Choosing A Research Topic

“Aghh! I just don’t know what to write about!” I can't tell you how many times I've said that phrase. It first happened in English 150, then in American Heritage, civilization classes, psychology and even religion classes.  

Choosing an appropriate research topic – this can be the hardest part of research-based writing. Often, writing assignments allow you to choose a topic from a very wide range. Even if you choose a topic, how will you approach that topic. Here are some tips in choosing a research topic:

This can be used in many stages of writing but it is helpful to explore the possibilities of what you may write on different subjects. Brainstorming can happen in many ways: graphs, comparisons, free writing, picture maps, etc.

Find something that interests you.
If you can’t find something that interests you it will be harder to motivate yourself to study and write about this topic. Even if you are restricted to a small range of topics, find some way to make that topic meaningful and personal.

Ask questions
Does the topic interest me?
Can I find enough research about the topic?
Is the topic sufficiently unique and appropriate for your intended audience?
Does the topic fit the constraints of the given assignment?

You are welcome to ask yourself all types of questions but you do want to ask meaningful questions. Here’s a link to many questions that may help you if you have trouble coming up with your own: How to Explore and Focus a Topic.

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