An investigative essay is a piece of writing based on the information you gather by investigating the topic. Unlike regular research or term paper, this assignment requires you to conduct interviews, study archival records, or visit relevant locations—in a word, inspect things personally.
If you’re a fan of detective stories, you know that carrying out an investigation is really exciting. Still, it takes a lot of work, and this article by our custom-writing experts will help you ace it. Here, you will find:
- 250 investigative essay topics;
- a step-by-step guide;
- a writing sample in PDF format.
🔝 Top 10 Investigative Essay Topics
- Endogamy in the modern world
- Why does music affect our mood?
- Pros and cons of being an influencer
- Does sport positively affect society?
- The long-term effect of workplace bullying
- The effect of long distance on relationships
- How is patriotism different from nationalism?
- How do international marriages affect children?
- Possible challenges of the foster care system
- Would free higher education be less efficient?
✅ What Is an Investigative Essay?
You can compare an investigative essay to a personal one with some thorough research thrown in. This type of assignment is not just about proving your point but also about demonstrating your authority on the subject. The best way to do it is by studying the topic first-hand.
According to the description by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, such an essay usually includes the following components:
- a review of scholarly sources;
- an investigation that you’ve conducted;
- your relevant personal experience.
Now that you know what you’re dealing with, let’s move on to our list of hot investigative titles.
🕵️ Topics for Investigative Essay: Different Subjects
Investigative Essay Topics about Society
- Problems in relationships between parents and children.
- Explore the typical characteristics of online dating sites’ users.
- What factors influence young people’s choice of occupation?
- What’s the purpose of creating fake accounts on social media?
- Does the reality TV show 16 and Pregnant glamorize teen pregnancy?
- Celebrities as role models: what impact do they have on teenagers?
- Investigate the correlation between politics and law.
- Assess the religious beliefs of adolescents in the selected country
- What makes children and students start smoking?
- Does Instagram motivate people to lead a healthy lifestyle?
- Reasons for anti-lockdown protests during the COVID-19 pandemic
- What is it like to be a child-free woman in a family-centered society?
- Investigate the reasons for women’s reluctance to report rape cases.
- Gender inequality in court cases related to child custody.
- Research the causes of Europeans’ negative attitudes toward refugees.
- What community-based services are especially helpful for the elderly?
- Societal attitudes toward women in managerial positions.
- Sports fans’ attitudes toward the incidents of rule violations by professional athletes.
- Children’s participation in the workforce in the past. Nowadays, children’s labor is seen as entirely inappropriate. However, the situation was different in the past, which may be interesting to investigate. You can use primary sources written during the times of the Industrial Revolution. may be interesting to investigate. You can use primary sources written during the times of the Industrial Revolution.
- How does the media raise society’s awareness about climate change? Media plays a major role in shaping public attitudes. An investigation essay can explore how it affects society’s views on topical issues such as climate change. Use films, news, posters, and ads as sources for this investigation.
- Gender-based stereotypes about food. You can conduct a survey exploring people’s attitudes toward specific foods. For example, meat is often perceived as food for men and salad as food preferred by women. Advertisements may also help you identify gender-based stereotypes.
- The impact of a disability acquired after marriage on marital relationships. This topic suggests interviewing married couples in which one of the spouses became disabled after marriage. It may provide insights into how an acquired disability affects the relationship.
- Interpersonal conflicts in adolescence. To investigate this topic, you may interview several adolescents. Ask them about who they often have conflicts with. What are the reasons for their disagreements? How can they find a way out of the situation?
- Shopping habits and their relation to culture and values. Start by observing and interviewing customers in a shop of your choice. Do they share similar shopping habits? Are they thinking about the environment when making purchases? Find out if their shopping behavior reflects their values.
- Juvenile crime prevention from social workers’ perspective. Ask several social workers about the major factors related to juvenile crime. They may also share their opinions about how society can handle this issue.
- How memes emerge and vanish. Internet memes are viral content that is often created in response to social and political events. It may be interesting to investigate the memes that were popular at some point in time. What caused their emergence and popularity? Why did they disappear?
- Boundaries of subordination: what you can and cannot say to your boss. The relationship of subordination influences people’s behavior. It also sets specific limits on what is acceptable. A conversation with a director can help reveal what topics can be safely discussed with superiors. You can also conduct a similar interview with employees.
