How can I choose a topic for my research paper?
Answered By: Stormye Hendrix
Last Updated: Aug 03, 2021

Here are a few options for choosing a research topic.

  • Credo Reference includes many subject-specific encyclopedias (along with a cool mind-map feature) that can help you discover new topics and background information.
  • Class textbooks can be an ideal source for topic ideas. 
    • Skim the chapters that interest you the most, paying close attention to any sidebars or boxes on each page (these often cover subtopics or current issues of particular interest in the field). 
    • Most chapters will even give you a head-start with your research by listing books and articles on the topics covered (look for "further reading", "suggested reading" and, of course, works cited/bibliography/references pages).
  • Our subject and course guides are a good place to browse.  Find the guide for your degree program!  It will link you to relevant article databases, journals, ebooks, video and news, and authoritative websites.  As you explore, you may discover topics of interest.

Once you have found a topic, you'll need to identify your search terms and try a test search to make sure there is enough scholarly material for you to use in your paper or presentation. Be flexible as you explore your topic - you may need to narrow or broaden it a bit to find what you need. Below is our topic narrowing tutorial, which can help you come up with a more specific topic to research.

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