Finding a topic for your research paper

Welcome back to my TextGarden! I hope you had an excellent week so far and are ready to dig into your work. I’ve been teaching at the college for a few years now, and one problem that most students have is finding a topic for their research paper. I mean, they get off of High School with the five paragraph formula drilled in their head and then they have to write their first 10-page essay and even find a topic by themselves? I get it, it’s overwhelming, and you just don’t know where to start. That’s why I assembled these following tips on how to find a kick-ass topic for your research essay.

Okay, I usually don’t give my students specific questions for their essays, but they visited my course and can write about any topic that we have covered in class. So, the first thing I advise them to do is doing some background reading on the subject they liked most. I’d suggest the library and an encyclopedia for that, but the Internet works just fine, too. Afterward, they can search through the library’s website to find relevant books and recent journal articles relating to the chosen subject.

After reading a little bit into everything, think about what questions or problems arose or if something is confusing or interesting to you. I noticed that most students write the best papers if they have powerful feelings about it – no matter if they hate it or love it. Let’s say the class is about crime management and you were interested in the articles about cyber crime, then choose that for your general topic.

Now that’s not enough for your research essay just yet. You need to be as accurate as possible so that you can get into the depths of the topic. Staying with cyber crime, you could examine the effects on society or how police forces can be trained to prevent further cyber crimes. These are already pretty precise and perfectly suited to be your topic, you’ll just need to transfer them into questions. Instead of how police forces can be trained to prevent further crimes in the cyber world, you could write in what ways can police forces be trained to obviate cyber crimes?

Last, but not least, I always encourage my students to visit me and discuss the chosen topic with me after they have taken care of all the points above. I can give them feedback and advice on the selected subject and sometimes even provide them with some tips on awesome literature.

These tips seemed to have helped my student a great lot, and I hope they will help you just as much!