Topics for Investigative Essay in Healthcare
- Palliative care specialists’ attitudes toward euthanasia.
- Do physicians support pharmaceutical advertising to the general public?
- The role of HR management in medical organizations
- What are the dietitians’ opinions about vegetarian diets?
- Experiences of nurses providing care to patients with COVID-19
- Investigate the challenges faced by parents who raise a child with a food allergy.
- Evaluate schoolchildren’s knowledge and practices of hand hygiene.
- Observe the patterns of smartphone addiction.
- Research ways of teaching people to provide first aid to someone having a seizure.
- How do healthcare professionals provide care to deaf people?
- Did the COVID-19 lockdown encourage the use of telehealth?
- Nurses’ attitudes toward the use of electronic health records.
- The role of pediatricians in the early detection of autism.
- What challenges to maintaining a healthy diet do patients with diabetes have?
- How should parents talk with their children about alcohol use?
- Experiences of people caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.
- How do people’s lives change after cancer treatment?
- Do body-positive Instagram accounts promote obesity?
- How can technology help in tracking medications?
- What do pediatricians do when parents disagree on the child’s treatment?
- Pros and cons of cosmetic surgery from a surgeon’s perspective. Modern beauty standards compel some people, especially women, to undergo cosmetic surgery. Is it indeed worth it? An interview with a plastic surgeon can uncover the issues related to such operations.
- Why do people resort to alternative medicine? Many alternative therapies are not scientifically proven to be beneficial. Yet, some people choose alternative or herbal medicine over conventional treatment. What are good effects of them? Conduct a survey to gain some valuable insights into this issue.
- School nurses’ role in preventing childhood obesity. Nurses working at schools can notice students’ obesity early by measuring their BMI. An interview with a school nurse can show how these professionals help with the problem of childhood obesity.
- The relationship between physical exercise and mood. Evaluate your mood before and after exercise. You may go to the gym and ask people to participate in the experiment. Then, explain the results by findings from scholarly research.
- How do physicians use digital technology at work? To conduct this investigation, recall a visit to a physician. Did the doctor use technology for medical purposes? Interviews may also provide valuable insights.
- Do people agree that the costs of healthcare services are fair in the US? The costs of medical services often make Americans run into debt. You can try to reveal whether people find high prices justified. You may also compare patients’ views of healthcare pricing to those of physicians.
- Differences in attitudes toward blood donation between donors and non-donors. Conduct interviews with donors to reveal their motivation to donate blood. Similarly, conversations with those who have never donated can help discover what hinders them. Are there any barriers or negative attitudes?
- How does advertising promote unhealthy eating habits? For this paper, review advertisements on TV, social media, etc. How many of them encourage harmful product consumption? Try to notice any ads promoting healthy foods. In conclusion, compare which advertisements are more prevalent.
- People’s motivation for involvement in the anti-vaccination movement. To investigate this topic, review thematic forums or social media groups. There, people may disclose their opinions about vaccination. You may also question activists for additional evidence.
- The impact of pets on the well-being of older adults. Domestic animals are believed to be beneficial for people’s mental health. Conversations with elderly pet owners are a suitable research method for this essay. It can help discover ways in which animals improve their well-being. Domestic animals are believed to be beneficial for people’s mental health. Conversations with elderly pet owners are a suitable research method for this essay. It can help discover ways in which animals improve their well-being.
When it comes to medicine, you can observe hospitals’ inner workings or research existing issues. For more ideas, feel free to read our list of healthcare research ideas. An exploratory paper or an extended investigation essay on one of these topics will definitely earn you an A+.
Investigative Essay Topics in Business
- Why do some applicants lie on their CVs?
- Do companies benefit from engaging in charity?
- Reasons for switching jobs among millennials.
- Do employers value experience more than qualifications?
- How do companies ensure a healthy working environment?
- How do HR departments measure employee retention rates?
- How did small businesses survive the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Employees’ views on working overtime.
- Why do customers agree to pay a higher price for branded things?
- How do remote employees balance work and leisure?
- Why do technology companies prefer to hire young workers?
- How did feminism influence the marketing of products for women?
- The leader’s challenges in a diverse workplace.
