Choosing Good Essay Topics & Research Paper Subjects

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Choosing Good Essay Topics & Research Paper Subjects

A good research paper topic is compelling, complex, and closely related to the course of study for which the article is being composed.  There are an infinite number of good research paper topics.  This is because every report topic can be transformed into a good research paper topic with a few steps of revision.  What separates good research paper topics from bad or merely adequate research paper topics is specificity and curiosity.  For instance, an adequate research paper topic for a document in psychology is "schizophrenia among young men."  This is an interesting subject, but only an adequate research paper topic because it is not specific and it does not incite curiosity.  By adding some specificity and curiosity, the topic becomes "why schizophrenia is more likely to occur in young men, and what causes it."  This is a good research paper topic because it is a topic that asks to be explored.

To add specificity and curiosity to any report topic requires asking a series of interested questions.  For instance, if a student wanted to write a paper on the American Civil War for a history course, the general subject of interest is the American Civil War.  Now, the student must begin interrogating both himself and the subject to transform it into a good research paper topic.  To begin, the student should ask, "What in particular interests me about the American Civil War"?  The answer to this may be "the way it changed the social structure of the South."  "How did it change the social structure of the South?" "There was no longer an aristocratic structure centered around rich land holders."  "Well, why is this so interesting?" "Because the South had established a social structure resembling aristocracy in a country that was founded to escape such European notions, and most of the traditions and beliefs in the South were rooted in and supported by this strange social arrangement."  So—from this series of inquiries, the writer has discovered his main point of interest in the American Civil War.  The topic of this student's research paper will therefore be "how the American Civil War toppled the South's aristocratic-like social structure and thereby affected the traditions and beliefs of Southern culture at large."

Any research paper topic can be transformed in this way.  It simply requires the student to think seriously about why certain topics are of interest—to both the student and to a wider audience.  Asking "why," "how," "because why," and "what" will eventually turn all topics into good research paper topics.



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Viewpoint of Author #2
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Regardless of the course that a student is enrolled in, the learner will have to write a term paper on a subject related to that course.  There are many different topics and subtopics that students may have to write a term paper on, making it sometimes different for students to decide on just one topic for the document.  However, there are some strategies that students can use in order to refine their document topic selection.

One of the first things that students can do when they are trying to decide what to write their documents on is to review their documents for their courses.  Chances are good that the student has been inspired or curious about a subtopic or general idea that has been presented in the course.  Students may be able to take this topic or idea and write a term paper on it if they are able to develop the topic or idea well.  

Students may also be able to look at previously written reports on similar topics.  Many students turn to the Internet to find examples of reports on subjects that are related to their courses of study.  These term papers can help learners to refine their own ideas.  Often, these reports from the Internet can also help learners to begin their documents, as they can sometimes serve as rough drafts.  

Once a student has decided what to write a term paper on, the student needs to be committed to performing a suitable amount of research on that particular subject.  Researching just one subject takes time and may require the student to be creative about sources.  For example, if a student is writing a term paper on a contemporary topic, then the student may wish to conduct interviews or experiments in order to enrich his or her dept of data collection.  

Many professors may also assign report topics to students, especially if the student is having a difficult time trying to decide what to write a term paper on for a particular class.  In such a case, the professor will most likely try to match the topic with a student's area of interests.  

There is a difference between what learners write term papers on and what students are studying, in some cases.  For example, if a student is studying physics, the student may have to be creative with the topic if he or she wishes to write a term paper on a topic that interests him or her more.  Students may wish to ask professors for advice.



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Viewpoint of Author #3
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When a student receives a list of essay topics from which he or she must choose to write an essay for a class or a course, the student will need to properly structure the report and determine about what he or she will write.  Essay topics can be general topics or very specific topics, depending on the course, the student, and the teacher.  When a teacher assigns a topic, the teacher will either expect all students to write about the same topic, or the teacher will allow students to write about any subtopic related to that main topic.

However, many teachers allow their students to select their own topics.  When students select their own document topics, they are able to pick a subject that interests them.  The complexity or specificity of the topic is then totally up to the pupil.  For example, a student could select the broad topic of basketball or the student could select the specific topic of how to implement the pick-and-roll in basketball.

