Skip to Main Content

COMS Persuasive Speech: Selecting a Topic



Selecting a Topic

Selecting a topic for a research paper can be 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.



Topic Ideas

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? Why are you interested in it?
  • How does this topic impact society? 

Topic Idea Websites

Websites for Topic Ideas

Opposing Viewpoints in Context
Information on controversial issues in society