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General Education

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Controversial topics are a good choice for an essay or debate because they immediately draw in the reader or listener. The adage that “controversy sells” is so rooted in society that even the rapper Chamillionaire named his second album after it! Controversial issues are also a good topic because it’s easier to write a strong thesis and find sources to back up your argument . After all, when something is controversial, everybody wants to have their say over it. 

However, it’s also important that you address controversial issues with sensitivity and care. Because controversial topics tend to raise emotions, you must walk a thin line between opinion and fact in order to build trust between you and your reader/listener.

In this article, we’re going to give you the best controversial topics you can use for essays and debates—and we’ll explain the controversies for you, too! We’ll also discuss when to use controversial topics, the pros and cons of choosing a controversial issue, and tips for making sure you’re treating a controversial topic with sensitivity and respect. 

That’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started! 

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Controversial topics are issues that can really get people up in arms. (Yes, it's a dad joke. No, we're not sorry.) 

What Are Controversial Topics?

If you’ve flipped on a television lately, you’ve probably seen people on the news arguing different sides of an issue. (Occasionally, these arguments can get pretty emotional!) When you see this happening, there’s a good chance that the people you’re watching are discussing a controversial topic. 

Controversial debate topics include subjects that create strong differences of opinion. They are issues that can affect politics, society as a whole, individuals on a personal level, the environment, or any other area of life that people feel strongly about. Additionally, controversial issues often have no clear answer because people’s feelings and personal beliefs are often strongly involved.

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3 Pros and 3 Cons of Using Controversial Topics in Essays or Debates 

It might be tempting to pick any old controversial topic and run with it. Not so fast! While controversial topics definitely give you a lot to talk about in an essay or debate, there are some definite drawbacks to dealing with hot-button issues.

Here are the pros and cons you should consider before deciding to use a controversial topic in your work. 

Pro #1: It’s Usually Easy to Find Sources

Everyone wants to have their say on controversial topics, which is great when you need sources to include in your paper! A quick library or Google search will turn up tons of information. It can make that part of writing (or preparing for a debate) much easier. 

Con #1: It Can Be Hard to Find Good Sources

When you Google a controversial source, the results can be overwhelming. While you’re probably going to have tons of hits, they'll be from a wide range of sources like social media, personal blogs, podcasts, and message boards (like Reddit and Quora). Just because something appears high in a Google result doesn’t make it a good source that you can site in a paper or speech.

Good sources are ones that are written by credentialed authors (they are experts in their field) and include reliable, cited evidence. A good place to find good sources are scholarly databases, like JSTOR and ProQuest, since the articles on these databases have been vetted by other experts before they are published. Reputable news outlets can also be good resources, too. 

Pro #2: It’s Easier to Talk About Things That Interest You 

If you care about a topic you probably already know a little bit about it. This is especially true for many controversial issues. After all, they tend to be controversial because many people have opinions on them! If you pick a controversial issue that’s near and dear to your heart, you’ll find that you have a lot to say about it. 

Con #2: It’s Hard to Keep Your Emotions In Check 

If it is a topic you care about a lot, you probably already have strong opinions formed. But in order to build trust with your reader/listener and to be accurate, you need to use neutral language so that your reader/listener can draw their own conclusions based on your work. While it’s tempting to call people out or get heated, those are both pitfalls you should avoid . 

Pro #3: Controversial Issues Capture Attention 

Tackling a subject like mass incarceration, the death penalty, or abortion is a good way to get your audience to sit up and take notice. People want to hear your opinion to see how it does—or doesn’t—match their own. 

Con #3: You Open Yourself Up to Criticism 

On the flip side, if your argument doesn’t align with their beliefs, the people reading or listening to your argument may criticize your opinion or belief because it is not the same as theirs. You’ll have to spend extra time making sure you’ve created a strong argument since people have often spent more time thinking about a controversial topic and are better able to challenge your position. 

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How to Pick Good Controversial Topics for Teens

When picking what topic to write about, it’s important that you pick a good strong topic that is relevant and that has an amount of easy to find good sources. When deciding on a topic, try to keep these tips in mind! 

Tip #1: Choose a Topic That Interests You 

It’s easier to work on a subject you enjoy. Don’t use a topic you find boring or have no interest in. Write about a topic you are passionate about, since your own interest will shine through in your writing or speech. Also, when you pick a topic you like, the assignment can actually be fun. Imagine that! 

Tip #2: Be Passionate...But Not Too Passionate

Stay away from topics where you might be too passionate about one side since it can be tough to distance yourself enough to see both sides of the argument. You’ll want to know what good arguments the other side has so that you can defend your position against them. If you're too passionate about a subject, you might miss key details that help you defend your position. Every side has good points—that’s why there’s an argument in the first place!

Tip #3: Make Sure There’s Hard Evidence

Pick a topic where there’s evidence, not just a “he said, she said” kind of thing. Avoid arguments that don’t have any facts or figures backing them up or they are entirely opinion based. Examples of topics that are controversial but lack compelling evidence include government conspiracies or theories that have been proven false, like the Earth being flat or that pineapple belongs on pizza (it doesn’t).

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Tip #4: Know Your Audience

If you are writing about controversial debate topics, ask yourself who it is you are trying to persuade. Is it your teacher? A certain segment of the population? If you know who your audience is, you can better tailor your argument to hit on the points they care about. 

For example, say you’re writing an essay about how teacher’s unions are unnecessary. If your audience is your teacher—who's probably in a union!—you’re going to have to work harder to prove your point since they’re more likely to be in favor of unions. (You’ll also need to make sure you’re being fair and respectful to avoid offending your teacher. We’ll talk more about how to do that in a minute.) 

In the example above, knowing your audience can (and should) change the way you write your argument in order to make it as persuasive and convincing as possible. 

Tip #5: Narrow Down Your Topic 

Make sure your topic is broad enough that you have plenty of information sources to choose from but narrow enough that you aren’t overwhelmed by the amount of information. An easy way to narrow a broad topic is to limit it to a time period or geographical location. For instance, let’s say that you want to write an argumentative essay about climate change. Climate change covers a lot of ground, so you could narrow it down to only writing about climate change in the last 15 years. You could narrow it down even more by writing about how climate change has affected a small geographical location, like California or your own city, in the last 15 years.

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Gun control is a perennially controversial topic in the United States.

The Best Controversial Topics of 2019

Here are some of the most controversial topics discussed this year. Many of these issues are evergreen topics, which means you’ll be able to find plenty of information for them! 

These are topics related to current political subjects both in the US and abroad. 

Is Brexit a good or bad idea? 

In 2016, the United Kingdom voted to settle the question of whether or not they should leave the European Union. Proponents of Brexit argue that leaving the EU would save money for the nation as they would no longer need to pay a membership fee to the EU. Opponents argue that the UK will lose money due to new trade restrictions. 

Did Russia interfere with the 2016 Presidential Election? 

After Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election , there were several investigative reports published that suggested that Russia used targeted Facebook ads to encourage people to vote for Trump , and Russia may have been the ones who hacked the Democratic National Convention. Trump supporters have been quick to rebuff this claim, arguing that the election results reflect the will of the American population. However, those who are anti-Trump argue that Trump did not legitimately win the election and that the results were due to Russian interference. They cite the fact that Hilary Clinton had a larger popular vote than Trump to support this. 

Should there be stricter gun control?

The United States has experienced more than 200 mass shootings in 2019, and each new incident brings up controversial questions about gun control. Those in favor of gun control argue that more gun laws would reduce gun deaths. Those against gun control argue that the Second Amendment protects their right to own guns and any legislation for stricter gun control would be unconstitutional. 

Should America allow illegal immigrants to become American citizens? 

As more and more immigrants arrive at America’s borders, the debate over immigration becomes even more heated. On the pro side, people argue that illegal immigrants help the economy by paying taxes and that most immigrants came here as asylum seekers, which is legal. Opponents argue that these immigrants have crossed the border illegally and that a large portion of these immigrants are violent criminals and should be sent back to protect American citizens. 

Should the death penalty still be allowed?  

Many states have done away with the death penalty, yet some states still support it. Many have questioned if the death penalty is a moral, ethical, and effective way to deal with crime. On the pro side, the argument is that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to crime and can help bring closure to families affected by heinous criminal activity. On the con side, the argument is that it violates the 8th amendment and that sometimes innocent people have been put to death. 

Should abortion be allowed? 

Recently, several states have enacted new legislation limiting access to abortion. The pro-choice/pro-abortion side argues that women should be allowed to control their bodies without any interference from the government or religious authority. The pro-life/anti-abortion side argues that abortion is murder and inflicts pain and suffering on the unborn fetus. They are also opposed to Roe vs. Wade , a court decision that made abortion legal in the United States.  

Should doctor-assisted suicide be allowed? 

In January of 2019, Hawaii will join six other states in enacting Death with Dignity laws for patients with terminal illnesses . However, unlike in countries like Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, and the Netherlands, doctor-assisted euthanasia is still illegal according to US federal laws. Many believe it should also be legal on the federal level. Those for doctor-assisted suicide argue that allowing those with chronic pain or terminal illnesses to end their lives is a compassionate act that relieves their suffering. Those opposed argue that it violates the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm,” and allowing euthanasia is a slippery slope that will lead to doctors deciding who is worthy of life and who is not. 

Should the government legalize recreational marijuana? 

As of 2018, there are 11 states that have legalized recreational marijuana: Alaska (2014), California (2016), Colorado (2012), DC (2014), Maine (2016), Massachusetts (2016), Michigan (2018), Nevada (2016), Oregon (2014), Vermont (2018), and Washington (2012). Legal marijuana proponents argue that the War on Drugs was a failed initiative that unfairly affected minority communities,and that marijuana isn’t any worse for you than drinking alcohol. Those against legal marijuana argue that the drug is addictive and leads to a higher percentage of school dropouts, car accidents, and crime. 

These are topics based on current controversies happening in the scientific field. 

Are humans causing global warming? 

As the polar ice caps continue to melt, people question whether or not human activity is responsible for raising the temperature of the Earth . Proponents of this idea argue that due to human-generated waste and carbon dioxide, we are responsible for this rise in temperature. Opponents argue that the earth has gone through many warming and cooling cycles and that human activity is not to blame. 

Are GMOs good or bad?

  In recent years there has been an increase in the number of controversial questions raised by GMO, or genetically modified, crops. Those in favor of GMOs, which stands for genetically modified organisms, argue that without genetically modified crops and animals, there would be food shortages; they also argue that GMOs have been around for millennia. Those opposed to GMOs argue that GMOs could be the cause of the rise of cancers and that the pesticides needed to grow GMO crops contribute to pesticide-resistant pests. 

Will work done on artificial intelligence eventually lead to our demise? 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more sophisticated, which raises questions about the ethics and eventual outcome of creating artificial intelligence . Proponents believe artificial intelligence will keep us safer and solve many of the world’s problems; but opponents believe that developing AI might not be ethical, they ask whether or not robots programmed with AI count as  conscious beings and should be given rights, or if AI will eventually lead to humanity’s downfall. 

Should we allow gene editing on human beings? 

2017 saw exciting advances in the science of gene editing with the arrival of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing method. However, it’s also raised some controversial debate topics regarding the ethics of allowing gene editing. Gene editing proponents argue that gene editing will allow us to cure genetic diseases and prolong life. But opponents argue that the technology will create more social inequity because only the rich will be able to afford it. They also argue that editing the genes of human embryos is tantamount to playing God. 

Are self driving cars really safe?  

In 2018, a car accidentally ran over and killed a pedestrian as she was crossing the street in Tempe, AZ. Despite this, driverless car manufacturers like Tesla and transportation companies like Uber argue that driverless technology is ultimately safer than human piloted transportation. This is due to the fact that driverless cars would feature many sensors and safety features whereas human drivers have a tendency to get distracted or sleepy while driving, and some may be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There are many pro and con arguments about the controversial issues related to driverless technology , which makes this a great controversial topic for essays and debates! 

Should anti-vaxxers be forced to vaccinate their kids?

Recently a measles outbreak has spread throughout Europe. According to the World Health Organization, there have been at least 40 measles-related deaths associated with the outbreak. Many blame anti-vaxxers, or parents who believe vaccines cause autism and other illnesses, for the spread of this disease. Those who are pro-vaccine argue that vaccines save lives and by not vaccinating their children , anti-vaxxers are putting others at risk. Anti-vaxxers argue that vaccines can cause serious side effects like autism, seizures, or Guillain-Barre Syndrome. They also argue that getting vaccinated is a personal choice that should be respected by the government.

Do we really need a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? 

In April of 2016, the European Union enacted the General Data Protection Regulation, which is designed to protect EU citizens’ personal data. Proponents for the GDPR argue that it will prevent the number of wide-scale data breaches and hacking that occurs on a day to day basis. Opponents argue that the GDPR doesn’t do enough to protect data and that it will negatively impact the economy because of the fines that will be enforced if a company fails to comply with GDPR guidelines. 

Should we grow our meat in a lab? 

Recent advances in technology have allowed scientists to experiment with lab-grown, edible meat that doesn’t require animal slaughter. Supporters of lab grown meat claim it is better for the environment and does away with the moral issues surrounding animal husbandry, including animal abuse and inhumane farming practices. Opponents claim lab grown meat may have adverse health effects on people who eat lab-grown meat, especially since the technology is so new. Opponents also argue that lab-grown meat could end the farming industry and put thousands of people out of work. 

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Uber is great when you need a lift...but does it treat its employees fairly?

Society & Culture

These are current topics that involve our day to day lives. 

Should transgendered people be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice? 

Earlier last year, North Carolina passed a law that prohibited transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice based on their expressed gender rather than their biologically assigned sex . The “bathroom bill” is the first of its kind to specifically address the issue of transgender public restroom access. Proponents for the bill argue that allowing biological males and females to use the same restroom will lead to a higher percentage of sexual assault and was a risk to public safety. Opponents argue that the bill is discriminatory.

Is it still okay to use UBER? 

In 2017, UBER was rocked by claims of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and false advertising. The hashtag #DeleteUber went viral in January 2017, and many users and drivers boycotted the company. This situation raises two controversial questions. First, what rights do contract workers have in this new, emerging gig economy ? And second, is UBER the victim of cancel culture , or do customers have an ethical obligation to boycott companies with shady practices? 

Cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation? What’s the difference?   

Katy Perry has been criticized for her 2017 music video "This Is How We Do” because the singer wore cornrows in her hair. Many have claimed the appearance of a Caucasian woman with a traditionally black hairstyle is cultural appropriation . These opponents argue that because people of color have been discriminated against for wearing traditionally black hairstyles, white women who sport the same hair styles profit from it. However, some argue that without cultural appropriation, many elements of minority cultures have become popularized, like rap music and R&B .  

Should we give men accused of sexual misconduct a second chance? 

In 2017, comedian Louis CK was accused of sexually harassing his female colleagues . Since these accusations went public, Louis CK has tried to rehabilitate his image, and h e has since publicly apologized. But this raises the question of whether we should give men accused of sexual misconduct a second chance if they seem to have learned their lesson. 

Is social media ruining society? 

According to a 2018 survey, approximately 70% of Americans use at least one social media site including Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter . Those in favor of social media argue that it  promotes a sense of community and helps create social interactions. But social media detractors argue that sites like Facebook or Reddit waste time, trigger mental illnesses, and encourage dangerous bullying. 

Should people get fired for what they say on social media? 

Recently, James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy , was fired by Disney because there were several tweets on his Twitter feed they believed were offensive. He is not the only one, either: Roseanne was fired by Netflix after she made an offensive tweet towards politician Valerie Jarrett. This has raised some controversial questions, like whether someone be held professionally accountable for what they say on social media . Proponents for social media accountability argue that what someone posts on social media is a reflection of who they are as a person. Opponents argue that posting on social media is protected by free speech and that the context of the posting should matter. 

Is the #MeToo movement helping or hurting women? 

The #MeToo movement began in 2017 with a series of articles that accused Harvey Weinstein of rape and sexual assault. These articles led to Weinstein’s ostracization from Hollywood and eventually led to criminal investigations into his behavior. The #MeToo movement has brought down several powerful men with accusations of sexual misconduct. But some argue the movement has set the feminist movement back by discouraging companies from hiring women due to their fear of lawsuits. 

Is Gen Z worse than previous generations? 

Someone is always complaining that the generation after them is worse than their generation. As members of Gen Z mature and reach adulthood, they face many criticisms from the preceding generations. For example, d etractors have accused Gen Z of being lazy and introverted. However, others think Gen Z might be the generation that saves the world.  

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Arts & Entertainment

These are topics that are currently affecting sports, tv, Hollywood, literature, music, and art.

Should movies and television shows be forced to hire more diverse casts? 

Hollywood has come under fire for “whitewashing” or the act of casting a white actor when the role should have gone to a person of color. An example of this is when Rupert Sanders, director of Ghost in the Shell , cast Scarlett Johansson as the Asian protagonist Major . Opponents of this practice argue that “whitewashing” takes jobs away from deserving POC actors. However, others argue that art should be free of any restrictions or boundaries . 

Should the show 13 Reasons Why have removed its controversial scenes?  

In 2017, Netflix released an original show based on the young adult novel 13 Reasons Why , which focuses on the suicide of 17-year-old Hannah Baker. Parents and educators opposed the release of this show due to the fact that it involved several controversial topics for teens such as suicide and rape. But those that support the show have argued that it provided a way to start conversations with teens about these tough topics . Ultimately, Netflix went back and edited out the controversial scenes. This topic gives you the opportunity to talk about whether mature content like suicide and rape is appropriate in shows aimed toward teenagers. You can also discuss whether Netflix’s removal of the offending scenes is the right decision or not. 

Should male and female actors make the same amount of money? 

In 2018, Hollywood came under fire after the internet learned that Michelle Williams was paid substantially less for her role in “All The Money In The World” than her male co-star, Mark Wahlberg. Some argue that as the bigger star, Whalberg deserved to be compensated at a higher rat e. Others argue that Williams did the same amount of work as Wahlberg and should receive the same amount of pay. This issue plugs into the larger social issue of pay discrepancies based on race and gender.

Should athletes be allowed to kneel during the national anthem? 

People have started to boycott Nike for their commercial featuring Colin Kaepernick . Kaepernick is a San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has received a lot of press for being the first athlete to kneel during the national anthem in protest the treatment of African Americans and minorities in the United States. President Trump has publicly stated that any athlete who kneels during the national anthem is being disrespectful and should be fired. Yet others defend kneeling during the anthem, regarding it as an expression of free speech that’s protected under the First Amendment. 

The 5 Best Tips for Treating Controversial Topics With Sensitivity and Respect

In order to write a good argument and convince your reader/listener to agree with you, you will need to treat your controversial issue with sensitivity and respect. This helps the reader/listener to trust you. 

But that can be really hard when you feel passionately about your topic and your opinions! Here are the best tips for making sure you stick to the facts, not the feelings. 

Tip #1: Avoid Charged Language

An author is accused of using loaded language when they substitute words with positive or negative connotations instead of using more neutral language. Some examples of this are using the word “superior” instead of better, calling the opposition “stupid,” or using biased terminology (“infanticide” vs. “abortion”). While emotional appeals are a great tool to persuade people to your point of view, when they’re used in the wrong way, they come across as overly aggressive and biased. 

Tip #2 : Avoid Logical Fallacies

A logical fallacy is an error in your argument’s logic because it presents the topic’s information in a deceptive way. Below are some common logical fallacies to watch out for. 

Straw Man Fallacy: this is when you ignore your opponent’s real argument and instead argue that your opponent believes something easily ridiculed or proved false. 

Slippery Slope: this is when you argue that something seemingly benign will lead to an unlikely extreme. 

Generalizations: generalizations are statements about an idea that do not have any facts to support them. They tend to play into stereotypes and often rely on exaggerations or over the top statements.

For more information on logical fallacies and how to avoid them, check out this resource. 

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Tip #3: Do Not Attack Your Opponent Personally

This is called an ad hominem fallacy, and is often referred to as “mud-slinging” or “bashing.” When you do this, it implies that the only way you can counter your opponents viewpoints is through personal attacks. (Also, it’s just not cool.) Instead, stick to using facts and figures to show why their argument is wrong.

Tip #4: Avoid Hyperbole, Stereotypes, and Clichés 

These are common issues that crop up in argumentative writing that ultimately weaken your position. 

Hyperbole happens when you exaggerate. When you use hyperbole, you risk misrepresenting the issue at hand—which is an argument killer. For example, take this statement: “If we don’t stop climate change now, we’ll all be dead in 10 years.” While climate change is definitely a huge risk to humanity, saying everyone on Earth will die in a decade if we don’t fix is a significant exaggeration. It would be better to say something like, “If we don’t start to solve climate change now, we’re risking the livelihoods and safety of future generations.” This is a more moderate statement that you can back up with facts, like scientists’ belief that climate change will put coastal cities underwater. 

Stereotypes are oversimplified, misinformed, or prejudiced assumptions held about other people or things. For example, a common stereotype is that all women love pink. (Spoiler alert: they don’t.) While stereotypes like this seem harmless, most are not. For example, a stereotype like the idea that all immigrants are criminals is extremely harmful. Stereotypes are not only false, they make you seem biased and ill-informed. 

Finally, clichés are overused or commonplace phrases, themes, or expressions . These are often phrases that have been said so much that they’ve lost all real meaning. For example, the idea that people can “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” is a textbook example of a cliché. Instead, it’s better to explain the idea behind the cliché in more detail. In this case, it would be better to say that people—no matter their station in life—can create opportunities for themselves through hard work.

Tip #5 : Don’t Beat a Dead Horse

Remember that your job is to present them with the facts in an open and honest way. If you have done a good job, your reader or listener will come away with the same opinion as you, or at least more informed. It’s okay to state your opinion in your paper as long as you use other sources to back your opinion up and are fair to the other side. (Also resist the urge to restate your opinion every other sentence—it’s monotonous and doesn’t do much to win your reader over!)  

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5 Resources for Finding More Controversial Debate Topics

If you’re not inspired by the topics we’ve already mentioned, don’t worry. There are many other controversial topics out there! Here are some other places you can look to find a topic that’s perfect for your essay or debate. 

#1: ProCon.Org 

You probably noticed that we’ve included links in this article that take you to ProCon.org . That’s because this website is a treasure trove of controversial issues! The website has lists of ideas that they break down into general pro/con lists, and each topic links you research starters. 

#2: National & Local News 

Much of the modern news cycle is devoted to discussing hot-button topics of our time. If you’re looking for topics related to current events, news sources like The New York Times and The Washington Post will help! Also, don’t discount your local news resources, either. They’ll give you valuable information about what’s going on in your community and how larger, national issues are impacting where you live. 

#3: They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (Fourth Edition) by Cathy Birkenstein & Gerald Graff  

Writing argumentative papers where you have to pick (and defend) your perspective is a skill you’ll use throughout high school, college, and beyond. They Say/I Say walks you through everything you need to know to write an argument. Even better: the book uses controversial issues as a way to teach writing, so you’ll get expert instruction on how to use them to write an amazing paper. 

#4: Documentaries

Documentaries provide more in-depth perspectives on topics—both historical and contemporary—that have shaped the world. A great documentary can give you a thorough overview of an issue, and often they dig into different perspectives around an event, idea, or historical moment. The PBS series, Frontline , is a good place to start, but don’t be afraid to look at critically acclaimed films (like The Times of Harvey Milk or How to Survive a Plague ) for inspiration as well.  

#5: The Learning Network 

The Learning Network , a blog run by The New York Times, is a great resource for students and teachers. They have lots of great resources, and their article on 200 prompts for argumentative writing is amazing for anyone looking for essay or debate topics. The article split into categories by topic and links to articles that can help explain each issue. It’s a great place to find a topic that interests you. 

