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169+ Debate Topics List | Controversial Topics [2021 Guide]

HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD DEBATE TOPIC?

Assuming that all students will agree if it is said that,

It is absolutely hard to choose a good debate topic.

HOWEVER, this page will help you to learn

-how you can decide whether a topic is debatable or not

-what pros and cons are, and the way that you use them in an essay

-the simplest way of researching a discussion topic

-writing a good debate essay

-popular debate topics list for 2020

There is a huge list that includes 34 main debate headlines and 169 topics below.

FOLLOW!

WHAT IS DEBATE TOPIC?

How many students know what makes a topic debatable? 

Which one is a good topic to debate?

*Smoking is harmful to people's health

*Computers and automation increase unemployment.

A good debatable topic can lead to a discussion and a disagreement.  If a statement is scientifically proved, it cannot be argued.

A good debate topic should be;

-simple and understandable to your target audience

It is always better to choose an understandable topic.

If your audience accepts the statement, they can express their ideas and feeling. Who wants to read or talk about a complex subject?

-trending, and it should have current relevance

It's relatively easy to create an idea or argument about a subject that we can come across news, magazines and newspapers

-feasible to criticize

If a subject causes discord, it would be worth discuss.

Here are 3 good topics to debate as an example for you

-Do you think downloading music ought to (without paying for it) be a criminal offence?

-Can animals be gay?

-Can ageing be prevented or slowed?

 USAGE OF PROS AND CONS IN A DEBATE TOPIC

A good debate includes opposing viewpoints; that's why it would be useful to present the pros and cons of a discussion in an essay.

The pros and cons mean positive and negative sides of an argument.

What are the advantages of using pros and cons in an essay?

When you are faced with a difficult decision, you most probably experience analysis paralysis, but if you make a list of pros and cons on a topic (negative and positive side of it), you will see whether your decision will be good or bad for you.

Analysis paralysis: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_paralysis

If you know the advantages and disadvantages of a statement, you will discuss it fairly way and objectively, wouldn't you?

Example:

Debate Topic: Should Attendance Be Compulsory in University?

Pros;

Attendance should be compulsory in university.

- Having a sense of responsibility

- Being social in the school

- Doing practice in the classes

Cons;

Attendance should not be compulsory in university

-Attendance triggers stress

       - Long class hours prevent working

Do you see it clearly that attendance have more pros than cons? Well, you can say that attendance should be compulsory at university in confidently.

Making a list of pros and cons is a simple but effective way of making a decision that gives you to look at the discussion topic from different angles.

 

 HOW TO RESEARCH A GOOD DEBATE?

The topic: Impacts of stereotypes on cross-cultural communication.

 Stereotypes? Cross-cultural communication?

Stereotypes means:

A fixed idea or image that many people have of a particular type of person or thing, but which is often not true in reality (oxford dictionary)

Cultural/gender/racial stereotypes

Example: I think I fit the popular stereotype of a mad scientist.

Is the topic simple enough to understand? What would you do if you meet such kind of complex debate topic?

Pay attention to these google tips!

Tip 1:The first and foremost step of researching is understanding how to approach a topic.

Clicking Wikipedia and dictionaries would be the best way to start research contrary to common belief.  There are simple explanations for them.

//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-cultural_communication

Wikipedia has always indicated footnotes, references, and links to its research so that you can

-reach various extra resources

-read other articles related to your topic, which allows you to think and approach differently.

 

//dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/stereotype

 

Tip 2:Research within a site

There are several fruitful sites which include articles, columns and reviews, and surfing on them would help you to know arguments, ideas and feelings about a topic

Cross-cultural communication: nytimes.com

Cross-cultural communication: theguardian.com

Cross-cultural communication: jstor

 

Tip 3: Search with visual content

If you want to explain your debate topic by using a visual

Is homework beneficial: visual.ly

//visual.ly/tag/teachers

 

Tip 4: Search in forums

If you wonder discussions, recommendations and personal opinions, it would be useful to check forums

In forums: “Do you agree that homework is beneficial for college students?"

