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Selecting a Topic
Selecting a topic for a research paper can be quite challenging; however, there are various recommended resources on this page to assist you in this part of the research process. Once you have a general topic, you will need to conduct some background research to narrow your topic down. It is essential to have a focused topic in a research paper because it gives direction and clarity to your writing.
How do I get Ideas for a Research Topic?
Check out our database CQ Researcher to brainstorm for controversial issues. Click Browse Reports and select By Topic for a list of topic ideas.
You could write thousands of pages on global warming, but narrowing your focus to the impact of rising sea levels on coastal wetlands will give you a manageable topic and a clear purpose.
How do I narrow my topic?
When analyzing your topic, ask: who, what, where, when, why and how?
- Who are the significant players? Who was impacted?
- What are the components or aspects of the topic will you explore?
- Where does your event take place? What locations are impacted by your topic?
- When did the event occur and/or what is the significance of the time period on your event?
- Why does this topic matter?
- How does this topic impact society?
Topic Idea Websites
Websites for Topic Ideas
IDEA--International Debate Educational Association
"The International Debate Education Association (IDEA) is a global network of organisations who believe that debate promotes mutual understanding and informed citizenship around the world. We are the world’s leading provider of debate education, providing resources, training and events to hundreds of thousands of educators and young people every month."
Pros and cons of controversial issues.
Lots of topic ideas from Old Dominion University.