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What’s Next? 

Controversial topics are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things you can research and write about for class. Check out our list of 113 amazing research paper topics to put you on the path to an A+ paper grade! ( If you’re looking for speech topics or argumentative essay topics , we’ve got you covered, too.)

Researching a controversial topic is just the first step in the argumentative process. You also have to be able to persuade your reader or listener to believe in your point of view. Here are 3 killer tips to help you write an amazing argumentative essay.

Learning how to read critically, come up with an argument, and communicate it is one of the fundamental skills you’ll need to tackle the writing portions of the SAT and ACT. To make sure you’re prepared, check out our step-by-step guide to the essay portion of the SAT ( and the ACT ). 

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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260 Controversial Debate Topics and Questions for Discussion

Are you searching for original, thought-provoking, and really controversial debate topics? Here they are! Selecting any of these 25 controversial topics for debate from  Custom-writing.org , you can guarantee a heated dispute in class or exciting polemics with your friends.

Our specialists will write a custom essay on any topic for 13.00 10.40/page

But first, let’s figure it out, what is debate and how you should pick up great debate topics.

  • 🔝 Top 10 Topics
  • ❓ Top 10 Questions
  • 🤯 Psychology Topics
  • ⚖️ Law Topics
  • 💉 Medicine & Health Topics
  • 🎓 Educational Topics
  • 💑 Relationship Topics
  • 🗳️ Politics Topics
  • 👣 How to Choose a Debate Topic?

🔍 References

🔝 top 10 controversial debate topics.

  • Cryptocurrencies’ reliability.
  • Legalization of human cloning.
  • NFT is not a good investment.
  • Electric cars are overrated.
  • Social security should be privatized.
  • Ethical issue of Human Gene editing.
  • Artificial intelligence is a threat to humanity.
  • E-commerce and a digital privacy problem.
  • Influencers negatively affect teenagers’ body image.
  • Going green is not efficient to stop global warming.

❓ Top 10 Controversial Questions

🤯 psychology debate topics.

  • Females are better managers than males. Gender inequality manifests itself in the corporate world by lower salaries and fewer career opportunities for women. But is it fair? Are men better than women? Is their headship reasonable?
  • Lack of trust always causes jealousy. Why are some people so jealous? Can you trust someone if you feel envy? Debate questions about love and jealousy. Give examples to confirm if these two ideas can coexist.
  • All women are irrational and use intuition instead of logic. Research this topic from both sides. Can women’s hormonal cycles affect decision-making? If all women are illogical, explain why they are successful in politics, social life , business, science, etc.
  • Parenting leaves for men should become the norm. Is a father’s care sufficient for a child? Can it become a positive or destructive experience for a family? How can it help gender equality ? Provide both for and against arguments.
  • Hypnosis is an excellent way to heal mental illnesses. Ponder on this ethical debate topic. We can see what a person does under hypnosis, but do we know what prompts them doing so? What are the risks involved?
  • Gender-neutral parenting releases children from the bonds of gender stereotypes . It can open new developmental horizons, but does it deprive the children of their needs? Will gendered treatment ever become a thing of the past?
  • Psychological therapy is a placebo , but it helps. Does involved listening to a client’s problems mean treatment in itself? Improvement after therapy is confirmed by multiple research. Still, we are unaware of its mechanism.
  • Is violence inherent to humans? Are some people born to be evil, in contrast to kind and caring ones? Carry out some ethics research to find out which position should be defended.
  • Can divorce harm children? Should marriage be preserved for the sake of children? Is it better to secure the kids against seeing unhappy parents? Does such a family give them a distorted understanding of love?
  • Information overload is the leading cause of psychological disorders . Should we measure out the bulk of information we perceive daily? Or should we find compensation mechanisms and evolve?

The list of debate topics on psychology can be extended:

  • Could humanity ever find medication to all mental diseases?
  • Are our cognitive functions and behavior determined at birth?
  • How does praise affect children?
  • Can we consider depression to be the 2024 principal disease?
  • Do video games teach children to be violent?
  • How does pornography affect a person’s psychology?
  • Consider technology and its influence on a child’s development .
  • We should treat children as adults.
  • Can prisoners return to normal life if they live outside the normal society?
  • Does our uniqueness allow finding universal treatment for psychological disorders ?
  • Can a complicated destiny justify bad character?
  • What is the norm in psychology?
  • Many intelligent people were antisocial . Is there any relation?
  • All illnesses are psychosomatic.
  • Are people too diverse, so they cannot be classified?
  • Is there a point of no return in character development ?
  • Is the difference between sexes cultural or physiological?
  • Could future technologies theoretically read the mind of a person?
  • Imagination and reality have the same value for our brains.
  • Is psychological competence beneficial in nursing?
  • Is being selfish bad?
  • Can interaction on social media replace normal communication?
  • Are there specific traits of character making a person rich or poor ?
  • The citizens of big cities are less happy.
  • Depression is the side effect of civilization.
  • Can parents instill motivation and ambition in their children?
  • Boredom is a developmental stimulus for children.
  • Philosophical thinking can be helpful in stressful situations.
  • A person is created by nature, but society is responsible for their development.
  • Success is all about motivation and overcoming stress.

If you’re looking for even more variety, consider trying a subject generator that would give you topic options based on the keywords.

⚖️ Debate Topics for Law Students

These controversial topics for discussion will help you train your skills in legal issues:

  • Capital punishment should be preserved for serial killers and international terrorists . Find firm for and against arguments that support your opinion. Is it better to let thousand guilty criminals live than charge one innocent person to death?
  • Juniors should take the same responsibility as adults for serious offenses. Think about the increased incidents of school mass shootings . If young killers knew they would be punished as adults, would they commit these crimes?
  • Parents should be punished for the misdeeds of their children. Parents are responsible for the upbringing of their children. Does every misdoing mean parents’ fault in raising children? Does being underage make a person less guilty, even if they will become an adult in a year?
  • Three strikes laws are useful for reducing the number of serious offenses. Or not? How does it hinder reoffending? What are the burdens for the state entailed by such laws? Share your opinion and supporting evidence.
  • The driving age should be raised to 18. Think about safety, technology, experience, and other factors that may influence the opinion. Why does driving age differ in some countries? Could anything be done to educate the youth to drive carefully?
  • Should suicide attempt be criminalized ? Every person shall have a right to life and freedom. Does it mean that they shall have the right to terminate their life? Could fear of prosecution hold back people from committing suicide?
  • Can guaranteed minimum income ruin the economy? Taxpayers support people unable to work, but also those not willing to find a job. If the latter had no support from the state, would it incentivize their employment?
  • Death penalty for corruption: effective but inhumane. China, Singapore, Vietnam, and some other countries practice capital punishment for corrupt officials. Could other lawful sanctions replace this practice, and will they deter offenses?
  • The surrogacy market should be regulated and legalized. Is surrogate maternity equal to human trafficking ? Could its legalization protect such women and their children? What is the ethical dilemma of surrogacy?
  • Is it righteous to execute a criminal who killed another person? Can one death be repaid by another one, or is it a method to deter further offenses? Analyze the ethical side of capital punishment . Are we entitled to take another person’s life?

Investigate some more debate topics for high school related to law and prosecution:

  • The code of ethics and transparency of artificial intelligence is to be regulated.
  • Should governments be granted access to encrypted means of communication, if needed?
  • Fur farms are inhumane and should be banned.
  • Police should have the right to shoot to kill.
  • The abolishment of the death penalty is a must in an advanced society.
  • How could drones violate the privacy rights of various landowners?
  • Is it possible to regulate cryptocurrencies around the world?
  • Is gambling harmful to society, and should it be banned?
  • Does the legalization of prostitution protect such women?
  • Leg-hold traps for wild animals should be outlawed.
  • Only international regulation of air pollution could hinder climate change.
  • Third countries need legal patronage of the developed countries.
  • Punishment for child abuse and neglect is too slight to make people think before they act.
  • Rights grant freedom.
  • International intelligence is a means to protect one country’s rights while infringing on the rights of another country.
  • Equal rights for all is idealistic and unachievable.
  • Can legislation keep up with the newest technology?
  • Could international prohibition of weapons of mass destruction control wars?
  • The rights of LGBTQ communities.
  • Is it possible to make a legal base for morality standards?
  • How could we regulate ownership rights and data security in Blockchain?
  • Abuse of rights is inevitable if there is no punishment.
  • The freedom of one person is limited by the freedom of another one.
  • Any crime can be justified.
  • Criminals have a different system of values that needs to be corrected.
  • Leaving a crime without punishment means becoming its accomplice.
  • Punishment should not be a vengeance. It should be a rehabilitation course.
  • Equal rights mean equal law observance.
  • A right means the possibility to do everything that is not forbidden.
  • Law is enforced only by power.

💉 Medicine & Health Debate Topics

Lack of medical education does not deprive you of the right to have your opinion on the following medical debate topics:

  • Plants shall be used in medication as nature gave us the solution to every health problem. What are some pros of herbal medicine? What is the reason some traditional herbal treatments work?
  • Patients should not be allowed to refuse treatment because of their religious beliefs. What is more important: human life or personal opinions? Provide your evidence. How can a healthcare institution insist on treatment without a patient’s permission?
  • Physician-assisted suicide should be prohibited. Think about how it would affect hopeless patients , for example, those who are in a persistent vegetative state of suffering from the terminal stage of cancer. Is there always hope for a miracle?
  • Prescription drug ads should be banned. Self-medication can be harmful. To save some money and avoid paying a doctor, people try to diagnose themselves. It happens to be helpful, but not always.
  • High-fat products should be labeled with official health warnings . How dangerous can high-fat products be? Will it help to combat obesity in society if people become more aware of what they consume?
  • Mono diet can undermine your health. Is losing weight worth further stomach diseases? Or do you believe that short-term dieting will not harm? Are there safe products for a single-food diet?
  • Obsession with slenderness provokes eating disorders. First, you need to make your eating habits healthy , and then extra weight will go away by itself.
  • You are what you eat. This phrase is often used to motivate you to keep a diet. But food falls into molecules that form our bodies, so the statement is far-fetched. To which extent does our nutrition define our wellness?
  • Marijuana can be used for medical purposes. Should it be legalized? Which diseases are treated or alleviated by this drug? Does it cause addition, and is it worth the healing effect?
  • Genetically engineered humans is an issue of time. It is interesting to read about people with a corrected genome in science fiction, but do we want it to become our reality? At the same time, it could be the only answer to currently incurable diseases .

Reflect on some of the most controversial questions of modern medicine:

  • Is it ethical to test medications on animals and, later, on humans?
  • What is the effect of social distancing during the pandemic?
  • Does being healthy require much money?
  • Can a lack of social interaction have a detrimental impact on an individual’s health?
  • Vaping is just a lesser evil than smoking.
  • Body positivity allows obese people to keep on leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
  • Organ trafficking exists because legal trade is prohibited.
  • Vaccination should be compulsory for children.
  • There should be a course on the culture of alcohol consumption for students to prevent further addiction.
  • Smoking should be made socially unacceptable.
  • Organ donation after death should become a common practice.
  • Is reading and using gadgets bad for eyesight?
  • Can wireless networks pose any threat to our health?
  • What are the possible effects of circumcision for a baby?
  • If a person needs organ transplantation because of an unhealthy lifestyle, is it ethical to provide them with such an operation?
  • Should a medical worker be entitled to provide medical treatment to a child if parents decide not to ?
  • Is womb transplantation a future alternative to surrogate maternity?
  • Uninsured people may receive no or insufficient medical treatment when they need it. Is it ethical?
  • If homeopathy is doubtful, why do people trust it?
  • Should medical errors be criminalized?
  • Medical education takes so much time and effort so that students who are not meant to become doctors could change their specialization.
  • Medical education should be free, but there should be a psychological fitness and properness test at admission.
  • Should parents limit the amounts of sugar their children consume?
  • Does suicide prevention mean that a suffering person will have to suffer more?
  • Any product can be healthy if consumed in small portions.
  • A healthy lifestyle does not guarantee longevity.
  • Are psychological disorders overdiagnosed?
  • Should HIV be a personal secret, and to which extent?
  • We would be healthier if we lived in a closer connection with nature.
  • Obesity is genetic, and we should not blame obese people for a lack of self-discipline.

🎓 Educational Debate Topics for College Students

In the following selection, you can find some good debate topics for high school. Education is always a disputable topic in universities and colleges . However, some of them will do even for middle school.

  • Participation in sports clubs should be mandatory. Sports can change your life and even help to finance your studies. But what if someone is not talented in sports at all? Will it be a waste of time for them?
  • Exams should be replaced with more effective assessment formats. And which forms would you suggest? Maybe you are more conservative and support the existing system? Is it better for students to know that their progress will be checked?
  • Students should combine work and studies to start their careers earlier. Will they benefit from the early-career start or it can only harm and hinder quality learning? Does work during studies take too much time and effort? Could it cause professional burnout ?
  • Classes should start in the afternoon. What is the best time for a school day to start ? People have different biorhythms. Should they be taken into account? Is it possible to give pupils and students an option to choose for themselves?
  • Students should be allowed to grade their tutors. Would you attend classes taught by the teacher who has low rankings? Explain your point of view. Would it improve the quality of education?
  • Homework is a holdover from the past. Schools should abolish it. Instead, extracurricular activities could be extended. If you agree with the statement, suggest other options to replace homework. If you disagree, provide your arguments.
  • Is it reasonable/ethical to hold public prayers at schools? Should parents, schools, or government be authorized to decide? What are the positive and effects of religious education ? Are there any drawbacks? What could be done if children are practicing different religions?
  • Some websites should be blocked on school and college computers. If yes, what are they? Should parents be instructed to do the same at home? If no, what are your arguments? Discuss social networks and their harm/importance, as well as other possibly harmful content.
  • ABC tests do not show if a student really knows the answer. Multiple-choice questions are easy to check. Still, a correct option can be chosen by chance. Should we give students an incentive to develop their thought?
  • Internships should be obligatory for all students. Is it technically possible? How could it improve their future employment and career? Would companies and institutions be interested in such a mass practice?

Education can offer many controversial topics for teens. Find out some of them:

  • School holidays are too long and pointless.
  • Companies should be stimulated to pay for the best students and to hire them afterward.
  • Primary school is not about teaching. It is about socializing.
  • Would you choose a private or a public school for your child?
  • The contemporary program for universities is too distant from real life.
  • Education for adults should become more popular.
  • Professors should have non-educational employment history to be able to prepare students for real life.
  • Pupils should choose their specialization according to the results of various aptitude tests long before college .
  • Is handwriting going into the past? Should calligraphy be left out in the curriculum?
  • Could an online education diploma be equal to a diploma for full-time studies?
  • Should parents help their children with their homework ?
  • Could computer games be used for educational purposes?
  • Does higher education make you a better human?
  • How many foreign languages should be taught at school/college?
  • Primary schools should give debate topics for kids to develop their public speaking skills.
  • Schools tend to idealize prominent historical figures . Is it wrong?
  • Homeschooling is useful only if a parent has pedagogical education to control the process.
  • Sex education should be included in the curriculum.
  • What are the effects of using gadgets in education?
  • Some educational workers apply for a tutoring job because they failed to find work in the business.
  • Uniform limits self-expression of students.
  • History classes are too theoretical. Could they become more practical?
  • Tutors’ salaries should depend on the success level of their students.
  • Should students attend only those courses they are interested in?
  • Do the methods of teaching need to be revolutionized?
  • Should students do their best to have A’s in all subjects, or should they prioritize?
  • Are libraries gradually becoming a thing of the past?
  • Does discipline in class guarantee its success?
  • Should a tutor be a role model and a moral instructor?
  • What makes a university well-known and successful?

💑 Controversial Relationship Debate Topics

Relationships are the most debatable topic of all the possible ones. This list offers controversial topics for discussion that most likely have no correct answer. It makes them even more interesting, as we all are so different.

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  • Exes can just be friends. Is friendship possible between the people who used to love each other? Does it mean that relationships are over? Or does such striving for further communication mean that one of them still hopes for return?
  • The psychological climate in class is essential for students’ achievements . Can you study under the pressure? And what about a fun atmosphere? What could make classes funny? Who is responsible for relationships between students?
  • Families should be allowed to adopt children overseas. Discover all the pros and cons of adoption and share your opinion. How could the government control it, and should it do so? Could it provoke human trafficking in third-world countries?
  • No-fault divorces should be prohibited. Divorce procedures should be made more complicated. Couples should be given more time to think before the final decision is given. Should couples provide confirmation to their accusations?
  • Low-income families are happier than single high-income earners . Provide evidence supporting your point of view. Is it better to have everything you want without having a special someone to share it all with? Is there a correlation between loneliness and high earnings?
  • The extremes do not meet in personal relations. Even more: different tastes and opinions lead to quarrels. Are soul mates similar to each other? What are the drawbacks of having too much in common?
  • Parents should not interfere in the personal lives of their adult children. Maybe the children should make their own mistakes, drawing conclusions? Are there any cases when parents should give advice? Should they insist on their leaving obviously destructive relationships?
  • Men should make the first step in a relationship. What are the sources of this common opinion, and is it reasonable? What are the possible outcomes if a woman initiates a relationship?
  • Making family business could improve the atmosphere in the couple. Business topics are distant from the daily routine. They could make communication more interesting. But if afterward a relationship will come to an end, will common affair complicate the breakup?
  • Long-distance relationships are the best way to build trust. People need to find areas of common interest and be inventive. Most of the time, they communicate with other people. For this reason, if they are faithful, their relationship will grow stronger.

Find out a list of debate topics for argumentative essays below:

  • Some health problems of children are caused by family conflicts.
  • Preserving a marriage for the sake of children is a bad idea.
  • Is loyalty only about the absence of other sexual partners?
  • Is it a bad idea to read messages on the telephone of your partner?
  • The difference of opinions in a couple is a signal of soon break up.
  • It is necessary to support friendship even if you want to spend all the time with your special one.
  • If you didn’t like something on the first date , be sure that once it can become the reason for quarrels.
  • What are healthy relationships ?
  • Being cheated does not always mean that you are not loved.
  • Bad relationships cannot be “glued” by children.
  • Even the negative sides of the close person seem beautiful for dates in love.
  • Are mothers responsible for the character of kids, as they spend more time with them, compared to fathers?
  • Why do friendships come to an end?
  • Long unhealthy relationships, like in cohabitation with an abuser, can cause psychological disorders .
  • Authoritative relationships between the boss and the employee lead to lower productivity than friendly ones.
  • Love is merely caused by chemical reactions in the body.
  • Is a complicated but long-lasting relationship better than many short and easy ones?
  • Causeless jealousy destroys even the best relationships.
  • What should be ethically forbidden in a relationship?
  • Could dating endanger your success at college?
  • Is first love better than all the next ones?
  • Friends should be granted only the second place of importance after the family.
  • Should couples in cohabitation get married instead?
  • Can “friends with benefits” be called real friends?
  • It is better for a young marriage not to live with their parents.
  • Is love good for your health?
  • Sex tourism is a sign of loneliness.
  • Wars, in-country conflicts, and violent discussions mean that people lack love in their life.
  • The best way to save relationships for friends is to dedicate time to each other.
  • Relationships in a group are dictated by its leader.

🗳️ Political Debate Topics

It is considered bad manners to ask people about their political views. But the reason is that such controversial questions often raise conflicts. An excellent way to express yourself is to write an essay on one of the following debate topics:

  • Is society limited by political boundaries? Some countries were created less than 50 years ago by the division of a former bigger country. Does it mean that people in these two new countries relate to different societies? Globalization destroys political boundaries even more.
  • We chose democracy not for its benefits, but for its difference from tyranny. Is democracy the best political regime as of today? Could it be improved anyhow? What lessons of history can show that tyranny is the worst possible type of power?
  • For political success, a government leader should be impeccable. How does a personal past affect a leader’s destiny? How can ill fame be corrected? Can new merits counterbalance past mistakes?
  • Do government leaders have enough time to manage their private business? How can it impede or boost their popularity with the voters? Does success in business give a political player the necessary skills and knowledge to lead a country?
  • Climate change can be defeated by globalization. All countries shall unite and adopt common legislation in ecological issues . The most influential group of countries like G7 and G20 shall help the poorer countries to decrease their emissions and recycle.
  • Will all countries become democratic in the long run? The countries that have never been democratic can find it challenging to change. Their population is used to the existing order of things. Is it possible to change their regime without a revolution?
  • Donald Trump works against overpopulation in the US. Do you support his nationalistic policy? How could immigrants from third-world countries harm the US economy and homeland security ? Is the problem exaggerated?
  • Does Trump have a conflict of interests between his presidency and his business? Many representatives of his administration are the leaders of media companies. Specific US laws forbid government officials from receiving funds from their business. Are these appointments inappropriate?
  • Are election campaigns a waste of money? Could there be other ways of informing the people about the candidates? Could the candidates compete in charitable activities, rather than eloquence on TV?
  • Are the governments taking a reasonable effort to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic? Is it correct to keep the borders closed once the disease has spread to all countries? Some countries make almost no changes while others close everything for quarantine. Small business is suffering much more than large companies. What could be different?
  • Are wars always started by politicians?
  • Is it possible to eliminate corruption among the officials?
  • Should the world cancel nuclear weapons and destroy them?
  • Terrorism is a powerful political instrument.
  • Can public protests influence the decisions of the government?
  • Were civil wars caused by the mistakes of local authorities?
  • Is nationalism better than globalization?
  • Is it fair that votes of people with different levels of education, life, and cultural background have equal weight at elections?
  • Who was the best president in the United States , and why?
  • Politics is the art of making the best out of the worst.
  • Donald Trump’s relation to other countries is markedly different from his predecessors, but it turned out to be beneficial for the economy.
  • Federalists and democratic-republicans strive for the same purposes by different means.
  • Without economic competition, even the wealthiest country will become weak.
  • Politics means actions, not long-winded rhetorics about those actions.
  • Talented people create a country’s wealth, not money.
  • Why don’t other parties, different from the Federal and Republican Parties , avail of the same popularity in the US?
  • How do political electoral campaigns use mass media?
  • Think of the reason why the US has never had a female president?
  • Should firearm regulations become stricter?
  • Is it the government’s duty to combat gambling addiction?
  • If every vote is important, why don’t many people show up for elections ?
  • Was Brexit caused by political or economic reasons?
  • What are the factors supporting the last monarchies ?
  • What role could be played by local politics to prevent Catalogna from separation from Spain?
  • What were the successes and failures of the UN in settling various conflicts?
  • What hinders certain countries from entering the African Union ?
  • How will the integration of Hong Kong influence China?
  • When should we expect new countries to enter the EU , and what will they be?
  • Could the global spread of cryptocurrency undermine the existing political systems?
  • What caused the victory of far-rightists at the last national and local elections to the European Council?

👣 How to Choose a Debate Topic? Main Steps

Step 1. run an initial brainstorming.

Think about at least five controversial issues you can pick up for your debates and write them down.

Benefits of learning to debate.

Step 2. Narrow the List of Debate Topics

Review them with the criteria:

  • Overused. Avoid debate questions that are too popular. Think of arguments: if you instantly pick up three for and against for the issue, don’t choose this topic. You won’t learn anything new or expand your knowledge.
  • Boring. Try to select debate ideas that you’re interested in. Otherwise, you may feel overwhelmed or fail the research.
  • Too difficult to research. Before you pick up the topic, think about it. You may realize that there are not enough sources for thorough study or controversial arguments.

Bachelors degree in Yale.

  • Not important. Avoid issues that have no significance to the society. For example, debating whether sneakers are more comfortable than trainers doesn’t affect society at all.
  • Too narrow or too broad. Some debate subjects may be too generic, so you’ll spend up too much time while researching them as well as exceed the time allotted for debate. For example, the UK migration policy to all countries. Otherwise, some questions can be too narrow.

