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ENGL U101 - Composition I - Jill Adams: Finding a Topic
READ your assignment! Many times your professor has told you what topics are acceptable and which ones are forbidden or overdone such as gun control or abortion. Also, try your textbook or suggested reading from the professor for ideas.
Choose a topic that interests you (and your professor/readers), it is easier to write about something that interests you than something you find boring.
If your paper is an argumentative/persuasive paper you need to pick a topic that is controversial, one that has many sides or views to the topic. Be cautious of picking a topic you are TOO passionate about because you may not be willing to see all sides of the topic.
Watch or Read the news to find out what is going on in your Town, State, Country or the World.
Still, stumped? Look at the listing of Topic Finder Websitesthat include news sites, pro/con websites, statistics and trending topics for ideas.
Google the topic, is there any information on the topic?
Make a list of words, names, and important information about the topic to be used in future searching
Search a database for articles - Choose a topic scholars have written about (many research papers require that you cite scholarly sources)
Choose a topic appropriate to the length of your paper (if you find tons of articles it usually indicates you need to narrow your topic)
remember many topics are very broad but you can choose just a small portion of the main topic. For example, immigration is a huge topic but the use of immigrants in agricultural labor is a specific piece of the big topic.
Ask for help--both your professor and librarians are great resources to help narrow topics