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How To Select Great Topics For Your Term Papers: A Manual For Dummies


When it comes to term papers, many students struggle most with coming up with a suitable topic. Often times, teachers will leave term paper topics wide open. And, even if your teacher has provided you with a general topic for the assignment, you’ll still need to narrow it down and decide what exactly you want to examine or argue about it.

Despite the difficulty of choosing a term paper topic, if you follow these simple steps, you’ll find the process much easier.

  1. Be sure to follow any guidelines. Even if your teacher hasn’t given a clear topic, they’ll likely have provided some guidelines for the assignment. Before you being choosing a topic, make sure that you understand them well. If you are unclear on them at all, be sure to ask your teacher.
  2. Choose a narrow enough topic. One of the biggest mistakes that students make when choosing a paper topic is to pick one that is too broad. For instance, if you are writing about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, you’ll need to pick a specific historical period, event, or aspect of it to write about, as there is far too much information to fit into a few pages without doing so.
  3. Don’t just list facts. While many different kinds of essays are assigned as term papers, in general, you want to make sure that yours is not just listing facts. Your topic should also reflect the analysis or comparison that you make in your paper.
  4. Make sure there are good sources. Before you get too far into choosing a topic and starting to write, you should make sure that there are good sources for your potential topic. You may be able to use sources that your teacher gave you throughout the semester, but you should also find your own sources for primary information, and sources to back up any arguments or analysis that you are making.
  5. Choose something that interests you. One of the smartest decisions that you can make while choosing a topic is to choose something that you find interesting and compelling. For a term paper in particular, you’re going to be spending a lot of time researching and writing, so choosing something that you find exciting will make it a lot more fun than if you choose a topic you find boring.

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