 

Tip 5: Pay attention to use reliable search engines such as

*Edu (educational institution)

//scholar.google.com/scholar?q=cross+cultural+communication+edu.tr&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

*org (non-profit organization)

*gov (government)

 

 DISCUSSION TOPICS

The main purpose of a discussion topic is to talk about a state issue and try to explain and define it from various perspectives 

  1. A) It requires your opinion on the topic.
  2. B) You must state your ideas and feelings clearly by giving various viewpoints on the topic.
  3. C) Giving reasons and examples based on daily life or your experiences would support your statement.

For instance,

-Does technology help people to socialize with other people, or isolate people from society? Why do you feel this way?

**Decide which side you to take, and explain your idea by following these steps

The introduction/General Statement:

Technology is an indispensable part of the 21st century. It facilitates access to educational and scientific resources. Technology also helps improve communication.

Thesis Statement:

In my opinion, people can be more social thanks to technology.

           -Supporting idea:

                              Technology allows people to connect in spite of any distance.

            - Explanation/ Example:

               Before the invention and improvement of the telephone, communicating with a friend or a relative who lives in another city or country is almost impossible. However, people can communicate instantly with anyone on the other side of the world.

 

 CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

The controversial discussion topic is an ongoing debate about conflicting issues in political, social, economic and cultural fields.

-A controversial topic includes diametrically opposed views

-It may lead to some dispute between two sides up to a point

For instance:

Do you agree with the following statement?

*All is fair in war, and anything goes

Supporters: Women, men and children can be killed in the war. Cities and countries can be destroyed in the war. The main purpose is not to think them; the main purpose is to win

Opponents: Everybody has a right to live even though they are your enemy; that’s why all is not fair in war.

As you can see clearly at this point, it is almost impossible to consensus in a controversial topic.

 

ARGUMENTATIVE DEBATE TOPICS

The most significant feature of an argumentative topic is that refutation.

Refutation:

The act of saying or proving that a person, statement, opinion, etc. is wrong or false (Cambridge dictionary)

Your topic is

Letting more refugees into Europe is a danger for European culture and society.

And, the opposing viewpoint is saying that

It would be better for refugees to stay close to home because the war will end one day, and that the refugees do not want to go back and rebuild their homelands.

You HAVE TO explain, support your idea by REFUTING this approach about the topic.

You CANNOT mention about economic or demographic situations or security even though it is related to the topic.

Your transition signal should be

“This point has some merit on the surface but......"

This point has some merit on the surface, but when the refugees stay their country during the war, they can die, children can witness a murder. Also, it will be unbearable to see how their homelands destroyed.

 

 How to Write a Debate Essay Step by Step Guide?

Up to now, you have learned in this paper:

-How to choose a debate topic

-How you can research

-Usage of pros and cons and types of discussion topics

IT IS TIME TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE!

Firstly, check out a debate topic list below.

Then, come and read these lines to learn how to write a debate essay.

It ischosen one for you :)

"Nurture determines people's personality."

Decide whether you agree or disagree with the subject of the topic.

Then, make a list of your viewpoints and reasons. It would be a quick brainstorming to organize your opinion.

For instance,

       *Behaviors are shaped by family background, and culture

   How: if a girl is brought up with traditional or religious rules, she is more likely to become introvert or timid.

       *Education and friends affect our character.

How: the child of a non-smoker family may become a smoker who has heavy smoker friends        

Your essay has to include:

*The Introduction

*The Main Body

*The Conclusion

 

1) The Introduction

State the topic and your opinion clearly

Background Information

Background information means that explain your idea general to specific

Neuroscientists have been discussing the elements that determine our character for years. Similarly, people conflict with each other about the role of nature and nurture.

Main subject:

The main subject explains your thesis statement briefly

Even though every individual has a different nature, as early philosophers mentioned, circumstances influence people's behaviors. How can you deny the effects of your friends, family and teacher's actions on you which shape your character?

Thesis Statement:

A thesis statement the central idea of an essay.

It expresses your idea about the topic.

In my opinion, nurture -education and environment- plays the most significant role in determining people's personality.

 

2) The Main Body

The main body should consist of several paragraphs, and each paragraph must present a separate viewpoint supported by reasons.

Viewpoint 1 & reason/ example

Viewpoint 1:

In the first place, parents are the milestones in the child-growth process.

Reason:

Children imitate their families’ actions.

