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Picking the best research paper topics

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student writing a term paper
When you start with the right topic, the rest is so much easier
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The best research paper topics makes a term paper much easier to write

One of the most painful...and of high school and college are the term papers. No, I did not say it was the most fun.  That they are not!

But years from now you will remember with a grimace that endless research, trying to write the bibliography correctly, and of course, the all-nighters when you were down to the wire.

But there are ways to make term papers less painful.  And it starts with picking the best research paper topics for your class and your interests.   Here are some tips to steer you in the right direction.  If you start it right, your next term paper might just be a little less memorable and a bit more successful.

Remember what class you’re writing for

This might seem silly, but I’ve seen students write great social studies papers for a biology class, or excellent English papers for a psychology class.  Make sure the topic you’ve selected is not just sort of , kind of, a little bit related to your class – it needs to be focused on that class.

Read the assignment …twice

Many a student has walked into class, term paper in hand, only to find that they had overlooked the teacher’s list of acceptable topics or a specific question they were supposed to answer with the research paper.

Carefully reviewing the assignment – and asking questions if you have any doubts about the topics you’re allowed to choose, can save you wasted effort.  And make that sought-after “A” a little easier to reach.

Be realistic

One of the keys to picking the best research paper topics is knowing your own limitations.  Before you select your topic, consider the time and energy you can realistically put into the paper. 

If you have part time job or sports team practice three or four times a week, every week, selecting a complex topic that requires hours and hours of research is probably not the best choice.

It’s not “taking the easy way out” to select a research paper topic that you can do well in the time you have available.  It doesn’t mean doing a lower quality job.  But it will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and possibly doing a poor job on both the paper and your other responsibilities

Make sure the resources are available

Picking a research paper topic and then finding out that the materials you’d need are not available where and when you need them is an exercise in frustration.  Before you turn in your term paper topic, do some preliminary research and locate the sources you’ll need. 

Starting this as soon as you get the assignment will give you plenty of time to pick an alternate topic if the first one doesn’t pan out. 

Make it interesting to you

Maybe you’re not terrible excited about 18th century British poets.  But you still have to write a term paper, so do your best to find an aspect of the subject that is interesting to you.  Maybe it’s a poet who had a quirky style, or one who lived an exceptionally exciting life. 

Finding the piece of the subject that holds your attention will make your research paper easier to write.  And the final result will be better because of it.

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