Step 3. Make a Final Choice of a Debate Question

Here’re a few things you should remember:

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  • What is the purpose? What do you want your listeners to take away from these debates?
  • Who are your listeners? Will your topic appeal to them? What are their social, cultural and demographic backgrounds?

🤔 Controversial Topics FAQ

  • Death penalty
  • Eating disorders and obesity
  • Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia
  • Genetic engineering and cloning
  • Extraplanetary civilizations
  • Gender equality and feminism
  • Climate change and pollution
  • Technologies in our life
  • Fur industry
  • Gun control
  • The global influence of the US
  • US participation in military conflicts
  • Presidency of Donald Trump
  • Immigration control
  • Bilingual education and foreign languages at school
  • COVID-19 pandemics
  • Cybersecurity and protection of personal data
  • Presidential impeachment
  • Internet addiction
  • Organic food
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Transplantology and human trafficking
  • Drug legalization
  • Environment-caused diseases
  • Plastic surgery
  • Universal access to health care services
  • Homebirth vs. hospital birth
  • Vegetarianism
  • Extremism in politics and sociology
  • Civil rights in various political regimes
  • Women’s rights
  • #MeToo movement
  • Viability of Socialism
  • Information warfare
  • Nuclear energy and weapons
  • Environment-friendly fuels
  • Cryptocurrency and cashless economy
  • Our 100 Most Popular Student Questions for Debate and Persuasive Writing: NY Times
  • Debate: Harvard University
  • The Power of Speech & Debate Education: Stanford University
  • Ten High-Fat Foods That are Actually Super Healthy
  • Extremist Files
  • Major Debate Topics
  • 100+ Interesting Debate Topics
  • The Best Controversial Topics for Debates and Essays
  • 356 Controversial Speech and Essay Topic Ideas
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Good post!!!

Custom Writing

Thanks it was helpful to me for how to challenge in debating.

I spent a lot of time mulling over the best topic for debate but without any results. Your 25 controversial topics for debate made me think which one to choose. All they are fascinating, and it’s challenging to decide the most appropriate one for me! Thanks for such a pleasant puzzle!)

Awesome dude!

Can you tell me which topic you have chosen?

I chose to legalize marijuana, by the way, can you people add a “Lower the consent age” debate?

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Debate Writing

Debate Topics

Caleb S.

Interesting and Great Debate Topics (2023)

12 min read

Published on: Jan 13, 2022

Last updated on: Jul 21, 2023

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Learn the Art of Debate Writing: Proven Techniques for Convincing Arguments

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Choosing the best topic for your debate can be daunting. A person, even a professional essay writer, can never come up with a perfect topic instantly that is arguable and defendable. 

If you have relatable content but do not have an engaging topic, you will lose your audience’s interest. So, choose a topic that is right and appropriate. 

Are you looking for expert help to assist you in choosing the debate topic? Are you finding it difficult to create debate topics or find stuff to debate about? 

Then read this blog to get some interesting debate topics and choose the best topic according to your requirements. 

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Debate Topics for Kids

These are some great debate topics for grade 4 and 5:

  • Is it possible for computers to replace teachers?
  • Significance of exploring the space
  • How are zoos more harmful than good for animals?
  • Olympics and its importance for the athletes
  • Should parents be punished for the mistakes that their children make?
  • Significance of saving money
  • Should children be given space or privacy?
  • Are social networking sites addictive?
  • Do aliens really exist?
  • Should every student play a musical instrument in school?

Debate Topics for Middle School Students

Here are some good discussion topics for the students of middle school.

  • Every person should have a pet.
  • The impact of peer pressure is greater on self-conscious students
  • All schools should ban homework.
  • School uniforms should be banned in every school.
  • Soda and fizzy drinks should be banned in college cafes.
  • PE should be made mandatory for every student in high school.
  • All middle school students should take part in community service programs.
  • Schools should not allow corporal punishments.
  • Censorship is important on the internet in school.
  • Junk food should be banned by the government in schools.

Debate Topics for Grade 6 

  • Allowing chewing gum in class
  • Physical books versus e-books
  • Longer recess periods in schools
  • Wearing hats or caps in school
  • Studying alone versus in groups
  • Eating snacks during class
  • Having a class pet or not
  • Choosing seats in the classroom
  • Listening to music during class
  • Shorter versus longer school days

High School Debate Topics

High school debate topics are a bit more complex than the topics of middle school. Here's a list of debate topics that is suitable for every high school student:

  • Human cloning should be banned.
  • Animal testing should be strictly banned.
  • Violent video games should be banned by the government.
  • There should be a limit on freedom of speech.
  • The death penalty should be abolished.
  • Animal abuse in the circus should be banned.
  • Underage girls should be allowed to abort their unplanned children.
  • Progressive tax rates are not justified.
  • Marijuana should be considered a social offense and a crime.
  • YouTube should be blocked on the school premises.

Debate Topics for College Students

As a college student, you could be looking for social topics for discussion or just some technical things to discuss. Here’s a list of topics that will help you pick an appropriate topic:

  • What would you rather choose: rich and dishonest or poor and honest?
  • There are no plausible reasons for the war on terror.
  • How are alternative sources of energy effective?
  • Books are more entertaining and informative than TV.
  • Public schooling is more effective than homeschooling.
  • Abortion is ethically legal but not morally.
  • The increase in the rate of unemployment is due to advancements in technology.
  • Same-sex marriages should be banned and should not be legalized anywhere.
  • Adoption is better than bearing kids.
  • Prostitution is the crime and the only reason behind the increased rate of HIV/AIDs.

Debate Topics For Teens

  • Homework should be banned.
  • Is there any reason to raise minimum wages?
  • Students should not be allowed to use Facebook.
  • Social media does more harm than good.
  • Why is it so hard for women to become president?
  • There should be children and teenagers in government.
  • Should cigarettes be banned from society?
  • Should marijuana be legalized?
  • Are cell phones safe?
  • What’s the best pizza topping?

Debate Topics For Adults

  • Internet service should be legally given to the citizens by the government of the US.
  • The democratic government is the best form of government.
  • There should be heavy fines on people who do not recycle.
  • Poetry should be made part of the curriculum for every student.
  • The grading criteria of the schools should be amended.
  • Celebrities do not make good role models.
  • The increased crime rate in the country is due to an increased rate of immigrants.
  • Sex education should be made part of the curriculum.
  • The criminal justice system of the United States is ineffective.
  • Propaganda is the tool used by politicians to manipulate the masses.

Controversial Debate Topics

Controversial topics make the best debates. The following are some controversial debate topics for you:

  • Selling alcohol on weekends should be banned.
  • Unlicensed pharmacists should be allowed to prescribe medicines.
  • The government should ban animal testing.
  • Public speaking is the only way to boost a child’s communication skills.
  • Students should not be allowed to play violent video games.
  • Lack of trust in relationships results in jealousy.
  • A man should raise a child equally as a woman does.
  • It is important to punish parents for the misdeed of their kids.
  • Traditional health care is better than herbal medication.
  • Pros and cons of mercy killing.

Good Debate Topics About Education

Educational topics always work. If you cannot find any topic for your debate, choose from the below-mentioned list.

  • To get a good job it is important to have a degree.
  • The skill-based study is better than scientific study.
  • Sports should be made mandatory in every school and college.
  • Science and the arts are equally important subjects.
  • Homework gives undue pressure to students.
  • No religion should be taught in school.
  • Boarding schools are important for students who are not sharp and intelligent.
  • For better learning of students, outdoor learning is important.
  • Mobile phones should be confiscated from all students in the school.
  • History is an important subject to study in school.

Political Debate Topics

  • Every person should own a gun to protect himself.
  • Britain should not be a part of the European Union.
  • Communism is a better ideology than socialism.
  • In a democratic government, there should be a limit on freedom of speech.
  • International relations are affected by patriotism.
  • Politics should be taught in schools.
  • Citizens who do not vote should be fined.
  • Monarchy should be abolished in Britain.
  • Illegal immigrants should be punished as criminals.
  • The voting age should be lowered to 16.

Social Debate Topics 

  • Drinking age: lower or raise?
  • Homeschooling versus traditional schooling
  • Free healthcare for all citizens?
  • Minimum wage: increase or decrease?
  • Gun control: necessary or not?
  • Limits on political campaign donations?
  • Censorship of music and movies
  • Legalizing recreational marijuana
  • Affirmative action in college admissions?
  • Is it ethical to have a wealth tax?

Funny Debate Topics

Keep reading to discover funny debate topics for adults in 2023.

  • American Idol is better than X-Factor.
  • Dogs are better pets than cats.
  • The chicken came first and then eggs.
  • Thin crust pizza is better than a thick crust.
  • Winters are better than summer.
  • Harry Potter is better than Lord of the Rings.
  • It is easy to understand a woman.
  • If a vampire bites a person who has AIDs, will he get it too?
  • Can we party after death?
  • Females are a better gender.

Interesting Debate Topics

It is important to choose a debate topic that is interesting and engaging. The following are some really interesting topics:

  • Standardized testing is not an effective method to determine a student’s intelligence.
  • The nuclear powers of the world are responsible for wars.
  • What does it mean to “bear arms”?
  • Homosexual relationships are against nature.
  • Children are depending on technology way too much.
  • Parents should restrict the use of the internet at home.
  • Money is the only source of motivation in practical life.
  • Censorship on educational documentaries is important.
  • All non-biodegradable should be banned.
  • Who selects the electoral college?

Sport Debate Topics

  • Is paintball a real sport?
  • Should advertising be allowed in sports?
  • Should steroids be legalized and monetized?
  • Who's the best team ever?
  • The Olympics are a waste of money.
  • Should women be allowed to compete against men?
  • Is there growth in boxing?
  • The history of using math in baseball
  • Men coaches shouldn’t work with women athletes.
  • Is winning everything?

Social Media Debate Topics

  • Social media is the reason behind every bad thing in society.
  • The media has been replaced by social media.
  • The impact of social media on youth
  • Has social media killed our privacy?
  • Social media promotes violence in society
  • Pros and cons of using social media.
  • Should Facebook add a “dislike” button?
  • Is social media helpful?
  • Social media and its usage
  • Ban on social media sites

Technology Debate Topics

  • All cars should be electric.
  • Does technology make people lazy?
  • Developing alternative forms of energy
  • Is space travel worth the cost?
  • Do you like Apple products?
  • What is the best gaming system?
  • How to deal with increasing cybercrime?
  • What is the future of the internet?
  • Are mobile games so bad for kids?
  • Technology and its usage in daily life

Creative Debate Topics

  • Junk food should not be available at the cafeterias
  • Cooking classes should be made compulsory in schools
  • All children should be allowed to keep a cell phone
  • Playing video games is good for kids
  • The grading system of the schools should be abolished.
  • Parents should attend parenting classes.
  • Co-education schools are better for education.
  • The government can restrict freedom of speech if needed.
  • Democracy is the best policy for every government.
  • Students should learn to recycle things.

Science Debate Topics

  • Should we be genetically engineering humans?
  • Is there life on other planets?
  • Are self-driving cars safe?
  • How can science do without animal testing?
  • Robots should have rights.
  • Evolution, a theory or a fact?
  • Are vaccines risky or safe for children?
  • Science and Islam
  • The new discovery of science
  • Science and human life

English Debate Topics

  • Reading classic literature in schools
  • Relevance of Shakespeare in today's society
  • Teaching cursive handwriting in schools
  • Allowing electronic devices in classrooms
  • English as the official language of the United States
  • Foreign language classes in schools
  • Grammar versus communication skills in education
  • Creative writing versus technical writing in education
  • American Sign Language as a second language in schools
  • Diverse authors and perspectives in literature education.

Environmental Debate Topics

  • Live animal exports should be banned
  • Use of bidet instead of tissue papers.
  • Is organic farming better than conventional farming?
  • The use of natural gas in vehicles
  • Climate change is the greatest threat in human history.
  • Fossil fuels vs. nuclear energy
  • Environmental pollution
  • Describe tidal energy
  • Environment and its impact

Silly Debate Topics For Friends

  • McDonald's is the best fast food restaurant.
  • Children must get a longer holiday.s
  • Is the grading system used in high school effective?
  • Obesity should be labeled a disease.
  • Coursework is better than exams.
  • Afternoon classes are better than the early morning classes.
  • The psychological climate of the classroom has a lot to do with a student's personality development.
  • People with higher incomes should be fined more.
  • Children under ten should not be allowed to use gadgets.
  • Abusive parents have children with personality issues.

General Debate Topics

  • Private schooling is better than public schooling.
  • Different languages should be taught in school.
  • Studying maths is more important than studying the language.
  • STD testing should be offered for free in all educational institutions.
  • The government should provide security to all college education systems.
  • Political and economic instability is the result of refugees in a country.
  • Illegal immigrants should be given the right to vote.
  • All sanctions should be lifted on Iran by the West.
  • It is important to have friendly relationships with neighboring countries.
  • Big corporations should pay more taxes.

Unique Debate Topics 

  • Space exploration versus ocean exploration
  • More sustainability courses in schools
  • Ethics of animal testing
  • Limiting maximum income
  • Ethics of human cloning
  • Legalizing psychedelic drugs for medicine
  • Genetic engineering of human embryos
  • Censorship of the internet
  • Prioritizing climate change over economic growth
  • Selling organs for transplant.

Relationship Debate Topics

  • Are online relationships real?
  • What’s your opinion on experimenting in a relationship?
  • Should gay marriage be legalized?
  • Is there someone you would die for?
  • Is marriage necessary?
  • Is online dating advantageous?
  • Arranged marriage or love marriage?
  • Women marrying younger men
  • Would you consider remarriage if your spouse died?
  • Jealousy and love: is it justified?

Tips for Choosing a Good Debate Topic 

Here are some tips for choosing a good debate topic:

  • Choose a topic that you and your audience are interested in and passionate about.
  • Pick a topic that has multiple viewpoints and arguments that can be made for both sides.
  • Consider choosing a topic that is relevant to current events or issues in your community or country.
  • Choose a topic that is not too broad or too narrow. Rather focused enough to be thoroughly debated within a set time frame.
  • Make sure the topic is appropriate for the age group and audience of the debate.
  • Pick a topic that is challenging but not too controversial or offensive.
  • Consider the resources and information available to support your argument.
  • Finally, make sure the debate topic is clear and easy to understand for all participants and the audience.

The topics provided above are some really good choices for your debate. If you cannot rely on your debate writing skills, CollegeEssay.org is here to help! 

We provide expert academic service to students. 

Whether you are drafting a college essay or an academic debate, our essay writer can assist you and provide you with quality content.

Place your order today for all your academic papers and essay writer service at affordable prices. 

Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

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70 Argumentative Essay Topics That Will Put Up a Good Fight | Essay Writing Ideas | English topics for debate

70 Argumentative Essay Topics That Will Put Up a Good Fight | Essay Writing Ideas | English topics for debate

Welcome to our introductory guide to argumentative essay topics! In this article, we will provide a comprehensive list of 70 English topics for debate that are guaranteed to spark lively discussions and put up a good fight. Whether you’re a student looking for essay writing ideas or a writer searching for a thought-provoking thesis, you’ve come to the right place.

One of the most hotly debated topics around the world is women’s rights. Should women be allowed to have full control over their reproductive health? This question raises passionate and sometimes controversial arguments from both sides, making it an excellent topic for an argumentative essay. Consider the significance and points raised by feminists and anti-abortion activists to provide a well-rounded discussion.

The role of media in society is another debatable topic that could ignite heated arguments. With constant access to information, comes the potential for media bias and the misrepresentation of facts. Analyze the ethical implications and consequences of biased reporting, and consider the ways in which news organizations can improve their journalistic integrity.

Guns and their relation to crime is a topic that never seems to lose its relevance. While Americans have the right to bear arms outlined in the Second Amendment, there is an ongoing debate on how this right should be regulated and if certain types of firearms should be outlawed. Dive into the arguments presented by both sides and carefully examine the impact of gun control measures on crime rates.

The development of alternative energy sources is a pressing issue in the context of science and environmental protection. Should the government increase spending on renewable energy research and implementation to mitigate climate change, or should it focus on other priorities? Explore the different theories and scientific evidence supporting both sides and form an argument for your own thesis.

Argumentative Essay Topics That Will Put Up a Good Fight

1. gun control: protecting lives or infringing on rights.

  • Does stricter gun control lead to decreased crime rates?
  • Should gun ownership be regulated?
  • Is the Second Amendment outdated?

2. Media Manipulation: Is the Press Controlling Our Perception?

  • How do the media and journalists shape public opinion?
  • Are news outlets biased in their reporting of political events?
  • Should there be more regulations on media content?

3. The Role of Fake News in Changing Perceptions

  • How does fake news impact society?
  • Should websites and social media platforms be held accountable for spreading misinformation?
  • What measures can be taken to combat fake news?

4. The Influence of Social Media on Elections

  • Does social media have a significant impact on election outcomes?
  • How can the spread of misinformation on social media be controlled?
  • Should political advertising on social media be regulated?

5. The Ethics of Animal Testing: Finding a Balance

  • Are there alternatives to animal testing that can be equally effective?
  • Should certain medical and cosmetic testing on animals be outlawed?
  • What are the ethical implications of using animals for scientific research?

These are just a few examples of argumentative essay topics that address important issues in today’s society. When choosing a topic, it’s important to consider the relevance and significance of the issue, as well as its potential for sparking a strong and engaging debate. With the right topic and a well-researched argument, you can effectively convey your thoughts and views on these important matters.

Engaging in a Debate: English Topics for a Strong Argument

One of the best reasons to engage in a debate is to understand why certain topics have become debatable. Some English topics, like the influence of alternative media versus mainstream media, can shed light on the control of content and the manipulation of information. Exploring this topic can help a writer understand the power of argumentation and the importance of reliable sources in shaping public opinion.

Another topic that can generate a strong argument is the role of government in advertising. Analyzing the funding and control of advertising can reveal the influence it has on society, particularly on children. This debate touches on themes of ethics, consumerism, and the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens.

The issue of immigration is also a popular theme for English debates. It brings up questions of national identity, cultural integration, and economic impact. A well-written essay on immigration can present convincing arguments for both sides while highlighting the complexities involved in immigration policies.

The legalization of euthanasia is a debatable topic that sparks strong emotions. Arguments for and against euthanasia require a careful analysis of individual rights, medical ethics, and the value of life. This topic provides an opportunity for writers to explore moral dilemmas and the role of government in end-of-life decisions.

Baudrillard’s statement that “the simulacrum is true” can be a provocative English topic that challenges traditional notions of reality. Engaging in a debate on this topic requires an understanding of postmodern philosophy and the critique of representation. It encourages critical thinking and questioning of our perception of the world.

While not an English topic per se, the impact of technology in our lives is a subject that can spark a strong argument. From the effects of social media on mental health to the role of artificial intelligence in job automation, technology debates cover a wide range of issues. These topics invite discussions about the positives and negatives of technological advancements and their implications for society.

Lastly, the debate on freedom of speech versus hate speech laws takes into account the balance between preserving individual liberties and protecting marginalized communities. It raises questions about the limits of free expression and the role of the government in regulating hate speech. Engaging in this debate helps individuals understand the complexities of freedom of speech in a diverse society.

The Power of Words: Writing Ideas for an Impactful Essay

The importance of choosing carefully.

The words we choose in our writing can make all the difference. When writing an essay, it’s crucial to carefully select the words that will convey your message effectively. To do this, one must conduct ample research, analyze the topic from various perspectives, and consider the context in which those words will be interpreted.

For example, when discussing controversial topics such as gun control or immigration laws, it’s essential to choose words that are respectful, balanced, and backed by evidence. By doing so, you can engage the reader in a meaningful dialogue and increase the overall impact of your argument.

The Power of Toulmin Analysis

One powerful tool that can enhance the impact of your essay is the Toulmin analysis. This method allows you to break down your argument into distinct parts, including claim, evidence, warrant, backing, and qualifier. By utilizing this approach, you can present a logical and well-supported argument that is more likely to persuade your audience.

For instance, if you’re writing an essay about the influence of violent video games on aggression levels in adolescents, you can use the Toulmin analysis to present your central claim, provide ample research findings as evidence, offer a warrant that connects the evidence to your claim, and address any potential qualifiers that may weaken your argument.

The Impact of Government Policies

Government policies have the power to shape societies and have a lasting impact on people’s lives. When crafting an essay about government policies, it is crucial to examine the implications of these policies from different angles and consider their ethical implications.

For instance, you can explore the effects of stricter knife enforcement laws in the United Kingdom or analyze the perception surrounding Scotland’s decision to extend the voting age to 16. By delving into such topics, you can shed light on the potential benefits and drawbacks of these policies while offering your own analysis.

The Role of Media and Perception

The media plays a vital role in shaping public opinion and influencing people’s perceptions of events, ideas, and even themselves. Writing an essay that analyzes media coverage and its impact on perception can be a thought-provoking and impactful topic.

For example, you can delve into the role of media in shaping the perception of elections, how news can influence public opinion on controversial issues, or explore the effects of social media on the overall perception of reality. By critically examining these themes, you can provide valuable insights into the power of media in today’s society.

Questioning Health: Controversial Topics for an Argumentative Essay

The impact of healthcare competition: a violation of patients’ rights.

  • Outline the economic competition in the healthcare system
  • Examine how competition can lead to a violation of patients’ rights
  • Discuss the potential negative effect on quality of care

With the increasing privatization and marketization of healthcare, it is essential to question whether the competitive environment truly benefits patients or if it prioritizes economic interests over their well-being. The thesis of this essay will question the healthcare system’s focus on profit and explore its potential consequences on patient care.

The Changing Face of Women’s Health: Is it Keeping Up with Needs?

  • Explore the evolving nature of women’s healthcare
  • Highlight the areas where the current system falls short
  • Discuss the importance of comprehensive and inclusive healthcare for women

While significant progress has been made in women’s healthcare, there are still areas that need improvement. This essay will explore the gaps that exist and discuss the importance of providing women with comprehensive healthcare services that address their unique needs and promote gender equality in the healthcare system.

The Use of Falsehoods: How Misinformation Affects Health

  • Discuss the prevalence and impact of misinformation in healthcare
  • Examine how false information can lead to harmful health practices
  • Explore possible solutions, such as improving health literacy

In today’s digital age, false information spreads rapidly, especially when it comes to health-related topics. This essay will examine the consequences of misinformation on individuals’ health choices and discuss the importance of promoting accurate and reliable information to improve public health outcomes.

The Ethical Dilemmas of Genetic Testing: Balancing Individual Rights and Family Interests

  • Examine the ethical considerations surrounding genetic testing
  • Discuss the potential impact on family dynamics
  • Explore the balance between individual rights and family interests

The rise of genetic testing has raised ethical dilemmas regarding privacy, informed consent, and potential consequences for family members. This essay will delve into the complex ethical considerations involved in genetic testing, examining how it affects both individuals and their familial relationships.

Mental Health Stigma: Breaking the Silence and Building Support

  • Explore the stigma surrounding mental health
  • Examine the consequences of stigma on individuals seeking help
  • Discuss strategies to reduce stigma and promote mental health support

Despite progress in mental health awareness, the stigma surrounding mental illness remains a significant barrier for individuals seeking help. This essay will discuss the impact of this stigma on mental health and examine various strategies to break the silence surrounding mental health and create a supportive environment for those in need.

These controversial topics provide a starting point for engaging discussions about health and its impact on society. By questioning common views and challenging preconceived notions, individuals can work towards finding new ideas and solutions to ongoing healthcare challenges in the modern world.