Example:

That is, if a girl is brought up with the traditional or religious rule, she is more likely to become introvert or timid. She would probably respect authority without questioning.

Viewpoint 2:

In addition to circumstances, education and friends affect our character.

Example:

For instance, the child of a serial killer may become a perfect defender of law after having grown up in a conservative environment, away from his father, who is under arrest.

 

3) The Conclusion

You should summarize or restate your opinion based on what you have written

The conclusion should state that you have completed what you started to do in your thesis statement.

Do not bring up a new topic in the conclusion.

 All in all, every individual undergoes several experiences which shape his/her characters. Even though it is believed that nature is the most dominant element in personality formation, people are doomed to perform primitive mimes and gestures without nurture.

 

BE CAREFUL!

There are some significant features of a well-written essay.

1) A good debate essay is written formal style.

-passive voice and impersonal constructions

   (E.g. It is believed that.... / It is a common belief that)

-formal linking words and phrases

    (Nonetheless, hence, therefore)

-a range of advanced vocabulary. Do not use simplistic words!

     (Experts say, they think, this is bad)

-you should not use short forms

     (I'm, it’s) (I am, it is)

2) Your paragraph may:

-make a reference to a strange scene or a situation

   (E.g. some researchers argue that people are born as blank slates (i.e. "tabula rasa"), and that their eventual individual differences develop solely due to the result of environmental influences)

-address the reader directly

(Have you ever considered that is it possible not to be affected by the environment?)

- ask a rhetorical question

  (Is not it amazing how children imitate their parents?)

-introduce contrasting viewpoints

 (On the other hand, some people argue that nature, genetic codes, regulate one's character. Behavioral characteristic like optimism is inherited from the parents)

 

OUTLINE

Title:

1) THE INTRODUCTION

 -Background Information

-Main Subject

-Thesis Statement

 

2) THE BODY

  1. Body Paragraph 1

-Topic sentence

-Supporting Details

Body Paragraph 2

-Topic Sentence

-Supporting Details

  1. Body Paragraph 3

-Topic Sentence

-Supporting Details

 

3) CONCLUSION

Interpretation of main points, solution, prediction, advice, suggestion

 

 POPULAR DEBATE TOPIC LIST FOR 2021

Science Topics

Science has always been a hard field to debate because it depends on scientific facts and experiments.

How many people have an idea about engineering solar radiation? Ten people or one hundred or no one?

BUT if it said "should animal testing be allowed” almost all people can argue.

 Choose a trendy and simple science topic, so you can reach more information, comments and arguments about it.

-Engineering Solar Radiation Is a Crazy Idea

-Don't Bring Extinct Creatures Back to Life

-Does Climate Change Actually Exist

-Should Animal Testing Be Allowed

-Has Evolution Stopped

 

Funny Topics

All people have a different sense of humor, so that you cannot entertain everybody, but this is your discussion. That is why

Select a topic which amuses you to talk about it

-Should Everyone On the Earth Get Three Wishes at The Same Time?

-What Is Important: Beauty or Brain

-Should Teachers Too Have a Uniform in Schools

-Who Are More Complicated- Women or Men?

 

 Political and Policy Topics

Does political means policy? What is the difference between them?

Political: Connected with the state, government or public affairs

Policy: A plan of action agreed or chosen by a political party, a business

 

-Would lower voting age effect American society future negatively?

-Our votes: do they really matter?

-Should every citizen be mandated to perform national public service?

-Do you think the USA ought to have a woman President?

-Should the government increase social services for persons living in poverty?

-Do you believe that the US federal government ought to reduce it’s military or police presence in one or more of the following: South Korea, Japan, and Kuwait?

-The government should substantially curtail its domestic surveillance

 

 Interesting Topics

Have you ever considered which topic can be thought interesting by other people?

If a topic is seen interesting, of course, it will be worth discussing. Won’t be?

Focus on a topic which is popular and controversial in society.

-Is drug testing athletes justified?

-Should jobs be subcontracted into developing countries?

-Can celebrities easily succeed in avoiding punishments compare to non-celebrities?

-Is torture justified when used for national security?

 

Education Topics

Education is an indispensable part of people's live, so there are lots of words to say about it.