In many cases, even when students are able to select their own document topics, professors like to approve the topics in advance to make sure that students are writing about appropriate subject matter for the course.  Also, professors might assign a purpose of an academic article, but let students select their own topics as long as they fit into that purpose.  For example, a professor might say that the topic of the report has to relate to how two parties resolve conflict.  When a student picks a topic, the student could select a topic based around relationship conflicts, wars, or work-related conflict, for example.  

If a student is having a hard time selecting his or her own assignment topic, the student has access to a wide variety of resources available to help him or her.  Many students turn to the Internet for help finding appropriate topics.  For example, students may look through other college articles that students have written on a particular subject.  Students might also search essaytown.com for essay topics to see what results come up.  

An essay topic is very similar to an essay thesis.  Essay topics are the general idea about which a student should write an article.  Essay theses, however, are specific statements that students will prove to be true.  The essay thesis should directly relate to the assignment topic, but the pupil can only write the assignment thesis once he or she knows what the topic is.



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Viewpoint of Author #4
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A dissertation subject is the primary topic.  Dissertation subjects must be original, specific topics in the area of a student's field of study.  In this way, the subject of a university report is quite different from the subjects of other academic texts.  Unlike a research or term paper, which often investigates a topic that has already been written upon, a doctoral project investigates a narrowly-defined topic that has not been previously studied.  A dissertation subject, in other words, must be a subject that has not been researched—at least in the way in which the writer plans to study it.

Dissertation subjects must be original; however, this does not mean that dissertation subjects have to be wholly new.  It is common for doctoral projects to investigate existing subjects, but to be original by investigating them in new ways.  For instance, a student writing a PhD project in the field of education may write his assignment on an educational practice that has already been discovered or explored by another researcher, but apply that practice in a new way.

Because it must be both original and very specific, determining a dissertation subject is often as difficult as researching and writing the project itself.  This process typically takes months of research and consultation, and eventuates in a proposal—a formal document submitted to a student's department that outlines the specific dissertation subject and how it will be studied.  To begin this selection process, then, a student must select a general area of interest within his or her field, and then consider possible research studies that could explore a new aspect of that field.  To determine such a subject will require the student to spend countless hours researching existing studies in the area of his or her chosen topic to determine what has and has not already been done.  The findings of this research should be carefully documented, as they will end up being the foundation for the literature review—a chapter presenting an overview of research related to the student's topic—in both the report and the final document.

In addition to spending significant time researching, a student should also make use of the valuable resource of professors who specialize in their topic.  Often, professors are aware of existing research in an area of study, and can provide valuable advice on what directions students may go in to find a new topic worthy of data collection.



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Viewpoint of Author #5
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A college term paper is a document of usually ten or more pages written as the culminating assignment of a semester of college study in a particular subject.  A term paper is intended to present the student's comprehensive grasp of the subject of the course.  To that end, it should integrate what he or she has learned throughout the semester with external data in order to develop a specific thesis on a particular subject.  Therefore, a college term paper topic must be a specific component of a subject or area of study relevant to the course for which the article is being written, and should allow for the composition of a detailed paper of ten or so pages on one or more aspects of the topic.  

One of the primary differences between college term paper topics and topics students may have written on in the past is that college term paper topics are frequently the responsibility of the pupil.  For many writing assignments, instructors present students with a list of possible topics on which to write.  However, because a report is designed to be an in-depth and original academic undertaking, instructors frequently encourage students to select their own document topics.  This selection process will likely involve many steps.  This is because choosing a college term paper topic that is manageable to write about in the space of ten or so pages but also interesting to the writer and the audience of the report will usually require significant consideration and some research.  Therefore, it is best for the writer to start by picking a general area in the course that is of interest and then consider more narrow aspects of that area.

For instance, if the report were for an introductory philosophy course, the student might begin the topic selection process by considering the major philosophers the course has covered and selecting the one that was of most interest to her.  From this, she may decide that the philosopher she would like to write about is Aristotle.  She could not feasibly select Aristotle as her assignment topic, as she could not possibly cover everything about Aristotle in a ten page paper.  Therefore, she must narrow the topic to address one aspect of Aristotle's philosophy.  She might then select Aristotle's views on the structure of the family household.  This is much more specific than the topic of Aristotle's philosophies in general; however, "the structure of the family household" is not as specific as it could be.  What about the way Aristotle compares the structure of the family household to the structure of the state?  This is a very specific college subject, and though it is unlikely that every aspect of it could be tackled in a report, various parts of the topic could be reasonably and thoroughly addressed in ten or so pages.

