Tips for choosing a right topic for a research paper

When you write a research paper you will spend a great deal of time with the topic. That is why it is so important for you to pick something that you truly have an interest in. If you are unsure of what topics you want to write about you can incorporate the following strategies to find something appropriate:

  • Review your textbooks and search over class notes for any topic suggestions
  • Consider what you have read on the course subject or what you have seen that relates to it
  • Try and select a topic that is relevant to your particular passions or your life. Find something that you can learn about and apply to another aspect of your life later. For example: if you plan on studying abroad when you are older you might want to take this chance to write a report on a political or economic issue in the country you want to visit that way you will have a bit of background information when you actually do go abroad
  • Review your guidelines and your assignment details for any potential topics. Look over what your professor supplied you with and ask for any potential suggestions or topics if you are unsure of what to select

How to find your research topics

Picking a topic for a research paper can be a challenge. It is one of the preliminary steps and in fact one of the most important steps. If you are unsure of how to narrow down your topic consider the following:

  • Create your broad focus first and foremost. List the things you already know about your topic and try to determine which aspects about your topic are the most interesting to you.
  • Figure out any necessary background information on the topic.
  • Review magazine articles to get a general idea of what core issues relate to your topic or what controversial subjects are being debated.
  • Look for one perspective on your issue. What do scholars in the field disagree about with regards to your topic? Look over the different points of view that exist in order to find a sense of direction.
  • It may help to limit any research you use to a certain period of time. Use date options when searching for online databases to narrow the search results.
  • And of course you can always ask for help from your TA or librarian.

Published on  June 8th, 2016


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