Finding a Topic
Picking the right topic for an essay can save any writer time and can help set up
the essay for potential success before beginning. A bad topic will do the opposite
and can lead to a frustrating writing experience. With this in mind, here are a few
elements a writer should always consider when considering a potential essay topic:
- Pick a topic that interests you: The more interested you, as the writer, are in the topic, the easier it will be
to write about. If the essay requires research and the use of outside sources, pick
a topic that you are interested in learning more about to make the research process
- Pick a topic that you have experience with: Having experience with a particular subject provides a foundation that can be expanded
upon through the writing process. The more experience you have with a particular topic,
the better. However, keep in mind that having experience with a particular subject
is not the same as being an expert (although you may, in fact, be one), but some form
of experience provides a basis for writing and possible research.
- Pick a topic that will interest the reader: If the topic interests you but doesn’t interest others, it may not be worth writing
about. Remember that good writers consider their audience throughout the process,
even at this early stage. This often means avoiding topics that have been written
about extensively and, instead, choosing topics that are more current.
- Make sure the topic fits the guidelines for the essay: Even if your paper is interesting and well written, if it doesn’t fit the guidelines
established by the instructor, the end result will not be successful. When in doubt,
discuss the topic with the instructor and make sure it is appropriate before beginning.
- If outside sources must be used, make sure there are enough credible sources available: If you must perform and incorporate research into your essay, do some of this research
before committing to the topic. Starting to organize or write and later finding out
that there aren’t enough sources to use can waste a lot of time. To avoid this, make
sure that there are enough credible sources to use before committing to a topic and
beginning the actual writing. For more information on doing research, view the finding sources and effective internet searches pages.