It would be useful for you to choose a subject that creates solutions for educational problems

-Sex education should be taught in schools?

-Does contemporary grading system perfectly fulfil its role?

-Is home education better than school education?

-Are music and art classes really useful in primary and high schools?

-Should college education be compulsory?

 

 Environmental Topics

If the environment is disturbed by some abnormal activities of people or industrial organizations, it can induce unfavorable consequences.

Well, discussing the preservation of natural resources will be better.

-What is the organic farming role in agriculture future?

-Nuclear energy is the solution to the overconsumption of fossil fuels.

 -Are national parks mainly for human use or preservation?

-Reforestation as a solution to global warming

 

 Ethical/Moral Topics

Moral: relating to the standards of good or bad behavior, fairness and honesty that each person believes in, rather than to laws

Ethical: relating to beliefs about what is morally right and wrong

You can gravitate towards social fields because every society has a different ethical/moral standard. Each peculiar viewpoints enriches and supports your arguments

-Would you do when you saw a popular kid bullying?

-Should New Stories Slant Toward what people want to hear?

-Should Politics and Church be separated?

-Would you warn if you witnessed a friend cheating on a test?

 

Relationship Topics

Relationship between women and men has been argued since the beginning of humanity.

Be easy and choose whatever you want :)

-Would you date someone your friends did not approve of?

-Is love a feeling or a choice

-Would you get back together with an ex?

-Would you be in an open relationship?

 

 Social Media Topics

Even though the popularity of social media has increased, its negative effects on people are undeniable.

Discussing unfavorable features of social media strengthens the case for better solutions and comments.

-Social Media is exposing bad parenting strategies

-How can you get rid of the addiction to social media?

-What are good points of social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter?

- Celebrities should not be allowed to support and advertise products and services.

 Debatable Research Topics

If the selected topic concerns many people regardless of their social status, it means that there are countless negative and positive views about it, and it worth to research and discuss.

-Which Languages are the most popular and demanded nowadays in schools?

-The complexity of the US educational system

-Are there any true Indıans left on the territory of America?

-Which type of art is most popular in Europe?

 

 Medical Topics

Which one is easier enough to discuss for everybody?

Is it possible to be legalized psychedelic drugs such as LSD, MDMA and psilocybin for medical use?

Or

Childhood vaccinations should be compulsory.

 Nobody has detailed knowledge about medical fields except experts and doctors. Therefore, arguing general statements about medical arena will be better for you.

-Should the government provide any medical care for uninsured people?

-Do you think the state ought to provide free health care to homeless people?

- Discuss the relationship between poverty and poor health? (How does poverty contribute to poor health?)

-Should the government allow teens to obtain birth control pills?

 

 Philosophical Topics

Philosophy depends on rationalization.

When you pick a brain-teaser, it will increase the tension of the debate.

-Is free will real or just an illusion?

-Does fate exist? If so, do we have free will?

-What the most important purpose in life?  Is it to find happiness?

-Are beliefs and superstitions the same?

 

Health Topics

Have you noticed that almost all doctors have spoken about diet or herbal medicine or plastic surgery recently?

Follow magazines, news and medical programs. Then, decide which topic is most popular in the field of health

-Can you eat hot dogs even if you know that it was made of animal intestines?

-Should the states give expired food to people in poverty?

-Discuss the free satellite lunches provided in some schools are really providing students with a decent diet?

-Should a woman get an abortion?

 

 National Topics

Focus on your nation’s most controversial statement that discussed by everyone in the society

-A federal world government should be established

- Should the non-communist nations be formed a new international organization

-Should the United States not continue direct economic aid to foreign countries?

-Do you think United States foreign policy toward one or more African nations ought to be substantially changed?

 

Psychology Topics

Go towards negative effects on people because of social pressure

-Child abuse- what do you think about the psychological profile of a typical perpetrator

-Is homosexuality a psychological condition?

-What is "normal" and how social psychology define this?

-Negative parenting and their effects on child psychology

 

 Social Topics

Picking a social debate topic relatively easier because people affects society, and each of them is affected by society. Choose whatever you want

-Is peer pressure harmful or beneficial to individuals?

-Does money the best motivator for people in the workplace?

