Choosing your topic: When you are given the assignment of a research paper, sometimes your instructor will tell you exactly what topic to write about and all you need to do is give that topic a focus and conduct your research. Other times, you are given a choice as to what you would like to write about. Sometimes, it can be difficult to choose or narrow down a topic. In this section you will find information and tips for how to choose your research topic.
The links below will help you get moving in the right direction.
MIT: Selecting a Research Topic
University of Michigan: How to Select a Research Topic
Developing a Thesis Statement: When developing a thesis statement for a research paper, it is important to make sure that your thesis is clear, focused and strong. It should leave no doubt in the reader as to what your paper is about. In addition, you must have evidence to support the claim you are making in your thesis. This evidence is contained within the research you conduct for your paper. The content that you cite from books, journal articles, and other sources you collect must support your thesis statement.
For information and helpful tips about finding credible sources and developing your thesis statement, use the links below.
Purdue OWL: Developing a Strong Thesis Statement
Provides tips for ensuring that your thesis statement is clear and focused.
Purdue OWL: Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
Explains the difference between analytical, expository, and argumentative papers and how to develop a thesis for each. Examples are included.
Developing a Thesis (Harvard University)
Offers a clear explanation of a thesis statement and includes steps to constructing a thesis. Examples are also included.