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Choosing a Topic

Use this guide to learn how to find and develop a topic.

Choosing a Topic

Choosing a Topic

Choosing a topic may seem like the most difficult part of an assignment. Think of your assignment as the starting point and the requirements as a guideline when selecting an appropriate topic. 

What are the assignment requirements?

  • Type of assignment (e.g. speech, essay, research paper, project, or presentation) 
  • Purpose of assignment (e.g. persuasive, analysis, literature review, research paper, or compare/contrast paper)
  • Size/length of the assignment (e.g. length of paper, speech time, or project depth)
  • Particular types and number of references/sources required (e.g. news articles, scholarly articles, visual media, or books) 
  • Topic generated (e.g. instructor generated or student generated)

What are the details about the topic? 

  • Do you pick the topic from a general subject category?
    • Example: Your professor gives you general guidelines that you can pick a topic from (e.g "Pick a topic related to climate change")
  • Can you pick a topic? Or is it an assigned topic?

  Student on a laptop studying

Content adapted from Kirk Library

Subject Guide

Claire Bowling's picture
Claire Bowling