How To Pick Up Interesting Research Paper Topics For College


What exactly makes an interesting research paper topic? You’re going to be spending several weeks working on a single assignment, so it makes sense to pick something that will keep you motivated and focused, as well as something that you’ll enjoy working on. But it’s not that simple. To make write a successful research paper in college you are going to have to learn how to pick an interesting topic without having to pull your hair out or putting in too much effort. Here’s how to do this:

What do you want to learn?

One of the best exercises to try when picking a research paper topic for college is to brainstorm a bit and think about what it is you are interested in learning. Consider all of your readings up to that point in class and the questions that still linger on any one area. You don’t need to fully develop your idea, but this should get you started in the right direction.

Use syllabus for inspiration

Review your course syllabus and look ahead at some of the stuff you will be covering in class. Look at the list of both required and recommended readings. Does anything jump out at you? Are you excited about going over specific readings or lectures? This too is a great way to come up with something you would really enjoy learning about.

Conduct a preliminary search

Start with a preliminary search at the university library to get a few ideas. Use different keywords and pay close attention to the recommended search terms or subjects. These may open you up to new areas you previously had not considered. If you need help locating any of the items from the results page, ask a reference librarian to guide you. You might be inspired simply by browsing some titles on the shelf.

Make sure it’s not too broad

Your assignment is already hard enough without you having to choose a research paper topic that is too broad. Narrow your focus so that you are dealing with a manageable area within your subject. Don’t consider a complete history of something or expect to provide a definitive case study. Narrow your approach to make your assignment easier.

Make sure it’s not too narrow

On the flip side, you don’t want to bring the focus of your assignment so close that you can’t find enough resources. In your preliminary research stage make sure you can spot ample materials to read in order to build a solid argument. If you have trouble finding resources you aren’t going to get very far in the assignment.