What Should I Write About

At the beginning of this process, you may feel as if you have entered a strange territory without a map. You need guanidine for choosing your topic if you must select your own or for narrowing a general topic assigned to you. This section shows you how to get ideas for topics and what subjects are best to avoid. Whether you write a literary, argumentative, position, or description paper, the subject you select must meet three important criteria. The topic should interest you. It should be written your abilities. There should be enough information available on it to complete a paper. The first criterion is the most important. Something besides fear of failure has to sustain you through all the hours it takes to research, write and revise a report of term paper. Make the paper a process of discovery for yourself, something you want to know or say about a topic. That desire will help to see you through to the end of the project.

The second criterion is also essential. You may be interested in a topic, but not have the background of ability to handle it in a paper. Say, for example, you are interested in the flights or voyagers 1 and 2. You want to do a report on some of the computer programs that send commands to the small spacecrafts. The scientific journals are filled with complex diagrams and explanations, but you find none of it makes any sense to you. You have no background in computer programming and no ability to translate technical information into plain English. Finally, make sure enough information is readily available for you to develop your paper. For instance, you may have heard about rock-and-roll bands springing up in Tibet. The subject intrigues you, and you feel you have enough musical background to write about it. But your preliminary research turns up only a half-page article in a weekly news magazine.

Obviously, you are not going to be able to build a ten- or fifteen- page report on one short article. A better topic may be the rise of rock bands in China and Japan, a phenomenon covered in the U.S. Finding a General Area of InterestSuppose your must choose the topic of a paper yourself. Although this task might seem somewhat overwhelming at first, it can be broken down into manageable steps. The first step knows where to go for ideas about general of broad subject areas. There are several major sources for topic ideas; textbooks; reference books that list term paper or report topics; teachers and librarians; your own or your friends’ interests and experiences; and on-line databases, Internet, and Web sites. If you must do a term paper for a history course, for example, skim through your history textbook to find a broad subject area that interests you. Perhaps you find the European voyages of discovery appealing.

Or your interest may be piqued by the medical practices of the Middle Age or the complex politics of the Balkans in the mid-1990s. If your textbooks do not provide a topic of interest, investigate the reference section of any bookstore or library. You are likely to find books that list hundred of term paper or report topic under all subject areas—history, literature, art social science, political science, and psychology. One of these topics may appeal to you. Teachers and librarians are also good sources for ideas. They can help you to pinpoint an area of interest or can suggest topics that you haven’t considered. It is a good idea to get to know your reference librarian, and this can be one way to introduce you. Good reference librarians are invaluable guides through the maze of research and reference sources. Their expertise can save you hours of effort. If none of these sources yields any result, you can fall back on yourself or on your friend.