Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Topics Hunt

This is the time in the semester when teachers start assigning the ever creative, ever stressful "term paper," or something similar in nature.

Sometimes teachers are helpful and provide us students with a topic relating to something we've read or discussed in class. However, sometimes they want our creative juices to flow widely and just choose a topic out of thin air!

I have found choosing something to write about is the most difficult part of the writing process, partially because until that start point is identified, you cannot move forward.

Here are some tips for choosing a topic for your next big paper:
  • Don't pick something to write about that you hate. It will make the entire process hard and miserable, and the paper won't reflect you in the best light.
  • Think about everything you come in contact with on a daily basis. Pick up a copy of the Daily Athenaeum or read it online at You might find something relevant to your life that would make an interesting paper.
  • Go to or another nationwide news outlet. A current event or social issue is creative and timely.
  • If your paper requires research, make sure the topic you choose is 1. old enough to have research done about it and 2. that research is available and reliable. Check out the databases at the WVU Library's website at to make sure your topic has academic research.

Here are some tools to help you get started. Another great resource is coming to the Writing Center and having a tutor help you brainstorm. You can come to the Center at any point in the writing process, and we will help you get to the next step!

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