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Selecting a Topic: Home

Before you can begin your research,  you have to know what you are looking for. Oftentimes, a topic will be given to you by your instructor. Other times, you will need to select a topic. If selecting your own topic, make sure to pick something that is of interest to you that meets the requirements of the assignment.

Places to Get Topic Ideas

  • Your textbook
  • TED Talks
  • CQ Researcher: Go to the Browse Topics Section
  • Opposing Viewpoints: Go to the Browse Issues section
  • Newspapers and News Sources
  • Your life and interests

Words of Caution

Avoid topics that are too

  • Broad
  • Narrow
  • Current
  • Controversial

Test Your Topic

How do I know if my topic is a good one? It is critical to develop a manageable research topic. This can literally make or break your paper.

Do a quick search on your topic in a general reference database such as Credo or on Wikipedia

  • This will help familiarize yourself with the topic, especially if it was assigned to you and not chosen by you. Learning more about your topic will give you ideas of how to focus your topic.

Talk to your teacher

  • Your teacher assigned the paper and should have a pretty good idea whether or not a certain topic will suit the assignment.

Talk to a librarian

  • Librarians can quickly help you determine if information on your topic is readily accessible, or if it is too narrow or too broad.