How To Pick A Good Topic For An Essay: 10 Basic Hints

In high school and college, you will end up writing your fair share of essays. One of the most important parts of essay writing is choosing your topic. In some cases, your topic will be assigned to you, but this is rarely the case. Usually, you’ll have some leeway in deciding on your own paper topic. Your topic will depend on the subject area, what you’re studying, and other parameters set by your teacher and professor. However, you’ll probably still have a lot of freedom to choose. Here are some tips on how to pick up a good topic for an essay.

  • Choose a broad area that you’re interested in. Decide on a broad area within the course you’re taking, which is acceptable for your paper project, and work from there. For example, if you need to do a paper about the history of English literature, you can narrow it to a certain movement and time period. For example, you could write about the 19th century Romantic movement. To narrow it further, you could write an essay about cultural and literary trends that led to the rise of Romanticism as a reaction to previous Neoclassical sensibilities.
  • Make sure you’re at least somewhat interested in the topic. This is important. When you have a genuine interest in what you’re writing about, you’ll have a much easier time researching it. You’ll also find yourself putting more effort into your paper, creating a higher quality, more well-written paper that gets a higher grade.
  • Find a book or textbook about a broad topic you’re interested in writing about. For example, if you’re writing about 19th century English literature, you could find a book about it. You’ll expose yourself to many possible paper ideas by learning some new information about literary movements, authors, and developments in literary style.
  • Check the Internet for ideas, looking at what other people have written about.
  • Ask your teacher or professor about what former students have chosen for their topics.
  • Go to a broader topic page on Wikipedia, and browse links to find more ideas and information.
  • Check out the latest news about recent research and discoveries in the academic subject you’re writing for.
  • Check out questions people have asked about the subject at online resources
  • Look online for a list of potential essay topics.
  • Ask an upperclassman what they or their classmates wrote about.

These ten basic hints are just a few useful guidelines that can help you choose a great topic for an essay for any subject, from English literature to Philosophy of Science. Again, make sure you’re at least somewhat interested in the topic that you’re writing about. Genuine interest makes things much easier. For a history class, for example, write about a military history topic if that’s what you’re interested in. If Egypt bores you, write your Ancient History paper about ancient China instead. Most professors will give you a choice of topic, which creates an opportunity for you to learn more about something that’s actually fascinating.