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Writing a Research Paper: Choosing a Topic

Exploring the process of writing a research paper.

Choosing A Topic

It is of the utmost importance that you begin your research early. The first step is to choose a topic that is of interest to you, is germane to your assignment, and is one about which you will be able to find adequate research to support. Once you've chosen your topic, you should consult with your instructor to make certain that your topic fits within their expectations for the assignment.

Example

Your professor has given you an assignment for which you must research a current affairs topic about which you feel passionately. You are required to research this topic from a national and international (if applicable) perspective, as well as discuss the ripple effects of this issue on a local level. This paper, as you may be able to guess, will be written in the argumentative style.

How do you begin?

As soon as you receive this assignment, start brainstorming. This can be informal at first, just giving thought to the task at hand. If you have any particularly inspired flashes, jot them down so that you won't forget them later.

When you have a few good topics in mind, sit down and contemplate each individual topic in a more detailed manner. List out recent news stories, political actions, legal decisions, etc., that relate to each of these issues. You may find that one of these topics stands out as being more momentous than the others, or at the very least, more interesting to you. Keep in mind, though, that you do need to choose a topic for which you'll be able to find adequate information.

After you've chosen what you believe to be the best topic, consult with your professor. Make sure that the topic you've chosen falls within their range of expectation for the assignment.

When you've completed this process, you will be off to a good solid start in the completion of your project!

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