Writing a research paper is an essential skill to learn during your college career. The first step in writing any paper is to choose a topic. This can sometimes feel like a daunting task! By breaking the process down into steps, coming up with a topic can be a very manageable process.
Writing your paper will go much more smoothly if you choose a subject you are interested in, rather than whatever seems easiest. Even if you are limited to a certain subject, try to find an aspect of it that is personally relevant or interesting. Always check with your instructor to make sure your topic is acceptable before you begin researching!
|If you are interested in...||...and you have to write a paper for...||Consider writing a paper about:|
|Video games||Psychology||How video games affect brain development|
|Minority groups||English||How Shakespeare portrays Jewish people|
|Social media||Administration of Justice||How social media affects crime prevention|
|Recreational drugs||Health||The effects of medical marijuana on cancer|
|Divorce||Child Development||How children are affected by divorced parents|
The ultimate goal of your paper is to answer a question. The answer to your question will become your thesis statement.
|Subject||Question||Answer/Thesis (support with research!)|
|Video games||How do video games affect brain development?||Video games improve cognitive development skills.|
|Minority groups||How does Shakespeare portray Jewish people?||Shakespeare stereotypes Jewish characters but eventually humanizes them by the end.|
|Social media||How does social media affect crime prevention?||Social media helps police work with citizens to prevent crimes.|
|Recreational drugs||Is medical marijuana good for you?||Medical marijuana can help lessen pain in some cases.|
|Divorce||How are children affected by divorced parents?||Children of divorced parents have fewer problems when both parents remain involved in their lives.|
Notice some of these questions are very broad, vague, or not easily answered. We will next look at ways to rework the topics into something more academic that we can write about.