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Choosing a Research Topic

This guide highlights strategies that you can use when choosing a topic for a class project.

Review the Assignment

Your first step is to make sure that you understand the requirements of the assignment. For example:

  • What are your professor's expectations?
  • How in depth (how long) will the finished project be?
  • How many sources and of what type are you expected to use in your research?
  • What is the end format going to be (a formal paper, an oral presentation, a PowerPoint presentation etc.)?

Coming up With Ideas

The following tips can help you to choose a topic that will work for you:

  • Choose a topic that is interesting to you.
  • Work with your professor or TA to develop ideas.
  • Talk with classmates about possible topics.
  • Consult your class notes, textbook, specialized encyclopedias, or the web for ideas.

Getting Ready to do Your Search

Once you have selected a topic, express your research statement or thesis in your own words. For example:

Example:An examination of the role of the media in the self-esteem of young women.

Concept One media television advertising
Concept 2 body image self-esteem self-perception
Concept 3 women girls adolescents

A Last Reminder

As you work on your project, your understanding of your topic will change. It is okay to be flexible and adjust your topic according to the information that you are finding (or not finding).

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