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Choosing Research Paper Topics: How to Pick Research Topics for an Effective Essay

You have been assigned to write a research paper. Now the process of choosing a topic begins. Follow these basic Dos and Don’ts to find a research subject that is broad enough to cover effectively and narrow enough to keep you from getting overwhelmed with information.

Do Choose a Topic That Is:

Researchable: Make sure there is enough evidence on your topic to “sink your teeth into.” Avoid breaking news topics or new scientific discoveries. You will get frustrated when there is not enough information to work with in your paper.

Appealing to you: Don’t choose a subject just because you think your instructor wants to read about it. Pick something that you are curious about; then explore that topic as you research it.

Appealing to readers: At the same time, you want to choose a subject that readers care about. Don’t pick a topic that’s so arbitrary that it goes over readers’ heads. Try to choose a subject that people are already talking about.

Controversial: If your readers already agree with you, there’s really nothing left to argue. Be sure to find a subject that has at least two sides, then choose one of the sides for your thesis.


Don’t Choose a Topic That Is:

Too broad: Avoid blanket subjects such as “global warming,” “computers,” or “health care.” These topics are way too broad to cover effectively in a few thousand words. When you start your research, you will quickly become overwhelmed. If a broad topic interests you, simply fastwrite or brainstorm until you can narrow it down.

Too narrow: If you find there is not enough information available on your chosen topic, you may have a topic that is too narrow. Topics that get into specifics such as “The Use of the Color Red in Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Masque of the Red Death’” may need to be broadened in order for you to cover the topic effectively.

Too controversial: While some controversy is essential for a good argument, too much controversy can hurt your overall essay. Avoid hot-button issues such as abortion, the existence of God, and the war in Iraq.

Overdone: Overused topics such as gun control, the death penalty, and slavery have been written about by students for decades. Everyone is tired of reading about them, including your instructor. Avoid them at all costs.

Use this simple checklist before you start your preliminary research and how to buy a research paper online, and you will find that the research process will be much easier from here on ou