College term paper topics must be very specific so that they can be developed into thesis statements.  A thesis is a point or argument that presents a specific argument regarding the selected topic.  On the topic of Aristotle's notion of the structure of the family household, a thesis might be as follows: "Aristotle's detailed explanation of the proper structure of the family household is really a model for government, with each division of the family representing a division of the state."  This thesis presents a very specific argument that it will go on to defend using examples from the text and the writer's own analytic ideas.  



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Viewpoint of Author #6
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A thesis statement is a sentence or group of sentences that outlines the primary point of a text.  A thesis is often understood in terms of an argument because it presents a specific position or claim about a subject.  The topic of the thesis is the main subject of this statement.  For instance, if the thesis statement were "The quality of life of nursing home residents is improved by having pets in the nursing home," the topic is having pets in nursing homes.  The argument is that nursing home residents' quality of life is improved by pets.  In this way, the topic is different from the thesis itself.  The topic is simply the subject of the text; the thesis is the writer's argument or opinion about that subject.  
Thesis topics should be very specific—specific enough that the writer will be able to fully explain the topic and defend his thesis in the space of the assigned text.  Therefore, the process of selecting a thesis topic will likely involve some revision.  It is best to begin the selection process by determining an area of interest that falls within the scope of the particular class and assignment.  For instance, in a social work course on elder care, a student may be particularly interested in nursing home care.  From this, the student would need to refine the topic to consider what specific aspect of nursing home care is of most interest to him.  After careful consideration, he may decide that the quality of life of nursing home residents is his true area of concern.  This is a specific topic; however, it is also quite a large topic.  To write fully about quality of life in nursing homes would probably require a dissertation or a book.  Therefore, the writer would need to narrow it down even further, perhaps by doing some preliminary research to see what types of topics are available to write about regarding quality of life in nursing homes.  This may lead him to studies commenting on how pets improve quality of life in nursing homes, and he may decide he wants to focus his assignment on this specific aspect of nursing home quality of life.  Now, he has found his topic.  

After writing his thesis—his specific point about the topic of pets in nursing homes—he will then defend his thesis using examples from research and perhaps his own experience, if appropriate.  In this way, thesis topics evolve into fully-explored and informed commentaries on different subjects.  Therefore, thesis topics should not only be specific, but also relevant to the writer's field of study and important to the writer.  



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Viewpoint of Author #7
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Most students groan at the prospect of choosing research paper topics, anticipating late nights in the library and long hours spent in front of a computer.  However, once they accept the fact that the assignment must be done, students typically replace their dread of the work with an intense worry about what to write.  Deciding on a research paper topic idea can seem difficult.  Sometimes, it seems difficult because there are an overwhelming number of possible topics from which to choose.  Other times, it seems difficult because there are seemingly no topics from which to choose.  Still more, students simply are uninterested in the topics they think of, and have no desire to devote weeks of their lives to them.  However, research paper topic ideas only seem elusive, and finding them is a fairly simple process once the student knows where to look.

Discovering a research paper topic idea is different from deciding on a topic idea because writers of research papers need to have a fair amount of background knowledge about a subject before determining a topic on which to write.  In essays, particularly articles that don't include a major research component, the pupil can typically choose a topic for the document and then do research on that topic.  However, to find research paper topic ideas, the learner will likely need to do some preliminary research in a general area he finds interesting in order to learn enough about that area to develop a specific topic and thesis.  This research should not be grueling, but exploratory; the student should be open to ideas and follow his or her interests until he or she discovers something that prompts intense curiosity.  Anything that prompts curiosity is usually a good research paper topic.

Once a student has done preliminary research into a general area of interest, she can determine a topic by simply asking herself what about that area she is particular interested in.  Picking a research paper topic idea—particularly picking a good research paper topic idea—depends on following individual interest.  The student should think of a report as an independent project in which he or she can delve into material he or she wishes to know more about.  Perhaps the student must write the report for a history class.  Perhaps the student hates history, but loves music.  The student may then decide to write her American Civil War research paper on the military bands of the Union army and what they contributed to troop morale.  In this way, the pupil can explore her own interest of music within the context of the course subject.  Finding research paper topic ideas often depends only on the student being open to exploring seemingly unconventional research paper topics such as this.



