Music is a vast and ever-growing field. Because of this, it can be challenging to find excellent music research topics for your essay or thesis. Although there are many examples of music research topics online, not all are appropriate.
This article covers all you need to know about choosing suitable music research paper topics. It also provides a clear distinction between music research questions and topics to help you get started.
What Makes a Strong Music Research Topic?
A strong music research topic must be short, straightforward, and easy to grasp. The primary aim of music research is to apply various research methods to provide valuable insights into a particular subject area. Therefore, your topic must also address issues that are relevant to present-day readers.
Also, for your research topic to be compelling, it should not be overly generic. Try to avoid topics that seem to be too broad. A strong research topic is always narrow enough to draw out a comprehensive and relevant research question.
Tips for Choosing a Music Research Topic
- Check with your supervisor. In some cases, your school or supervisor may have specific requirements for your research. For example, some music programs may favor a comparative instead of a descriptive or correlational study. Knowing what your institution demands is essential in choosing an appropriate research topic.
- Explore scientific papers. Journal articles are a great way to find the critical areas of interest in your field of study. You can choose from a wide range of journals such as The Journal of Musicology and The Journal of the Royal Musical Association. These resources can help determine the direction of your research.
- Determine your areas of interest. Choosing a topic you have a personal interest in will help you stay motivated. Researching music-related subjects is a painstakingly thorough process. A lack of motivation would make it difficult to follow through with your research and achieve optimal results.
- Confirm availability of data sources. Not all music topics are researchable. Before selecting a topic, you must be sure that there are enough primary and secondary data sources for your research. You also need to be sure that you can carry out your research with tested and proven research methods.
- Ask your colleagues: Asking questions is one of the many research skills you need to cultivate. A short discussion or brainstorming session with your colleagues or other music professionals could help you identify a suitable topic for your research paper.
What’s the Difference Between a Research Topic and a Research Question?
A research topic is a particular subject area in a much wider field that a researcher chooses to place his emphasis on. Most subjects are extensive. So, before conducting research, a researcher must first determine a suitable area of interest that will act as the foundation for their investigation.
Research questions are drawn from research topics. However, research questions are usually more streamlined. While research topics can take a more generic viewpoint, research questions further narrow the focus down to specific case studies or seek to draw a correlation between two or more datasets.
How to Create Strong Music Research Questions
Strong music research questions must be relevant and specific. Music is a broad field with many genres and possible research areas. However, your research question must focus on a single subject matter and provide valuable insights. Also, your research question should be based on parameters that can be quantified and studied using available research methods.
Top 10 Music Research Paper Topics
1. Understanding Changes in Music Consumption Patterns
Although several known factors affect how people consume music, there is still a significant knowledge gap regarding how these factors influence listening choices. Your music research paper could outline some of these factors that affect music consumer behavior and highlight their mechanism of action.
2. Hip-hop Culture and Its Effect on Teenage Behavior
In 2020, hip-hop and RnB had the highest streaming numbers, according to Statista. Without a doubt, hip-hop music has had a significant influence on the behavior of young adults. There is still the need to conduct extensive research on this subject to determine if there is a correlation between hip-hop music and specific behavioral patterns, especially among teenagers.
3. The Application of Music as a Therapeutic Tool
For a long time, music has been used to manage stress and mental health disorders like anxiety, PTSD, and others. However, the role of music in clinical treatment still remains a controversial topic. Further research is required to separate fact from fiction and provide insight into the potential of music therapy.
4. Contemporary Rock Music and Its Association With Harmful Social Practices
Rock music has had a great influence on American culture since the 1950s. Since its rise to prominence, it has famously been associated with vices such as illicit sex and abuse of recreational drugs. An excellent research idea could be to evaluate if there is a robust causal relationship between contemporary rock music and adverse social behaviors.
5. The Impact of Streaming Apps on Global Music Consumption
Technology has dramatically affected the music industry by modifying individual music consumption habits. Presently, over 487 million people subscribe to a digital streaming service, according to Statista. Your research paper could examine how much of an influence popular music streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have had on how we listen to music.
6. Effective American Music Education Practices
Teaching practices have always had a considerable impact on students’ academic success. However, not all strategies have an equal effect in enhancing learning experiences for students. You can conduct comparative research on two or more American music education practices and evaluate their impact on learning outcomes.
7. The Evolution of Music Production in the Technology-driven Era
One of the aspects of music that is experiencing a massive change is sound production. More than ever before, skilled, tech-savvy music producers are in high demand. At the moment, music producers earn about $70,326 annually, according to ZipRecruiter. So, your research could focus on the changes in music production techniques since the turn of the 21st century.
8. Jazz Music and Its Influence on Western Music Genres
The rich history of jazz music has established it as one of the most influential genres of music since the 19th century. Over the years, several famous composers and leading voices across many other western music genres have been shaped by jazz music’s sound and culture. You could carry out research on the influence of this genre of music on modern types of music.
9. The Effect of Wars on Music
Wars have always brought about radical changes in several aspects of culture, including music styles. Throughout history, we have witnessed wars result in the death of famous musicians. If you are interested in learning about music history in relation to global events, a study on the impact of wars on music will make an excellent music research paper.
10. African Tribal Percussion
African music is well recognized for its unique application of percussion. Historically, several tribes and cultures had their own percussion instruments and original methods of expression. Unfortunately, this musical style has mainly gone undocumented. An in-depth study into ancient African tribal percussion would make a strong music research paper.
Other Examples of Music Research Topics & Questions
Music Research Topics
- Popular musical styles of the 20th century
- The role of musical pieces in political movements
- Biographies of influential musicians during the baroque period
- The influence of classical music on modern-day culture
- The relationship between music and fashion
Music Research Questions
- What is the relationship between country music and conservationist ideologies among middle-aged American voters?
- What is the effect of listening to Chinese folk music on the critical thinking skills of high school students?
- How have electronic music production technologies influenced the sound quality of contemporary music?
- What is the correlation between punk music and substance abuse among Black-American males?
- How does background music affect learning and information retention in children?
Choosing the Right Music Research Topic
Your research topic is the foundation on which every other aspect of your study is built. So, you must select a music research topic that gives you room to adequately explore intriguing hypotheses and, if possible, proffer practically applicable solutions.
Also, if you seek to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, you must be prepared to conduct research during your study. Choosing the right music research topic is the first step in guaranteeing good grades and delivering relevant, high-quality contributions in this constantly expanding field.
Music Research Topics FAQ
What is the right length for a good music research topic?
A good music research topic should be between 10 to 12 words long. Long, wordy music essay topics are usually confusing. They can make it difficult for readers to understand the goal of your research. Avoid using lengthy phrases or vague terms that could confuse the reader.
Where can I find resources for my music research?
Journal articles are the best place to find helpful resources for your music research. You can explore reputable, high-impact journal articles to see if any research has been done related to your chosen topic. Journal articles also help to provide data for comparison while carrying out your research.
What are primary and secondary sources?
Primary sources carry out their own research and cite their own data. In contrast, secondary sources report data obtained from a primary source. Although primary sources are regarded as more credible, you can include a good mixture of primary and secondary sources in your research.
What are the research methods for music research?
The most common research methods for music research are qualitative, quantitative, descriptive, and analytical. Your research strategy is arguably the most crucial part of your study. You must learn different research methods to determine which one would be the perfect fit for your particular research question.