Throughout your college career, you'll be asked to write any number of essays - so how do you know for each one, what you should write about? Some topics must be better than others - but how do you know when you've hit the sweet spot? How do you know when you've found a topic that will best help you get that A?
Here are some suggestions on how to start:
Once you know broadly what you want to write about, you'll have to narrow your topic so you can write about it thoroughly in the space you have. Below are some ways to start thinking about directions to take your paper:
From Research Topic to Research Question:
A research question is slightly different from a research topic.
But how do you change your research topic into a research question?
Sometimes, this is easy to do, especially if you’re already asking implied questions in your topic.
Sometimes, you have to let your pre-searching guide you to your question. You will likely be brainstorming your topic, beginning your research, and creating a research question all at the same time, and that’s okay! Your brain will have to do a little bit of juggling, but if you keep your focus narrow, it’ll be easier.
How do you create a research question without a totally refined topic yet?
Still can’t figure out how to go from topic to question? That’s okay! It’s a difficult task, and one that doesn’t have a neat “one-size fits all” set of instructions. Ask a librarian or your professor for help. That’s what we’re here for!
From Research Question to Thesis Statement:
Once you have a research question, you can start to think about a thesis or argument for your essay.
Your answer to your research question will be your thesis statement. It’s as simple as that. The rest of your paper is simply evidence to support your argument.
Keep in mind though! Your thesis might change as you continue to research! That’s totally okay! You are allowed to change your argument as you find more evidence. You are allowed to change your mind when presented with a new idea. You are allowed to disagree with your former self. This is where the learning happens! This is actually a really good thing!