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Sometimes the most difficult part of writing a research paper is selecting a topic. Often your professor will assign a topic to research. However, there are times a professor will ask that you select a research topic of your own. Here are some tips to help you get started.

A research topic should be:
  • Manageable: Do some background work to see if there's too much information (the topic is too broad) or too little information (the topic is too narrow) on the topic you've selected.

  • Related to your personal interests: Select a topic that interests you. Ideally it should hold your interest throughout the research and writing process.

Investigate these sources for ideas and background information:

  • CQ Researcher
  • Research Guides - available online
    • Prepared by Fordham librarians, these guides are an excellent starting point for reseach in various disciplines.
    • Guides combine a list of the major reference books, online databases and recommended websites.
  • General Encyclopedias
    • These encyclopedias cover all branches of knowledge.
    • Encyclopaedia Britannica in Reference Stacks (RH, LC, W) Ref AE5.B7, available online.
  • Subject Encyclopedias
    • There are specialized encyclopedias on almost every subject.

Now that you have selected a topic, let's refine it...

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