- Why is overqualification a problem for HR managers in small firms?
- How do companies conduct market research?
- Write about the reasons for the early retirement of employees.
- How do employers use non-disclosure agreements with employees?
- What is the value of preparing business reports for small companies?
- How do small companies ensure workforce diversity?
- The implementation of CRM systems in the hospitality industry.
- Drivers of and barriers to outsourcing in an organization. For this essay, select a particular business organization. Explore whether it implements outsourcing and what its reasons are for this decision. What enables it to outsource? What hinders it from doing so?
- Human resource management in small companies. Visit a small local company to investigate how it manages its personnel. Possible things to explore are how the company hires and retains its staff. What challenges pertain to HR management in small companies?
- What are the effects of nepotism in family firms? Nepotism is a tendency to hire family members rather than strangers. Generally, it is viewed as a negative phenomenon. Still, it’s a common practice in family businesses. For this essay, interview workers of a family company to investigate the influence of nepotism in the workplace.
- The presence of misleading advertisements on the Internet. Ads on the Internet are often placed as banners or embedded in videos. You can review some online ads to find out if they present false information. Why is it an important ethical issue?
- Gender discrimination in the workplace. Women often report being discriminated against at work. Conduct interviews with female employees to determine whether they have experienced workplace discrimination. If yes, how did it affect their careers?
- Do small companies practice corporate social responsibility? CSR is usually seen as an attribute of large international corporations. However, small businesses can also integrate CSR practices. Choose one or several small companies and investigate whether they take care of their communities.
- How do companies use social media for employer branding? Select a company that uses social media for online recruitment advertising. How does it shape its brand image through social media posts? If possible, contact the company’s HR manager to ask about the effectiveness of this practice.
- Company rituals and their influence on employees’ engagement. Choose a company and investigate what workplace rituals are practiced there. You can observe it yourself or ask an HR manager. Conversation with an employee can reveal their attitudes toward this practice. In particular, you can assess whether it increases workers’ engagement.
- Reasons for unethical behaviors in the workplace. Interview employees that were involved in corrupt work practices. It may be a salesperson putting pressure on customers or an office employee doing unrelated work during working hours. Find out why they engaged in such behaviors. Were there any negative consequences?
- How do firms increase the retention of night shift employees? Working at night can be challenging for the staff. For some workers, night shifts may become a reason to quit the job. You can consult HR managers of companies working round the clock. How do they motivate employees to perform their duties at night?
Are you interested in business management issues? Go to a nearby shop and investigate how its owners manage to run a successful business when there are so many popular supermarkets around. Or, check out our list of business topics if you need our help on picking an essay idea.
Topics for Investigative Essay in Education
- What makes high school students want to pursue higher education?
- Parental involvement in children’s secondary school education.
- Do students understand the value of their e-portfolios?
- How do teachers educate students with autism?
- Assessment of media literacy in high school students.
- Mobile devices in higher education: a distraction or a learning opportunity?
- Reasons for high dropout rates in online courses.
- Research parents’ experiences during COVID-19 school closures.
- Investigate the benefits of career counseling for graduates.
- How do parents create financial plans for their child’s college education?
- The main challenges faced by international students in higher education.
- How do schools prevent the use of weapons by students?
- Are metal detectors effective in ensuring school safety?
- The use of technology for communication between parents and school personnel.
- Research challenges in teaching mathematical concepts.
- Evaluate the use of guided reading in elementary school.
- What strategies do teachers use to manage classroom behavior?
- How can you distinguish between diploma mills and legitimate institutions?
- How do schools furnish classrooms for children with special needs?
- Find out about teachers’ motivation to work in rural schools.
- How do teachers educate students with hearing loss and deafness? Observe the teaching process in a school for children with impaired hearing. Interviews with teachers will help you identify effective education strategies. You can also focus this investigation on existing challenges.
- Difficulties in teaching online courses in higher education. E-learning poses unique challenges to teachers. They can provide their perspectives on online classes. You may also ask them to share their strategies for overcoming problems.
- Inclusive education from the parents’ perspective. Schools in which children with intellectual disabilities study together with healthy children are considered beneficial. It may be helpful to learn whether parents of children with and without intellectual disabilities support this type of education. Schools in which children with intellectual disabilities study together with healthy children are considered beneficial. It may be helpful to learn whether parents of children with and without intellectual disabilities support this type of education.
