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Research Basics
Exploring Possible Topics

Tips for Choosing a Research Topic

For many students, one of the most difficult things about writing a research paper is finding a topic. Be sure to spend enough time selecting a topic. Here are some things to consider: 

  • Read the assignment carefully.  Be sure the topic you select is appropriate for the assignment.  If you are not sure or have questions, speak to your instructor.
  • Select a topic that will not be too difficult to research or write about.  Remember that a university library contains a wealth of scholarly books and journal articles written on serious topics, but may not support research in popular culture - contemporary sports figures, romance novels, etc.
  • Familiarize yourself with the topic.  Read abstracts of articles to become comfortable with the subject matter.
  • Be sure the topic you select is not too broad or too narrow.  You need to be able to write well about the topic within the page constraints of the assignment.  Feel welcome to consult with one of the Benedictine Librarians.
  • Select a topic that interests you or that is important to you.
    • Are you an expert in an area that might be turning into an interesting term paper topic?
    • Is there something you feel strongly about?
    • Is there something you’d like to know more about?
    • Is there a current international, national, local or campus issue you find interesting and important?
    • Ask your friends or family members for suggestions and ideas.
  • Try to be creative. You want your paper to be interesting to write as well as interesting for your instructor to read.

Video Overview - Selecting a Topic

Posted with permission from Bob Baker, Library Director, Pima Community College.


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