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BGSU Firelands Library

Firelands Library Research Guide: Find a Topic

This is the basic research guide to help with writing a research paper in any class.

Finding a Topic

Before you begin doing any research you must have a topic.  Finding a GOOD topic is often one of the hardest parts of doing research.  Many times topics are too broad and lack direction, other times they are too narrow to find any information on and then there are times when you just don't know what you want to write about!     

Choosing a Topic:

1)  Choose something that interests you personally.  You will feel more motivated if you are genuinely interested in your topic.

2)  Don't pick the same topic that everyone else picks.  Why?  You will not have to compete for available resources and you will be sure that your thoughts are your own.

3)  Browse for a topic.  Scan websites, current magazines, journals and newspapers related to the field you are studying.  This allows you to see what current issues are in that field.  (see resources below for starting points)

4)  Be flexible.  It is very common to modify your topic at least once after you begin the research process.  Sometimes resources turn out to be unavailable or there is too much or too little information published on your topic.

5)  Talk to your instructor.  If you have trouble finding or refining a topic, talk with your instructor before investing too much of your time.


Click on these links to resources for finding topics!

Librarian Help

Click on this link to message a librarian if you have a question or need help.

Library Tips

Looking up your topic in a general encyclopedia (online or in paper) is a great way to gather some keywords and other information about your topic that will help you when you are searching.