Breaking Stereotypes: Challenging Ideas for a Thought-Provoking Essay

1. Politics and Political Statements:

  • Should political parties speak out against certain statements made by their members?
  • What are the ethics of supporting a political candidate?
  • Should political speeches be outlawed?

2. Family and Social Norms:

  • Can family values be challenged without causing harm?
  • Should certain family structures be portrayed as stronger or better?
  • Is it acceptable to hire someone based on their family background?

3. Technology and Society:

  • Are we too reliant on technology?
  • How does technology impact our personal relationships?
  • Should schools prioritize teaching technology skills over other subjects?

4. Immigration and Crisis:

  • What are some ways to deal with immigration issues?
  • Should immigration laws be stricter?
  • Does immigration pose a crisis for the United States?

5. Race and Portrayal:

  • How does the mainstream media tend to portray different races?
  • What are some ways to challenge biased portrayals of race?
  • Should actors be chosen based on their race for certain roles?

6. Education and Schools:

  • Should high schoolers be able to choose their own curriculum?
  • What are some ways to make learning more enjoyable and fun?
  • Should schools have stricter policies regarding funny or offensive speech?

7. Government and Laws:

  • Should the government have control over personal views and opinions?
  • Is it the government’s responsibility to solve all the issues within a country?
  • Is the current government of the United States doing a good job?

8. Crisis and Panic:

  • How does the media contribute to creating panic during crises?
  • What are some ways to prevent panic during crisis situations?
  • Should certain speech be regulated during a crisis?

9. Personal Views and Ethics:

  • Should individuals be judged based on their personal views?
  • Are there any beliefs or theories that should be outlawed?
  • How important is it to remain open to different ideas and views?

Taking a Stand: Argumentative Essay Topics for a Strong Opinion

The influence of technology on society.

1. Does constant access to information on the internet devalue the importance of knowledge?

2. Is the use of smartphones making people more isolated and less focused on face-to-face interactions?

3. Are social media platforms creating a false reality and distorting people’s perception of themselves?

4. How has technology changed the way we communicate and interact with others?

The Role of Government in Education

1. Should the government provide funding for all public schools to ensure equal educational opportunities?

2. Is standardized testing an effective way to measure a student’s intelligence and skills?

3. Should the government have control over the curriculum taught in schools?

4. Should schools teach sex education and provide contraception to students?

The Impact of Media on Society

1. Does the media have a responsibility to cover events objectively and provide accurate information?

2. Are newspapers and traditional news sources becoming obsolete in the age of digital media?

3. Do violent video games contribute to real-life crime rates?

4. Is the portrayal of women and minorities in the media improving or worsening?

The Role of Personal Freedom in Society

1. Should individuals have the right to make their own decisions, even if it may be harmful to themselves?

2. Is freedom of speech being violated in online platforms?

3. Should presidential campaigns be publicly funded to reduce the influence of money in politics?

4. Does government surveillance infringe on citizens’ right to privacy?

The Importance of Cultural Preservation

1. Should the government promote and protect local cultures and traditions?

2. Is it important to preserve historical sites and buildings?

3. Should cultural appropriation be regulated and discouraged?

4. Is globalization a threat to cultural diversity?

By choosing one of these argumentative essay topics, you will have a strong foundation for your essay. Remember to clearly state your argument in a thesis statement and provide evidence to support your claims. At the end of the day, the goal is to challenge readers’ perspectives and encourage them to engage in meaningful discussions.

What are some good argumentative essay topics to write about?

There are several good argumentative essay topics that you can write about. Some examples include: the impact of social media on teenagers, the effectiveness of gun control laws, the benefits and drawbacks of online education, the ethical implications of genetic engineering, and the influence of advertising on body image.

What are the views of Nietzsche and Baudrillard on fake news?

Nietzsche believed that fake news was a result of a decadent culture and was a symptom of a society in decline. He argued that individuals who spread fake news were motivated by a desire to manipulate and control others. On the other hand, Baudrillard viewed fake news as a form of simulation and hyperreality. He believed that fake news served to reinforce existing power structures and create a false sense of reality.

Can you give me some examples of argumentative essay topics related to social media?

Sure! Some argumentative essay topics related to social media include: the impact of social media on mental health, the role of social media in political campaigns, the benefits and drawbacks of social media activism, the influence of social media on interpersonal relationships, and the ethical implications of data mining on social media platforms.

What are some arguments that can be made about the effectiveness of gun control laws?

There are several arguments that can be made about the effectiveness of gun control laws. Some may argue that stricter gun control laws can help reduce gun violence by limiting access to firearms. Others may argue that gun control laws infringe on individuals’ Second Amendment rights and may not necessarily prevent individuals from obtaining guns through illegal means. Additionally, some may argue that focusing on mental health resources and addressing other underlying causes of gun violence may be more effective than implementing stricter gun control laws.

What are some arguments for and against online education?

Some arguments in favor of online education include its flexibility, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness. Online education allows individuals to learn at their own pace and from anywhere in the world. It also eliminates the need for commuting and can be more affordable than traditional in-person education. On the other hand, some arguments against online education highlight the lack of face-to-face interaction and the potential for decreased student engagement. There may also be concerns about the quality and credibility of online degrees.

What are the main views of Nietzsche and Baudrillard on fake news?

Nietzsche and Baudrillard have different views on fake news. Nietzsche believed that truth is a subjective concept and that there is no absolute truth. He argued that individuals create their own truths based on their perspectives and interpretations of the world. Baudrillard, on the other hand, believed that fake news is a result of the hyperreality of our society. He argued that the media creates and perpetuates simulations of reality, blurring the lines between what is true and what is false. According to Baudrillard, fake news is a product of this simulation and serves to further deceive and manipulate individuals. Overall, both philosophers recognized the existence of fake news but had differing perspectives on its nature and impact.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California , and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.

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120 Interesting Debate Topics to Channel Your Inner Socrates

Every great orator used to be a student – even the most gifted ones had to learn. That is why you have to practice your rhetorical skills in building strong arguments and presenting them compellingly. Usually, you are given some time to prepare for a debate. Your topic is known beforehand, and you can research it to back your arguments with evidence, hone your loquacity, and embellish your speech with prosody, parallelism, and other expressive means.

However, if you haven’t been given a defined topic for your speech or you just want to practice, you can find some ideas on the list below. We have gathered the best debate topics and grouped them by categories:

Debatable Topics on Hot Issues

More controversial debate topics, easy and funny debate topics, engaging debate topics for middle school, though-provoking debate topics for high school, challenging debate topics for college students, top debating topics that never go out of fashion, casual topics to debate about.

In each category, you can choose topics to debate of varying complexity – from easy to challenging. Some of the issues are ambiguous and hard to navigate without knowledge of human psychology and high levels of emotional intelligence. As a studying aid, most topics are linked to our free essay database samples. Inspect them carefully and see what rhetoric devices are used to persuade the audience. Remember, wins not the one who shouts the loudest, but the one who speaks to the hearts of the audience.

What are the topics most fitting for debate? Of course, those related to current events: politics, technology, business, etc. Something that matters here and now. Relevance is the key. This is why these suggestions top debate topic list. Some of the topics below might even give you inspiration for research paper.

If you find an unlinked topic interesting, you can order a unique sample from our essay writing service . Just let us know if you need it written from a specific point of view or in a particular tone of voice. It will be created following your every instruction and delivered to you right on time!

  • Do media expose the inequality and class divide or contribute to them?
  • Should social media be regulated? Is it an infringement on the freedom of speech?
  • Artificial Intelligence: a boon or a bane?
  • Keeping cetaceans in captivity is unethical, even for research: yes or no?
  • Identity politics in the visible world: is your face your private property?
  • Are employee benefits distributed fairly to people who need help the most?
  • Should the minimum wage be raised?
  • Does affirmative action work?
  • Should all genetically modified food be banned?
  • Should medical workers disclose their HIV status to their patients?
  • Should the United States have mandatory military conscription?
  • Should the white majority join collective actions like “Blackout Tuesday” to show support, or is it more appropriate to leave room for minorities to raise their voices?
  • Should student debt be forgiven for everyone?
  • Should COVID-19 vaccination be made mandatory (with an exception for medical conditions preventing from a jab)?
  • Is colorblind casting for historical pieces empowering or harmful? Is it inclusion or erasure?

Now let’s get into really hot debatable topics. Current events are all fine and well, but some issues remain in the spotlight for years because they are highly polarizing and not easily resolved. They often dwell in the domain of criminal justice, ethics, and religion. Are you prepared to give some of these a try?

  • Is firing bad teachers the real solution to the de facto segregation in the U.S. education system?
  • Is it moral to buy and sell organs, or should they only be donated?
  • Is substance abuse a mental disorder?
  • Is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist effective for assessing offenders?
  • Should museums like Auschwitz be conserved or modernized?
  • European-Indigenous contact: was conflict inevitable or avoidable?
  • Should gay marriage be legal in your state?
  • Is it moral to supply teenagers with birth control?
  • Pro-life or pro-choice?
  • Should physician-assisted suicide be legal?
  • Is workplace drug testing ethical?
  • Is it ethical to patent medical procedures?
  • Should marijuana be legal in your state?
  • Does the death penalty have a place in a civilized society?
  • Should incest between consenting adults be considered a felony?

Phew, that was intense. How about something less emotionally charged? Expressing your strong opinions on unimportant matters can be a great way to learn debating techniques – and entertaining! Some of the fun debate topics on this list might be suitable for students in elementary or middle school.

  • City life vs. small-town life
  • Is “seize the day” a realistic way of life?
  • Boredom: does it lead to trouble, or is it good?
  • Do pop stars have a moral obligation to perform and dance in a non-offensive way?
  • Should we rely on technology or use it less in everyday life?
  • Is paintball a violent game, and should we play it?
  • Online dating: to do or not to do?
  • Are embellished images of fast food false advertising?
  • Should children be able to sue parents for giving them weird/ugly names?
  • Are voice messages a future, or should they be banned?
  • Do animals have a sense of humor?
  • Fantasy or Sci-Fi?
  • Apple or Android?
  • Choosing the ultimate pet: cats or dogs?
  • Fireworks are hazardous, bad for the environment, and scare animals. We should replace them with drones and laser shows. Agree or disagree?

We loosely classify the suggestions below as middle school debate topics because students of that age should find them engaging and be able to discuss them with some confidence. However, they are suitable not only for pre-teens. Some of them can be explored on other academic levels and even be a basis for profound research.

  • Are professional athletes a good or a poor choice for role modeling?
  • Should the school be taught all year-round instead of closing for summer?
  • Do comic books have positive or negative effects on children?
  • Who is to blame for World War 1?
  • Should government tax unhealthy foods?
  • Is Wikipedia a trustworthy source of information?
  • Do social media lead to narcissism?
  • Should children’s time be structures morning until evening, or should they have complete freedom?
  • Should homework be banned?
  • Is reporting rule-breaking to a teacher a snitching or a moral duty?
  • Should plastic bags and other one-use plastic items be banned completely?
  • Should we all become vegetarians?
  • Should all zoos be banned?
  • Is cybersport a real sport?
  • Should students be allowed to choose what they want to learn and refuse subjects they don’t like?

Older teens usually find discussions about changes, the future, and their plans for further education interesting. That is why we have included a good portion of these in our high-school debate topics. They might be a bit edgier than those for middle school but still manageable. For instance, we are sure you will have no problem with these.

  • Should uniforms be mandatory for high school students?
  • Is environmental protection a governmental or individual responsibility?
  • Is the council of your town efficient? Why or why not? Which problems have they successfully tackled/failed to address?
  • Should college education be state-financed and free for all students?
  • All high school and college students should be required to take at least two foreign languages: yes or no?
  • Should high school graduates take a gap year?
  • Do single-sex schools have enough merit to exist today?
  • Are humans and non-human species equal? Is non-speciesism or the unbiased treatment of other species possible?
  • Should teachers’ salaries be based on merit?
  • Should the breeding of animals with severe health conditions be stopped?
  • In the future, humanity will switch to lab-grown meat and meat substitutes. Agree or disagree?
  • Should we explore outer space or put the money and effort into sustainable living and preserving the Earth?
  • Should guns be more strictly regulated in your state?
  • Do biometric scans improve security or pose additional risks?
  • Is the legal age of 18 right for getting a tattoo? Should it be lowered or raised?

College debates topics might not have easy and readily available answers. They are more nuanced and complex, including pressing environmental, scientific, medical, and political issues. Will you be equal to these discussions?

  • Do internships benefit college students?
  • Should college athletes be paid?
  • Is studying abroad more beneficial than studying domestically?
  • Should we celebrate personalities with radical views and controversial legacies for the good things they did?
  • Should America adopt an educational system more like Europe?
  • Should juvenile offenders be tried and punished as adults?
  • Taking online courses versus going to college?
  • Should a cap be placed on “Pain and Suffering” in tort actions?
  • Are homeless people provided with sufficient support by the government?
  • Should illegal drug possession for personal use be decriminalized?
  • Should the legal drinking age be lowered?
  • Should campus police be armed?
  • Should universities only admit fully vaccinated people on campus?
  • Should free speech be unlimited in universities? How can this principle be balanced with issues of civility and respect?
  • Is borrowing styles from other cultures an appreciation or an appropriation?

Some philosophical, ethical, and historical issues always remain a popular debate topic. Can you and your classmates come to an agreement on these ones?

  • Is happiness achievable, or is it just an illusion?
  • Is crime violent by its very nature?
  • Is it okay to lie?
  • Settling a peaceful life in a tempestuous place is possible or not?
  • Stricter surveillance measures should be adopted to protect us from real threats: agree or disagree?
  • Do you believe that humanity is inherently evil?
  • Solitary confinement: humane or inhumane?
  • Can a refusal to vote be a democratic choice?
  • Are credits good or bad for consumers?
  • Is United Nations an ethical organization?
  • Should elderly people receive professional care at retirement homes or at their own place?
  • Do you believe that afterlife is merely a fable?
  • Is this reality a simulation? How can we tell?
  • Does free will exist, or is everything determined?
  • Can science and religion be reconciled?

You can try these topics for debate in class or with friends at a party. They concern all aspects of everyday life: relationship choices, behaviors, ethical decisions we make. Try these for a meaningful conversation with close friends or as icebreakers in a new company.

  • Does women’s choice to opt-in and out of work make them more privileged?
  • Are social networking services beneficial for our actual relationships?
  • What is better for society: collectivism or individualism?
  • Is materialism a positive or negative value?
  • Is plastic surgery an empowering or dangerous trend?
  • Are we as a society worshipping money too much?
  • “Ideas are more powerful than guns”: agree or disagree?
  • Can platonic friendship exist between men and women?
  • I would never have sex with someone on a first date: agree or disagree?
  • Internet censorship: yes or no?
  • Vacations: abroad or domestically?
  • Should people be allowed to marry objects?
  • Should bionics be used only to remedy the impairment or to enhance an able body as well?
  • Is it moral to kill insects if you are an ethical vegetarian?
  • Is romantic love necessary for a happy and fulfilling life?

Have any suggestions on how we could be more useful to you? Questions? Need help brainstorming more topics? Don’t hesitate to contact our customer support!

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Jana Rooheart

Jana Rooheart came to WOWESSAYS™ with a mission to put together and then slice and dice our vast practical experience in crafting all kinds of academic papers. Jana is an aspired blogger with rich expertise in psychology, digital learning tools, and creative writing. In this blog, she willingly shares tricks of pencraft and mind-altering ideas about academic writing any student will find utterly beneficial.

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Debate Writing

Cathy A.

Debate Writing - A Comprehensive Writing Guide

14 min read

Published on: Jan 17, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 15, 2023

debate writing

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Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words when it comes to articulating your thoughts in a debate?

The inability to formulate your thoughts in a debate can be a significant obstacle, hindering your ability to express yourself effectively. But don’t worry!

If you’re someone who’s wandering around trying to find the secrets to craft an outstanding debate speech, we’ve got your back.

In this blog, we’ll introduce you to debate writing, types, format, some tips, and debate examples, so you can understand how to pen down the perfect debate.

Let’s get going!

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What is Debate Writing?

A debate is a formal contest of argumentation where two opposing teams defend and attack a given resolution. Similarly, it is also a persuasive manner of speaking to convert one’s opinion into your viewpoint.

Here, the speaker either speaks for or against a particular topic being discussed. Moreover, it is the process of preparing and writing the debate before its formal presentation.

Features of Debate Writing

The following are the main features of debate writing.

  • Informative -  A good debate must provide complete information and facts. It is supposed to inform and educate people with the help of logical reasoning.
  • Well-reasoned - The arguments discussed in a debate must be logical, relevant, competent, and well-explained.
  • Persuasive -  A debate must emphasize strong arguments to convince the people.
  • Orderly -  A debate must present the facts in a structured and organized form. It should also follow a specific format.
  • Dynamic -  In a debate, two teams present opposing arguments. Similarly, all the important points must be questioned and answered by each team member.

Types of Debate

The following is a detailed description of common debating types that are practiced on various occasions. 

  • Team Policy Debate -  It consists of two teams, each with two debaters. The main aim is to present a huge amount of data coherently.
  • Cross-examination Debate -  It is considered a period between speeches. Here, the opponents ask each other to clarify and understand the points based on evidence.
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debate - It is a one-on-one and an open-style debate. Here, the debaters focus on arguing for or against a topic persuasively and logically.
  • Spontaneous Argumentation - Includes two teams that argue on a specific idea, but it does not require much research work. Similarly, this debate focuses more on presentation than content.
  • Public Forum Debate -  It includes arguments on controversial topics. Moreover, these are used to test the argumentation, cross-examination, and refutation skills of the debaters.
  • Parliamentary Debate - It consists of two teams, one called the government and the other called the opposition team. The Government team proposes a motion, and the Opposition team argues against it.

If you want to learn more about the different debating types, head to over comprehensive blog on types of debates.

Debate Writing Format

The debate writing for middle or high school follows the same format structure. Here, we have mentioned a detailed format for you to get an idea of the parts of a debate.

Check out the given debate writing template to get help with structuring your debate.

Debate Writing Template

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How to Start a Debate?

When starting the debate writing process, the question “ How to write a debate introduction?… ” could come off as a daunting one, but don’t worry.

Here are some easy steps for you to write a compelling debate introduction.

speech examples

1. Impressive greeting and strong opening sentence:

Greet your audience with enthusiasm, capturing their attention with a compelling opening statement that sets the tone for your debate.

2. Tell a personal story:

Connect emotionally by sharing a relevant personal anecdote that humanizes the topic, making it relatable and engaging.

3. State an amazing Fact:

Introduce a surprising or impressive fact related to your debate topic to pique interest and establish credibility.

4. Use a powerful quotation:

Incorporate a thought-provoking quote that aligns with your argument, adding depth and authority to your speech.

5. Ask a rhetorical question:

Pose a rhetorical question to stimulate critical thinking among your audience, encouraging them to ponder the issue at hand.

6. State a problem:

Clearly articulate the problem or challenge associated with your debate topic, highlighting its significance and relevance.

7. Share your opinion about the topic:

Express your stance on the matter, providing a concise preview of your argument and setting the stage for the forthcoming points in your debate speech.

How to Write a Debate?

Following are the steps you can stick to for writing a debate speech that lets you stand out from the competition:  

1. Understand the Debate

The first of many steps in debate writing is understanding its nature. Here, both teams will be given a topic, and they will choose an affirmative or negative stance.

2. Research the Topic Thoroughly

Brainstorm and research the topic thoroughly to understand all the aspects of the debate. Make a list of critical points and use credible sources to cover them in your key arguments.

3. Develop a Debate Outline

Develop a basic debate speech outline that consists of three main sections. It includes an introduction, body, and conclusion that are discussed below in detail.

It is the first section of the outline that includes an attention grabber. Introduce your topic and present the context with the help of a  thesis statement . Also, provide a brief overview of the students’ arguments to understand the direction of the debate.

It is the main section of the debate that discusses the key arguments in detail. Moreover, it further includes logical reasoning and evidence to support the thesis.

The conclusion is the last chance to demonstrate significant ideas. It summarizes the main body by adding emotion and drama to the words and includes a strong closing sentence.

4. Writing the Debate

Start writing the final draft of your debate. Mention the crucial elements of persuasion, which are ethos, pathos, and logos. These are used to explain the effects of the resolution in the real world.

Also, use transition words to maintain a logical flow between paragraphs. Lastly, edit and proofread your work to avoid plagiarism, grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.

Here is a great example of a well-written debate introduction:

If you’re thinking, “ How to write a debate greeting? ”, take a thorough look at the detailed steps below: 

If you have the question, “ How to write a debate against the motion? ” in mind, look at this step-by-step procedure below:

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How to End the Debate?

End the debate by making sure that you have included the following elements. It will help you assess the credibility of your debate.

  • Does your debate start with an interesting greeting?
  • Does it provide original content, personal experience, and a call to action?
  • Does the debate follow a proper format structure?
  • Does it include the correct sentence structure?
  • Does it maintain logical transitions to flow ideas from one paragraph to another?
  • Have you proofread or revised it for common mistakes such as spelling, grammar, and punctuation?
  • Does the debate mention your opinion about the given topic?
  • Does the debate end with a powerful conclusion sentence to leave a lasting impact on the audience?

Debate Writing Tips and Tricks

Here are some amazing debate tips and tricks for you to write a perfect debate:

  • It is better to know and prepare for a debate before starting it
  • Conduct thorough research work to collect relevant data and draft creative arguments about the topic
  • A writer should think relatively to identify the validity of significant claims
  • Try to understand the formal debate through a variety of personal experiences
  • Support the arguments with examples and evidence to make them more credible and authentic
  • Also, consider the perspective of the judges and audience while making a critical argument
  • Always structure your speech while keeping the time limits in mind
  • Do not always disagree with the opponent’s arguments. Instead, you should take notes and think logically
  • Build your case by keeping in mind all the possible objections that others can raise
  • Never make the mistake of introducing new arguments in your closing section

Advanced Techniques for Debate Writing 

Below are some easy  debating techniques  to write a primary and high school debate.

  • Introduce the topic at the beginning of the debate and form an opinion about it.
  • Know your audience to adjust your argument according to them.
  • Assign the two sides as affirmatives and negatives.
  • Take enough time to research the case and the vocabulary used for it.
  • Organize your opinion and present supporting facts to persuade the audience.
  • Follow a basic debate structure that includes the following period.
  • Get an idea about the opponent’s arguments and advance your research by weakening them.
  • Make a judgment based on the audience’s votes and your opinion about the arguments.
  • Connect to the audience emotionally by presenting examples, evidence, and personal experiences.
  • Incorporate simple, well-timed humor to engage and emphasize your argument effectively

Debate Writing Examples

Check out the following examples of debate writing to get a better idea of the concept.

Debate Example for Ks2

Debate Writing Class 6

Debate Writing Class 7

Debate Writing Class 8

Debate Writing Class 9

Debate Writing Class 11 PDF

Debate Writing Class 12

Debate Writing Example on Online Classes

If you want inspiration from more examples on various debate topics, visit our comprehensive debate examples blog!

Debate Writing Topics for Students 

The following are some impressive debate writing prompts for students to get started.

  • All schools should conduct compulsory drug testing on their students
  • Middle and high schools must ban sex education
  • Is it ethical to move in before getting married?
  • Academic institutes should ban smoking on college premises
  • Peer pressure is harmful to students
  • High schools should provide daycare services to students who have children
  • The government should develop nuclear energy for commercial use
  • Celebrities can get away with crime more easily than non-celebrities
  • Cell phones should not be used in classrooms
  • Money motivates people more than any other factor in the workplace

Head over to our list of debate topics to choose from a wide range of unique debate writing ideas.

To sum it up,  This comprehensive guide to debate writing will help you write a perfect one for your high school or college. We’ve covered all the essential details one would need to craft a winning debate.

