Picking a topic is often the hardest part of a research project. Here are some tips to help. Remember, picking a topic is research!
Step 1: Think about what has come up in class that interests you, or do a Google search for the topic of the course to find an interesting topic.
Step 2: Read more about your topic in a background source (encyclopedia). You are probably used to reading Wikipedia articles as a first step to learn more about your topic and that is what I'm talking about. Check out encyclopedias in the Libraries too, like Gale Virtual Reference Library, which lets you search for your topic across multiple published encyclopedias written by experts.
Step 3: Test your topic to make sure it is workable. Is there enough out there? Too much? Look at the Find Article page of this guide for tools to test your topic.
Step 4: Adjust your topic based on the results of your initial research. If it is too broad or too narrow, look at the encylopedia article again to narrow or broaden it. You can also see what keeps popping up in the article searches to find something narrower, or change your search terms to something a little less specific to find something broader.
Important Advice! Pick something that interests you. Remember, you'll be spending a lot of time reading, thinking and writing about it.
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