for choosing a topic and finding a focus:
textbook as well as class lectures and/or class discussions
might suggest topics.
Keep in mind that the best topic is one that you are genuinely
interested in and want to know more about.
the table of contents of an encyclopedia on the general subject.
If, for example, you are assigned a paper about the Middle
Ages, scan the table of contents in the Dictionary of the
Middle Ages for topic ideas.
you have been asked to write a paper about a controversy,
consult the following source for controversies in multiple
-Taking Sides 20 vols. Ref HN5 .T35
you have an idea for a topic, read an encyclopedia essay about
it to get an overview of it.
doing an exploratory search of a database (see
Section 4 of the tutorial) to get a sense of the kind
of work that others have done on it. This might give you ideas
about ways you can approach it.
in mind: Never
begin work on a research project until you are absolutely clear
on the specifications; check the assignment handout and/or your
professor on length, kinds of sources, and other requirements.
Reeves Library, Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary
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