Guide to Library Research
Mary Livermore Library
Unit 1: Developing a Topic

Ideas for Topics

So where do topics come from anyway?


Consider your own interests first. It easier to write about something that interests you or that you are knowledgeable about. Consider your hobbies, jobs that you have had, or situations or problems that you or a friend or a loved one has experienced.


Look at your course notes, course syllabus, textbooks, etc. These items may give you ideas for possible topics.


Scan current magazines. Go to the Library and look at Newsweek, Time, or U.S. News and World Report. These magazines tend to provide thorough overviews of current national and international issues.


Scan subject-specific encyclopedias in the Library's reference collection. Example: if you are looking for a topic for a research paper in a sociology class, then you may want to consider looking at The Encyclopedia of Sociology or The Encyclopedia of Women and Gender.