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Viewpoint of Author #8
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The primary topic of a report is known as the report subject.  Because essays are written in every discipline on just about every aspect of that discipline, there is a huge array of existing essay subjects, and an even wider array of possible essay subjects.  Sometimes, having such a broad spectrum from which to choose can be overwhelming.  Therefore, it is helpful if students learn some techniques that can help them determine their own, original essay subjects.

First, a student should carefully read over her assignment prompt.  Even essay assignments that don't list specific questions typically ask students to focus on a general area within the course subject.  It is very important for students to be familiar with the exact directions and requirements listed on the prompt, as most teachers deduct points from an article that has not followed the prompt.

Once the student is exactly clear on what it is she must do in the report, she can begin to brainstorm about possible essay subjects.  Sometimes, the best way to do this is to make a list of the major topics the course has covered thus far and then consider which topics from the list are most interesting.  Such compositions are always better when their writers are genuinely interested in their content; therefore, learners should try to select a subject that they truly want to know more about.  

When the student has selected one or two major topics that interest her, she should make a new, more extensive list for each topic that lists the subtopics of that area.  This may require the student to look back through her notes or textbook, as the student may have forgotten the subtopics of the area.  Once the list has been generated, the student should again select the topic or group of topics that she finds most interesting.

From the selected subtopic or subtopics, the student should generate a new list of subtopics of the subtopic, again referencing her notes or textbook if necessary.  It is from this list that the learner will select a subject.  It is important to go through all of these three phases, because a subject must be very specific, and a subtopic of a major topic will often be too general on which to write an article.

Once the student has determined the report subject, the student then decides on an argument, or main point, about that subject.  The essay subject should not be confused with the project.  The subject of the article is the topic of the report—what the article is about.  The thesis of the article is the writer's point about that topic.  These two should not be mistaken for each other.



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Viewpoint of Author #9
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Students in PhD programs will have to write a dissertation topic in order to graduate from the programs with a Ph.D.  A dissertation is a lengthy project that a learner will work on over a period of many months or even years.  The student will need to decide on a dissertation topic that interests his or her a great deal not only because of the amount of time that the learner will need to devote to the topic, but also because dissertations are also a jumping off point for a student's entire career.  

The first thing that students should think about when they are trying to decide on dissertation topics is what they want to learn more about in their particular field of study.  Often, learners will develop a particular passion for one particular aspect of their field.  For example, a student studying infectious diseases may be keenly interested in HIV research and wish to focus on that research for his or her assignment.  

When a student decides on his or her assignment topic, the student should review the topic with his or her advisor.  The advisor may be able to provide additional ideas about that dissertation topic or the advisor may even suggest additional report topics that are more pioneering or may be more interesting to the pupil.  

Students will have to dedicate a significant amount of time towards researching their particular report topic.  Many students devote a great deal of money towards their research as well, especially if they need to travel or perform experiments.  Students may have to perform different types of research depending on their document topics.  

For example, a student writing a dissertation topic on geology may have to travel to some geographic locations in order to perform more effective research.  Students writing their documents on English literature may be able to work from anywhere and not devote money towards their research.  

The dissertation topic that a student decides on directly influences research methods.  However, the topic should not be influenced by any other requirements.  When it comes to dissertations, learners should be free to choose whichever dissertation topics they want to devote their academic time to, as these dissertation topics will often turn into careers for pupils.  For example, a student in a biology PhD program should not necessarily be forced to write a dissertation on a dissertation topic that is recommended by an advisor or professor.



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Viewpoint of Author #10
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A term paper subject is the topic about which a learner will write when creating his or her assignment.  Many report subjects are assigned to students by professors.  However, in some cases, learners will have the liberty to select their own document subject when they need to write a report.

A term paper subject is basically a broad subject area that a student needs to research.  Many students not only need to learn about a broad subject in order to write a report, but they also need to narrow their research down until they have a term paper sub-topic, as well.  For example, a broad term paper subject might be the historical record of the British Virgin Islands.  A sub-topic might be shipwreck histories in the British Virgin Islands.  In order to write such a report, the student would need to learn about the historical record of the islands and the important of the shipwrecks that have occurred there.

