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Library Research Tutorial

Tips for Topic Development

When your instructor permits you to create your own topic for a research and writing assignment, keep these tips in mind:

  • Review your class readings and class discussions to help you choose a topic. A good topic will often build on ideas that you have already learned about in class.
  • Do some reading on a topic or topics that interest you.
  • Consult your class instructor, a library staff member, or Writing Support. Discussing your ideas for a topic with an experienced researcher can help you choose a topic that will be interesting and practical to research.

The following figure gives some ideas for how to progress from a general topic to a research question to a thesis statement.


Narrowing your topic is often the most difficult aspect of formulating a research question. The figure below gives further tips on how to focus your topic.