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Choosing a Topic

  • Find a topic that interests you! Remember, you’re going to be spending a good deal of time researching the topic you select. Selecting an interesting topic will keep you engaged and focused on your work, and will keep you from having to ask yourself, “Honestly, who cares about this stuff?”
  • How well do you know your topic? Do you have a pretty firm grasp of your topic? Do you know absolutely nothing about your topic, other than the fact that it sounds really interesting? Either way, you’ll want to do a little preliminary research, just to make sure that you’ve selected an appropriate topic for research.
  • Is it too broad or too narrow? In order to succeed in your research, you'll need to select a topic that can be adequately discussed within the paper limits set by your professor. For example, “Music Education” is far too broad a topic for a three-page essay. Conversely, “Adolescent Musical Education with Scandinavian Pan Pipes” would probably be far too narrow for a twenty page research paper. If you’re having trouble determining whether your topic is too narrow or broad,  refer to the OWL handout linked below.

Planning Your Research Strategy

What are the best databases for researching your topic? Check out the video tutorial below and learn how to select the best library database for your subject.

Finding and Narrowing a Topic