Answered By: Jessica Kiebler
Last Updated: Nov 29, 2016     Views: 49

There are many ways to select a topic or thesis for your papers. 

The first step is to check your assignment.  It’s important to consider the parameters set by your professor about what you may or may not write about.  They may have pre-selected broad concepts and you must select a related topic. 

Once you know your assignment, you can try a few different ways to brainstorm for ideas:

  • Look at your syllabus or class notes for topics that relate to your course’s theme or objectives.
  • Browse magazine or newspaper articles (online or in the Library) for ideas on current events and trends.
  • Writing a persuasive paper? Check the Library’s Opposing Viewpoints databases for engaging topics that have multiple viewpoints you can argue.
  • Consider your personal experiences.  It is always easier to write a paper on a topic you are invested in. 

Before you settle on a topic and start writing, these are some good tips to ensure you’ve selected a viable topic:

  • Do some free writing or create an outline of some subtopics that will make up the body of your paper.  If your topic is too broad or too specific, you will need to think of other ways to approach your topic.
  • Do a search in a library database to make sure there are sources you can use.  If not, you may need to modify your topic.
  • Still not sure? Talk to a classmate, CAS tutor or librarian for feedback on your topic selection.

Examples of refining a topic:

Refining a topic

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