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Planning Your Research: Selecting a Topic

Helpful Hints:
Selecting a Topic

Choose a topic that is interesting and meaningful to you.

Take advantage of an opportunity to learn about something you've wanted to know more about in the past, but didn't have the time to explore. Or perhaps there's a problem at work that you would like to solve, which you could turn into a topic.

Be sure to talk to your instructor (and librarian!) about your topic. Instructors enjoy reading papers from students who are engaged and interested in their research paper topics.

Interesting Topics Are Everywhere!


photo credit: Jurnasyanto Sukarno—epa/Corbis

Interesting topics are everywhere – in newspaper articles, on the radio and television, in blogs and newsfeeds, and in everyday conversations and places. 

Suggestions for places to find interesting topics include:

Library Research Databases


  • Opposing Viewpoints Topic List
  • Hot Paper Topics (from Owens Library. Many colleges and universities have a page like this which are easy to find with a Google search)
  • National Public Radio and its local affiliate, Hawaii Public Radio, often have fascinating and thought-provoking programs on all topics — many of which you can listen to as podcasts. Unlike "talk radio," which is often one-sided and biased, NPR and HPR programs attempt to present all sides of an issue.
  • Check out the headlines from the news feeds in the left column of this page. 

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Ellen Peterson
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