Conversing with someone else about your research and writing process can be incredibly helpful. Contact staff at McKillop Library or the Writing Center using the links below.
The first step towards choosing a topic is to find inspiration. Sometimes your professor will provide a list of topics or a specific topic for an assignment. If that is the case, choose something from those topics that interests you. If you don't have a list like this to choose from, try some of these tips:
Invest in the process: Effective research writing relies on curiosity and fluidity. Research and writing are iterative and symbiotic processes: you will move between them as you explore and showcase your topic. Your goal is to choose or narrow the topic and identify the lens through which you and your reader understand it. The key is finding a way to look at your topic that is interesting to you.
Getting started: You may have received a very specific topic already, or you may have complete freedom in choosing your topic. Chances are you have some idea of a concept that you will investigate. With that concept in mind, the next step is to zoom in on what exactly you will research and present to your reader.
Consider the scope of the assignment: You need to think about how much room you have to explore your topic. If you are writing a forty-page paper for an advanced class, you will have the capacity to cover many aspects of your topic. If you are only working with four pages, the way in which you present the information will need to be more specific, and you will need to limit to scope of your research. You cannot possibly write about every facet of your topic, no matter the page length.
Think it through: To begin focusing your topic, you will need to consider your initial perspective and existing knowledge. Ask yourself or discuss with a peer:
What has surfaced through this brainstorm will help you identify the important components of your topic to be investigated. You will use these answers to guide the development of your research question(s) and keywords.