Many students choose topics that are poorly defined, too broad, unarguable, or lacking significance. This results in topics that are virtually un-researchable.
A topic that is suitable for research should be clearly defined, narrow, arguable (that is, there should be more than one point of view about it), and significant to some aspect of society.
- Start the process by choosing a general topic that draws your interest.
- Ideas for topics can come from anywhere:
- Course material - lecture notes, the textbook, handouts, etc.
- Databases - check the ones listed below
- Brainstorming and concept mapping
- Media such as newspapers, magazines, books, movies and TV, etc.
- Reliable online resources such as Infoplease and Encyclopedia Britannica
- Keep in mind that when you write your paper, you will need to incorporate your own ideas and opinions about the topic. This will take up to 80% of your paper, and the other 20% will come from sources.
- You can have ideas and opinions about a topic before you begin research, but this is not required. You can also develop them as you conduct your research prep.
- Learn about your topic by reading general information about it, so you will learn what the topic is about and begin to develop ideas and opinions.