However, if you think that you could use a helping hand to perfect your debate writing game, we’ve got you covered. 

You can get help from our speech writing service to solve your debate writing worries. Our writing experts will deliver you comprehensive and well-composed debates at rates that won’t break the bank. 

Simply reach out to our reliable essay writing service , and we’ll take care of all your writing-related problems. 

Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

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Public Speaking Tips & Speech Topics

205 Controversial Topics for your Essay, Speech, or Debate

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Amanda Green was born in a small town in the west of Scotland, where everyone knows everyone. I joined the Toastmasters 15 years ago, and I served in nearly every office in the club since then. I love helping others gain confidence and skills they can apply in every day life.

controversial speech topics

Do you think social media platforms should censor politicians? No matter how important you feel this issue is relative to other issues of the day, you’re likely to have an opinion one way or the other. Why? Because it’s a controversial matter, and it immediately pushes some buttons in our brains.

What makes issues like this so engaging?

Controversial topics have two features that almost instantly grab people’s attention. On one side, they are both simple and familiar, and so are understandable without any effort. On the other side, they touch on sensitive matters that society as a whole has not yet come to terms with. This makes them tickle our inherent desire for closure. We want to make up our minds once and for all!

So if you’re looking for such a topic for your essay, speech, or debate, you’ve come to the right place!

We’ve compiled a list of hundreds of controversial issues organized by subject matter (You can visit our page on how to write a persuasive controversial essay if you want to improve your base skills). Whether you’re trying to come up with a topic for your science, psychology, history class – or nearly any other topic! – you’re sure to find an issue below that will keep your audience engaged, and even stir up some discussion.

In this article:

Political Debate Topics

Controversial criminal justice topics, controversial religious topics, controversial topics for teens, controversial science topics, controversial sports topics, controversial food topics, controversial nutrition topics, controversial animal topics, controversial topics in psychology, controversial relationship topics, controversial medical topics, controversial topics in nursing, controversial topics in biology, music controversial topics, controversial art topics, controversial history topics, funny controversial topics, what are the pros and cons of controversial topics.

As mentioned earlier, picking a controversial topic almost guarantees that you’ll command your audience’s attention. But such issues have downsides too. We go over the advantages and disadvantages of hot-button issues to help you make the right choice for your essay, speech, or debate.

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  • Immediately engaging – Your readers or listeners are unlikely to doze off.
  • Easy to find information on – You won’t have to look far to find credible information on controversial issues.
  • Likely to keep you absorbed while researching – What’s interesting for your audience will probably keep boredom at bay for you too.
  • Too sensitive for some people – These issues often have a strong emotional charge and may even be taboo for some, causing awkward situations.
  • Hard to review all points – A huge debate has probably been raging on such topics, so it’s not so easy to cover all your bases and appear knowledgeable on the issue at hand.
  • Hard to wrap up – These matters are controversial for a reason. It may be hard to come to a satisfactory conclusion, whether you’re presenting or debating.

Interesting Controversial Topics by Field

Below, we’ve compiled a catalog of fascinating controversial topics by field. Keep in mind that many of these spill over from one category to another, so there is some overlap. Is climate change a political or scientific issue? There’s a controversial question for you!

Controversy is where politics are born. There’s usually some point of disagreement about any matter related to public affairs – that’s why a politician’s main job is to debate and come to an agreement (ideally) on how to handle these issues. Or, as political scientist Harold Lasswell put it succinctly, politics is, “Who gets what, when, how.”

So political issues are controversial by definition. We’ve worked hard to provide you with the longest, most comprehensive list you’ll find anywhere, and any of these topics may be instantly captivating.

  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Should there be a minimum wage?
  • Should the government intervene in the free market?
  • Should the US government intervene in foreign affairs?
  • Should there be term limits for US senators?
  • Should the Electoral College be abolished in the US?
  • Are there exceptions to the freedom of speech?
  • Should hate speech be banned?
  • Should the government ensure the protection of privacy?
  • Is the gender pay gap real?
  • Does institutional racism exist in the US?
  • Is affirmative action helping or hurting?
  • Is immigration helping or hurting the US?
  • Should all illicit drugs be legalized?
  • Should prostitution be legalized?
  • Should abortion be banned?
  • Should there be stricter gun control laws?
  • Should automatic weapons be banned?
  • Should military service be mandatory?
  • Should water be a commodity or a human right?
  • Should the government forgive all student debt?

Is justice being served? Few things get under people’s skin as much as perceived injustices. We are more or less programmed to seek fairness both for ourselves and for others. That’s why, similar to political topics, criminal justice issues are naturally engaging.

Appropriate punishment is salient now especially in the US after years of debates and protests related to the killings of minorities like George Floyd, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice. More recently, the storming of the US Capitol, the role the President’s words had in inciting the perpetrators, and how liable they are when following their President’s words, are also hot-button issues. It’s hard to go wrong with a criminal justice topic.

  • Is the death penalty ethical?
  • Should people be jailed for drug-related offenses?
  • Should police officers be charged for inappropriate use of force?
  • Why are minorities disproportionately represented in the US prison population?
  • Why does the US have the largest prison population in the world?
  • Should mentally unstable people be charged with crimes?
  • Should underage repeat offenders be tried as adults?
  • Should there be more than 12 jurors in a jury?
  • Should felons be allowed to vote?

Religion is a sensitive issue everywhere. Since it often concerns people’s innermost beliefs and principles, it’s not difficult to capture your audience’s attention with a religious topic. But beware that it’s also very easy to offend someone if you’re not careful.

Take religious freedom, for example – a concept interpreted in very different ways by different people. When in 2012 a Christian baker in Colorado refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, was he exercising his religious freedom or discriminating against LGBTQ people?

  • Is atheism a religion?
  • Does religion do more harm than good?
  • Should creationism be taught in schools?
  • Should there be religious education in schools?
  • Should religious symbols be banned from schools?
  • Should schools’ curriculums consider religious points of view?
  • Should public prayer be allowed in schools?
  • Should religious institutions pay taxes?
  • Are most religions inherently sexist?
  • Is Buddhism more peaceful than other religions?

The teenage years are a transition period between childhood and adulthood, which causes a natural struggle between treating teens as children or adults. Can we hold teenagers accountable for crimes they committed? Or should their parents be responsible? Issues like this make a lively debate inevitable.

  • Should we lower the voting age to 16?
  • Should we lower the drinking age to 18?
  • At what age should teens be allowed to date?
  • At what age is it appropriate for teens to have sex?
  • Should sex education be mandatory in school?
  • Should teenage pregnancies be terminated?
  • Should teens have access to birth control?
  • Is cyberbullying as bad as real-life bullying?
  • Is peer pressure good or bad?
  • Does social media cause an increase in teenage suicide?
  • Are beauty pageants harmful to teenagers’ self-esteem?
  • Should teens be allowed to keep secrets from parents?
  • Should energy drinks be banned for teenagers?
  • Should mobile devices be banned at school?
  • Is the school grading system effective?
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory?
  • Should teens be allowed to get tattoos?
  • Should vaping be prohibited for teens?

Are you looking for more controversial topics for teens? Check out our other article where you can find 170+ controversial debate topics for teens , as well as the dos and don’ts when debating controversial topics.

Science has a very specific way of addressing controversies – by looking at evidence. When scientists disagree on something, they have to back their views with data and logical arguments. But scientific questions are often taken outside the realm of the experts and turn into social, political, or economic issues.

That’s why it’s important to be familiar with the concept of false equivalence – a fallacy in which a flawed or misleading argument is presented as equivalent to a sound and logical one. For instance, scientists have shown that the preponderance of evidence points to the reality of climate change. Media outlets and some politicians, however, sometimes present the issue as not settled. No matter whether climate change is real or not, saying that a politician’s opinion is as valid as a scientist’s – when we’re talking about that scientist’s field – is a false equivalence. Issues like that are bound to create a heated (pun intended) debate.

  • Can scientists ever be objective?
  • Should corporations fund research?
  • Should science be optional in school?
  • Why are women underrepresented in science?
  • Is STEM education more valuable than training in humanities?
  • Should cryptocurrencies be regulated?
  • Should net neutrality be restored?
  • Should robots have rights?
  • Is AI a menace to humans?
  • Is AI the next stage in evolution?
  • Is technology helping or destroying Earth?
  • Can renewable sources of energy replace fossil fuels?
  • Is climate change a threat to humanity?
  • Is cell phone radiation dangerous?
  • Is climate change reversible?
  • Should all cars be electric?
  • Is nuclear energy safe?
  • Does alien life exist?
  • Could alien life have found Earth?
  • Should humans try to colonize Mars?

Professional sports hold a lot of potential to create controversy. Hardly a week goes by without some major sports issue making the news. Whether it’s deflated footballs, kneeling during the anthem, or equal pay for male and female athletes, sports topics usually carry an emotional charge as most people have a strong opinion one way or the other .

  • Should performance-enhancing drugs be allowed in sports?
  • Are professional athletes paid too much?
  • Are professional athletes good role models?
  • Should college athletes be paid beyond scholarships?
  • Should college athletes be tested for drugs?
  • Is dance a real sport?
  • Is video gaming a real sport?
  • Is bodybuilding a real sport?
  • Is cheerleading a real sport?
  • Should mixed martial arts be banned?
  • Should women compete against men in sports?
  • Should female athletes be paid the same as male athletes?
  • Should transgender athletes who used to be male compete in women’s sports?
  • Do the Olympics do more harm than good for the cities hosting them?
  • Are professional sports too damaging to athletes’ health?
  • Is American football too dangerous for athletes?
  • Should athletes who kneel for the anthem be sanctioned?

Sharing a meal with others unites us, but our opinions on food often divide us. Why is one part of the world starving, while another struggles with obesity? Is famine a result of a shortage or a distribution problem? Questions about food are important for humanity, which makes them compelling topics for discussion.

  • Are genetically modified foods dangerous?
  • Should genetically modified foods be labeled?
  • Is organic food better than regular food?
  • Is fast food responsible for obesity?
  • Is food waste unavoidable?
  • Is organic farming sustainable?
  • Is factory farming unsustainable?
  • Is grass-fed beef better than corn-fed beef?
  • Is palm oil production causing deforestation?
  • Can biotech foods save us from hunger?
  • Should butter be stored in the fridge?

Nutrition is one of the most controversial scientific fields – dietary guidelines seem to be changing by the day. Is it OK to eat more than two eggs a day? Are carbs more unhealthy than fats? Issues like that are notoriously hard to resolve as even a carefully designed scientific study struggles to untangle the many factors that go into human health.

  • Should we have nutrition classes in schools?
  • Can a vegan diet help the environment?
  • Is it healthier to be vegetarian?
  • Is an all-meat diet healthy?
  • Is dieting ever effective?
  • Does fasting help or harm the body?
  • Are gluten-free diets overhyped?
  • Should we ban trans fat?
  • Is sugar addictive?
  • Are artificial sweeteners unhealthy?

Bring up the practice of eating dog meat in some countries to a dog lover, and you’ll more than likely evoke a very strong reaction. But how is it different from eating other social and intelligent mammals, such as pigs? There are many unresolved animal issues that can make for a captivating paper or presentation.

  • Should animals have the same rights as humans?
  • Should animals be considered individuals?
  • Do animals have emotions?
  • Do animals have consciousness?
  • Is animal testing ethical?
  • Should the fur industry be restricted?
  • Are zoos helping or hurting animals?
  • Should there be animals in circuses?
  • Should we try to reverse extinction?
  • Are humans destroying animal habitats?
  • Is selective dog breeding unethical?
  • Should bullfighting be banned?
  • Should whaling be banned?

Many argue that psychology as a science is still in its infancy. There’s no consensus on a lot of the big questions related to people’s minds. Is there even a way to know what’s happening inside someone else’s head besides our own? A behaviorist would insist there isn’t.

  • Is psychology a real science?
  • Is depression a real disease?
  • Are antidepressants effective?
  • Is ADHD a real mental disorder?
  • Is drug abuse a mental health issue?
  • Is mental illness equivalent to physical illness?
  • Should psychologists be allowed to prescribe drugs?
  • Is prejudice against different people inherent?
  • Is it ethical to “treat” homosexuality?
  • Are social media sites addictive?
  • Is social media connecting us or making us more isolated?
  • Is pornography harmful to the psyche?
  • Do video games cause violence?
  • Is intelligence inherited?

Being in a romantic relationship involves constantly negotiating and renegotiating issues ranging from the most mundane to the most profound. On top of that, most adults are or have been part of a couple, making this a relatable and attention-grabbing subject.

  • Is monogamy natural?
  • Does divorce harm children?
  • Should dating between co-workers be allowed?
  • Should people date people much older than themselves?
  • Is romantic love a prerequisite to marital satisfaction?
  • Should arguments in a couple be avoided or encouraged?
  • Should men and women have different functions in a relationship?
  • Is it OK to keep secrets from your partner?
  • Are long-distance relationships worth it?
  • Is sex before marriage wrong?
  • Is online dating good or bad?
  • Are homosexual relationships natural?
  • Should same-sex marriage be banned?
  • Should LGBTQ people be allowed to adopt children?

Health is arguably the most important thing for a person. So it’s no surprise that we take issues related to health and medicine very seriously. Is there any point in prolonging a dying patient’s pain through life support? Questions like this are hard to give a definitive answer to, making them potent discussion topics.

  • Are vaccines safe?
  • Is Covid-19 manmade?
  • Should immunization be mandatory?
  • Should euthanasia be allowed?
  • Is alternative medicine any good?
  • Should healthcare be free?
  • Is obesity a disease?
  • Is circumcision healthy?
  • Is stem cell research ethical?
  • How harshly should medical malpractice be punished?
  • Should Big Pharma be banned from charging too much for life-saving drugs?
  • Should prescription drug manufacturers be held responsible for the opioid crisis?
  • Should cannabis be prescribed as medicine?
  • Should surrogate pregnancy be allowed?
  • Should we use gene-editing in humans?
  • Should the sale of human organs be allowed?
  • Should genetic screening of embryos be legal?

If nurses are essential workers, why do they get paid so little? To get to the bottom of this, we need to go beyond the nursing profession and take a hard look at society as a whole. Besides, just like doctors, nurses face ethical dilemmas in their work every day, which creates a lot of room for debate.

  • Are nurses compensated fairly?
  • Should nurses’ shifts be shortened?
  • Should nurses be allowed to prescribe drugs?
  • Is the nursing profession better suited for women?
  • Should nurses use artificial hydration and nutrition?
  • Should nurses treat non-compliant patients?

Biology deals with nothing less than life itself! And what’s a more fascinating question than the origin of life? Although we seem to be far from deciphering this mystery, there are many other issues that both scientists and laypeople have good reason to debate.

  • Is evolution up for debate?
  • Did life emerge out of inorganic matter?
  • Is there a viable alternative to the theory of evolution?
  • How significant are the physiological differences between men and women?
  • Is behavior determined by our genes or by our upbringing?
  • Are there more than two genders?

If you’re a classical music lover, you’ll very likely scoff at the assertion that rock ‘n’ roll is the best musical genre. But who’s to say? Maybe someone will argue that there are objective measures of the quality of music. As with any issue that’s close to many people’s hearts, music can be an excellent topic for discussion.

  • Is music getting worse over time?
  • Is the pursuit of profit ruining music?
  • Do music streaming services such as Spotify help or harm musical artists?
  • Are violent or explicit lyrics harmful to society?
  • Are rock stars a bad influence on children?
  • Are The Beatles overrated?

Do you think Banksy will go down in history as one of the great artists, or do you see his works as cheap stunts? Either way, you’ll probably agree that art has changed almost beyond recognition since the time of Rembrandt. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is just one topic worth exploring.

  • Is the value of art subjective?
  • Should explicit art be censored?
  • Who decides what constitutes art?
  • Should an art piece always carry a message?
  • Is contemporary art as good as classical art?
  • Should any topic be out of bounds for art?

Hardly anyone would disagree that we should learn from history to avoid making the same mistake twice. But what exactly are history’s lessons is up for debate, and so make for great discussion topics.

  • Are the two World Wars responsible for the relative state of peace since?
  • Should the US pay reparations to African Americans because of slavery?
  • Should Confederate statues in the US be taken down?
  • Was Christopher Columbus a hero or a villain?
  • Was the French Revolution inevitable?
  • Is history always written by the victors?
  • Is history bound to be repeated?

Are cats better pets than dogs? Does pineapple belong on a pizza? These are the kind of age-old debates we look into in our Funny Controversial Topics page.

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7 thoughts on “205 Controversial Topics for your Essay, Speech, or Debate”

Which is better, Chicago pizza or New York pizza?

Hey Nicole, just to answer your question personally I think Chicago pizza is too thick and I would choose New York pizza any day.

In my opinion Chicago pizza is clearly superior, and its thickness is one of its best attributes.

In my opinion New York pizza is clearly superior, and its thinness is one of its best attributes.

I second Chicago pizza lover’s statement, I think that Chicagos pizzas are much better!

In my very Italian opinion, true real pizza is Made in Italy only – the best. Cheers x 🙂

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110+ Controversial Debate Topics to Challenge Your Students

Don’t be surprised when the discussion gets heated…

essay topics about debates

It can be tempting to steer away from controversial debate topics in the classroom. But teaching students to discuss hot topics calmly and rationally is vital. Show them how to think critically about a subject, then use facts to support their point of view. These controversial topics can work well for classroom debates, persuasive essays , or fishbowl discussions .

Note: Each topic includes a link to an article from a reliable source that provides pros and/or cons to help kids make their arguments.

Education Controversial Debate Topics

Science and health controversial debate topics, civics controversial debate topics, social justice controversial debate topics, more controversial debate topics.

  • Should students be required to wear school uniforms?
  • Should schools eliminate dress codes?

Should schools eliminate dress codes?

  • Are private schools better than public schools?
  • Should schools be allowed to teach critical race theory?
  • Are standardized tests effective?
  • Should schools teach abstinence instead of sexual education?
  • Should schools make condoms available to students?
  • Is year-round school better for students?
  • Should schools ban junk food?
  • Are single-gender schools better for students?
  • Is it ever OK to cheat on homework or a test?
  • Should we make college free for everyone?
  • Should we allow schools to ban books from their libraries?
  • Does religion have a place in public schools?
  • Should charter schools receive public school funds?
  • Are school voucher systems a good idea?

Are school voucher systems a good idea?

  • Is in-person school better than online school?
  • Should schools have surveillance cameras in classrooms and hallways?
  • Should schools install safe rooms in case of mass shootings or natural disasters?
  • Should all teachers be armed in the classroom to help protect their students?
  • Is it important for schools to provide mental health support to students?
  • Should schools allow students to use phones during the school day?
  • Is recess important at every grade level?
  • Should we put equal value on vocational education and academics?
  • Is homeschooling good for children?
  • How much emphasis should school put on reading from the “canon” versus reading more contemporary voices?
  • Should humans eat animals?
  • Is it OK to keep animals in zoos?
  • Should we completely ban cigarette smoking and vaping?

Should we completely ban cigarette smoking and vaping?

  • Should we ban plastic bottles and bags?
  • Is it worth it to spend money exploring space?
  • Should vaccines be mandatory?
  • Are GMOs more helpful than harmful?
  • Is animal cloning ethical?
  • Should human cloning be legal?
  • Should we use stem cells from human embryos for scientific research?
  • Is it better to provide drug addicts with treatment instead of punishment?
  • Should we ban the use of fossil fuels?

Should we ban the use of fossil fuels?

  • Should assisted suicide be legal?
  • Will expanded use of artificial intelligence be good for humanity?
  • Should all countries have to give up their nuclear weapons?
  • Is universal government-sponsored healthcare a good idea?
  • Should we ban testing on animals?
  • Should net neutrality be mandatory for internet service providers?
  • Is our society too reliant on technology?
  • Can we truly do anything about human-caused global warming?
  • Are electric vehicles better than gas-powered ones?
  • Does our society have a harmful “diet culture”?
  • Would taxing unhealthy foods help fight obesity?

Would taxing unhealthy foods help fight obesity?

  • Can alternative energies replace fossil fuels?
  • Is nurture more important than nature when raising a child?
  • Should we lower the voting age to 16?
  • Should we lower the drinking age to 18?
  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Should all Americans be required to vote?
  • Should we raise the driving age to 18?

Should we raise the driving age to 18?

  • Is a progressive income tax better than a flat tax?
  • Should parents be punished legally for their children’s crimes?
  • Should abortion be legal?
  • Would it be better to appoint Supreme Court judges for fixed terms?
  • Should people have to take a parenting class before having a child?
  • Should we legalize marijuana at the federal level?
  • Would it be better to legalize, tax, and regulate all drugs (including alcohol) instead of banning them?
  • Should the United States implement a universal basic income?
  • Should we redirect some or all police force funding to social services?
  • Do gun safety laws infringe on the Second Amendment?
  • Should we require people of all genders to register for the draft?
  • Should anyone over 12 be tried as an adult in court?

Should anyone over 12 be tried as an adult in court?

  • Is it right to require people to take drug tests before receiving government aid like welfare?
  • Should we do away with gender-specific public bathrooms?
  • Is the local minimum wage truly a living wage?
  • Why haven’t we had a female U.S. president yet?
  • Should men be allowed to make laws that affect women’s bodies?
  • Should the government provide funding for public art programs?
  • Are there any reasonable limits to freedom of speech?
  • Is security more important than freedom?

Is security more important than freedom?

  • Should we abolish the death penalty?
  • Is a strong middle class vital to the economy?
  • Should we make the path to American citizenship easier?

Should we make the path to American citizenship easier?

  • Is the American justice system inherently racist?
  • Will stricter gun control laws help stop mass shootings?
  • Is it logical to continue building a wall between the United States and Mexico?
  • How much of a problem is ageism in our society?
  • Should felons be allowed to vote after serving their time in prison?

Should felons be allowed to vote after serving their time in prison?

  • Does socioeconomic prejudice affect our society?
  • Should we automatically deport illegal immigrants, regardless of how long they’ve been in the country?
  • What is the role of media in fighting systemic racism?
  • Does segregation still exist in the United States?
  • Are white-collar jobs better than blue-collar jobs?
  • Does religion do more harm than good?
  • Will we ever achieve world peace?
  • Should parents use their kids’ cell phones to track where they are?
  • Should we let young children play contact sports like football?

Should we let young children play contact sports like football?

  • Are the prices of pharmaceutical drugs reasonable?
  • Who should cover the medical costs of people without insurance?
  • Is video gaming a sport?
  • Should parents be allowed to pierce a baby’s ears?
  • Should we ban all violent video games?
  • Are beauty pageants sexist?
  • Should kids get participation trophies for sports?

Should kids get participation trophies for sports?

  • Should there be a minimum age for owning a smartphone?
  • Is it possible to be an ethical hunter?
  • What is the best way to deal with homelessness?
  • Was Russia justified in attacking Ukraine?
  • Should both parents receive equal amounts of paid leave when they have or adopt a child?
  • Are stereotypes ever right?
  • Do people have a responsibility to step in when they see a crime in action?
  • Are “Stand Your Ground” laws effective?
  • Is there any benefit to teaching proper grammar and spelling, or should we allow language to be descriptive instead of prescriptive?
  • What gives people true power in the United States?

What gives people true power in the United States?

  • Is conflict necessary for change?
  • Is war ever justified?

What controversial debate topics do you use with your students? Come share in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, 35 strong persuasive writing examples (speeches, essays, ads, and more) ., you might also like.

essay topics about debates

125 High School Debate Topics To Challenge Every Student

Learn how to argue with logic instead of emotion. Continue Reading

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Navigating Historical Debates: History Argumentative Essay Topics

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Dipping your toes into the vast ocean of history is an adventure. Each dive deep into its depths brings a new perspective, a fresh understanding, or a challenging contradiction. As a student of history, you don’t just learn about the past; you argue, debate, and discuss it. That’s where “history argumentative essay topics” come in, giving you the perfect platform to exhibit your persuasive skills while furthering your historical understanding.