If a student needs to find his or her own document subject, then the student should look around for related topics.  If the project is for a particular class, such as an English class, the student may also ask a professor for advice about interesting topics that might appeal to the pupil.  

Students should also consider topics that interest them.  After all, a report is more fun and engaging for students if they enjoy the topic that they have to research and write about.  Most subjects can be tied to a student's interests.  For example, if a student enjoys surfing, then a student can tie just about any subject to surfing.  A history paper could be about the historical record of surfing.  A biology paper could be about the importance of balance for surfers.  

The student should decide what specific elements of the report subject that he or she wishes to write about once the student goes about constructing the document.  For example, if a student needs to write about the historical record of surfing, the student may also want to write about specific waves or islands.  

A term paper subject is sometimes confused with a term paper thesis.  A thesis is a one-sentence statement that provides the purpose of the document.  The thesis should be listed in the introduction of the document.  However, a term paper subject does not have to be listed.  The subject provides the influence for the research, which then influences the thesis.  However, a thesis will not influence a term paper subject.



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Viewpoint of Author #11
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When students are required to produce research papers, it often helps if they have an interesting research paper topic about which they can write.  There are many interesting research paper topics out there, as long as students take the time to look around to find them.  However, in some cases, learners will not be able to find their own interesting research paper topics because a professor assigns the topics.

If a student has the liberty to find his or her own interesting subject, then the student is at an advantage: research papers are easier to write and more enjoyable when a student has an interesting research paper topic to use.  Finding that right topic can be a challenge though.

No matter what subject the project is for, chances are good that the learner will need to write the assignment based on something related to the subject that the student is studying.  For example, if a student is studying history, then the report will probably need to be related to something historical.  A possible exception to this rule may be a project that a student needs to write for an English class, in which the student has the liberty to research and write about anything.  

In order to find an interesting subject, the student needs to consider what exactly interests him or her about a particular subject.  For example, if the report needs to be written for a history class, then is there a particular period in history that inspires the student?  Perhaps an invention, war, or ancient culture is inspiring to the pupil.  If so, then the student should come up with a research paper idea that he or she can then run by the professor for approval.  It is usually necessary for a learner to have a professor approve a research paper topic prior to actually writing the document.  

After a student has found a few interesting research paper topics that inspire him or her, the student should look for previous articles that have been written about the topic so that the pupil can get ideas for his or her own document.  Students may even find drafts or outlines that can serve as the basis for their own articles.  

When it comes to finding the right research paper topics, learners should be aware that the topic is not the same as the thesis of the document.  Many students think that if they have a topic, they do not also need a thesis.  Students need to always include a thesis with their documents so that they have something that they can prove to be true.  Therefore, learners should only create the thesis once they have an interesting research paper topic about which to write the document.  The topic and the thesis are not the same, though they are similar.



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Viewpoint of Author #12
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One of the first things that students need to think about when they begin writing their term papers is to decide on the topic.  Many professors will assign report topics to their pupils.  Other professors will require that students select their own topics for their assignments.

When a professor allows students to select their own document topics, student should take time to research several different options.  Often, a student can select any report topic that he or she would like, as long as the topic is fitting with the subject of the course.  Many students benefit by running the topic pas a professor in order to ensure that the topic is appropriate before they begin writing their documents.  

If a student is having a hard time selecting a subject, then there are resources that the pupil can access.  For example, the student might be able to do an Internet search for term paper topics related to the subject that he or she is studying.  The student can also find a way to relate the subject to a personal interest.  For example, if a student is also a runner, then the pupil can write about something to do with running for just about any class, including the historical record of running for a history class, the biology of running for a biology class, and the critical thinking effects of running for an English class, in some cases.  

Regardless of how a student gets a subject, the next step towards writing an effective project is to learn as much about a term paper topic as possible.  The first step in any research process is to develop a tentative research plan.  The plan should include a list of materials that the student may use for his or her research, such as personal interviews, books, magazines and more.  The plan will develop further as the student gets deeper into the research.  

Next, as the student outlines and drafts the report, the student needs to ensure that the project follows the topic closely.  It is highly recommended that students begin by creating a thesis statement that supports the topic.

