This is the "Topic Selection" page of the "Research Paper - College Prep" guide.
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Research Paper - College Prep  

Last Updated: Mar 5, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Topic Selection Print Page


  • Choose a topic that interests you.Even if a topic has been assigned, you may be able to choose a particular aspect of the topic that interests you personally. Use the following questions to help you generate topic ideas.
    • Do you have a strong opinion on a current social or political controversy?
    • Did you read a newspaper article, or see a TV broadcast recently that piqued your curiosity or made you angry or anxious?
    • Do you have a personal issue, problem, or interest you'd like to know more about?
    • Do you have a research paper due in a class this semester? 
    • Is there an aspect of one of your courses you are interested in learning more about?

    Topic Selection

    The ability to develop a good research topic is an important skill. Sometimes instructors will assign a specific topic, usually they will ask you to select a topic that interests you. When you choose your own topic, you will need to:

    • brainstorm for ideas
    • read general background information
    • focus in on a manageable topic 
    • make a list of useful keywords 
    • be flexible 
    • define your topic as a focused research question
    • research and read more about your topic
    • formulate a thesis statement

    Be aware, selecting a good topic is not easy. It must be narrow and focused enough to be interesting, yet broad enough to find adequate information for your research. Before you select your topic, make sure you know what your final research project should look like. Each instructor, or class, will have somewhat different requirements and purposes for research.


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