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This is the "Finding a Topic" page of the "Writing Resources" guide.
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Last Updated: Feb 3, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Finding a Topic Print Page

How to . . .


Research Project Calculator

Use the Research Project Calculator to create a customized step-by-step program for your writing assignment:


"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." John Steinbeck

A worthy topic is ESSENTIAL for any research and writing project to which you will be devoting time and energy.


• Well-crafted research, reasoning, and writing create new knowledge. You will contribute to the on-going scholarly conversation on your topic.
• When you are intellectually engaged with an appealing topic, you will be energized and motivated.


    • Think about how your own personal interests can intersect with the class topic.
    • Do some initial research into the current scholarship on your tentative topic. Make sure there is sufficient ground upon which to base your provisional position.
    • Be alert to which related academic disciplines are invested in the topic. Thinking about this will help you select useful places to look for the most current scholarship.
    • Flexibility! If one line of inquiry isn’t working, be nimble and shift your scope, focus, position, or point of view. Keep an open mind.
    • Search carefully for both the pros and cons of a proposed topic, argument, or position. Anticipate challenges.



    Writing a Research Question / Brainstorm!

    Use this form to consider, modify, focus, refine, or expand your research questions. Be sure to frame your topic in the FORM OF A QUESTION. Not a yes-or-no question.

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