McLaughlin's research interests include Italian Renaissance literature, biography, and literary theory, as well as contemporary Italian fiction and translation studies. He teaches Italian language and literature, especially Dante, Renaissance literature from Petrarch to Tasso, post-war fiction especially Calvino, the Italian short story, and translation studies. He is the English translator of Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino, among many others.
- Italian Renaissance literature, especially Petrarch, Tasso
- Contemporary Italian fiction, especially Italo Calvino
- Translation studies