How to Make Up a Topic for a Term Paper
Inventing topics for any paper, let alone a term paper, is a hard pursuit. Honestly – when’s the last time you sat down and thought up a completely random, yet original and thoughtful idea on anything? This kind of innovative thinking doesn’t necessarily come naturally, and forcing out term paper ideas can be very detrimental. When students are stuck at the very beginning of their papers – delayed from the start, because of an inability to produce a topic – the rest of the paper will be just as rocky. Luckily, there are a few simple ways that students can develop several quick, quality ideas for their term papers. By employing these strategies, students will not only pick original topics, but also write on enjoyable ones. Here is a quick how-to guide on developing a great topic for your term paper:
- Find out what interests you. This is perhaps the most essential ingredient to making a good term paper. We’ve all written papers on subjects we don’t enjoy; remember those headaches? Why compile them by picking a random topic you really have no interest in? Find something that genuinely sparks your curiosity. This will make exploring your research and writing your paper a more enjoyable activity. You’ll be discovering interesting facts and ideas on something you care about, rather than gathering mounds of information on some boring assignment.
- Start big. Don’t try to jump straight into a narrow subject for your paper. You have to start general, and then narrow it down. For example, if your term paper is in American Literature, pick a decade, author or theme that your class reviewed. Once you have a general subject area to work with, developing term paper ideas will become far easier. For example, by picking the Harlem Renaissance as your general topic, you can ask various questions such as: how did the Harlem Renaissance affect literature? Or, how did Harlem Renaissance writing reflect the African American culture? Start with a general topic, and then work your way into more specific inquiries.
- Have options. Don’t stick to the first idea that comes into your head. Develop a couple topic ideas to choose from. You don’t want to lock yourself into a topic only to find out it isn’t the interesting, thought-provoking, exciting subject you wanted it to be. You want to always have options – maybe even a back-up topic if the one you originally chose fails to deliver. Develop at least three or four topic ideas before you commit to one. This will better guarantee that you select a topic that speaks to you.