counts.” 

Read more from “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker on what to watch tonight →

What we learned from watching 19 Biden and Trump debate performances

By natasha korecki and ben kamisar.

In the run-up to tonight’s debate, it’s been clear that Biden and Trump are anticipating a foe they know well. 

The two men twice debated each other in 2020 — with a third canceled after Trump contracted Covid. The first, a raucous affair that featured Trump’s constant interruptions and Biden labeling him a “clown” and a “liar,” and the second, a far more subdued event as the candidates made their last pitch to the voters.    

In recent weeks, Trump has made sure to raise expectations for Biden , while the president and his team have been strategizing on ways to get under Trump’s skin . The Biden and Trump campaigns have each waged a public war on the other’s mental faculties in the hope of injecting doubt about whether their opponent is up to the task of leading the nation.

NBC News watched a combined 19 debates that Biden and Trump have taken part in, looking for their common strategies, their ticks and how they handle tough moments. 

Here’s a look at those key themes to get an idea of what to expect tonight →

Stay tuned for a special post-debate edition of the newsletter tonight

Keep an eye on your inbox for a special edition of the From the Politics Desk newsletter tonight, where we will be recapping and analyzing the first 2024 debate between Biden and Trump.

The 90-minute event, hosted by CNN and simulcast on NBC News NOW, starts at 9 p.m. ET. Follow along with all the action on our live blog .

🗞️ Today’s top stories

  • ⚖️ Abortion decision: The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal in an Idaho abortion case, meaning doctors can perform emergency abortions in the state. But the ruling left the overall legal issue unresolved, and the court could revisit the question in another case. Read more →
  • 💊 Opioid settlement upended: The Supreme Court also blocked the bankruptcy reorganization for Purdue Pharma, threatening the $6 billion settlement with victims of the opioid epidemic. Read more →
  • 💲(Trade) war, what is it good for?: The New York Times explores Trump’s plans for increasing tariffs if he wins a second term, further escalating the trade war from his first stint in the White House. Read more →
  • 🗳️ Ballot drama: The North Carolina state Board of Elections blocked third-party presidential candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West from the state’s ballot for now. Read more →
  • 🍑 Minding their business – and more: Small-business owners in Atlanta weigh in on their views of Biden and Trump ahead of tonight’s debate, and detail how their votes will be decided by issues beyond their own profits. Read more →
  • 🌵 All eyes on November: Kari Lake skipped a GOP Senate primary debate in Arizona with Sheriff Mark Lamb last night, opting instead to focus on her potential Democratic opponent. Read more →
  • 🥎 Good news for the Bad News Babes: The women of the D.C. press corps (aka the Bad News Babes) defeated the women of Congress in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game last night. But the real victory was the record sum raised for the Young Survival Coalition, which supports young women with breast cancer. Read more →

That’s all from the Politics Desk for now. If you have feedback — likes or dislikes — email us at [email protected]

And if you’re a fan, please share with everyone and anyone. They can sign up here .


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    Prepare thoroughly: Confidence and believability come from being well-prepared. Research your debate topics and anticipate your and your opponent's arguments. Stay on topic: Time is limited, so focus on your points and allocate appropriate time for each. Speak slowly and clearly: Avoid rushing through your speech.

  15. 100+ Interesting Debate Topics

    100+ Debate Topics and Controversial Questions to Choose From. Coming up with a current and fascinating subject to debate can be tricky. You have to consider all sorts of things when picking a subject: whether you'll be able to talk long enough about it, how excited you feel about it, how easy it will be to research, what your English teacher will think of it, and much more.

  16. Research Guides: How to Research for a Debate Using Library Resources

    Still wondering if utilitarianism is a good framework for your case? Read Utilitarianism as a Criterion for State Action in Oxford Handbook of Public Choice, Vol 1. To further advance your understanding of utilitarianism, utopianism, or any other complex concept, use Online Journals, Newspapers,Periodicals and Scholarly E-Books.

  17. 200+ Debate Topics for College Students [2024]

    6.4 15 Psychology, Sociology, And Ethic Topics. 6.5 15 Policy And Finance Topics. 6.6 15 Leisure (Music, Games, Etc.) Topics. 6.7 15 Environment Topics. 6.8 15 History Topics. 7 35 Funny And Interesting Debate Topics. A debate is a usual and powerful task in colleges. It is an essential part of the academic program and an engaging activity for ...

  18. 30 Controversial But Good Debate Topics for Students

    In this section, we will explore a variety of controversial debate topics that are perfect for students to discuss and analyze. These topics range from issues within schools such as cell phone usage and dress codes, to larger societal issues like social media's impact and the death penalty. Each sub-section will provide thought-provoking ...

  19. 60 Debate Topics for High Schoolers

    Interest: The more interesting the topic is, the more engaged and excited students are to take positions and defend them. Passion: Topics that students feel strongly about work well. If students are super-passionate about a particular issue, it can challenge them to see both sides of the argument. Argument: Good debate topics do not have a ...

  20. 130 Argumentative Research Paper Topics for You

    The following is a list of ten good psychology research paper argument topics: The relationship between creativity and mental illness. The effect of social media on the development of personalities in children. The role of stress in the development of mental illness. The impact of social media on the development of personalities in children.

  21. How Should I Research for Debate?

    Step 2: Add quotation marks around multi-word keywords as well as necessary keywords that must be included in any article you want to read. Step 3: Past or type "filetype:pdf" into the search bar too, and SEARCH. Step 4: Click on an article or study. Step 5: Use Crtl + F to find any relevant keywords within the study.

  22. 125 Good Debate Topics for High and Middle Schoolers in 2024

    Health and Bioethics Debate Topics for High School. The use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports is never ethical. The use of GMOs should be banned from all agriculture. The cloning of humans is ethical. The government should legalize all drugs, and tax them as it does cigarettes and alcohol.

  23. 125 High School Debate Topics To Engage Every Student

    School and Education Debate Topics. It's better to be good at academics than to be good at sports. Final exams should be abolished. Students should be required to wear school uniforms. Private schools are better than public schools. Year-round school is better for students. Standardized tests are effective.

  24. 126 Good Informative Speech Topics

    This will inform the level of research you'll need to perform before you begin writing your speech. Research. In terms of selecting research sources, it's good to remember the three P's: peer-reviewed, published, and prestigious. A peer-reviewed source is one that has been evaluated by a group of experts in the field of the writer. It has ...

  25. These topics dominated the Trump-Biden debate

    The economy — a topic that has dominated the U.S. presidential debates for nearly 25 years, according to a Post review of debate transcripts — was again central in Thursday night's debate.

  26. The Most Important Presidential Debate Ever

    In the weeks before CNN's presidential debate I was skeptical of its significance. I didn't see a dramatic, high-stakes, pivotal showdown coming, only a moderately sized, pro forma moment in a ...

  27. President Debates in History That Moved the Needle

    The debate's biggest effect on public opinion was that it allowed Americans to see—or hear—the two candidates together. "That first debate probably made a big difference in Kennedy's favor ...

  28. A Debate Cheat Sheet for Business

    Here's what to watch for: Core P.C.E., which excludes volatile food and fuel prices, is forecast to come in at 2.6 percent on an annualized basis. That would be 0.2 percentage points lower than ...

  29. What you need to know for tonight's debate: From the Politics Desk

    🥎 Good news for the Bad News Babes: The women of the D.C. press corps (aka the Bad News Babes) defeated the women of Congress in the annual Congressional Women's Softball Game last night. But ...