A Term Paper in Mathematics: Choosing a Topic

It’s possible that the most important aspect of planning for an important writing assignment, like a term paper, is choosing a good topic. Topic choice influences the outcome of your paper in a number of important ways. A topic that is of the appropriate scope and for which there is plenty of appropriate source material is easier to write about, both in terms of having material to write and having it fit the required page length. A topic that is interesting without being overly controversial provides rapport between the writer and reader—in this case the instructor—and can influence your grade. And finally, choosing a topic appropriate to your discipline helps to further your knowledge of the subject. We’ve compiled some helpful tips to assist you in choosing a great term paper topic for your mathematics course.

Topic Types

  • How our understanding of math has evolved
  • Throughout history, mathematical advances have often been a driving force in deepening scientific understanding and succeeding in advancing technology. Understanding of mathematics has advanced at different rates and in different ways in various parts of the world; there have been setbacks and great leaps forward. Examining a period of time or the way people came to understand a certain concept can be a great math term paper topic.

  • Notable mathematical applications
  • As mentioned above, many technological advancements not only benefited from advances in mathematical understanding but were a direct result of these advances. For example, cryptographic key systems have played a critical role in world history and directly relate to advancements in mathematics at the time.

  • Mathematical aspects of world events
  • Mathematics plays a significant role in understanding economic and financial events that can have a striking effect on culture and the world as a whole. Students can examine current or historical events and research their mathematical aspects. Often these events seem, at the time, to occur without warning; researching the time leading up to the event may provide some mathematical clues as to its cause.

  • Intriguing mathematical concepts
  • Certain mathematical concepts, or aspects of them, still intrigue present-day researchers. Concepts like zero and infinity, for example, while being understood in many ways, still present mathematicians with plenty of food for thought. Tracking the history of the concept and exploring what we know about it in the present day, along with the limitations and mysteries surrounding it, can be an interesting topic to research.