- Teachers’ use of educational games in the classroom. Interview teachers about their use of games during classes. You can also attend a lesson that includes educational games. How do students respond to such learning activities?
- Do teachers prefer open educational resources over costly textbooks? Students are likely to favor downloadable books over physical ones. Do instructors share their attitudes toward course materials? Interviews with several teachers may help find it out.
- Implications of lifelong learning in a particular profession. For this investigation, choose a specific occupation, such as nursing or teaching. With the help of interviews, find out whether professionals in the selected field follow the principle of lifelong learning. Evaluate if this concept applies to their occupation.
- The value of internships for college students. Talk to people about their student internships about the benefits they gained from this experience. Try focusing on the duties they performed and the feedback they received.
- What do students learn by participating in school-community partnerships? Some schools collaborate with community services. It provides learning benefits for students and helps communities. Conduct interviews with students who took part in such programs. How did it improve their learning experience?
- How do schools cope with bullying among students? Review the school policies related to bullying behaviors. Interview the school administration to learn how they’re addressing this issue. It’s also possible to ask students about how they are protected from this problem.
- Teachers’ attitudes toward the use of standardized testing. Standardized tests are meant to provide a neutral evaluation of students’ achievements. However, many people see faults in this system. Interview several teachers about their opinion on standardized testing. Is it an appropriate scientific method of measuring knowledge?
There are plenty of issues to explore when it comes to education. You can choose a topic related to the teaching process as well as to students’ experience. You may also get additional ideas from our education topics list.
Investigation Essay Topics: Science and Technology
- How do healthcare providers use telehealth to care for older patients?
- Investigate the difference between manual and automated contact tracing.
- Explore the use of recycling in drinking water production.
- What’s the impact of air pollution on food production?
- How is video calling used in prisons?
- What are the applications of virtual reality technologies in education?
- Review the peculiarities of accident investigation.
- How do astronomers detect approaching comets?
- Write about landslides and their correlation with geography.
- How do parents ensure their children’s cybersecurity?
- What challenges do companies face when transitioning to alternative energy sources?
- Explore what the authorities do to take down dark web marketplaces.
- Investigate the security and privacy risks of smart toys.
- How do forensic scientists use various techniques to solve crimes?
- Challenges faced by small-scale farmers in the adoption of organic farming
- What materials are used in 3D printing in healthcare?
- The use of GIS technologies by fleet operators
- What cyborg products are already available on the market?
- How do small companies deal with cyber threats?
- Why do consumers oppose genetically modified food? Conduct an Internet survey to determine people’s attitudes toward GMOs. In addition, you can assess individuals’ knowledge about such products. It will help to identify whether people’s misunderstanding of GM food is linked to their negative attitudes.
- How does structural biology help develop vaccines? For this essay, visit a laboratory. Observe how structural biology is applied in vaccine research. What makes this approach effective?
- Can AI be effective in detecting fake news? Several AI-based tools have been developed to combat misinformation. Choose one of them and investigate whether it can identify fake news and help journalists combat it. It’s also possible to compare the effectiveness of several existing tools.
- Do healthcare professionals support the use of mobile apps for weight management? Study a mobile app designed to help people lose excess weight. Then show it to a medical professional dealing with overweight patients. What’s their expert opinion about the app’s usefulness?
- Do users notice the filter bubble in their Facebook newsfeeds? The filter bubble refers to personalized content recommended to users based on their search history. Explore whether people on Facebook notice it when scrolling their newsfeeds. Do their experiences vary depending on how often they use social media?
- How has technology changed children’s leisure time activities? Observe how children spend their free time during a break or in a playground. Note how many everyday leisure activities are linked to technology.
- Do people’s social media profiles influence hiring decisions? Social media have become an essential part of people’s lives. Make inquiry whether HR managers review candidates’ social media profiles to make a hiring decision.
- What is ethical hacking, and what benefits can it bring? Hacking is not always destructive and results in losses or complaints. For example, Kevin Mitnick, a famous American hacker, helps large firms to protect themselves from security breaches. For this investigative essay, interview a professional who uses hacking for a good purpose. Find out what benefits it brings to people and organizations.
