It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Research Process: An Overview: Choosing a Topic
This guide outlines the steps in the research process from developing a topic to crediting sources.
This guide supports academic and business writing, including a basic review of grammar fundamentals, writing guides, video tutorials on business writing, and resources for the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE exams.
Choosing your topic is the first step in the research process. Be aware that selecting a good topic may not be easy. It must be narrow and focused enough to be interesting, yet broad enough to find adequate information.
#1 Research tip: Pick a topic that interests you. You are going to live with this topic for weeks while you research, read, and write your assignment. Choose something that will hold your interest and that you might even be excited about. Your attitude towards your topic will come across in your writing or presentation!
Brainstorming is a technique you can use to help you generate ideas. Below are brainstorming exercises and resources to help you come up with research topic ideas.
Brainstorming Topic Ideas
Ask yourself the following questions to help you generate topic ideas:
Do you have a strong opinion on a current social or political controversy?
Did you read or see a news story recently that has interested you?
Do you have a personal issue, problem or interest that you would like to know more about?
Is there an aspect of one of your classes that you would like to learn more about?
Finding Topic Ideas
Try the resources below to help you get ideas for possible research topics:
Use the Library's Articles and News databases to browse contents of current magazines and newspapers. If you do not know how to browse current issues ask a librarian for help.
Read Background Information
Read an encyclopedia article on the top two or three topics you are considering. Reading a broad summary enables you to get an overview of the topic and see how your idea relates to broader, narrower, and related issues. If you cant find an article on your topic, ask a librarian for help.
The Gale Virtual Reference Library contains several business focused encyclopedias such as The Encyclopedia of Management and The Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries which may provide background information on possible topics.