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Research Paper Writing: Finding Sources and Topic to Write About

When looking for a research topic, you should choose a topic that you are able to research and enjoy. Wondering what your topic should be? It should be all of the following.

Find a Topic

Something you know

You do not want to begin with a subject that you have little knowledge about, as you will not know what work will be required in order to get an excellent grade on the research paper. Diane H. Wong, an essay writer at DoMyWriting, says “Understanding the topic at the beginning means that you will know that you have a viable topic that you will be able to research, and that your topic is just narrow enough not to be overwhelming”.

Something you enjoy

You should choose a topic, if you can, on something that you would gladly keep reading and learning about. If the topic is interesting to you, you are more likely to be zealous in your research and faster in your comprehension. If it is a long term project, you should find something that will keep your interest for more than a few days, as this will not only keep you excited about the paper longer, but will make your time more pleasant. Also, if you enjoy a topic, you are more likely to be able to make connections and fuller arguments because you will have a fuller background to pull from. This is because your mind is more fully engaged in a project when you are interested in it.

Something to challenge you

If you are working on a long-term project, it is best to create a topic that, while still familiar to you, breaks into new ground, requiring fresh analysis and research. Finding this balance between familiar and new can be difficult to learn, but makes a project so much more fulfilling when it is reached. While you should be able to pull from the large background of what you already know, you should also be required to encounter new ideas and theories. Connecting these new theories to each other and to what you already know is the core and beauty of your paper.

Find Sources

If you are writing a research paper and are trying to create the strongest foundation for your argument, as well as solid back up for your points, sources must become your best friend. Here are three things to consider when bringing together a list of sources.


When you are writing a research paper, you want a wide range of publication dates in your bibliography. This will help prove that you did your homework and researched all major sources, not just recent ones or the nobodies that agreed with you. You must be sure that you include at least some recent publications, even if they are not your main source, so that your readers know that you were keeping up with any new research on your topic.


You should also have a variety of types of publications, from articles to pamphlets to full-fledged books. It is important to note that a master’s thesis or doctorate dissertation should not be considered a worthy source, as this is a piece of work produced before an author has really even become a qualified writer to be taken seriously. Plenty of writers go on to take their thesis or dissertation and turn it into a fuller work later in their career. This newer version is perfectly acceptable to use, as it was created as a scholar has more knowledge and experience.


Even if you find a perfect source that says everything you hoped it would say, you should not consider it your savior until you have researched its author. What education and position does the author hold? How well-researched was she in her studies, as demonstrated in the size of the bibliography? Another important thing to consider is if you have heard of the author before, either discussed in other sources, or as holding her own with a long list of publications in respected magazines and publishers. If this is the case, you have found a wonderful piece and you can feel free to rely on it, but do not forget to address the questions raised by other scholars.