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Calvert High School Library: Selecting a Topic

Choose a Topic

If you found yourself inspired by many topics, then it is time to choose just one. Here are three ways to help you decide on a topic that is right for you:

  • Class Assignment - Choose a topic that meets your assignment guidelines and matches the focus of the class. This may seem obvious, but it is a very important consideration to remember. Consider the following: 
    • Have you been assigned a topic or can you pick your own?
    • How many pages/words do you need to write? How long is your presentation?
    • Do you need to include specific types of sources? (e.g. scholarly articles, books, newspapers, etc.)
    • When is the assignment due? How much time do you have to research?
  • Interest - Since you will be spending a good deal of time interacting with the topic, you should choose something that sparks your curiosity. It will make your research painless and will inspire you to produce a better project!
  • Focus - Finding a great topic is not just about the topic itself, but also the angle you will address when researching it. Is there a specific focus, or interest area, you want to explore on the topic? For example, if your topic is “immigration,” you could focus on immigration reform, immigration rights, or United States citizenship requirements.

 Can’t think of a topic?

  • Scan your textbook for broad topic ideas.
  • Review your class discussions, notes, and readings.
  • Skim current magazines and newspapers to see what catches your eye.
  • Browse print and digital resources
  • Look at databases that feature articles on current events and controversial issues such as SIRS Issues Researcher, Gale: Opposing Viewpoints or US Newstream..
  • Discuss potential topics with your teacher, or a classmate.
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