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Tips for Finding Topics   Tags: assignment, tips, topics  

Easy ways to get ideas for topics for your paper or presentation.
Last Updated: Mar 28, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Can't Think of a Topic?

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

  • CQ Researcher  
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    Click on Browse Topics on the home page to see a drop down list of all the major topics covered in CQ Researcher. Clicking on any topic will result in a list of all reports available on that topic.
  • Gale Opposing Viewpoints  
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    Get ideas from the Browse Issues page. Access from the dark grey toolbar below the Opposing Viewpoints banner. Once you've selected a topic, you''l find a variety of sources on your topic, including videos, images, news, academic journal articles, statistics, expert picks and viewpoints.
  • Infobase Learning Issues & Controversies  
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    Browse through Issues by Subject until you find one you like. You can also use the Issues A-Z list to get ideas for topics.
  • NewsBank: Find a Topic
    Browse through the categories to get the latest articles from magazines, newspapers, newswires and more. This database lets you narrow down your results to the state level so you can articles just from Texas.

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.


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Kathryn Park


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