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  • Identify & Develop Your Topic

    Select a Topic

    • Selecting a topic can be the most challenging part of a research assignment. 


    • Select a topic that meets the requirements of your assignment. ​Your instructor will give you clear assignment instructions as to what you can write about. 


    • Select a topic that interests you! The research and writing process will be more enjoyable and you will do a better job writing about something you are interested in. 


    • State your topic as a question to focus your research assignment and select a topic for which you can find a good amount of information. Do a preliminary search of information sources.  If you find too much information, you may need to narrow your topic. If you find too little information you may need to broaden your topic.


    • Be Unique. Your instructor reads a lot of research papers on the same topics semester after semester. Select an interesting topic that will make you stand out from your classmates. Write on a topic your instructor will never forget!​​​​​​​

    View the Narrowing A Topic and Developing A Research Question: PDF for more help on selecting a topic.

    Video: Choosing a Research Topic

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

    Brainstorming Tools

    • is a simple and free web application that lets you brainstorm online. The free version includes up to 3 mind maps, image export, and mind map sharing. 


    • MindMeister brings the concept of mind mapping to the web, using its facilities for real-time collaboration to allow truly global brainstorming sessions. The basic, free version includes up to 3 mind maps, share, collaborate, and import. 


    • Popplet is a mind mapping tool that is perfect for visually curating your ideas and brainstorms. The free version allows you to make 1 popplet, access easy-to-use tools, collaborate and post. 

    Research Resources for Topic Ideas