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Tips for Finding Topics

Easy ways to get ideas for topics for your paper or presentation.

Can't Think of a Topic?

TipGet ideas from a database! Try these databases (best for hot topics, social issues, speech, current events) if you get stumped:

Choosing Topics

Once you have an assignment, choosing a topic is the first basic step in the research process. In some cases, you will be assigned a specific topic for your research paper. In other cases you will be able to complete your research on a topic of your choice. If you are able to choose your own topic, consider the following:

  • Make sure your topic meets the guidelines set by your instructor. The easiest way to do this is to have your assignment with you when you choose your topic. It can be helpful to highlight key requirements so you can stay focused.
  • Choose a topic that is of interest to you. You will be spending quite a bit of time doing research and writing your paper--interest in the topic can make the process much easier.
  • If there are any doubts, consult with your instructor.

Topics for Lit Papers

In Literary Reference Center you can browse a list of the most studied works.This can be handy if you are trying to choose a topic for your paper, because there are many works about which not much has been written. If you find a work listed here, you'll probably be able to find enough for your paper.

When browsing most studied works, you can browse by:

  • Title (default)
  • Genre
  • Locale

1. To get started click the Most Studied Works link in the Browse box.

most studied works

2. Browse by title, genre or locale by selecting the tab and either typing in what you want, or if you are not yet sure, just scroll down the list to see what is available.

browse most studied works

3. Once you click on your work you'll retrieve a page that has links to plot summaries, Literary criticsm, in many cases the full text classic, and more about the work.