199 Potential Topics For a Communication Research Paper

Updated March 10, 2023

A communication research paper can help cap your academic career and position you for a postgraduate career. Communication research topics span a wide range of subjects and issues about how people convey information, allowing you to make unique discoveries about human behavior. If you learn more information about communication research topics, you can often better write a successful research paper that leads to a job in your area of study.

In this article, we discuss different approaches you can take to writing a research paper, provide you some potential topics and share some tips to help you compose one.

Approaches for writing a communication research paper

When writing a communication research paper, you can take several different approaches:

Behaviorist approach

This social science approach posits that human behavior is somewhat predictable. It relies on big data and quantitative research to make predictions about future human behavior. For example, a political scientist might predict that a certain area of a state is going to vote for a specific candidate for the next presidential election based on historical voting patterns. In writing a communication research paper, you use data and trust-based observations to support a theory regarding human behavior.

Interpretive approach

The interpretive approach to writing a research paper assumes that you often can't predict human behavior. Using qualitative measures, the researcher seeks to understand the reasons why a person behaves in a certain way, rather than attempt to predict these reactions. It also focuses on empathizing with others. For example, an interpretive research paper on a communication topic might evaluate why different social groups make different conclusions after perceiving the same information.

Related: 12 Effective Communication Strategies To Use at Work

Subjective approach

A subjective approach to writing a research paper involves focusing on the lived, personal experiences of study participants or subjects. It also incorporates the researcher's perspective into the process. Many subjective research papers highlight power differentials within a society. A researcher might write a critical paper discussing current power structures or how political or economic structures have inherent biases. The researcher then might articulate examples to illustrate their points before making recommendations for change based on their own views.

Related: 21 Tips To Help You Communicate Better at Work

Postmodern approach

The postmodern approach to writing a research paper involves evaluating multiple subjective experiences to identify true statements about human behavior. As social structures can shift over time, postmodern theorists often create topics to understand the underlying causes of any changes that occur. They may also focus on specific social constructs that affect communication trends and practices, including gender, nationality, class, race, and ethnicity.

199 communication research topics

Here are some examples of communication research topics for different career fields and areas of academic study:

