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Start Your Research

Choosing Your Topic

If your professor is allowing you to pick your own topic, you'll want to choose carefully. Follow these steps to create a topic that can be researched:

  1. Look at the assignment: What guidelines has the professor laid out? What is the assignment asking you to research? Knowing these in advance can help you develop a good topic.
  2. Think of topics that you're interested in that meet the assignment guidelines. Researching a topic that is of interest to you will make the research process more fun.
  3. Think of your topic as a question to investigate (Example: Does increasing the minimum wage help reduce poverty?) rather than starting out with a set answer in mind.

If you're still uncertain, try checking out the Opposing Viewpoints database. This database collects information on controversial topics and is a great place to look for ideas that will have a lot of supporting material. You might also want to check the news for items of interest that you'd like to research further.

Once you've selected a topic, it's time to move on to Step 2: Develop a Search Strategy.