The Answer
Last Updated: Mar 31, 2015     Views: 43

To get some great tips and ideas on how to best develop your topic, watch this brief video.  

Here are some tips from the "Research Guide" in the Literary Reference Center database.

A teacher may simply give you a topic, in which case you don’t have the burden of choosing.

Your assignment may be 'open-ended' with a general statement like “write a research paper based on something we have covered in this class.” Another open-ended possibility is a teacher providing a list of possible topics to be chosen on a first-come-first-served basis.

  • If you have an open-ended assignment, choose your topic as soon as possible. You don’t want to put off deciding what to write about until the last minute.
  • Do some preliminary research and then decide. You should run your idea by your professor to see if it is what they had in mind.
  • A list of topics can be tricky. Some students jump at this chance and sign up on the first day without even researching the possibilities - some will simply choose things they are already familiar with.
  • The open-ended assignment requires that you act as soon as possible in order to secure the topic you feel most comfortable with. If you cannot sign up on the first day, do so soon after. Because a paper is almost always better when a writer is actually interestedin the topic, it is a good idea for you to choose what you like rather than waiting until the last minute and ‘getting’ a topic by default because it’s the only one left.


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