Many people confuse a thesis statement with a term paper topic.  A term paper topic is a broad subject about which a learner will create his or her assignment.  A thesis statement is a one-sentence explanation of what the learner will prove in his or her assignment.  The topic is not always listed in the actual term paper, but the thesis statement should appear in the introduction of the document.



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Viewpoint of Author #13
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An essay topic is a subject that a writer addresses in an assignment.  In an academic setting, a topic may address a particular field of study, subject area, idea, or piece of information that relates to coursework.  Many teachers and professors assign report topics for their students so that they can establish that their students understand a specific idea or so that they can encourage their students to research an area of study that interests the pupils.  

Essay topics define the subject of a report.  For example, if a topic is "apples," then students should write essays to address some sub-topic relating to apples.  The topic, therefore, often helps to establish the theme and category.  

Different academic subjects may require a different approach to addressing essay topics.  If a topic is assigned by a professor, then the student should create an article to specifically address the assignment.  Professors will assign report topics to meet their own educational needs.  For example, an English professor might require learners to write a paper on the topic of apples, but may not direct them in any other way.  In such a case, the English professor could be looking for creativity, clarity of thought, grammar skills, and knowledge of academic document writing fundamentals.  

However, a biology professor might assign a more specific assignment topic, such as "How Biology Influences the Different Flavors of Popular Apple Varieties."  Such a topic might be assigned so that the professor can understand how well a student understands biological principals of apples and how well the student is able to research a particular topic.  The biology professor probably does not have the primary intention of analyzing a student's creativity, grammar skills, or knowledge of academic document writing fundamentals.  

An essay topic is often confused with an essay thesis.  Essay topics are general overviews of the category and nature of a particular article.  A thesis, however, is a one or two paragraph sentence within an article that provides insight into the purpose.  

An essay topic is also different than an essay title.  An essay topic may or may not be included in the title.  Instead, a topic helps to categorize the report by subject matter.  However, an essay title is a specific marker for a specific article.  An essay title, therefore, is similar to an address for a house.  When a report is published, many essays can have the same essay topics.  However, no two published essays can legally have the same essay title.  



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Viewpoint of Author #14
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Reference reports are a common assignment in college.  College research paper topics, however, do not always come easily for many pupils.  Students often wonder how to come up with a good college research paper topic.

For the most part, the course instructor will guide students in their selection of a college research paper topic.  The course instructor may assign a particular topic or may require that students select their own topic from a list of topics provided.  The problems in selecting a college research paper topic generally come when students are left to freely select a topic for themselves.

A college research paper topic should reflect what is.  If the college research paper topic is something like "Economic Success after Domestic Abuse," the document should be about how successful victims of domestic abuse are after enduring or escaping the abuse, or something similar.  Some students make the mistake of gearing their college research paper topics toward only one aspect of their title.  For instance, it is a mistake to discuss only economic success among urban women without ensuring that the research demographic has endured domestic abuse.  It is also a mistake to discuss domestic abuse without providing research regarding the economic success of victims.  

Sometimes what happens is a student will select a college research paper topic and then have to change the topic after he or she has collected the research and sometimes even after writing the document.  The fact is that some topics provide more research to work with than others and sometimes, after researching and writing, a student finds that the topic he or she has selected is too narrow or too broad to be properly discussed within the scope.

Many instructors require that students have their college research paper topics pre-approved before beginning to gather their research or before they begin writing the document.  The goal of the instructor is to ensure that students do not bite off more than they can chew.  Since some topics are either too broad or too narrow for students to construct a well-presented paper, the instructor might try to direct a student toward a topic that is more along the lines of the requirements for the course.  Students sometimes tend to become so eager to explore a certain topic that they fail to consider what the final document will be like.  A good instructor is always available to help.



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Viewpoint of Author #15
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Topics for essay papers can be far and wide.  However, when a student must write a report for an academic assignment, the topics for essays pertain to a particular course that a student is taking.  For example, a student taking a British literature course would most likely not compose a report on the topic of salmon migration.  A student in a British literature course may, however, write an assignment on the topic of Charles Dickinson and his career evolution through oral story telling.

Many students receive topics for reports from their professors.  In some cases, professors will assign the same topic to all students in a course.  In other cases, learners will be permitted to select their own topics for essay papers, as long as the topics are pertinent to the subject of the course.  