Journalism research topics

  1. Emerging spaces in journalism

  2. People-powered journalism

  3. Globalization and journalism

  4. Journalism and social-political conflict

  5. Science and the pursuit of truth in journalism

  6. How to report on science when the public is skeptical

  7. Checking the facts in science reporting

  8. Connecting with others through journalism

  9. How journalism and communication intersect

  10. Ethics in journalism

  11. Technology and journalism

  12. The communication divide between political parties

  13. The impact of socio-economic factors on voting

  14. How journalism can help fuel change in society

  15. Judgment and ethics in digital journalism

  16. How virtual propaganda impacts journalism

  17. Mass media trends and how people comment on them

  18. Corporate interests and journalism ethics

  19. Rise of politically driven or biased journalism

  20. How fear can drive journalism decisions

  21. Empowerment and journalism

  22. How digital technology changed the field of journalism

  23. Investigative journalism and the rise of technological development

  24. Pop culture and journalism

  25. How the media emotionally influences their audience

  26. How bias can rise in news media

  27. How the media decides what information to classify as news

Public relations research topics

  1. Public relations management

  2. Excellent practices to follow in public relations

  3. Managing public relations in a global landscape

  4. How public relations campaigns relate to communities

  5. Public relations on a global scale

  6. How interactive digital communities impact public relations

  7. Comparing roles within public relations

  8. Ethical practices in public relations

  9. Major factors in successful public relations campaigns

  10. Public relations and protecting confidential information online

  11. How public relations uses social media to connect with individuals

  12. Managing corporate reputations amidst conflict and controversy

  13. Creating a reality-based positive image

  14. How to make data-driven public relations decisions

  15. How big data is changing how public relations functions

  16. Influence of education on the public relations field

  17. Power of influencers for public relations

  18. How to convey public relations ideas in modern societies

  19. How communities foster modern communication

  20. Understanding demographics in public relations

  21. How data can help shape messaging

  22. How modern digital platforms influence how people communicate

  23. Using data to plan a public relations strategy

  24. Creating audience profiles to craft messaging

  25. Public health and communicating about a society's fundamental needs

  26. How to control and execute messaging

Advertising research topics

  1. Communicating with the public through advertising

  2. Creating effective messaging through advertising

  3. Creating a positive corporate image through advertising

  4. Impact of advertising on consumers

  5. Impact of technology on the advertising industry

  6. Managing culture differences through advertising

  7. Targeted advertising in the digital age

  8. Using geofencing as an advertising concept

  9. Advertising and the influence of mobile devices

  10. How to involve the audience in interactive advertising

  11. Romantic relationships and advertising in the digital age

  12. How the use of romance in advertising has changed

  13. Social media versus traditional media in advertisement campaigns

  14. Charting the future of advertising

  15. How data and demographics influence advertisements

  16. The importance of research in advertising

  17. Using big data to craft advertising campaigns

  18. Evolution of advertising and how it relates to advancements in communication

  19. Advertising trends in the 21st Century

  20. Ethics and messaging for children-based audiences

Cultural communication research topics

  1. How to approach the exchange of intercultural information

  2. Creating an intercultural dialogue

  3. Intercultural communication and modern society

  4. Encouraging intercultural communication

  5. How studying abroad can broaden intercultural understanding

  6. How corporate health insurance companies interact with marginalized communities

  7. International students and U.S. college education

  8. Assessing the effectiveness of intercultural communication

  9. Understanding an intercultural dialogue

  10. Assessing cultures and prophecies

  11. Communication in culture and folklore

  12. Modern communication in an intercultural world

  13. Immigration and cultural integration

  14. The socio-political influence of culture

  15. Cultural customs and how they impact society

  16. Defining ethnicity

  17. Nationality versus nationalism

  18. How race impacts modern communication

  19. Racism and how it impacts communication in modern society

  20. What is cultural appropriation and why it matters

  21. Loss of individualism in modern society

  22. How language can connect people

  23. Cultural diversity in politics

  24. How laws impact our cultural landscape

  25. Why people unite within a culture

Digital communication research topics

  1. Communicating in a global digital environment

  2. Having a virtual dialogue about cultural expression

  3. Mediating disputes virtually

  4. Finding success in a virtual classroom

  5. Virtual reality and the future of communication

  6. Training a team to work in a virtual environment

  7. Effective team communication in a digital workspace

  8. Importance of communication in creating team interaction styles

  9. Creating trust and teamwork in virtual teams

  10. Interpersonal communication in digital spaces

  11. Using digital tools to improve work communication

  12. Learning from public interactive forums

  13. The influence of blogs on consumer buying habits

  14. Effective use of email communication

  15. Importance of digital reviews in the modern marketplace

  16. Using corporate digital communication tools

  17. How video communication can affect relationships

  18. How communicating virtually can impact your mental health

  19. The ethics and legality of file sharing

  20. The changing landscape of digital communication

  21. Using messaging applications effectively to foster communication

  22. Digital communication and free speech

  23. Respecting privacy in the digital age

  24. How to protect your privacy in the digital age

  25. How digital technology has reshaped education

Social media research topics

  1. Social media and its influence on social movements

  2. Peer communication effects in social media on purchase patterns

  3. How using social media affects mental health

  4. Analyzing social interactions across various platforms

  5. How social media changed the influence of the traditional media

  6. How social media affected news consumption in different communities

  7. Social media and confirmation bias

  8. How social media can help during a crisis

  9. How social media changed marketing

  10. Creating brand identity on social media

  11. Social media and its influence on consumer decisions

  12. Social media and influencer marketing

  13. Social media and organized social action

  14. How social media has changed U.S. politics

  15. Social media and political advertising

  16. Social media and the consolidation of the internet

  17. How social media replaced big media

  18. Impact of social media advertising on traditional media

  19. Using targeted advertising effectively

  20. The future of cross-media communication

  21. Social media and the end of traditional social events

  22. How employers use social media to make hiring decisions

  23. Cyberbullying on social media

  24. Combating mistreatment on social media

  25. Creating a safe environment online for children

  26. Using social media to meet people

  27. Rise of video content on social media

  28. Influencers and ethics in advertising

  29. Creating safe social media platforms for teenagers

  30. Using consumer data for marketing ventures

  31. Helping small businesses navigate social media platforms

  32. How corporations use social media to create a brand identity

Leadership research topics

  1. What communication skills make a strong leader

  2. Effective communication styles of leaders

  3. Positive leadership outcomes and how they happened

  4. Effective internal communication for transforming an organization

  5. Importance of strategic communication

  6. Key leadership examples in modern societies

  7. Effective strategies for leading a virtual team

  8. Leadership styles and communication techniques

  9. Creating an effective communication process

  10. Relationship between communication styles and leadership

  11. How personality traits affect leadership and communication

  12. How communication leads to employee satisfaction

  13. Ways leaders communicate with their followers

  14. How leadership and effective communication can reshape an organization

  15. Acquiring respect through communication

  16. Strategies for communicating policy changes to an organization

  17. Presenting a leadership vision to a company

  18. How leaders shape and control a narrative

  19. Modern-day leaders and how they communicate

  20. Using past leadership practices to succeed in modern societies

  21. How leaders use virtual communication tools

  22. Communicating challenges to a team

  23. Communicating ideas to a team and how to implement them

Negotiations Topics

  1. How the media affects negotiation outcomes

  2. Using persuasive dialogue in negotiation

  3. Negotiation as a language-centered event

  4. Intercultural dialogue in negotiations

  5. Mediating disputes

  6. Effective language to use during negotiations

  7. Framing devices in a negotiation

  8. Negotiating and mediating social change

  9. Effective negotiating tactics in business

  10. Differences between business and political negotiations

  11. Negotiating environmental disputes

  12. Handling bias in negotiations

  13. Creating a negotiating process

  14. Using diplomacy to build relationships

  15. Mitigating corruption in modern communication

  16. Using power in modern negotiation

  17. Corporate negotiation tactics in modern societies

  18. How legislation can influence future negotiations

  19. How to get leverage in a corporate negotiation

  20. How racism influences international affairs

  21. Using modern communication tools in negotiations

Tips for writing a research paper

Here are some tips to help you write a research paper:

Stay focused on your topic

Create a specific thesis for your research paper. If you create a too-broad topic, your readers may have a limited understanding of your research findings. When you emphasize your topic, you can often stay on topic more easily. When editing your research paper, track any paragraph content that diverts into tangents or focuses on secondary information to see whether it's necessary for the final draft.

Related: 4 Types of Communication and How to Improve Them

Use high-quality sources

The quality of your paper can depend on the quality of your sources, as they can provide accurate and in-depth information. Try to use peer-reviewed published articles from reputable sources. This can help you use sources of high quality that others have vetted. Also, consider checking the paper's cited sources to see whether they present accurate facts and can provide useful data.

Related: 7 Tips for Improving Communication Skills

Remain objective when presenting facts

It's important to stay objective when conveying facts in a research paper, even if you're presenting a subjective point of view. This approach allows you to analyze your topic fully and counter any arguments. Depending on the type of paper you write, you might also change your perspective based on your research. If the research counters your topic's point of view, consider connecting with your academic adviser or supervisor to learn how to best approach the next step.


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