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The Importance of Studying History

History isn’t just a record of ancient days; it’s a vibrant tapestry woven with countless threads, each representing a story, an era, a civilization, or an individual. Understanding history empowers us to make sense of our present, forecast future patterns, and appreciate humanity’s collective journey. Delving into argumentative essays adds depth to this exploration, honing your critical thinking, research understanding, and writing prowess.

The Art of Writing an Argumentative History Essay

In a history argumentative essay, your task goes beyond presenting facts. It would help to form an opinion, defend it with strong evidence, and persuade your reader to view history through your lens. Such essays often explore controversial issues, diverse interpretations, or underrepresented perspectives, making them thrilling.

Remember, an effective argumentative essay balances rigor with creativity. Your arguments should be based on solid research, but your writing style should maintain the reader’s interest. Short sentences, active voice, and transitional words will help ensure your essay is clear, concise, and captivating.

History Argumentative Essay Topics: Your Guide to an Engaging Argument

Picking the right history argumentative essay topics is crucial. Your topic should spark your curiosity, offer ample sources for research, and pose a challenge that motivates you to explore, argue, and persuade. The past is brimming with potential argumentative essay topics, from historical events and famous figures to social movements and cultural trends.

Here are a collection of history argumentative essay topics spanning different eras, regions, and themes to get you started. Use them as they are, or let them inspire you to develop your own.

  • The Crusades: Religious Devotion or Political Expediency?
  • Was the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Justifiable?
  • The Impact of Colonialism: Development or Exploitation?
  • The Role of Women in World War II: Homefront or Battlefield?
  • The American Civil War: Slavery or States’ Rights?
  • The French Revolution: Fight for Liberty or Reign of Terror?
  • The Renaissance: A Cultural Rebirth or a Period of Conflict?
  • Martin Luther King Jr. vs. Malcolm X: Who Had a Greater Impact on the Civil Rights Movement?
  • The Age of Exploration: Discovery or Destruction?
  • The Industrial Revolution: Progress or Plight?
  • The Fall of the Roman Empire: Invaders or Internal Decay?
  • Was the Cold War Inevitable Post-World War II?
  • Christopher Columbus: Hero or Villain?
  • The Impact of the Protestant Reformation: Unity or Division?
  • The Age of Imperialism: Prosperity or Oppression?
  • The Vietnam War: A Necessary Stand or a Futile Endeavor?
  • The American Revolution: Liberty or Economic Motives?
  • The Russian Revolution: People’s Uprising or Bolshevik Coup?
  • The Enlightenment: Philosophical Breakthrough or Social Disruption?
  • The Emancipation Proclamation: Sincere or Strategic?
  • The Role of Propaganda in Nazi Germany
  • Was Alexander the Great Really Great?
  • The Partition of India: Religious Freedom or Colonial Divide-and-Rule?
  • Did the Suffragette Movement Achieve Its Goals?
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: Near-Apocalypse or Diplomatic Triumph?
  • The Influence of the Printing Press: Information Revolution or Religious Turmoil?
  • The Crusades: A Pathway to Enlightenment or a Dark Age Misstep?
  • The Atomic Age: A New Era or a Dangerous Precedent?
  • The Impact of the Ming Dynasty on China’s Global Presence
  • The American Westward Expansion: Manifest Destiny or Brutal Displacement?
  • The British Raj in India: Beneficial or Destructive?
  • The War of 1812: Forgotten War or Critical Conflict?
  • The Cultural Revolution in China: Necessary Purge or Disastrous Policy?
  • Slavery: The True Cause of the American Civil War?
  • The Role of Espionage in the Cold War
  • The Contributions of Nikola Tesla: Overlooked or Overrated?
  • The Great Depression: Natural Economic Cycle or Result of Poor Policy?
  • Was the League of Nations Doomed to Fail?
  • The Impact of Napoleon’s Reign on Europe
  • The Salem Witch Trials: Mass Hysteria or Religious Extremism?
  • The Influence of the Ottoman Empire on Modern Middle East
  • Did the Treaty of Versailles Cause World War II?
  • The Role of the Catholic Church in Medieval Europe
  • Manifest Destiny: Expansionism or Cultural Imperialism?
  • The Impact of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire
  • The Spanish Inquisition: Religious Persecution or Political Power Play?
  • The Influence of the Harlem Renaissance on African American Culture
  • The Ethics of Using Atomic Bombs in WWII
  • The Role of Britain in the Creation of Israel
  • The Egyptian Revolution of 2011: A Springboard for Democracy?
  • The Effect of the Gold Rush on California’s Development
  • The Role of Social Media in the Arab Spring
  • The Implications of the Scramble for Africa
  • The Battle of Stalingrad: Turning Point in World War II?
  • The Meiji Restoration: Western Influence or Japanese Initiative?
  • The Role of Women in the French Revolution
  • The Impact of the Black Death on European Society
  • The Effect of the Viking Raids on European History
  • The Fall of the Berlin Wall: Inevitable or Surprising?
  • The Contributions of the Ancient Greeks to Modern Society
  • The Influence of the Catholic Church on the European Age of Discovery
  • The Impact of Gunpowder on Medieval Warfare
  • The Influence of the Spanish Civil War on WWII
  • The Causes and Consequences of the Thirty Years’ War
  • The Role of the Railroad in the Expansion of the United States
  • The Significance of the Magna Carta in the Modern Legal System
  • The Impact of the Silk Road on the Exchange of Cultures
  • The Role of the Mafia in Prohibition
  • The Effect of Charlemagne’s Reign on Europe
  • The Implications of the Columbian Exchange
  • The Influence of the Persian Empire on the Modern Middle East
  • The Impact of Marco Polo’s Travels on Europe
  • The Effect of the French Revolution on European Politics
  • The Influence of the Great Schism on Christianity
  • The Impact of the Space Race on the Cold War
  • The Legacy of the Aztec Empire
  • The Effect of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on Africa
  • The Role of the Knights Templar in the Crusades
  • The Influence of Gutenberg’s Printing Press on the Reformation
  • The Impact of the Han Dynasty on China
  • The Causes and Effects of the Boxer Rebellion
  • The Significance of the Pax Romana
  • The Influence of Confucianism on East Asian Cultures
  • The Impact of the Opium Wars on China
  • The Role of the French Foreign Legion in Colonial France
  • The Effect of the Suez Crisis on the Middle East
  • The Influence of the Renaissance on Modern Art
  • The Impact of the Zulu Nation on South Africa
  • The Causes and Consequences of the Irish Potato Famine
  • The Role of the Samurai in Feudal Japan
  • The Effect of the Hundred Years’ War on England and France
  • The Influence of the Roman Republic on Modern Democracies
  • The Impact of the US Constitution on the French Revolution
  • The Role of the Huns in the Fall of the Roman Empire
  • The Causes and Effects of the Haitian Revolution
  • The Influence of the Enlightenment on the US Constitution
  • The Impact of the Homestead Act on the American West
  • The Effect of the Plague of Justinian on the Byzantine Empire
  • The Role of the Medici Family in the Italian Renaissance

Remember, the goal is not just to recount history but to form an argument and defend it persuasively. Use reliable sources like scholarly articles, credible news outlets, and respected history websites for your research ( History.com , JSTOR , Fordham University’s Internet History Sourcebooks Project , etc.).

Conclusion: Your Historical Argument Awaits

Choosing from these argumentative history essay topics is just the beginning. You can turn your chosen topic into a compelling essay with thorough research, careful planning, and passionate writing. As you debate the past, you’re not just learning history but contributing to its discussion. Let these argumentative essay topics be your first step toward a thrilling historical discourse.

📎 Related Articles

1. Hot Topic History: A Journey Through Pivotal Moments 2. Engaging 8th Grade Research Paper Topics for Budding Historians 3. Dive Deep into Western Civilization Research Paper Topics 4. Navigating Through the Labyrinth of Ancient History Topics 5. Stirring the Pot: Controversial Topics in History for Research Paper

High School Debate Topics

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Debates tend to instantly engage students, but they can also sharpen their research and public speaking skills. No matter your reasons for using them, having debates in your classroom is a sure way to get your students thinking and talking.

You may require your students to research topics before debating them or even prepare speeches to state their point of view. Learning how to productively debate will improve your students' communication skills as they practice speaking and listening. These skills will serve them in college and the diverse career world beyond. 

Debate Topics

The following 50 debate topics  can be used in high school or advanced middle school classrooms. They are organized by genre and some can be modified for use in different subjects. Each item is listed in the form of a question to propose to your students that has at least two points of view.

Watch Now: Ideas for Great Classroom Debate Topics

Science and technology.

  • Should human cloning be banned?
  • Should renewable forms of energy be subsidized by the government?
  • Should the U.S. government fund a space mission to Mars?
  • Should social media comments be protected by free speech?
  • Should parents be allowed to choose their baby's gender?
  • Should animal testing be banned?
  • Should the U.S. government provide internet service to every citizen?
  • Are video games too violent for children?
  • Should the manufacturing of nuclear weapons be permitted?

Laws and Politics

  • Is it ever appropriate for the government to restrict freedom of speech?
  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Should citizens who do not vote be fined?
  • Is the right to bear arms a necessary constitutional amendment today?
  • Should the legal voting/driving/drinking age be lowered or raised?
  • Should a border fence be constructed between the U.S. and Mexico?
  • Should America give foreign aid to other countries?
  • Should drone attacks against specific targets be used for modern warfare?
  • Should affirmative action be abolished?
  • Should the  death penalty  be abolished?
  • Should microaggressions be punishable by law?
  • Should the cruel treatment of animals be illegal?

Social Justice

  • Should partial-birth abortion be illegal?
  • Should all parents be required to attend parenting classes before having a child?
  • Should parents be required to vaccinate their children?
  • Should mixed martial arts be banned?
  • Should celebrities be required to be positive role models?
  • Should people be fined for not recycling?
  • Are progressive tax rates just?
  • Should performance-enhancing drugs be allowed in sports?
  • Should marijuana use be considered a crime?
  • Should every student be required to take a performing arts course?
  • Should homework be banned?
  • Should school uniforms be required?
  • Is year-round education is a good idea?
  • Should physical education be required of all high school students?
  • Should all students be required to perform community service?
  • Should schools block YouTube?
  • Should students be able to leave school grounds for lunch?
  • Are single-sex schools better for student learning and mental health?
  • Should schools punish cyberbullying that occurs outside of school?
  • Should teachers not be allowed to contact students through social media?
  • Should public prayer be allowed in schools?
  • Should high-stakes state testing be abolished?
  • Should poetry units be removed from the curriculum?
  • Is History (or another subject) actually an important subject in school?
  • Should schools be allowed to track students by academic level?
  • Should students be required to pass algebra to graduate?
  • Should students be graded on their handwriting?
  • Should all students be required to co-op?
  • Should the theory of creation be taught in schools?
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419 Controversial Debate Topics & Good Ideas

16 August 2023

last updated

Controversial debate topics are the heart of spirited discourse, often creating polarizing viewpoints on sensitive issues. They span a range of subject areas, including politics, ethics, technology, religion, education, and human rights. Some topics, like abortion, gun control, capital punishment, and climate change, invoke intense debates reflecting divergent societal values. In technology, various subjects, such as artificial intelligence (AI) development, data privacy, and genetic engineering, stir up controversy. Ethical dilemmas, including euthanasia and animal rights, spark impassioned discussions. While controversial debates can sometimes breed conflict, they also challenge individuals to think critically, examine their own beliefs, and develop empathy for contrasting perspectives. Despite the potential for disagreement, controversial debate topics are crucial in promoting societal growth, open-mindedness, and democratic dialogue.

Good Controversial Debate Questions

  • Impacts of Social Media on Society: Progress or Peril?
  • Universal Basic Income: A Solution or a Trap?
  • Climate Change: Human-Caused Disaster or Natural Cycle?
  • Cryptocurrency: The Future of Finance or a Bubble?
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Scientific Achievement or Health Risk?
  • Animal Rights: Should They Match Human Rights?
  • Physician-Assisted Suicide: Compassion or Slippery Slope?
  • Censorship in Media: Necessary for Security or a Threat to Freedom?
  • Vaccination Mandates: Public Health Necessity or Personal Freedom Invasion?
  • Colonizing Mars: Next Frontier or Misplaced Priorities?
  • Advanced AI: Promising Technology or Potential Threat?
  • Death Penalty: Justice Served or Inhuman Practice?
  • Surveillance State: Security Measure or Privacy Violation?
  • Designer Babies: Medical Breakthrough or Ethical Nightmare?
  • Immigration Policies: Humanitarian Obligation or National Security Issue?
  • Nuclear Energy: Sustainable Solution or Dangerous Gamble?
  • Organ Trade: Life-Saver or Morally Unacceptable?
  • Reality TV: Harmless Entertainment or Detriment to Society?
  • Modern Art: True Expression or Pretentious Nonsense?
  • Drones in Warfare: Technological Advantage or Unethical Practice?
  • Legalizing Prostitution: Harm Reduction or Social Decline?
  • Freedom of Speech: Unrestricted or With Limitations?
  • Capitalism vs. Socialism: Which Fosters Greater Equality?
  • Extraterrestrial Life: Probability or Wishful Thinking?
  • Bioengineered Organ Transplants: Promising Solution or Ethical Dilemma?
  • Cybersecurity: Are Governments Doing Enough?
  • Alternative Medicine: Valid Health Solution or Placebo Effect?
  • Childhood Vaccinations: Obligatory or Parental Choice?
  • Online Privacy: A Right or a Myth?
  • School Uniforms: Promoting Equality or Suppressing Individuality?

Controversial Debate Topics & Good Ideas

Easy Controversial Debate Topics

  • Human Cloning: Medical Revolution or Moral Mistake?
  • Factory Farming: Necessity or Animal Cruelty?
  • Gun Control: Safety Measure or Infringement on Rights?
  • Fast Food: Convenience or Health Hazard?
  • Celebrity Culture: Harmless Fun or Toxic Obsession?
  • Virtual Reality: Educational Tool or Social Isolation Catalyst?
  • Plastic Surgery: Self-Improvement or Unnecessary Vanity?
  • Cultural Appropriation: Appreciation or Exploitation?
  • Space Exploration: Investment in Future or Waste of Resources?
  • Mandatory Voting: Civic Duty or Infringement of Freedom?
  • Minimum Wage: Livelihood Support or Economic Burden?
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Safe Alternative or Health Risk?
  • Euthanasia: Right to Die or Ethical Issue?
  • Homeschooling: Effective Education or Socialization Challenge?
  • Capital Punishment: Deterrent for Crime or Inhuman Practice?
  • Polygamy: Personal Choice or Societal Harm?
  • Reality of Ghosts: Supernatural Belief or Scientific Explanation?
  • Public Smoking: Personal Right or Public Health Hazard?
  • Renewable Energy: Realistic Replacement or Overhyped Solution?
  • Quantitative Easing: Economic Savior or Long-Term Problem?
  • Veganism: Lifestyle Choice or Moral Obligation?
  • Cannabis Legalization: Medical Necessity or Gateway Drug?
  • Gambling: Leisure Activity or Addiction Risk?
  • War on Drugs: Effective Policy or Failed Approach?
  • Junk Food Tax: Health Measure or Unfair Burden?
  • Telecommuting: Work-Life Balance or Productivity Killer?
  • Single-Sex Education: Focused Learning or Gender Stereotyping?
  • Autonomous Vehicles: Safety Enhancement or Job Killer?

Current Controversial Debate Topics

  • Steroids in Sports: Unfair Advantage or Personal Choice?
  • Quantum Computing: The Next Revolution or Overhyped Technology?
  • Ghost Hunting: Genuine Research or Pseudoscience?
  • Nationalism: Patriotism or Threat to Global Unity?
  • Violent Video Games: Entertainment or Behavioral Risk?
  • Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Revolution or Risk?
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Ethical Obligation or Marketing Strategy?
  • Aging Population: Burden or Wisdom Resource?
  • Caste System: Cultural Tradition or Social Injustice?
  • Reparations for Slavery: Justice Served or Impractical Solution?
  • Universal Healthcare: Human Right or Economic Burden?
  • Whistleblowing: Ethical Duty or Betrayal?
  • Modern Architecture: Artistic Evolution or Loss of Tradition?
  • Stem Cell Research: Medical Breakthrough or Ethical Breach?
  • Life Extension Technologies: Promising Future or Societal Disruption?
  • Consumerism: Driving Economy or Environmental Hazard?
  • Carbon Tax: Environmental Solution or Economic Disadvantage?
  • Monarchy: Cultural Heritage or Outdated Institution?
  • Exploitation of Natural Resources: Economic Necessity or Environmental Disaster?
  • Child Beauty Pageants: Innocent Fun or Unhealthy Pressure?
  • Sex Education in Schools: Necessary Curriculum or Parental Responsibility?
  • 3D Printing of Firearms: Technological Freedom or Safety Risk?
  • Human Microchipping: Futuristic Convenience or Privacy Concern?
  • Colonization of Space: Next Big Leap or Ethical Dilemma?
  • Digital Nomad Lifestyle: Freedom or Instability?
  • Universal Language: Unifying Idea or Cultural Erasure?

Most Controversial Debate Topics

  • Climate Change: Is It Primarily Caused by Human Activity?
  • Genetic Engineering: Ethical Implications of Manipulating DNA
  • Abortion: Right to Choose or Right to Life?
  • Gun Control: Balancing Individual Rights and Public Safety
  • Immigration: Open Borders vs. National Security
  • Vaccinations: Mandatory or Personal Choice?
  • Animal Testing: Necessary Evil or Inhumane Practice?
  • Affirmative Action: Equality or Reverse Discrimination?
  • Euthanasia: Assisted Suicide as a Moral Dilemma
  • School Prayer: Separation of Church and State
  • Nuclear Energy: Clean Power or Environmental Risk?
  • Internet Privacy: Balancing Security and Personal Rights
  • Surveillance: Necessary for Security or Invasion of Privacy?
  • Censorship: Protecting Society or Restricting Free Speech?
  • Same-Sex Marriage: Equality or Traditional Values?
  • Drug Legalization: Addressing Addiction or Promoting Harm?
  • Universal Basic Income: Eradicating Poverty or Encouraging Dependency?
  • Parental Rights: Balancing Autonomy and Child Protection
  • Pornography: Freedom of Expression or Harmful Industry?

World Controversy Topics

  • Climate Change: Impact on Global Economy
  • Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen: International Response
  • Nuclear Disarmament: Achieving Global Security
  • Genetic Engineering: Ethical Implications
  • Artificial Intelligence: Job Displacement Concerns
  • Social Media: Privacy and Data Protection
  • Immigration Policies: Balancing National Security and Human Rights
  • Universal Basic Income: Addressing Income Inequality
  • Antibiotic Resistance: Tackling the Global Health Threat
  • Deforestation: Preserving Biodiversity and Ecosystems
  • LGBTQ+ Rights: Striving for Equality Worldwide
  • Vaccine Mandates: Public Health vs. Personal Liberty
  • Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Critical Infrastructure
  • Genetically Modified Organisms: Food Safety and Consumer Choice
  • Income Taxation: Fairness in Wealth Distribution
  • Autonomous Weapons: The Ethics of AI in Warfare
  • Privacy vs. Surveillance: Protecting Civil Liberties
  • Indigenous Land Rights: Preserving Cultural Heritage
  • International Trade: Fairness and Global Economic Imbalances

Unique Lists of 296 Popular Controversial Debate Topics

School and education debate topics.

  • Standardized Testing: Effective or Counterproductive?
  • The Importance of Arts Education in Schools
  • Should Schools Teach Financial Literacy?
  • The Impact of Homework on Students’ Learning
  • Bilingual Education: Benefits and Challenges
  • Should Schools Implement Uniform Policies?
  • The Role of Physical Education in School Curriculum
  • Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in Schools
  • The Pros and Cons of Year-Round Schooling
  • Should Schools Teach Sex Education?
  • The Significance of Environmental Education in Schools
  • Should Schools Incorporate Meditation and Mindfulness Practices?
  • Teaching Coding and Computer Science in Schools
  • The Importance of Early Childhood Education
  • Should Schools Eliminate Letter Grades?
  • Benefits of Outdoor Education and Field Trips
  • The Impact of Gender-Segregated Schools
  • Should Schools Teach Creationism Alongside Evolution?
  • The Role of Teachers’ Unions in Education
  • Benefits of Extracurricular Activities in Schools
  • Should Schools Implement Zero-Tolerance Policies for Bullying?

Fun and Funny Debate Topics

  • Aliens’ Preference: “Star Wars” or “Star Trek”?
  • The Superior Sandwich Spread: Peanut Butter or Jelly?
  • Toilet Paper Orientation: Over or Under?
  • Cats vs. Dogs: Who Rules the Internet?
  • The Greatest Superpower: Flying or Invisibility?
  • Pineapple on Pizza: Delicious Addition or Culinary Blasphemy?
  • Ideal Pets: Miniature Dinosaurs or Giant Insects?
  • Shower Singing: Talent Showcase or Noise Pollution?
  • Deciding Superhero Dominance: Batman or Superman?
  • Santa Claus: Should He Be On a Diet?
  • Real Unicorns: Rainbow-Colored or Invisible?
  • Zombies Versus Vampires: Who Wins the Undead Olympics?
  • Robot Uprising: Will They Enforce Mandatory Dance Parties?
  • Dinosaurs: Did They Really Evaporate or Just Learn to Hide?
  • Bigfoot’s Existence: True or Simply Misplaced Hairy Humans?
  • The Truth Behind Bermuda Triangle: Alien Base or Giant Sea Monster?
  • Socks With Sandals: Fashion Forward or Faux Pas?
  • Spooning: Big Spoon or Little Spoon?
  • Fast Food Mascots: Who Would Win in a Fight?
  • Ghosts: Misunderstood Entities or Pranksters of the Afterlife?
  • Nessie: Scottish Tourist Trap or Shy Marine Celebrity?
  • Fairies: Just Insects in Disguise or Truly Magical Creatures?

Controversial Speech Topics

  • The Importance of Vaccination in Public Health
  • Capital Punishment: Justifiable or Inhumane?
  • Is Climate Change a Man-Made Crisis?
  • The Role of Government in Controlling Drug Use
  • Is Affirmative Action Necessary for Achieving Equality?
  • The Moral Implications of Cloning
  • Gun Control: Balancing Safety and Individual Rights
  • Artificial Intelligence: Enhancing Society or Endangering Humanity?
  • Animal Rights: Ethical Treatment or Human Superiority?
  • Affirmative Action: Promoting Equality or Reverse Discrimination?
  • Privacy in the Digital Age: Individual Rights or National Security?
  • Genetic Engineering: Scientific Advancement or Playing God?
  • Nuclear Energy: Sustainable Solution or Risky Technology?
  • Capitalism: Economic Prosperity or Widening Wealth Gap?
  • Censorship: Protecting Society or Suppressing Free Expression?
  • School Uniforms: Enhancing Discipline or Infringing on Individuality?
  • Euthanasia: Compassionate Choice or Ethical Dilemma?
  • Marijuana Legalization: Personal Freedom or Public Health Concern?
  • Religion in Politics: Ensuring Morality or Breaching Secularism?
  • Internet Privacy: Personal Rights or Necessary Surveillance?
  • Gender Quotas: Promoting Equality or Discriminating Against Merit?
  • Animal Testing: Scientific Progress or Cruelty to Animals?

