One of the most important steps in the process of writing a research paper for the English discipline is choosing an interesting, engaging topic. An instructor may offer students a range of topics from which to choose or allow students to choose their own areas of focus. If the teacher does provide a list of possible topics, students may respond by feeling either reassured or stifled by the narrowed topic choices. If you find yourself feeling stifled or have a specific interest in another topic not listed, approach your teacher and express your reservations. He or she may very likely allow you to investigate a topic not on the list. If the instructor does not offer a list of topics and you are having difficulty choosing your own, consider adressing the teacher for more guidance. Most importantly, take your time and don't feel rushed to choose a specific topic.
Your choice of topic will influence both the effort you invest in your research and the degree to which you enjoy the process.
Choose a topic you find challenging and interesting. Don't shy away from controversial topics. Be aware of how much research is available on your topic of choice. Although it is important to offer readers a new interpretation or perspective of the work under investigation, you need not be deterred if your area of focus is widely discussed. It is useful to learn how to incorporate the insights and ideas of other scholars within your own personal findings.
Before narrowing your focus to a specific claim or interpretation, conduct research in order to gain an understanding of what other individuals have said about the topic. Most students find it useful to examine a wide range of sources before deciding on a specific area of focus.
Select a topic you feel equipped to handle. Avoid topics that are: (1) too general- try to be specific about what you seek to investigate, (2) too specialized- remain mindful of the preexisting knowledge you possess, in choosing an overly specialized...