Literary fiction: Good research paper topics

With a wide range of themes, literary fiction offers many research topics.

With a wide range of themes, literary fiction offers many research topics.

Students of literary fiction looking for good research paper topics have many choices. The field has a diverse range of themes and genres, such as women’s studies, folklore, mysteries, theatrical and drama, popular fiction, science fiction, African American fiction and many more. Here are some tips for choosing a topic and conducting research.

Many genres of literary fiction 

Romantic literature – One of the many areas of research in literary fiction is romantic literature, which focuses on poetry, novels and travel writing created between the 1780s and 1820s. Elizabeth A. Bohls remarked in her book “Romantic Literature and Postcolonial Studies,” 2013, “In three decades, the study of Romantic literature has changed dramatically. When I entered graduate school in 1982, a narrow canon still dominated the field … [with] Jane Austen and Sir Walter Scott inhabiting a kind of parallel universe. … [N]ot until the very end of the twentieth century did a critical mass of scholars of Romantic literature come to see colonialism and empire as crucial parts of that matrix.”

Popular fiction – Another genre is popular fiction, which some academics debate how to categorize and study. In “Caught between cultural and literary studies. Popular fiction’s double otherness,” author Michael Butter, in Journal of Literary Theory, January 24, 2011, wrote that “despite various laudable exceptions, popular fiction still has not received as much attention as its importance would merit. The answer I propose is that popular fiction is caught in the middle between cultural and literary studies. Popular fiction, I argue here, is characterized by a double otherness: as popular fiction it is not what people in cultural studies are chiefly interested in, but what they tend to leave to their colleagues in literary studies.”

Technoculture studies Popular today is technoculture studies and literature – a look at how technology is influencing human culture. University of California at Riverside is offering its new Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies program. “This program will examine the histories and cultures of science, technology and medicine to understand the role that culture plays in the production of science and how changes in science and technology have shaped culture,” explained Stephen Cullenberg, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences in “Science fiction, technoculture studies take off,” posted by Bettye Miller on August 30, 2013.

If you’re searching for a good research paper topic on fiction, you have many choices. To help you narrow down a topic or genre, check out for some great sources and search the Internet and university databases. offers a library of resources for research on literary fiction.

• Literature – encompasses all genres

• Fiction – offers sources for novels, novelists, short stories, mystery, science fiction and children’s literature

• Drama – offers plays, theater, musicals and Shakespeare

• Myth and folklore – collects resources on oral traditions and mythology

• Literary styles – includes romanticism, realism, feminist, gothic, Arthurian, Victorian, modern and more

University databases and literary guides are among the resources for fiction studies:

The Modern Fiction Studies journal, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, offers historical, theoretical and interdisciplinary debate and analysis on modern and contemporary fiction.

Weber State University in Utah has links to Contemporary American Literature ( with catalogs, electronic books, Literature Resource Center, Academy of American Poets, Lit Finder, book reviews and article databases.

The Literary Resources page ( at Rutgers University in New Jersey has an extensive list of links to American literature, poetry, Native American literature, literature of the American South and a huge list of links for American authors including Robert Frost, Louisa May Alcott, Isaac Asimov, F. Scott Fitzgerald and more.

DePauw University in Indiana offers the Science Fiction Studies resource page ( with links to scholarly journals, newsletters, book series, literary organizations, library collections and guides.

Women’s Studies Online Resources ( at University of Maryland lists information-rich websites and email lists for gender and women’s studies.

Michigan State University features the African American Studies Research Guide ( listing books covering the diverse fields of literature, articles, e-books, online courses and lectures, and African American Studies Readings.

The Latino Studies list ( by Oxford University Press presents Cuban literature, Puerto Rican literature, Dominican American literature, comics, theater, telenovelas and young adult literature.

For a variety of fiction genres and topics to choose from, check out’s Literature and Fiction pages. 

What genres of literary fiction would you like to research?

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