Skip to Main Content
ARC Logo

Library Research Guides

ENGWR 300 - Professor Tabrizi (Spring 2024): Choosing a Topic

A guide to finding and evaluating sources for your annotated bibliography and research paper assignment.

Your Librarian

Profile Photo
David McCusker

Your Librarian

Profile Photo
Sarah Lehmann

How Do I Choose a Good Research Topic?

  1. Think about a topic that interests you AND for which there is some debate, disagreement, or unresolved aspects. For most research papers, you'll be making an argument, and supporting your argument with evidence (research). Your paper will be more interesting to read (and fun to write!) if you're tackling an issue with an active debate going on and lots of research being done on multiple different aspects.

    Need ideas? Visit investigative journalism sites like:
  2. Try to avoid deciding exactly what you want to argue before you've done any research. It's easier to formulate your argument based on the research you find, rather than try and find research that proves something you've decided in advance. 
  3. Google your (potential) topic. Read widely.
  4. Pause -- are you still interested? Does there seem to be enough information and different viewpoints out there to write a 5-page paper? If so, proceed! If not, go back to step 1. 
  5. Search in the Library's databases. Skim several scholarly journal articles or book chapters. 
  6. Pause -- now that you've done some reading, what aspects of your topic are you most interest in writing about?   
  7. Continue finding sources. Evaluate them for credibility as you go. 

Want more info? Check out this helpful guide from Emory University Libraries:

Research Help Chat

This service is staffed by librarians at ARC and the rest of the world. So, great for getting quick answers to quick questions, but if you want to talk with a librarian who is already familiar with the assignment and the ARC library, please use my contact info above.