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Jessie Ball duPont Library

Research Writing

A beginner's guide to creating a research strategy for all of your papers.

Choosing a Topic is Research!

Check out this helpful video about the process of choosing a topic!

(Put together by the librarians at North Carolina State University)


Don't Know Where to Start? -- Try Credo

Narrowing your topic

Credit:  William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University, LA

Remember Goldilocks

When choosing a topic, don't make it too broad or narrow. It needs to be just right.

Don't Forget!

  • Choose a topic which interests you!  Your progress will usually be faster and more fulfilling. 
  • Don't pick the same topic that your friends are doing.  Make this project your own!
  • Select a topic with a moderate amount of published information.  If your topic is too broad there may be an overwhelming amount of information.  If your topic is too narrow, there may not be enough information.  Remember, if you choose a very current topic you may not find a lot of published information.
  • Be flexible!  It is highly likely that during the course of your research project, you will have to modify your topic at least once.  Too little published information may require you to broaden your topic.  Too much information may require you to make your topic more specific.  Be sure to start early!
  • Talk with your instructor.  If you experience difficulty in finding or refining your topic, talk with your instructor before spending too much time on the project.