When a student must write a report on a topic that a professor has assigned, the student should be certain of the requirements.  After all, when all students in a course are required to write about the same topic, the professor will inevitably compare the reports he or she receives from all of the pupils.  For that reason, learners should always make a diligent effort to thoroughly research the topic in order to ensure that their documents include as much (if not more) information than other students in the class.  A poorly researched assignment may indicate to a professor that a student has not taken the time to research a topic, which may result in a lower grade.  

If students are able to select their own topics for essays, then students may be at an advantage.  When given the liberty to write about anything within the constraints of a general subject, learners can select topics for projects based on their own strengths and interests.  

For example, if a student is required to write an assignment on the broad topic of salmon migration for a biology course, the pupil can customize the specific topic of the report to his or her strengths.  If the student is also interested in engineering, he or she may choose to write about the challenges of salmon migration when dams are built on rivers.  If a pupil is interested in biology, he or she could also write about the specific process and challenges of salmon mating.  Students often write more effective projects when they are allowed to select their own topic for reports.

The process of finding a topic for essay papers is different from the process of finding topics for scientific research papers, though the processes are sometimes similar.  When a student selects or is assigned a topic for an article, the student often does not know what the report will be about until he or she begins his or her research.  The student then writes about the research and draws a conclusion through an often-subjective lens of personal experience and opinion.

However, when a student finds or receives a topic for a scientific research paper, the student often has an idea what the scientific paper will cover prior to doing an experiment.  For example, a scientific research paper will usually either prove or disprove a scientific theory.  The experiment and results are usually objective and rarely based on opinion (if ever).  Therefore, a major difference between the two processes is that a report is generally intended to share information or opinion that a student obtained through research; it is not intended to prove or disprove a scientific theory through experimentation.



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Viewpoint of Author #16
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One of the first things that students need to think about when they are required to write an assignment is to determine the acceptable topics for reports.  College research paper topics generally fall within a course of study, but students can usually customize the topic to suit their own interests.  Finding fun topics for research paper assignments can help learners to not only stay interested in the assignment, but students may actually learn more if they are enthusiastic about a topic.

In some cases, a professor will assign topics for research paper assignments to his or her pupils.  In this case, learners in a course may all have to write about the same topic.  In other cases, each student may have his or her own unique term paper assignment topic.  Even when a professor assigns topics for research papers to students, they can still arrange the topic to meet their interests.

For example, if a student is in a biology class and needs to write a term paper topic on metabolic rates, then the pupil can use something that applies to his or her life and tie it into a topic on metabolic rates.  If a pupil is an avid snowboarder, for example, he or she should write a paper on how snowboarding impacts metabolic rates.  

There are also many situations in which a learner will be allowed to select his or her own topics for research paper assignments as long as the topic falls within the subject of the course.  In this case, students have the liberty to explore a variety of different ideas before deciding on just one topic to research and write about for the document.  

When a student needs to come up with his or her own topics for research papers, the student may have a hard time narrowing down his or her selection.  In such a case, the pupil can approach a professor for more direction.  The student may also be able to look through examples of previously written reports for topic ideas.  

It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference between topics for research paper assignments and subjects for reports.  A topic is a specific idea within a broader subject.  A topic also generally refers to a topic and a subject refers to the broader course of study.  Therefore, while a topic and a subject may be easily confused, a topic is specific to an individual's paper and a subject is usually referring to a course.



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Viewpoint of Author #17
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Whenever a student needs to write a report, the student needs to begin by finding an appropriate research paper topic.  In most cases, professors will allow students to select their own article topics, as long as the topic is related to the course in which a student is enrolled.  Finding the right research paper topic is often the first step that a learner will take in the writing process.

When a student needs to select his or her own article topic, the student may find that it is helpful to look through his or her course-related materials for ideas.  The course materials may spark a student's curiosity, which may then help the student to determine which subject he or she would like to study.  A research paper topic should be interesting to a student, as the learner will need to spend a great deal of time researching and understanding that particular topic over the course of several weeks or months.  

If a student is having a hard time deciding on a subject, then there are some resources that the pupil can access.  First, the student may go to a teacher to find out what his or her suggested research paper topics are.  The teacher may be able to find an engaging topic that is related to the student's interests.  

