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Welcome to Charter College Library!  

Here, you can find research assistance, subject guides, and useful resources compiled by your friendly librarian. Know what we know!
Last Updated: Nov 3, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Choosing a Topic Print Page

How to Choose a Topic

  • How to...
    This link from the University of Michigan-Flint helps give advice on how to pick a topic for research


Choosing Your Topic

How do you decide on a topic for your research paper or other school assignment?

You want a topic that's not only focused enough to make a good paper, but interesting as well!

Step 1: Read your assignment carefully. Ask your instructor if you don't understand what he or she is asking for. You want to make sure your topic is relevant to your assignment.

Step 2: Think about topics you're interested in. You'll enjoy the assignment much more!

Step 3: Look through library databases such as Opposing Viewpoints to find interesting topics and get a general idea of what's written about them. Also, look up general information about your topic in Reference databases such as Credo Reference, or Gale Virtual Reference Center. This can help you focus your topic as well.

Step 4: Once you have a general topic in mind, use a concept map to focus the topic. A topic such as Genetically Modified Foods is too broad to discuss cohesively. Use a mind map to link concepts or words that interest you about the more general topic. Also, try to pose your topic as a question, such as "Should genetically altered food have warning labels?"

Step 5: Think of keywords that you might use to search for more in-depth information on that topic. Move on to Finding Information in Library Databases!


Concept Mapping


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Matthew Jaques
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