Need to find topic ideas?
In addition to the sites above, which were designed specifically to help students choose topics, the following sites may also be helpful.
Points to Consider
- Choose something that appeals to you.
- Your topic should be neither too broad nor too narrow.
- Your topic should lend itself to the type of paper you are writing.
- Avoid paper topics that deal with fixed beliefs like abortion, capital punishment, religion and so forth. People have spent many years deciding what they think about these topics and you are not likely to change their minds in a four to six minute speech. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
Narrowing a topic requires you to be more specific about your research interest. If you are unsure about how to narrow your topic, start by asking these questions:
- Who – is there a specific group you would like to limit your research to?
- What – is there a particular aspect of your topic you would like to limit to?
- Where – is there a specific area or region that interests you?
- When – what about a time period to focus on?
- Why – is there anything particularly important or interesting to you?
How to do research to prepare a persuasive or argumentative essay:
1. Find a topic- in the news or from a list.
2. Get a brief overview about the issue.
3. Focus the presentation on only ONE aspect of the topic.
4. Get organized & structure the paper.
5. Search a database or two for facts and opinions.
6. Build an argument.
7. Cite your sources.
An informative essay should educate rather than persuade.
Be sure to define, explain, and support your ideas.
Check with your instructor for course specifics first; however, generally informative papers are about objects, processes, events, or concepts.
OBJECTS – An identification and then a discussion about an object and its benefits; i.e., a person, animal, structure, machine.
PROCESS – Instruction, step-by-step, on how something works, is made, or is done; i.e., how to bake a cake, build a birdhouse, use a software program, or fill out a FAFSA.
EVENTS – Information about something that has happened, is happening, or is expected to happen; i.e., the spread of the H1N1 flu virus, the history of the Afghan war, or an explanation of Ponzi schemes.
CONCEPTS – To examine theories, beliefs, or ideas; i.e., explain the theory that TV violence breeds violence or inform your audience about the Koran.
Some Questions to ask yourself:
What information do I want to convey to my audience?
How can I most effectively organize my information?
Can I support my information with outside sources?
Can I give examples and/or define terms?