Sometimes the hardest part about writing an essay is coming up with a good topic to write about. When the instructor assigns you an essay but gives you a lot of leeway for the topic, it can be really hard to think of anything.
Here are four good tips for coming up with an awesome essay topic.
• Brainstorm first: This might sound like a lot of extra work, but brainstorming helps the decision. One way to do this is to make a mind map. In the middle, write the topic for the entire course. Then, write bubbles for every subcategory in that topic that you can think of. For every subcategory bubble, think of smaller categories that relate, until you have a web of topics that range from narrow to wide. Sometimes, after doing this, a student will realize they have written down something similar multiple times without being aware. If this happens, this is likely the topic you should stick to.
• Be original: Don’t pick something that has already been used as an example or a case study in class. If your teacher gives you a list of themes, then choose from there, but make sure it doesn’t seem like you’re just taking their ideas from class and regurgitating them on paper. Your teacher also doesn’t want to read the same paper 20 times in a row.
• Narrow it down by expanding further: The less generic your topic is, the better your paper will be. Try to find a deeper issue in the topic you want to do. For example, if you are in a human rights class and the subject you want to write about is gay marriage, don’t just write about why it should be legal. Write about the benefits of gay marriage on children in adopted families, why gay marriage is good for the economy, or connect it to another issue, such as transgender rights.
• Do some research before you settle: Sometimes you’ll find that you want to completely change your topic once you start doing some research. Often, writers do not end up writing the same paper they began writing. This could be because you realize that there are more scholarly sources out there for another topic, or because you’ve simply lost interest in the original one. You could have also simply realized that your idea was wrong and found another angle to go from. Any of these reasons are valid and prove that doing some research right off the bat will help you.
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