Many students also find ideas for research paper topics when they look through sample research papers online.  Many online resources have sample research papers categorized by the subject of study, which can help learners to find appropriate research paper topic examples for the course in which they need to write the document.  

After a student has found the right research paper topic for his or her assignment, the student needs to begin to research that topic.  Each student should complete his or her research to the best of his or her ability, taking notes along the way.  As the student completes his or her research, those notes will help him or her to develop the project itself.  

There are many similarities between a research paper topic and a research paper idea.  However, it is important to keep in mind that a topic is very specific to a course and to a paper.  There may be many topics that fall under one report idea.  However, in most cases, topics are not as general as research paper ideas.



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Viewpoint of Author #18
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It is common for college instructors to require learners to generate their own topic for a reference project.  This is a difficult task, but should be thought of as liberating and challenging rather than daunting.  Selecting topics for a research paper assignment allows the student to have intellectual liberty in pursuing a subject of individual interest.

There are many possible topics for a research paper; however, not every subject is worthy of being the subject for a reference project.  A topic for a research paper must be very specific.  This is because a reference report is not a book; it is a short text.  Therefore, a topic for a reference report is not a large category or subject of inquiry.  Rather, it is a narrowly-defined division of a category.  A large category topic is something like zoology.  A narrowly-defined division of a category is the aggressive territorialism of wombats.

Topics for a college report should be decided upon through a process of narrowing and revision.  First, a student should determine a general area of interest in his or her field or course of study.  For instance, in a 20th century history class, a student may select World War II as his or her general area of interest.  Beyond this general area, the student must select a specific aspect of World War II on which to write an assignment, such as a certain battle of World War II, a certain major figure in World War II, or a particular strategic method used during World War II.

If a student has difficulty determining or narrowing a topic for a report, it may be helpful to perform a freewrite.  A freewrite is a timed writing session in which the student writes without picking up his or her writing implement for five or ten minutes in order to generate ideas.  Students should select as a freewrite topic some aspect of interest in his or her class, and then simply begin writing and see what thoughts emerge.  The point of a freewrite is to translate a student's free associations into written text so that text can be observed and then critically analyzed.  Once a freewrite or multiple freewrites have been completed, a student may be able to determine topics for a research paper by looking back on the freewrites to assess what ideas that have been generated could be developed into research papers.



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Viewpoint of Author #19
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Good topics for research papers must be complex and interesting enough to sustain both the writer's and the reader's attention.  Good topics for research paper assignments will depend largely on the exact assignment.  Some teachers will want a project that informs.  Other teachers will want a project that both informs and persuades.  If a pupil is asked to write a project that only informs, he or she can select any complex and interesting topic related to the subject of the course.  If a pupil is asked to write a project that both informs and persuades, however, he or she will have to select a topic that is complex, interesting, related to the subject of the course, and is in some way contested or controversial.

Even students who do not have much experience with research paper writing probably have most of the tools and skills they need to write a good research paper through their experience with writing essays.  However, there is a difference between good topics for essays and good topics for reports.  A student could write an essay on just about anything.  Reports have indeed been written on just about everything, from fly-fishing to grief.  There is a huge spectrum of research paper topics from which to choose, as well, but a good research paper topic must be a topic that requires the support of research that is not apparent or known to a typical audience.  In other words, a good research paper will present information that the reader may not be aware of.  In order to do this well, the report must be about a topic that requires more than factual description.  This means that good topics for research paper assignments cannot be basic ideas such as "George Washington."  Rather, they must be on a specific aspect of George Washington that both scholars and the student have ideas about, such as "the reasons why George Washington was a great leader."  Notice that this topic is based on an idea, and must be explored through a combination of facts and ideas, rather than facts alone.

Good topics for reports should spark curiosity.  Notice how the topic "George Washington" has a completely neutral effect, and how the topic "the reasons why George Washington was a great leader" invites questions and a desire to answer those questions.  All research paper topics should strive to spark curiosity.  The best way to know if a topic sparks curiosity is if the topic sparks curiosity in the writer.  If the writer is interested in the topic, then it is likely that others will be interested in it, as well.

Of course, the topic a student selects will depend on the specific research paper assignment.  Good topics for research paper assignments must be closely related to the subject of the course.  Therefore, it is always wise to consult the teacher of the course about the topic before beginning the writing process.

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