Choose Your Topic
One of the most difficult things when getting started on a research paper can be coming up with a strategy to begin exploring a topic. Some topics are too broad, and need to be broken down into smaller parts, which can help a lot. Some topics are too narrow, and need to be expanded.
A just-right topic will reflect the length of a research paper (how many pages are you required to write?), the amount of time you have to complete the paper, and the number of sources you're being asked to incorporate into your paper.
One way to come up with a topic is to do background research. This includes reading encyclopedia articles to learn more about a broad subject. Once you know more about the subject, you can make connections between topics and sub-topics. Then write a short summary of what you have learned from your background research.
It helps to think of your main topic as a starting point for your research, not a destination.
Here are some ideas for topics for your project. Feel free to ask your instructor about choosing a slightly different topic.
Use an essential question to narrow your topic and develop your paper's thesis. Here are some examples of essential questions. For more, refer to your class Research Guide or speak to your instructor.
Your Works Cited Page
You'll be using MLA format to cite each of the sources used in your paper. MLA format has two primary functions:
MLA also provides guidelines on formatting your paper, from what to include on your cover page, where to place your page numbers, what size font you should use, and more!
The websites below offer detailed information on how to use MLA. And you're always welcome to ask a GCC librarian for help with MLA - or anything else!
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