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Com 212 The Skilled Learner

Develop Your Topic

For this class, you will need to select an argumentative essay to review critically and a topic to write on yourself.  For each, choose something relevant, interesting, or which you care about.  However, be aware:

  • Too passionate means you may not be objective.
  • Too big a topic means the essay is unmanageable.
  • Too specific a topic means there won't be resources.  

Check the resources below if you need help choosing a topic. When you're ready, move on to exploring and then refining your topic.

Find A Topic for Review and Writing:

Before you develop your research topic or question, you'll need to do some background research first.

Some good places to find background information:

  • Your textbook or class readings
  • Encyclopedias and reference books
  • Credible websites
  • Library databases

Try the library databases below to explore your topic. When you're ready, move on to refining your topic.

Find Background Information:

Now that you've done some background research, it's time to narrow your topic. Remember: the shorter your final paper, the narrower your topic needs to be. Here are some suggestions for narrowing and defining your topic:

  • Is there a specific subset of the topic you can focus on?
  • Is there a cause and effect relationship you can explore?
  • Is there an unanswered question on the subject?
  • Can you focus on a specific time period or group of people?

Describe and develop your topic in some detail. Try filling in the blanks in the following sentence, as much as you can:

I want to research ____(what/who)____

and ____(what/who)____

in ____(where)____

during ____(when)____

because ____(why)____.