One of the most important steps in preparing for a successful paper or project is finding a good topic. Asking "how" or "why" questions about things you have seen or experienced can help lead you to good research topic.
A good topic will be:
Here are three steps that can help you arrive at a good topic that will enable you to produce a successful paper or project.
Step 1. Brainstorm
Take out a blank piece of paper, or, open up a new document on your computer and begin to list all of the areas or ideas that are of interest to you.
You may also want to scan sources like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or The Scout Report to see if there are current topics that may spark your curiosity. Jot down these ideas and some potential "keywords" that are related to these ideas.
Step 2. Scan the academic literature for articles and books related to the idea(s) that you have identified.
Begin to search the Library Search interface and databases to see what has already been written about the idea(s) you have identified. This is where your keywords will come in handy. Use these keywords to broaden and refine your search. Once you have found several articles or books related to your topic, take some time to carefully skim their arguments and conclusions.
Step 3. Refine your idea(s)
Once you have begun to identify ideas of interest and how much (or little) they have been studied and written about, you can being to make decisions about refining your idea. Some ways to refine your idea are by:
Step 4: Begin Your Search
Once you have refined your idea, you are ready to begin your search for sources.