Choosing a topic is one of the most important parts of the research process. The right topic can inspire both curiosity and enthusiasm which will lead you to write a well-written, intelligent and interesting research paper or essay.
Here are some tips for finding a topic you will enjoy writing about:
- Begin by reading the assignment carefully.
Look for verbs like describe, analyze, argue or summarize. Also look to see how many sources your professor wants, and what kind.
- Choose a topic you are interested in within the boundaries of your assignment.
For instance, if your professor asks you to write about natural disasters, you can think about which disasters are interesting and what is interesting about them. Although your class may have been talking about (for example) media coverage of the earthquake in Haiti, you may find yourself more interested in animal rescue efforts in New Orleans after Katrina.
- Consider your personal interests.
If you have free rein to choose your topic, consider selecting something in which you are already interested.
- Participate in class discussions.
A point of disagreement between you and a classmate can be a great starting point for a paper.
- Narrow down the topic to a manageable scope!
This can take some practice. Remember that more specific papers are usually more interesting, and take into account the amount of information available on a topic.
Visit the CUNY WriteSite for help with different writing assignments, as well as resources and tutorials on the various stages of writing.