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Rhetoric 306/309

Choosing a Topic

Choosing and Developing a Topic

Choosing a topic is the hardest part of doing research. Keep the following in mind:

  • Narrow your topic. Many topics start off broad - you can write a book. Identify narrow controversies within a topic so you can discuss it in a short research paper.
  • Careful with obscure topics. If you have a hard time finding sources for your topic, ask a librarian or your instructor for help. You may have a more challenging topic or you may need to research something for which there is more discussion.
  • Don't choose a topic 'out of the blue'. What is being argued about? Who is arguing? How does it impact them? What do people want to do about it? Choose a topic after exploring. Be curious as you read. You'll get a sense of who cares about your topic, why they care about it and what they want done about it. This makes for an easier research and writing process.

Why so many choices for searching? Depending on your topic, you may find more coverage in one database than another.

Discover a topic in the news

It may not be a part of your routine to check the news, but it will help you choose a topic, explore your topic and find sources.

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