Controversial Debate Topics on Current Events

  • Government Surveillance: Balancing Security and Privacy
  • Social Media’s Influence on Politics: A Double-Edged Sword
  • Mandatory Vaccinations: Public Health vs. Personal Freedom
  • Wealth Inequality: Addressing the Gap Between Rich and Poor
  • Climate Change: Urgent Action or Overblown Concern?
  • Gun Control: Striking the Right Balance for Safety
  • Cancel Culture: Freedom of Speech and Consequences
  • Immigration Policies: Navigating Border Control and Humanitarianism
  • Universal Basic Income: Solving Poverty or Discouraging Work?
  • Artificial Intelligence: Potential Benefits and Ethical Dilemmas
  • Medical Marijuana: Balancing Medical Use and Legalization
  • Affirmative Action: Promoting Diversity or Reverse Discrimination?
  • Police Brutality: Accountability and Reform in Law Enforcement
  • Online Privacy: Data Collection and Digital Surveillance
  • Animal Rights: Balancing Welfare and Human Interests
  • Brexit: The Implications of Britain’s Departure From the European Union
  • Genetic Engineering: Ethical Considerations and Potential Advancements
  • Education Reform: Rethinking Traditional Teaching Methods
  • Capital Punishment: Retribution, Deterrence, or Inhumane?
  • Nuclear Weapons: Disarmament, Non-Proliferation, or Necessary Evil?

Controversial Topics for Discussion

  • Artificial Intelligence: Enhancing or Threatening Human Existence?
  • Climate Change: Natural Phenomenon or Human-Caused Crisis?
  • Vaccinations: Public Health or Individual Choice?
  • Capital Punishment: Justifiable Deterrent or Inhumane Practice?
  • Genetic Engineering: Progress or Ethical Dilemma?
  • Nuclear Energy: Sustainable Solution or Environmental Hazard?
  • Gun Control: Necessary Regulation or Infringement of Rights?
  • Immigration: Integration or National Security Concern?
  • Animal Testing: Scientific Advancement or Cruelty to Animals?
  • Social Media: Empowering Communication or Breeding Ground for Misinformation?
  • Marijuana Legalization: Medicinal Benefits or Gateway to Substance Abuse?
  • Freedom of Speech: Protected Right or Catalyst for Hate Speech?
  • Privacy in the Digital Age: Individual Privacy or Government Surveillance?
  • Same-Sex Marriage: Equality or Religious Opposition?
  • Euthanasia: Compassionate End-of-Life Choice or Slippery Slope?
  • Affirmative Action: Addressing Historical Inequality or Reverse Discrimination?
  • Education: Public or Private Funding and Accountability?
  • Abortion: Women’s Right to Choose or Right to Life?
  • Nuclear Weapons: Deterrence or Global Threat?
  • Income Inequality: Redistribution of Wealth or Incentive for Success?

Debate Topics on Social and Political Issues

  • Climate Change: Mitigation Strategies and Global Responsibility
  • Government Surveillance: Balancing Security and Privacy Rights
  • Income Inequality: Addressing the Wealth Gap
  • Education Reform: Improving Access and Quality
  • Gun Control: Stricter Regulations for Safer Communities
  • Gender Equality: Advancing Women’s Rights Worldwide
  • Immigration Policies: Protecting Borders vs. Humanitarian Considerations
  • Online Privacy: Protecting Personal Data in the Digital Age
  • Voting Rights: Ensuring Fair and Accessible Elections
  • Nuclear Weapons: Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Efforts
  • Media Bias: Freedom of the Press vs. Objective Reporting
  • Racial Justice: Combating Systemic Racism and Discrimination
  • Political Campaign Financing: Curbing the Influence of Money
  • Drug Legalization: Examining the Impact of Policy Changes
  • Artificial Intelligence: Ethical Implications and Regulation
  • LGBTQ+ Rights: Striving for Equality and Inclusivity
  • International Trade: Benefits and Consequences of Globalization
  • Censorship: Protecting Freedom of Expression vs. Harmful Content
  • Police Reform: Balancing Accountability and Public Safety
  • Electoral Systems: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Different Models

Controversial Topics in America: The United States (US)

  • Gun Control: Stricter Regulations and Second Amendment Rights
  • Immigration Policies: Balancing National Security and Humanitarian Concerns
  • Healthcare Reform: Public Option vs. Private Insurance
  • Death Penalty: Ethics, Retribution, and Deterrence
  • Marijuana Legalization: Medical Benefits and Societal Impact
  • Affirmative Action: Equality vs. Meritocracy
  • Police Brutality: Accountability and Reform
  • LGBTQ+ Rights: Discrimination vs. Religious Freedom
  • Abortion: Reproductive Rights and Fetal Personhood
  • Internet Privacy: Surveillance and National Security
  • Electoral College: Representation and Popular Vote
  • Vaccinations: Public Health and Individual Liberty
  • Education Reform: Standardized Testing and Funding Disparities
  • Capital Punishment: Costs, Racial Bias, and Rehabilitation
  • Social Media Regulation: Free Speech and Online Safety
  • Affordability of Higher Education: Student Debt and College Access
  • Religious Freedom: Accommodation vs. Separation of Church and State
  • Racial Profiling: Security Measures and Civil Liberties
  • Legalization of Prostitution: Public Health and Morality
  • Immigration Enforcement: Border Security and Humanitarian Crisis
  • National Security Agency (NSA): Surveillance and Privacy Rights

Current Controversial Debate Topics in the News

  • Mass Surveillance: Balancing Security and Civil Liberties
  • Free Speech: Limits and Consequences in the Digital Age
  • Gender Pay Gap: Equal Pay and Workplace Equality
  • Animal Rights: Ethical Treatment and Animal Welfare Laws
  • Euthanasia: Right to Die and End-of-Life Care
  • Space Exploration: Scientific Advancement and Resource Allocation
  • Youth Activism: Climate Change and Political Engagement
  • Gun Control: Second Amendment Rights and Public Safety
  • Aging Population: Healthcare Challenges and Social Support Systems
  • Cryptocurrency Regulation: Balancing Innovation and Investor Protection
  • Immigration Policy: Border Control and Pathways to Citizenship
  • Renewable Energy: Promoting Sustainability and Reducing Dependence on Fossil Fuels
  • Genetic Engineering: Ethical Considerations and Potential Benefits
  • Online Privacy: Data Collection and Surveillance Issues
  • Mental Health Care: Access and Stigma
  • Gun Control: Stricter Laws and Second Amendment Rights
  • Online Disinformation: Combating Fake News and Misinformation
  • Nuclear Power: Safety Concerns and Sustainable Energy Solutions
  • Free Speech: Limits and Consequences in the Digital Era
  • Election Reform: Ensuring Fair and Transparent Voting Processes

Heated Debate Topics

  • Government Intervention in Healthcare: Pros and Cons
  • Climate Change: Urgency for Immediate Action
  • Artificial Intelligence: Enhancing or Threatening Humanity?
  • Animal Testing: Ethical Implications and Alternatives
  • Nuclear Energy: Clean Solution or Risky Gamble?
  • Education Reform: Rethinking Traditional Methods
  • Genetic Engineering: Advancements or Playing God?
  • Immigration Policies: Striking the Right Balance
  • Gun Control: Protecting Citizens or Infringing Rights?
  • Universal Basic Income: A Solution to Poverty or Incentive for Laziness?
  • Social Media: Empowering or Destructive Influence?
  • Minimum Wage: Promoting Equality or Hindering Economic Growth?
  • Censorship in Media: Protecting Society or Limiting Freedom?
  • Drug Legalization: Treating Addiction as a Health Issue
  • Euthanasia: The Right to Die with Dignity
  • Surveillance State: Safeguarding Security or Infringing on Privacy?
  • Abortion: Women’s Right to Choose or Unethical Killing?

Life and Ethics Debate Topics

  • The Role of Technology in Enhancing Human Life
  • Ethical Considerations in Genetic Engineering
  • Capital Punishment: Just or Inhumane?
  • Ethics of Animal Testing in Medical Research
  • Life Extension: A Moral Obligation or Playing God?
  • Environmental Conservation: Individual Responsibility or Government Regulation?
  • Ethics of Cloning and Reproductive Technologies
  • Euthanasia: A Compassionate Choice or Slippery Slope?
  • Moral Implications of Artificial Intelligence
  • Bioethics: Balancing Scientific Progress and Human Values
  • Ethics of Human Enhancement through Technology
  • Ethical Dilemmas in Medical Decision-Making
  • Animal Rights: Extending Legal Protections to Non-Human Beings
  • Privacy in the Digital Age: Ethical Boundaries and Personal Freedom
  • Ethical Considerations of Human Trafficking
  • Endangered Species Conservation: Preservation or Interference?
  • Ethics of Surrogacy and Assisted Reproductive Technologies
  • The Morality of War: Justifiable Defense or Unjust Aggression?
  • Ethical Issues in Organ Transplantation and Allocation
  • Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies Like Virtual Reality
  • Cultural Relativism vs. Universal Moral Values
  • Ethical Implications of Gene Editing and Designer Babies

Moral Controversial Debate Topics

  • Genetic Modification: Enhancing Human Abilities or Playing God?
  • Capital Punishment: Justified Deterrence or Inhumane Punishment?
  • Euthanasia: Mercy Killing or Violation of the Sanctity of Life?
  • Climate Change: Individual Responsibility or Collective Action?
  • Abortion: Women’s Right to Choose or Unethical Termination of Life?
  • Assisted Suicide: Compassionate Aid or Violation of Medical Ethics?
  • Stem Cell Research: Medical Breakthrough or Moral Compromise?
  • Same-Sex Marriage: Equal Rights or Religious Sacrament?
  • Pornography: Freedom of Expression or Exploitation of Women?
  • Censorship: Protecting Society or Infringement on Freedom of Speech?
  • Gun Control: Public Safety or Individual Right to Bear Arms?
  • Gender Identity: Self-Identification or Biological Determination?
  • Immigration: Humanitarian Duty or National Security Concerns?
  • Animal Rights: Protecting Animal Welfare or Valuing Human Needs?
  • Death Penalty: Justice or Flawed Legal System?
  • Environmental Conservation: Preservation or Economic Development?
  • Cloning: Scientific Advancement or Moral Transgression?
  • Income Inequality: Social Justice or Incentive for Hard Work?
  • Genetic Privacy: Personal Autonomy or Societal Safety?
  • Cybersecurity: Protecting Privacy or Ensuring National Security?
  • Designer Babies: Improving Genetics or Creating an Unfair Advantage?

Controversial Law Topics

  • The Death Penalty: Controversies Surrounding Capital Punishment
  • Gun Control: Evaluating Firearm Regulations and Second Amendment Rights
  • Abortion Rights: Examining the Legal and Ethical Implications
  • Same-Sex Marriage: Perspectives on Marriage Equality
  • Assisted Suicide: Debating End-of-Life Choices and Euthanasia
  • Affirmative Action: Balancing Equality and Meritocracy
  • Marijuana Legalization: Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Decriminalization
  • Immigration Reform: Addressing Border Security and Pathways to Citizenship
  • Privacy Rights: The Tension Between National Security and Individual Liberty
  • Hate Speech Laws: Navigating Free Speech and Protection From Harm
  • Animal Rights: Exploring Legal Protections and Ethical Considerations
  • Surveillance State: Government Surveillance and Civil Liberties
  • Religious Freedom: The Intersection of Belief and Discrimination
  • Cybersecurity: Balancing Privacy and Online Security Measures
  • Legalizing Prostitution: Examining the Regulation and Moral Dimensions
  • Drug Decriminalization: Alternatives to the War on Drugs
  • School Vouchers: Varying Perspectives on Education Funding and Choice
  • Internet Censorship: Defending Free Expression and Combating Online Harm
  • Police Reform: Addressing Accountability and Use of Force
  • Euthanasia for Minors: Ethical and Legal Challenges in Pediatric End-of-Life Care

Conflicting Topics

  • Privacy vs. National Security
  • Renewable Energy vs. Fossil Fuels
  • Online Education vs. Traditional Classroom Learning
  • Nuclear Power: Safety vs. Energy Needs
  • Capital Punishment: Deterrence vs. Human Rights
  • Climate Change: Natural Cycle or Human Responsibility?
  • Internet Freedom vs. Cybersecurity
  • Vaccinations: Public Health vs. Individual Choice
  • Free Speech: Limits and Responsibilities
  • Drug Legalization: Public Health vs. Criminal Justice
  • Sustainable Development: Environmental Conservation vs. Economic Growth
  • Artificial Intelligence: Job Automation vs. Human Employment
  • Animal Rights: Animal Welfare vs. Human Interests
  • Social Media: Connection or Isolation?
  • GMO Labeling: Transparency vs. Consumer Choice
  • Capitalism vs. Socialism: Economic Systems in Conflict
  • Gun Control: Individual Rights vs. Public Safety
  • Euthanasia: Personal Autonomy vs. Sanctity of Life

Contradicting Controversial Debate Topics

  • Renewable Energy: Solution or Illusion?
  • Climate Change: Urgency or Exaggeration?
  • Nuclear Power: Clean Energy or Environmental Risk?
  • Vaccines: Lifesaver or Health Hazard?
  • Space Exploration: Scientific Progress or Waste of Resources?
  • Capital Punishment: Justice or Inhumane?
  • Privacy: Fundamental Right or Sacrifice for Security?
  • Internet Censorship: Protection or Suppression of Freedom?
  • Virtual Reality: Enhancing Experiences or Detachment from Reality?
  • Organic Food: Healthier Option or Marketing Gimmick?
  • Education: Traditional Methods or Innovative Approaches?
  • Automation: Efficiency or Job Displacement?
  • Gun Control: Safety or Infringement on Rights?
  • Immigration: Cultural Enrichment or Economic Burden?
  • Online Learning: Accessible Education or Limited Interaction?
  • Capitalism: Economic Growth or Social Inequality?
  • Marijuana Legalization: Medicinal Benefits or Gateway Drug?
  • Autonomous Vehicles: Safer Roads or Ethical Dilemma?
  • Cybersecurity: Protection or Threat to Privacy?
  • Globalization: Cultural Diversity or Homogenization?

To Learn More, Read Relevant Articles

630 informative speech topics & unique ideas, 196 psychology argumentative essay topics & ideas.

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150+ Debate Topics To Spark Conversations & Conquer Minds

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Debating has long been a vital part of human culture, helping us sharpen our critical thinking and shaping our beliefs. Regardless of your skills, engaging in debates is a great way to learn and grow. 

However, the success of a debate depends on the right topic. Choosing the perfect debate topics is super important to make the conversation exciting. Finding a strong topic for your debate can be tricky. 

Dive into this article where we have compiled a diverse list of debate topics for you. We also explore the art of topic selection, the purpose of debate, and tips for a winning performance.

Table of Contents

Interesting Debate Topics for College Students

  • Can a college degree assist with better employment opportunities? 
  • Incorporating more AI-powered education is better for the future generation.
  • Is online  paper writing service  necessary to respond to the increasing academic workload and pressure college students face?
  • Mandatory nature education for all students, regardless of their major 
  • Should colleges invest in developing online assignment help platforms to ensure quality and academic integrity?
  • Is it justified to impose a tuition fee for college education? 
  • Should we compensate college athletes for their participation in sports?
  • Is affirmative action in college admissions necessary to promote diversity and equality?
  • Should colleges offer free mental health services to all students?
  • Is it fair for colleges to consider an applicant’s social media presence in the admissions process?
  • Should colleges prioritize vocational and trade programs over traditional academic degrees?
  • Should colleges implement stricter speech codes and restrictions to create a more inclusive and respectful campus environment?
  • Is a liberal arts education still relevant and valuable in today’s job market?

Interesting and Controversial Debate Topics 

  • Should we permit abortion as a regular medical practice?
  • Should human cloning be allowed? 
  • Is Animal testing ethical? 
  • Should society grant animals the same rights as humans? 
  • Should people give up their privacy rights to protect their nation? 
  • Is animal testing necessary? 
  • Is animal cloning ethical? 
  • Is it justified to ban books under any circumstances? 
  • Can we actively prevent cyberbullying?
  • Is the MeToo movement currently stirring controversy?
  • Why do students actively engage in smoking initiation?
  • Are fast-food chains the main cause behind the growing rate of obesity? 
  • Should terminally ill patients have the right to request and receive assistance in ending their lives?
  • Should governments have the authority to regulate social media platforms to address issues such as misinformation, hate speech, and privacy concerns?
  • Is capital punishment an effective deterrent against crime? 
  • Has “Censorship” benefited society in any way?

Debate Topics For High-School Students

  • Can schools prohibit their students from using certain social media platforms? 
  • Impact of social media on high-school Students’ mental health 
  • More students should volunteer for community work 
  • Schools should prohibit the use of personal gadget in class 
  • Is the prevalence of cheap essay writing services a reflection of flaws in the education system?
  • Which is a better learning experience for students: online classes vs. traditional
  • Which is more beneficial for high schoolers: outdoor learning or indoor learning 
  • Do homeworks contribute to a student’s learning experience? 
  • Should students have a lunch break and a separate recess to relax? 
  • Students excel more when allowed to attend more subject-oriented fairs and expos.
  • Are high school students more frequently subjected to online stalking?
  • Is it easy for most students to open up to their parents about any harassment cases? 
  • Do students need proper training from school professionals and parents to identify predators online? 

Unique Topics for University Students

  • Does  APA heading  structure have any special impact on the academic writing quality?
  • Free speech vs. safe speech on university campus 
  • The value of liberal art education in today’s job market
  • The importance of sustainability and environmental awareness in university policies 
  • Role of extracurricular activities in university education 
  • Et al. meaning  in academic writing: is it necessary or redundant? 
  • The effectiveness of affirmative action in university admission 
  • The necessity of student loan forgiveness programs 

Political Debate Topics

  • Should the United States transition to a socialist system collectively?
  • The government still neglects minor disabilities. 
  • Are current government policies and actions sufficient to combat the effects of climate change?
  • How to approach the global refugee crisis: including issues of border control, asylum policies, and international cooperation
  • Can governments address the growing wealth gap?
  • Rise of populist movements and growing political polarization, and how can societies address the resulting divisions and strengthen democratic institutions?
  • The imposition of the same-sex marriage agenda upon individuals should be avoided.
  • Rise of authoritarian governments and their impact on human rights, democracy, and global stability
  • The feminist movement no longer talks about women’s rights
  • Gay couples should be able to adopt children

Topics to Debate on Environment

  • Alternative energy: Is it a better option than traditional courses of energy? 
  • Should we ban bottled water to minimize the Plastic waste? 
  • Does Climate change pose a real threat to human existence?
  • Does climate change impact humans in a negative way? 
  • Should people fund  animal research  institutes? 

Debate Topics on Ethics

  • Should ethical considerations play a role in business decisions?
  • Should we encourage the use of cell phones in public places? 
  • Is it ethical to use AI in the decision-making process? 
  • Is it unethical to have different viewpoints from your teachers?
  • Why has the use of Facebook not been prohibited despite the revelation of user exploitation? 

Easy Debate Topics on Education

  • Should schools make it compulsory for every student to contribute in debate contests? 
  • Should schools invite professionals for informative speeches more often? 
  • Should schools arrange for more motivational speakers to visit schools? 
  • Should schools provide a separate class for public speaking for students to combat social or stage anxiety 
  • Should educational curriculums have religious subjects in them? 
  • Do student dress codes help achieve anything in a student’s overall upbringing? 
  • School cafeterias should not have junk food in them 
  • There should be monthly wellness and cleanliness checks of school cafes from higher authorities or the government 
  • Should schools allow students to use mobile phones within school premises?
  • The perceived value of virtual degrees in comparison to traditional degrees
  • Should victims of school violence and bullying sue their educational institutes for physical and mental damages?
  • Should schools provide educational bonuses?
  • Schools should make monthly psychological evaluations necessary
  • Schools should encourage AI-powered education for all subjects 
  • Educational institutes should invest more in subject-oriented fairs and expos 
  • Schools need to take students on more sight trips for a better learning experience 
  • More educational institutes should offer educational bonuses. 

Conversational Debate Topics 

  • Should society decriminalize the usage of drugs? 
  • Video games induce violent behavior in children 
  • Does the television series “Euphoria” idealize or glorify self-destructive behavior?
  • Should CPS get involved in cases of school violence?
  • Is Barbie a good role model for impressionable girls? 
  • Has society benefited more from social media?
  • Should society ban Zoos? 
  • Do Netizens really assist authorities in solving true crime cases?
  • Has technology intensified human communication? 
  • Does reading books hold significant importance?
  • Does violence in cartoons affect the upbringing of children
  • Should governments implement a universal basic income to address income inequality and poverty? 
  • Should we ban games like “IGI”, “Grand Theft Auto”, “Call of Duty”, or “Delta Force”? 
  • Do shows like “ The Glory ” and “13 Reasons Why” make any impact against the physical and mental turmoils students face? 
  • What is the most effective method to attain financial literacy?
  • Should society lower the official voting age to 16?
  • Should minimum wages be increased in accordance with inflation? 
  • Public speaking can give you a boost of confidence 
  • Cons of using social media
  • Does global warming have serious effects on humanity 
  • Does financial wealth yield greater benefits than moral values?
  • What transpires after the occurrence of death? 

What is a Debate?

A debate is a structured discussion between individuals or teams with contrasting viewpoints on a specific issue. Most debates aim to persuade an audience to support one side.

They explore various subjects, including philosophy, politics, social sciences etc. Usually, debate contests occur in academic settings. But it may also occur in legislative assemblies, public meetings, and law-making assemblies. 

Debate is a contest of ideas, often occurring in academic institutes, legislative assemblies, public meetings, and lawmaking assemblies. It involves defending a viewpoint that one agrees with. 

Types of Debates:

Debates come in various formats, each with its unique structure and style. Understanding these types of debates will help you choose the right debate topics. And navigate the world of intellectual discussions with ease. Let’s explore some popular debate formats:

Rebuttal Debate

In rebuttal debates, participants present their arguments and then have the opportunity to respond directly to the opposing side’s points. These debates encourage quick thinking and sharp analytical skills. 

Example of a rebuttal debate:

 The 1960 Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate, both candidates had the chance to refute each other’s arguments.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Named after the historic debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, this format typically focuses on values and philosophical issues. In Lincoln-Douglas debates, participants emphasize logic, ethics, and philosophy when discussing debate topics. 

The original Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, centered around the issue of slavery, are prime examples of this format.

One-Rebuttal Debate

In one-rebuttal debates, each speaker has only one chance to refute the opposing side’s arguments. This format demands strong initial arguments and strategic thinking. 

Example of one-rebuttal debate:

The 2012 U.S. vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. In this debate both debaters had limited opportunities to counter each other’s points.

Public Forum Debate

Public forum debates focus on current events and involve teams of two speakers. These debates aim to engage the audience and make complex issues accessible to a broader audience. 

For example: A 2014 Intelligence Squared U.S. debate showcases a public forum debate. The subject was contemporary on whether “Snowden was justified”.

Cross-Examination Debate

Also known as policy debate, cross-examination debates involve two teams that propose and oppose a specific policy. Participants must research and prepare extensively, as they need to defend their stance and question their opponents effectively. 

The annual National Debate Tournament showcases the best cross-examination debate topics and performances.

Oregon-Oxford Debate

The Oregon-Oxford debate format features two teams with two to three speakers each. Debaters present their arguments in alternating speeches, followed by cross-examination.

A prominent example of Oregon-Oxford debate is the 2015 Munk Debate on the global refugee crisis 

Understanding these different debate formats will help you choose good debate topics. These topics will best suit the structure and style of your desired intellectual exchange.

Significance of the Right Debate Topics.

