Prewrite

If your teacher hasn't already assigned a topic for your paper, spend a little time deciding exactly what you'd like to research. Select a topic that interests you, and the writing process will seem much more enjoyable.

Tips for choosing a topic:

  • Brainstorm a list of subjects that interest you.
  • Go to your library with your list of subjects. Do a quick search for books and other resources that relate to those on your list. Make sure that there will be enough books and other resources on the topic you choose.
  • Once you decide on a general topic, try to narrow it down. For example, instead of writing a paper on World War II, write a paper that covers Pearl Harbor.

Once you've chosen a topic, state it in the form of a question or as a problem to be solved— this is sometimes referred to as the "essential question." If you were writing about Pearl Harbor, you might try to answer the question: What happened as a result of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor?

For help in choosing a topic, print the worksheet below, or check out one of our Research Starters for ideas: