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Choose a Topic

Strategies for Generating Topic Ideas

Not sure what to write about? Try these strategies to help you generate ideas and decide on a topic:

  • Scan your textbook or class readings
  • Think about something interesting you have read or seen online or on television
  • Pick a topic relevant to your life
    • Considering a career in medicine?  Hoping to start your own business?  Thinking of studying abroad next year?
    • What laws or policies do you think are unjust?
    • Choose a topic that allows you to learn about something you can apply to your daily life.

The library databases listed below are also great for generating ideas:

Additional Help: Database Guides

The following guides will provide in-depth help with some of the databases above, including directions for helping you choose a topic:

Video (1:58): "But I'm Not an Expert..."

That's OK -- you're not expected to be an expert right now. Research is a process, and you will learn more about your topic the more you explore.

Remember that scholarship is a conversation. The more information you gather about your topic from different sources, the better prepared you will be to contribute your own voice to that conversation.

Keep in mind that a lot of conversations are happening at once around any topic, and not everyone will agree. Your job is to analyze these ideas and present your own point of view that is supported by research.


Credit: Anna Eisen, University of Washington Libraries

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