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Library Research 101: Start Your Research

Choosing a paper topic

How do I choose a topic for a paper?"Typing" by Sebastien Wiertz (a picture of hands typing on a keyboard) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Choosing a topic to write about for a class paper can feel overwhelming, especially if your professor leaves the topic up to you.  Here are some ways to make this easier:

  • Choose an aspect of the class that interests you.

  • If you don't have anything in mind, go through class readings and look for ideas.  Or think about an outside interest that relates to your class.

  • Try searching for related information in books, databases, Wikipedia, or the internet in general.  Something there may interest you.

  • Keep your paper length in mind.  The history of the United States wouldn't fit into three pages; how to take pictures on a phone might not fill twenty-five pages.

  • Think about how much time you have to work on the paper.  It would be hard to read everything about United States history in two weeks.

Helpful tips on selecting your paper topics

Still stumped on selecting a topic for your paper? Check out these helpful videos:

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