A Guide to Library Research:
Pick a Topic
Julie Still, Reference Librarian
For some students the hardest part of writing a paper is picking a topic. The following tips may make the process a little easier:
- Make sure you understand what type of paper your instructor has assigned, length, type of resources to be used, bibliography style (for example, APA or MLA), and due date. Discuss your topic ideas with your instructor to make sure they are appropriate.
- Write about something that interests you. Think about your hobbies, major, family, friends, and significant events in your life. See if you can write a paper relevant to these or other things that interest you. Remember that personal interviews sometimes count as sources; this would give you a chance to make contacts in your future area of employment, or gain a new perspective on people you already know.
- Browse current periodicals and see if any of the topics covered sparks your interest.
- Check and see what resources are available for a particular topic. If you have a short period of time to work, you might want to pick a topic that can be researched thoroughly in Robeson Library.
- If you are completely stumped, ask your instructor if there is a topic he or she would like to read about.