Skip to main content

ENGL 1301 SE Library Instruction: 1: Choosing a topic

What makes a good topic?

You've read your assignment, and maybe you even have a list of topics to choose from. Now what? How do you know which topic to choose?

  1. What is your assignment?
    • Are you writing an argumentative essay or a cause/effect essay? This can help you pick a topic. For example, climate change is a great topic for both cause/effect AND argumentative essays. Voting laws, however, may be a better topic for an argumentative paper.
  2. What are you interested in?
    • Pick a topic that interests you. You'll have an easier time writing your paper if you're not bored while you are researching. If your assignment is to choose a problem and come up with a solution, choose a problem you care about.
  3. Be prepared to be specific. 
    • When you're ready to search, don't be content with just typing "climate change" into the search bar. Be ready to add specifics like "climate change AND United States" or "climate change AND oil industry." Break your topic down and think about all the factors you can research within the larger topic. Adding specifics will lead to more relevant search results and save time.

If you would like more information, please see our Choosing the Right Research Topic for You tutorial.