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Writing: 5. Do Your Research

This guide offers resources on writing, including understanding your assignment, outlining, grammar, incorporating sources, and citing your sources.

Choosing a Topic

Choosing your topic is the first part of the research process. If you are free to choose your own topic, pick something you are actually interested in learning about! Then, to see if you have a viable topic for research, you need to do some exploratory searching to see what kind of information is available. Based on your initial searches, you may find you need to broaden, narrow, or change your topic completely. Remember to check with your professor before you change your topic!

Keep in mind: 

*If your topic is too broad, you will have trouble covering it in the length of a research paper.

*If your topic is too narrow, you will have trouble finding enough sources.


Watch this three-minute video from NCSU Libraries on how to pick a topic. 

Libnscu.  (2014, May 1).  Picking your topic is research! [Video]. YouTube.

Try one of these places to get ideas for a topic:

  • Your textbook
  • Class lectures
  • Conversations with your professor or classmates
  • Social media or news sites
  • Journals, or conference proceedings in your area of interest