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How To Select An Excellent Topic For A Term Paper: 5 Basic Tips


One of the biggest mistakes that students make when writing a term paper is in the early stages of the project. The biggest mistakes comes with how students pick their topics, because most students do not know how to do it. Once students understand how to pick a topic that works, the process of writing a term paper actually gets easier. Here are five basic tips


  1. Brainstorm the list. During this step, you write down everything that you can think of during a set amount of time. While you are writing, you do not edit yourself. This step can be fun to do with a few classmates because your ideas will inspire each other to come up with others. If you feel like your list is too short, look in your textbook or online for ideas, because those will inspire more of your own thoughts.

  2. Edit the list. You obviously cannot write about all of the ideas you created. There will be many ideas that simply will not work, so you need to eliminate as many as you can. This will leave you with ideas that look especially good to you. As you eliminate the ideas, consider the audience and the purpose of your term paper so you can truly narrow the list into something reasonable.

  3. Conduct preliminary research. Once you have a narrowed list of topics, you can evaluate the possibilities of them by conducting some quick research. You only spend a few moments on each topic until you see one that has true possibilities. When you conduct quick research, you look at the numbers of items that are available and the titles of those pieces. That should give you enough information to make a choice and narrow the list of topics further.

  4. Narrow the topics. In most instances, brainstormed topics are broad ideas. In order to write a successful term paper, you will need to create a topic that is condensed to something manageable. For example, if you brainstormed topics like athletics, education, Shakespeare, body image, or health. You can narrow them into topics like: professional athletes are paid appropriately, students have too many standardized tests, Shakespeare’s language was the driving force behind the shift to Modern English, eating healthy foods alters perceptions about body image, or women in America need a longer paid maternity leave. With narrowed topics, students are better able to craft argumentative term papers that show what they have learned.

  5. Pick a topic and start writing. After all of these steps, you should be able to choose at topic and write the paper.

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