Picking the right debate topics is essential because it sets the stage for an engaging and thought-provoking conversation. A strong topic captures everyone’s interest, sparks lively discussions, and challenges debaters to think deeply and present persuasive arguments. 

You should analyze several factors about a topic before preparing for a debate. 

  • Is the chosen topic worthy of debate? 
  • Is there enough research material available for you to organize an argument?
  • Are you interested in the topic? 
  • Will the topic impact your audience?

So, the next time you’re picking a topic consider checking all these boxes. 

How to Choose Good Debate Topics? A Quick Guide 

Here is a quick guide on how to pick your next debate topic for an epic win. These simple steps will help you find one that’s engaging and thought-provoking:

  • Your Interest:  Choose debate topics that genuinely interest you. Your passion for the subject will make your arguments more compelling and motivate you throughout the debate.
  • Proper Research:  Explore various debate topics and gather information on them. Look for topics with abundant resources, making building strong arguments easier and staying well-informed.
  • Your Target Audience : Consider the interests and preferences of your audience. Select debate topics that will resonate with them and spark their curiosity.
  • Argument Potential:  Pick debate topics allowing diverse perspectives and strong arguments. This will ensure a lively and engaging debate, encouraging critical thinking and intellectual growth.
  • Controversy and Relevance : Opt for debate topics that address current or controversial issues. These topics generate more interest and provoke deeper discussions, as they often have real-world implications and affect people’s lives.
  • Balance and Fairness:  Ensure that the debate topics you choose allow for a fair and balanced debate. Both sides should have equal opportunities to present strong arguments and valid points, making the debate more engaging and intellectually stimulating.

Tips and Techniques to SpellBound Your Audience 

In this blog’s last part, we will touch on some tips for delivering a strong debate. By following these tips and techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to deliver a winning debate on various topics.

  • Prepare thoroughly:  Confidence and believability come from being well-prepared. Research your debate topics and anticipate your and your opponent’s arguments.
  • Stay on topic:  Time is limited, so focus on your points and allocate appropriate time for each.
  • Speak slowly and clearly:  Avoid rushing through your speech. Engage your audience by being charismatic and amicable.
  • Exude confidence:  Even if you feel nervous, maintain confidence to appear credible and knowledgeable about your debate topics.
  • Mind your body language:  Use gestures, maintain eye contact, and adopt a relaxed posture to convey confidence and credibility.
  • Engage your audience:  Observe your audience’s reactions and adjust your tone or content accordingly to keep them interested.
  • Take notes during the debate:  Jot down your opponent’s points and potential rebuttals to stay organized and focused.
  • Anticipate your opponent’s arguments:  Try to understand your opponent’s perspective and show your audience why your stance matters more.
  • Use stories and illustrations:  Humor and anecdotes can help break the ice and make your debate topics more relatable.
  • Conclude strongly:  Summarize your points and tie everything together in a memorable closing statement.
  • Be graceful:  Refrain from resorting to low tactics. Like derogatory remarks or disruptive behavior. Ensure that you treat your opponent with the utmost respect.
  • Keep it interesting:  Adapt your delivery based on audience feedback. Add anecdotes, and maintain a light tone to keep your debate topics engaging.

Conclusion:

We’re confident that our diverse selection of debate topics will leave you spoilt for choice. With so many options, you can find the perfect topic that ticks all your boxes. Our seasoned professionals are ready to lend a helping hand in crafting the most compelling debates out there. Elevate your debating game with our expert guidance. Rest assured that we’re committed to delivering nothing but the best for our valued customers. So, dive into these debate topics and let the engaging conversations begin!

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Top 70 Controversial Debate Topics For Critical Thinkers in 2023

Top 70 Controversial Debate Topics For Critical Thinkers in 2023

Jane Ng • 05 Oct 2023 • 6 min read

Whether you love or hate them, controversial debate topics are an inescapable part of our lives. They challenge our beliefs and push us out of our comfort zones, forcing us to examine our assumptions and biases. With so many controversial issues, you needn’t go far if you’re looking for a compelling debate. This blog post will provide you with a list of controversial debate topics to inspire your next discussion.

Tips for Better Engagement

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Table of Contents

What are controversial debate topics, good controversial debate topics, fun controversial debate topics.

  • Controversial Debate Topics For Teens 

Social Controversial Debate Topics

  • Controversial Debate Topics On Current Events 
  • Key Takeaways 

Frequently Asked Questions

essay topics about debates

Controversial debate topics are subjects – that can spark strong opinions and disagreements among people with different beliefs and values. These topics can cover various subjects, such as social issues, politics, ethics, and culture, and may challenge traditional beliefs or established norms.

One thing that makes these topics controversial is that there is often no clear consensus or agreement among people, which can lead to debates and disagreements. Each person may have their own interpretation of the facts or values that influence their perspective. It’s difficult for all to reach a resolution or agreement.

Despite the potential for heated discussions, controversial debate topics can be a great way to explore different viewpoints, challenge assumptions, and promote critical thinking and open dialogue. 

However, it is crucial to distinguish controversial topics from controversial opinions – statements or actions that cause disagreement or conflict. 

  • For example, climate change can be controversial, but a politician’s comment denying the existence of climate change can be controversial.
  • Is social media harming society more than it helps?
  • Is it appropriate to make marijuana legal for recreational use?
  • Should college be provided for free?
  • Should schools teach comprehensive sex education?
  • Is it ethical to use animals for scientific research?
  • Does human activity account for the majority of climate change?
  • Should beauty pageants be stopped?
  • Are credit cards doing more harm than good?
  • Should diet pills be banned?
  • Should human cloning be permitted?
  • Should there be stricter laws on gun ownership or fewer restrictions?
  • Is climate change a serious issue that requires urgent action, or is it overblown and exaggerated?
  • Should individuals have the right to end their own lives in certain circumstances?
  • Should certain types of speech or expression be censored or restricted?
  • Is eating animal meat unethical?
  • Should there be more or less strict regulations on immigration and refugee policies?
  • Is job security the biggest motivation rather than money?
  • Are zoos doing more harm than good?
  • Are parents legally responsible for their children’s actions?
  • Does peer pressure have a net positive or negative impact?

Controversial debate topics

  • Is it better to have a small group of close friends or a large group of acquaintances?
  • Should you brush your teeth before or after breakfast?
  • Should you put mayo or ketchup on the fries?
  • Is it acceptable to dip fries in a milkshake?
  • Should you brush your teeth before or after breakfast? 
  • Is it better to use a bar of soap or liquid soap? 
  • Is waking early or staying up late better?
  • Should you make your bed every day?
  • Should you wear a mask in public places?

Controversial Debate Topics For Teens 

  • Should teenagers access birth control without parental consent?
  • Should the voting age be lowered to 16?
  • Should parents have access to their children’s social media accounts?
  • Should cell phone use be allowed during school hours?
  • Is homeschooling a better option than traditional schooling?
  • Should the school day start later to allow for more sleep for students?
  • Is studying should be voluntary?
  • Should schools be allowed to discipline students for social media use outside of school?
  • Should school hours be reduced?
  • Should drivers be banned from using mobile phones while driving?
  • Should the legal driving age be raised to 19 in some countries?
  • Should students take classes on parenting?
  • Should teenagers be allowed to work part-time jobs during the school year?
  • Should social media platforms be held responsible for the spread of misinformation?
  • Should schools make drug testing mandatory for students?
  • Should cyberbullying be considered to be an offense?
  • Should teens be allowed to have relationships with significant age differences?
  • Should schools allow students to carry concealed weapons for self-defense?
  • Should teens be allowed to get tattoos and piercings without parental consent?
  • Is online learning as effective as in-person learning?

essay topics about debates

  • Should hate speech be protected under freedom of speech laws?
  • Should the government provide a guaranteed basic income for all citizens?
  • Is affirmative action necessary to address systemic inequalities in society?
  • Should Violence/Sex on TV be abolished?
  • Should illegal immigrants be allowed to receive social welfare benefits?
  • Is the pay discrepancy between men and women the result of discrimination?
  • Should the government regulate the use of artificial intelligence?
  • Should healthcare be a universal human right?
  • Should the assault weapons ban be extended?
  • Should billionaires be taxed at a higher rate than the average citizen?
  • Is it necessary to legalize and regulate prostitution?
  • Who is more important in the family, father or mother?
  • Is GPA an outdated way of assessing a student’s knowledge?
  • Is the war on drugs a failure?
  • Should vaccinations be mandatory for all children?

Controversial Debate Topics On Current Events 

  • Is the use of social media algorithms to spread misinformation a threat to democracy?
  • Should COVID-19 vaccine mandates be implemented?
  • Is the use of artificial intelligence ethical in the workplace?
  • Should AI be used instead of humans?
  • Should companies be required to provide advance notice of lay-offs to employees?
  • Is it ethical for companies to lay off employees while CEOs and other executives receive large bonuses?

essay topics about debates

Key Takeaways

Hopefully, with 70 controversial debate topics, you can expand your knowledge and gain new perspectives. 

However, it is essential to approach these topics with respect, an open mind, and a willingness to listen and learn from others. Engaging in respectful and meaningful debates on controversial topics with AhaSlides’ template library and interactive features can help us broaden our understanding of the world and each other, and possibly even lead to progress in finding solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time.

1/ What are good topics to debate about? 

Good topics to debate can vary widely depending on the interests and perspectives of the individuals involved. Here are some examples of good debate topics:

2/ What are some controversial debates? 

Controversial debates are those that involve topics that can generate strong and opposing viewpoints and opinions. These topics are often contentious and can provoke heated arguments and debates among individuals or groups who hold different beliefs and values. 

Here are some examples:

3/ What is an emotional and controversial topic? 

An emotional and controversial topic can provoke strong emotional reactions and divides people based on their personal experiences, values, and beliefs. 

For example:

Do you still want to be more explicit about an excellent debater portrait? Here, we’ll give a practical and convincing example of a good debater for you to learn and hone your debate skills.

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125+ Controversial Opinions For All Real Live Scenarios

January debates offer last shot for Trump's opponents to make their case

DeSantis and Haley will face off in Iowa; Christie set to join them in N.H.

Could the fifth time be the charm? The sixth? Or perhaps the seventh? After four primary debates did nothing to diminish former President Donald Trump's advantage in the Republican nomination race, his GOP opponents hope something will give after one or more of the three primary debates happening in January.

Over the next two weeks, Republican presidential candidates will participate in one debate in Iowa and two in New Hampshire. Each gathering looks likely to have at most three contenders on stage, meaning these events will be more intimate than any so far this cycle. That could present candidates with clearer opportunities to sway viewers, and to make headlines as attention peaks just ahead of the two leadoff contests in the GOP primary calendar.

Based on qualification requirements, we already have a very clear idea about the lineups for all three debates, barring a surprise dropout announcement by one of the contenders. Wednesday evening, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will meet in the first head-to-head debate this cycle in Des Moines, Iowa, ahead of the state's caucuses on Jan. 15. Then on Jan. 18 and Jan. 21, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will likely join DeSantis and Haley in a pair of New Hampshire debates before the state's Jan. 23 primary. Trump is once again planning to skip the debates , content in the knowledge that his refusal to debate even once this cycle has not dinged his polling numbers. And at this juncture, no other candidates look likely to qualify.

For these debates, qualification principally rested on attracting at least 10 percent support in the polls. For the Iowa debate on Jan. 10, host CNN announced that contenders had to hit that mark in three separate national and/or Iowa surveys to qualify, based on polls conducted since Oct. 15 and released by Jan. 2. CNN announced last week that only Trump, DeSantis and Haley had qualified, and that only the latter two had agreed to participate. For the New Hampshire debate on Jan. 18, ABC News mandated candidates reach 10 percent in two national surveys, or in two New Hampshire polls, based on polls conducted since Nov. 27 and released by Jan. 16. A candidate can also qualify by finishing in the top three in the Iowa caucuses. As for CNN's New Hampshire debate on Jan. 21, contenders must garner 10 percent in three national and/or New Hampshire polls conducted since Nov. 1 and released by Jan. 16, or finish in the top three in Iowa. When it came to determining which polls count toward qualification, ABC News and CNN each released a list of polling and sponsor organizations whose surveys would be acceptable.

The rules — and Trump's refusal to participate — will give us the election's first head-to-head debate in Iowa, but they also helped Christie qualify for the New Hampshire debates. Throughout this cycle, Christie hasn't cleared 5 percent in either 538's national polling average or our Iowa average . But Christie's outsized strength in New Hampshire qualified him for the ABC News and CNN debates there because a candidate could make it based solely on New Hampshire surveys. Overall, he has garnered at least 10 percent in six New Hampshire polls conducted that count under either ABC News's or CNN's criteria: November surveys from Monmouth University/Washington Post and University of New Hampshire/CNN , December polls from YouGov/CBS News and Saint Anselm College , and early January surveys from Suffolk University/Boston Globe/USA Today and University of New Hampshire/CNN (again).

But the 10 percent requirement has made it unlikely that tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy — or anyone else — will also qualify for the January debates. Unlike Christie, Ramaswamy doesn't have disproportionate strength in Iowa or New Hampshire to help garner qualifying state-level polls: He's polling at about 5 to 7 percent in Iowa, New Hampshire and nationally. Anticipating that he wouldn't qualify for the Iowa event, Ramaswamy attacked CNN and claimed the debate would be "the most boring in modern history." And considering Ramaswamy trails Haley by about 10 points for third place in Iowa, it also appears he's a long shot to make the New Hampshire debate based on a top-three finish in the leadoff caucuses. (Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is also still technically in the race, but he hasn't qualified for a debate since August .)

Under the hood of debate organization

One wrinkle in all this is the absence of the Republican National Committee from the debate process. For the first four debates, which took place from August to December, the RNC laid out the qualification rules and partnered with media organizations to run them. But after the Dec. 6 debate, the RNC announced that it was stepping back from organizing debates and would permit candidates to participate in debates not sanctioned by the RNC. As a result, media outlets like ABC News and CNN had free rein to organize these debates as they saw fit. That's not to say that the GOP has been absent entirely — for instance, ABC News is coordinating its debate with the New Hampshire Republican State Committee — but the national party has, for now, exited the debate scene.

An immediate impact of this switch has been a shift in which polls are used in the qualification process. Unlike ABC News and CNN, the RNC did not delineate a list of pollsters it would count, but instead laid out criteria for what surveys could be used toward qualification. That included any poll with 800 registered likely Republican voters, as long as the pollster or sponsor wasn't affiliated in some way with a campaign or group allied to a candidate. While there remains some pollster overlap, the likely voter and large sample size requirements led to fewer traditional media or academic polls counting toward qualification under earlier RNC requirements.

For instance, not a single survey from well-known polling organizations and sponsors like SSRS/CNN, Monmouth University, NBC News, Quinnipiac University or Selzer & Co. counted toward qualification for the first four debates. Conversely, Morning Consult polls no longer count, even though the pollster's weekly national surveys served as the most frequent poll affecting qualification to the first four debates. Some outfits that use lower-cost, sometimes-less transparent approaches to produce surveys with larger sample sizes are also gone from the picture. Because of the winnowed candidate field and the 10 percent threshold, this shift in which polls count won't dramatically affect who makes the stage, but it still represents an abrupt change in the debate qualification process.

The RNC's choice to step back also runs against a recent trend in presidential nomination contests: parties asserting greater control over primary debates. Until the 2010s, national parties had often not played much of a role in the organization of these events. But following the 2012 election, Republicans came away with the belief that the party had too many primary debates — 20 — and that this had damaged the party's brand and eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, ahead of the general election. In 2016, media outlets still played a big role in determining qualification, but the RNC asserted itself in the choice of the venues, partners and moderators while forbidding candidates from participating in unsanctioned debates, which helped reduce their number to 12 . Then in 2020, the Democratic National Committee upped national party involvement by laying out the qualification criteria for each primary debate. The 2024 cycle started off similarly, with the RNC determining the qualification rules for the first four debates . Then the RNC backed off, potentially because of Trump's desire for the RNC to stop hosting debates and look ahead to the general election, or pressure from other candidates to make it possible to participate in more debates and forums.

But regardless of all this, the next three debates could be the last chance DeSantis and Haley — Trump's main two rivals at this point — have to make their case to a large national audience. With Iowa caucusing on Jan. 15, it's now put up or shut up time in the presidential nomination contest, and given Trump's sizable edge, his opponents are going to need something special, and probably some luck, to have a chance of overcoming his advantage in the race.

Related Topics

  • Republican Primary
  • 2024 Elections
  • Donald Trump
  • Ron DeSantis
  • Nikki Haley
  • Chris Christie

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COMMENTS

  1. 100+ Topics for Argumentative Essays and Debates

    100+ Topics for Argumentative Essays and Debates Last updated on: 6/23/2023 | Author: ProCon.org Debate Topics Need to write an argumentative essay? Preparing for an upcoming debate? ProCon.org has over 100 topics complete with pro and con arguments, quotes and statistics from experts, historical information, and other pertinent research. A

  2. 55 Great Debate Topics for Any Project

    General Education A debate is a formal discussion about a topic where two sides present opposing viewpoints. Debates follow a specific structure: each side is given time to speak either for or against the topic at hand. Many students study debate in high school to improve their speaking skills.

  3. The Best Controversial Topics for Debates and Essays

    3 Pros and 3 Cons of Using Controversial Topics in Essays or Debates . It might be tempting to pick any old controversial topic and run with it. Not so fast! While controversial topics definitely give you a lot to talk about in an essay or debate, there are some definite drawbacks to dealing with hot-button issues.

  4. 260 Controversial Debate Topics and Questions for Discussion

    🔝 Top 10 Controversial Debate Topics Cryptocurrencies' reliability. Legalization of human cloning. NFT is not a good investment. Electric cars are overrated. Social security should be privatized. Ethical issue of Human Gene editing. Artificial intelligence is a threat to humanity. E-commerce and a digital privacy problem.

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    Choose from over 100 interesting debate topics and learn strategies to win any debate. ... The claim of the contention is akin to a topic sentence in an essay: it is a clear, direct, and provable statement which will be defended in the rest of contention. Returning to the example topic of school uniforms, for example, a contention could begin ...

  7. 500 Topics for Debates and Argumentative Essays

    500 Topics for Debates and Argumentative Essays | Kialo Edu Dive right into a deep discussion with Kialo Templates! Browse Kialo's extensive library of classroom debate and argumentative essay topics. Each template comes with background info and prompts, so you can get discussing straight away! Search All categories All ages Reset

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    First of all, debate themes differ by levels of education: debate topics for elementary students; topics for high and middle school; debate topics for college students; special topics for undergraduates. Debates also differs by format: Persuasive Debate Topics Controversial Debate Topics Argumentative Debate Topics. Persuasive Debate Topics

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    This article provides example debate topics and questions in the following categories: Education-Themed Topics Political Debate Topics Social Subjects to Debate Environmental Themes to Debate Technology Topics to Debate Simpler Debate Topics for Younger Students More Controversial Debate and Argumentative Essay Topics

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    1. Best Debate Topics for Students 2. Public Forum Debate Topics 3. Educational Debate Topics 4. Debate Topics for Kids 5. Debate Topics for Teens 6. Debate Topics for Adults 7. Political Debate Topics 8. Social Debate Topics 9. Sports Debate Topics 10. Health Debate Topics

  11. 70 Argumentative Essay Topics That Will Put Up a Good Fight

    Explore 70 argumentative essay topics that will ignite a passionate debate. Plus, learn about the influence of media bias on public opinion and how it impacts society. Get inspired to write powerful essays and express your opinions on controversial English topics.

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    Casual Topics to Debate About In each category, you can choose topics to debate of varying complexity - from easy to challenging. Some of the issues are ambiguous and hard to navigate without knowledge of human psychology and high levels of emotional intelligence. As a studying aid, most topics are linked to our free essay database samples.

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    Mind that EduBirdie can either check your essay or write it from scratch: just provide your debate topics and receive everything you need, including outlines, properly researched and cited arguments, and presentations. Read also: 25 Illustration Essay Topics for Students List of 120 Debate Topics Divided into Categories

  14. Debate Writing

    1. Understand the Debate. The first of many steps in debate writing is understanding its nature. Here, both teams will be given a topic, and they will choose an affirmative or negative stance. 2. Research the Topic Thoroughly. Brainstorm and research the topic thoroughly to understand all the aspects of the debate.

  15. 50 Compelling Argumentative Essay Topics

    50 Argumentative Essay Topics An Introduction to Essay Writing Illustration by Catherine Song. ThoughtCo. By Grace Fleming Updated on April 01, 2020 An argumentative essay requires you to decide on a topic and take a position on it. You'll need to back up your viewpoint with well-researched facts and information as well.

  16. 205 Controversial Topics for Essays, Speeches, and Debates

    205 Controversial Topics for your Essay, Speech, or Debate. Last Updated: August 5, 2022. Written By Amanda Green. Amanda Green was born in a small town in the west of Scotland, where everyone knows everyone. I joined the Toastmasters 15 years ago, and I served in nearly every office in the club since then. I love helping others gain confidence ...

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    These controversial topics can work well for classroom debates, persuasive essays, or fishbowl discussions. Note: Each topic includes a link to an article from a reliable source that provides pros and/or cons to help kids make their arguments. Education Controversial Debate Topics; Science and Health Controversial Debate Topics

  18. Crafting Your Argument: 99 History Argumentative Essay Topics

    The Art of Writing an Argumentative History Essay. In a history argumentative essay, your task goes beyond presenting facts. It would help to form an opinion, defend it with strong evidence, and persuade your reader to view history through your lens. Such essays often explore controversial issues, diverse interpretations, or underrepresented ...

  19. 331 Debate Topics, Relationship Questions, & Ideas

    331 Debate Topics, Relationship Questions, & Ideas. Debate topics are compelling subject matters that inspire in-depth discussions, helping to shape critical thinking and promote communication skills. They range widely from politics, religion, ethics, and science to social and cultural issues, providing an extensive platform for intellectual ...

  20. 50 Debate Topics for High School

    The following 50 debate topics can be used in high school or advanced middle school classrooms. They are organized by genre and some can be modified for use in different subjects. Each item is listed in the form of a question to propose to your students that has at least two points of view. Watch Now: Ideas for Great Classroom Debate Topics

  21. 419 Controversial Debate Topics & Good Ideas

    Wr1ter. team. 16 August 2023. last updated. Controversial debate topics are the heart of spirited discourse, often creating polarizing viewpoints on sensitive issues. They span a range of subject areas, including politics, ethics, technology, religion, education, and human rights. Some topics, like abortion, gun control, capital punishment, and ...

  22. Debate Topics Bonanza: 150+ Ideas to Stir Up Lively Debates!

    Prepare thoroughly: Confidence and believability come from being well-prepared. Research your debate topics and anticipate your and your opponent's arguments. Stay on topic: Time is limited, so focus on your points and allocate appropriate time for each. Speak slowly and clearly: Avoid rushing through your speech.

  23. Top 70 Controversial Debate Topics For Critical Thinkers in 2023

    Controversial debate topics are subjects - that can spark strong opinions and disagreements among people with different beliefs and values. These topics can cover various subjects, such as social issues, politics, ethics, and culture, and may challenge traditional beliefs or established norms.

  24. Debate and Ratification of Supremacy Clause

    Jump to essay-10 James Wilson, Debates of the Pennsylvania Convention (Dec. 11, 1787), in 2 Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution 416 (Merrill Jensen et al. eds., 1976). Jump to essay-11 James Wilson , Speech at a Public Meeting in Philadelphia (Oct. 6, 1787) , in 13 Documentary History of the Ratification of the ...

  25. January debates offer last shot for Trump's opponents to make their

    For the Iowa debate on Jan. 10, host CNN announced that contenders had to hit that mark in three separate national and/or Iowa surveys to qualify, based on polls conducted since Oct. 15 and ...