- Is competition really necessary to learn the process?

-Do you think libraries ought to have a list of books that are banned?

 

 Technology Topics

The technology has been a dominant field in humans’ life for the last three decades; that’s why you may choose the topic; however, as you like.

Nonetheless, it would be easier to discuss the effects of technology than discussing the technology as a whole.

For example;

One cannot argue the engineering of a flying car, but one can simply discuss its positive or negative effects on people’s life.

 

     -Do you agree that there must be any public/legal control over the development of technology?

-Does Google make us lazy?

-What would happen if writers use technological devices to explain the book or story they wrote?

-Would the development of Artificial Intelligence harm people?

 

Speech and Debate Topics

Choose a subject that you think it will be worth to speak and debate.

 

-Do you believe that a person who once bad in math will always be bad at math?

-Do you agree that Starting school later would be beneficial for teenage brain development?

-Racial profiling:  Is it necessary

-Are spectator sports overemphasized in America today?

 

Sports Topics

Everybody watches Olympics, box matches, ice-skate, and athleticism even though they do not sport regularly.

Focus on international sports activities. It would be simple but attractive

-Wrestling is fake

-Are sports better than drawing

-Do you agree that Irish dance is the best sport and the hardest sport? Therefore, should it be in the Olympics?

-What is the effect of age for retirement in sports?

 

 History Topics

There is a common belief that history is boring.

History might be boring for most people but who can reject talking about the invention of fire, the wheel, writing, and speech?

Try to argue about the historical statement that has a significant effect on humanity

-Alternative views of historians on World War Two

-Which one, Newton or Haitham, the first to find the effect of gravitation?

-South Korean provocations sparked the Korean War

- Do you agree that the Ancient Romans were Prudes?

 

 Parliamentary Topics

Parliament generally makes the laws for the benefit of society.

Social problems and their solution offers are worth to argue for the parliamentary topic.

- Is Political Correctness the new McCarthyism?

-Would the government sacrifice economic growth for the good of the environment?

-Do you believe that propaganda is amoral?

-Should the government legalize prostitution?

 

 Pop Culture Topics

Focus on a popular movie, game, novel characters or TV series, and reality shows.

-Star Wars vs. Star Trek

-Were Ross and Rachel on a break? (Friends)

-Seinfeld vs. Friends

-Should Hermione have ended up with Harry? (Harry Potter)

 

 Simple Topics

Pick a subject that can be discussed by everyone.

-All drugs should be legalized

-Homework should be banned.

-The drinking age should be 18.

-Do you agree that Cell phone radiation should be limited because it is dangerous?

 

 Animal Topics

What would happen if animals do not exist? Discuss animal rights.

-Raising purebred dogs is ethic

-Did we save the whales?

-Does Captive Breeding Distract from Conservation?

-People should say “no” to palm oil to save the orangutans

 

 Argumentative Topics

An argumentative topic should lead to conservation. Talking a statement that creates diametrically opposite views will be good for you.

-Guns should be made illegal.

-Torture is an acceptable measure to prevent terrorism.

-Do you think the government ought to be able to access cell phone data?

-Illegal immigrants are good for the economy.

 

 Business Topics

With the development of technology and industry, almost all people tend to set-up their own business.

Make comments and suggest a proposal for the improvement of the private sector.

-Impact of Chinese goods over Indian goods

-Business ethics are fad today

-Are corporate jobs a new form of slavery?

-Are Leaders born or made?

 

Immigration Topics

   Immigration has increased for the last ten years because of the cold war, economic problems and natural disasters.

  Focus and debate the cause and effect of immigration

 

      -What would happen if the Government Allow Immigrants Who Are Here Illegally to Become US Citizens?

-Is Illegal Immigration an Economic Burden to America?

-Would Increasing Legal Immigration Reduce Illegal Immigration?

-Can Overstaying a Visa Be classified as a Federal Crime instead of a Civil Offense?

 

 Persuasive Topics

If you support your argument by giving rational reasons, examples, and solutions that affirm you, people believe

-E-learning should replace the traditional approach to education

-The army should be paid higher

-Do you agree that global warming is a serious threat to humanity?

