How To Come Up With A Good Topic For A Research Paper: Effective Approaches


One of the most challenging aspects to writing any paper, is just picking your topic and getting started. It can seemingly take forever. Why? Not because time stands still, but because many students believe that finding the right topic should come easily. They incorrectly believe that it should just appear, as soon as they review the assignment details. But that is not true. Finding the right topic takes time and effort. You may need a day or two to sit around, talk a walk, brain storm, free write, etc… until you find the right topic.

But how can you really find the right topic?

Well, firstly, you want to brain storm and free write after you have refreshed your mind with the assignment details. Look over your course notes, skim the textbooks you have been given, and from there, pick a handful of potential ideas. Think of your favorite three potentials from the list you generated during your brainstorming efforts. This is important, because the first topic you select may not work well.

You need to do some preliminary research on the top three or four topics before you settle on the one for your paper. This consists of a generic internet search wherein you look for information on published studies, just to gauge the level of material out there. If you are to take a particular side in an argument, you may find that all evidence points to the contrary, and therefore you need to alter your particular view.

If you are struggling to find a topic, you can review the list below. Remember that this list is broad, and meant only as a generalized list from which you can brain storm or free write until you find a topic that really engages you and your creativity:

For those interested in topics related to the environment, or to pollution:

  • You can write about the causes or the effects of noise pollution
  • You can craft a paper on the causes or the effects of acid rain
  • You can write an essay about whether recycling should be mandatory or not
  • You can create an essay that addresses the benefits and the drawbacks to being vegetarian
  • You can write about how important the Amazon rain forest is

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