- How did the issue of “Truth Decay” manifest itself during COVID-19? “Truth Decay” refers to a decreasing significance of facts and a blurring difference between facts and opinions. To investigate this issue, conduct a questionnaire to learn how people searched for information about COVID-19 and how they checked data reliability.
There are so many things you can write an investigation essay on. For example, look into natural processes or workings of some intricate device. With our list of topics in science and technology, the possibilities are endless.
Investigative Essay Topics on Arts and Culture
- What’s your position on advertisements as an art form?
- How did feminism influence art?
- What is the philosophy of Gaga dance created by Ohad Naharin?
- Analyze the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal cases.
- How is music used in therapy?
- Investigate the negative consequences of color-blind casting in theater productions.
- Explore the differences between traditional and computer-generated music.
- How is art used as a form of protest?
- Do modern tattoos convey any messages?
- Investigate child-rearing practices in a selected culture
- Select and analyze movies and songs that promote women’s equality.
- What does the anti-consumerism movement do?
- Explore the experience of culture shock in international students.
- Changes in the representation of superheroes in the 21st century.
- Investigate the characteristics of urban legends.
- How does Hollywood contribute to the public’s perception of Arabs?
- What are the distinctive features of Black English?
- Explore the design and purpose of unisex clothing.
- How do video games reflect culture?
- How does ethnic clothing affect fashion trends?
- Do theaters still find their audience in the modern world? For this investigation, visit a theater and evaluate its audience. Notice the number of spectators and their demographics. You may also interview the viewers to discover their motivation to visit theatres.
- Celebrations and holidays in one’s community. For this topic, you may choose a holiday and observe how your community celebrates it. Explore whether people wear something special during the celebration or cook specific meals for the occasion. Try to discover the meaning of the holiday and its significance to the community.
- An investigation of contemporary ethnic music. Find some contemporary performers of traditional music. Pay attention to its distinctive features. What instruments do they use? What are the common motifs in the tunes and lyrics? Analyze how it differs from the ethnic music of the past.
- Should photography be censored? Take a stance on this controversial issue. Prove your point by finding suitable photographic images. For example, search for powerful and influential photographs that could not be available to the public if censored. You might need to use qualitative research.
- The culture of toxic masculinity and its media representation. Review media, such as TV shows, journalism, advertisements, cartoons, and movies. Find examples of how the idea of toxic masculinity is represented. Analyze whether this culture is harmful to society and, if so, what its adverse effects are.
- Why are many young adults attracted to anime? A person unfamiliar with anime can think it’s just another kind of children’s cartoons. In fact, a large portion of its audience is adults. To investigate why young adults are interested in it, visit an anime festival. There you can interview many fans about their preferences in animation.
- What will the lyrics of modern songs tell future generations about contemporary culture? Art is a valuable source of information about past generations. One day, contemporary music will become history, and perhaps our descendants will study it. Explore the lyrics of popular modern songs. What information about our culture can they pass on to the next generation?
- The use of cultural trends in coolhunting. Coolhunting is a modern marketing trick. Marketers research popular cultural trends and use them to attract young customers. For this essay, visit a large retailer’s website and notice how it uses coolhunting.
- A semiotic analysis of packaging. Semiotics refers to signs and symbols used in a particular culture. Visit a retail store and explore the packaging of products on the shelves. Notice the use of cultural signs and try to uncover their meaning. For example, white may symbolize purity and safety, while transparent bottles may imply the brand’s trustworthiness.
Historical Investigation Essay Topics
- Investigate the causes of the Great Depression.
- Analyze the historical significance of the battle of Gettysburg.
- Research how the French revolution influenced the support of human rights.
- Investigate the reasons and consequences of general Howe’s failure.
- The Meiji restoration and its influence on Japan development.
- Modern history: investigate the issues of civil rights in the early 1960s.
- Discuss the role of women in the Civil Rights Movement.
- Explain the outcomes of the French and Indian war.
- Examine the consequences of the fall of the Roman Empire.
- Investigate the aspects of admiral Zheng He’s voyages.
- Why did the Cold War start?
- Analyze the reasons for conflict between the North and South of the United States.
- Discuss the significance of progressivism for American social construction.
- Investigate the reasons for the Cuban missile crisis.
- Examine the causes of destructive consequences of the Great Fire of London.