-Television & social media hypnotize people

 

Biology Topics

Discuss the effects of medicines and technology on humans’ biology

-Should the government regulate/allow genetically engineered food?

- Should there be stricter regulation of antibiotics/ should patients look elsewhere like herbals, diet, and lifestyle for treatments?

-Do you think the government ought to allow cloning for tissues, organs, etc.?

-What would happen if genetic screening is offered to all through a health plan? Can it be mandatory?

 

 Global Topics

Global means that relating to whole the world. Well, focus on problems that deal with the whole world

-How should education systems evolve via digital technology?

-Where Are Latin American economies headed?

-Can globalization be rescued from itself?

-Are certain countries doomed to remain emerging?

 

 Hard Topics

If only a few people can talk about a subject, it would be described as a diffucult topic. Wouldn’t it be?

Choose a subject that is hard to talk about it

-Would Abortion/Euthanasia Count as Murder

-Religion vs. Science

-Should the government allow the pharmaceutical companies to advertise their drugs to customers?

-Should obese people be charged an ‘obesity’ tax?

 

Healthcare Topics

What would happen if one loses his health?

Arguing every aspect of healthcare is value

-Do you think the government ought to increase funding for mental health research and treatment?

-Do you believe that people have to be required to work in order to receive Medicaid?

-Agree or disagree- the federal government ought to be allowed to negotiate drug prices for Medicare?

-Do you support a single-payer healthcare system?

 

 Sociology Topics

Focus on the relationship between people in society.

-Discuss the women's role in the workplace?

-Do you support gay marriage?

-Discuss the effects of divorce on the family

-How Family differences across race and ethnic groups affect society

 

 Chemistry Topics

Nowadays, the most popular chemistry topics are genetically modified foods and organic food. Why don’t you discuss these two important topics and their unfavorable consequences?

-Global warming: For real or just a lot of hot air?

-Eating Organic: Is the “organic” movement, just a marketing scheme?

-Vaccines: Health necessity or health risk?

-Genetically modified foods: Should we have gone there?

 

DEBATE TOPICS FOR YOUR EDUCATION LEVEL

Participating in a debate in the class would be useful for students of all ages and grade levels.

-It is an opportunity to improve their critical thinking and public speaking skills. Also, they are able to practice grace under pressure.

 

 Elementary Schools Debate Topics

Elementary School Debate topics should excite the children; in this way, they will give clear and passionate explanations by giving examples from a game or cartoon; also they will forget the fear of public speaking.

-Are aliens real?

-Are computers replacing teachers?

-Homework should be banned.

- Should you say ‘thank you’ to a robot waiter?

-Can anything be a toy?

Middle School Debate Topics

In Middle Schools, students must be taught critical thinking and analyzing. So, focus on education problems, and social problems will be suitable.

 

-Junk food should be banned from schools.

-Zoos should be abolished.

-Macs are better than PCs.

-Democracy is the best form of government.

-Grades should be abolished.

High School Debate Topics

A good debate helps to learn to do research, improve public speaking skills, and increase self-confidence. Therefore, students can brush up on their communication and persuasion skills.

A good high school debate topic should have solid argument potential. Two opposite side ought to have available information. Or students will have a hard time crafting a discussion.

E.g. Do you think that researching on the disadvantages of bitcoins harder than researching on negative effects on the death penalty.

 

-Do you think social media comments ought to be protected by free speech?

-Should the death penalty be abolished?

-Should celebrities be required to be positive role models?

-Should poetry units be removed from the curriculum?

-Should America give foreign aid to other countries?

 Debate Topics for College or University

A debate is an essential issue for college and university students because they are in academy and they have to prepare a dissertation to finish school.

A college student must discuss politics, education, science, sports and arts. Choose global topics.

 

-Peace is possible

-Poverty is a state of mind

- Discuss the advantages of bottled water vs regular water?

-Is the boarding school system beneficial to children?

- What do you think- to be honest, and poor is better than dishonest and rich?

 

ONLINE DEBATE PLATFORMS:

Kialo is a convenient website to discuss a subject.

In this online platform,

1) You can create a debate

2) You can invite your friends to debate

3) You can also publish your discussion on the purpose of connecting other Kialo users, so you are able to learn how people approach your topic.

//www.kialo.com/tour