Check out our history topic list to gain more ideas for your investigation.
Criminal Investigation Essay Topics
- Analyze the peculiarities of white-collar crimes investigation.
- Discuss the complications of human trafficking investigation.
- How to reduce the human trafficking of children.
- Who investigates fraud cases?
- Why behavioral theories are important for investigation of juvenile delinquency.
- Examine how the neighborhood affects the crime people commit.
- How are the causes of police brutality investigated in the United States?
- Analyze the role of physical science in criminal investigations.
- The essential role of the first responding officer in crime scene investigation.
- Discuss the process of investigation, surveillance, and prosecution for cybercrimes.
- Describe the role of fingerprint technology and recognition systems in criminal investigations.
- How are footwear and tire track evidence collected?
- Why is the pre-sentence investigation report important?
- Explain the essence of the Federal Rule of Evidence and its meaning for investigation and prosecution.
- Analyze the role of Robert Merton’s theory in juvenile crime investigation.
These are just examples of possible topics. We want to remind you that your investigation writing and presentation can focus on absolutely anything, from volcanoes in South Africa or Latin America to British law enforcement.
You are also free to use our topic generator.
✍️ How to Write an Investigative Report Essay
Let’s examine the process step by step. We’ll start with the pre-writing stage.
Step #1. Choose a topic.
Determining your area of interest will help you pinpoint a perfect topic. To begin with, ask yourself the following questions:
|❓||Is there anything you’ve been wondering about over the past week?|
|❓||Is there a subject you’ve been fascinated by your whole life?|
|❓||Do you have access to anything that may be interesting to investigate first-hand?|
|❓||Will you be able to study it sufficiently over the time you have?|
Step #2. Formulate a research question.
Answering this question will be the main aim of your essay. Make sure that it doesn’t have a simple and obvious answer. It should also be broad enough for you to spend 5-6 pages answering it.
Step #3. Choose a type of research.
This step depends on the subject you’ve chosen. If your topic revolves around a personal problem, consider conducting an interview. If it’s about an artwork, go see it yourself. If you choose to write about a location, make sure to visit it. You can also combine several types of research.
Step #4 Write an annotated bibliography.
Making a list of sources will save you the trouble of looking for them at the last minute. It will also help you figure out the scope of your study and see what you need to improve. Include primary sources as well as secondary.
Step #5. Draft your essay.
It’s best to write the basic outline after you’re done with the preliminary research. By that time, you will know your essay’s main idea and central insight. Make sure to check out our guide on how to write different types of outlines!
Step #6. Get down to writing.
Need to learn how to craft an excellent investigation essay? Check out the following section.
Investigative Essay Outline
To understand how to organize your paper, let’s have a look at the essay template and see how to start and what to include in each of them:
That’s it! Now you know how to write a brilliant investigative essay.
📋 Investigative Essay Example for Free
Looking for investigative essay examples? Well, you’re in luck! We are here to provide you with an example of an investigation essay in MLA style. You can download the PDF file below:
The fashion world is constantly evolving. Trends are actively changing together with the society, its values, and demands. With the creation of fashion houses and the development of the Internet, trends emerge and vanish faster than they ever did before.
We hope this article helped you to write an awesome investigative essay! If you liked it, make sure to share it with your friends or leave us a comment. Good luck!
🤔 Investigative Essay FAQ
An investigative essay is a structured report on your research project or another kind of investigation. In such a paper, you describe the subject and the aspects under study, present your observations, corresponding hypotheses, and supporting arguments, and make logical conclusions. It is usually written in formal report writing format.
- Think about the aspects of your research subject that are worth describing.
- Draft the list of such elements with corresponding conclusions.
- Create an outline for your report.
- Write an introduction with a high-level overview of the topic.
- Structure the body paragraphs.
- Write a logical conclusion for the whole investigation.
In essence, a researchable topic is a subject you are going to investigate, especially its particular aspects under study. There are specific criteria for choosing a research topic. Ideally, your investigation should be devoted to a problem you are personally interested in.
The choice of your research topic depends on multiple factors, e.g.:
- Your study level (school, college, doctoral research, etc.);
- The time you have for research;
- The specific task you get;
- The budget for research,
- Your personal interests,
- Technical facilities, etc.
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