What is a Scholarly Topic?
A scholarly topic should:
(Adapted from Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide, 12th Edition, by James D. Lester and James D. Lester, Jr., p. 13)
How to Choose a Topic
Factors to consider when choosing a topic.
(Adapted from The Curious Researcher: A Guide to Writing Research Papers, 5th Edition, by Bruce Ballenger, p 35-36.
Try to think of the Who, What, When and Where of a topic:
Broad topic: Alcoholism
Who? What population of people are you looking at?
What? What aspect and/or viewpoint are you interested in?
When? If you aren't interested in what is happening now, what time period?
Where? Will you focus on a particular country, state or even city?
Narrow topic: Effective treatment plans for teenage alcoholics.
Narrow topic: Causes of alcoholism in Native-American populations.
Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement
1.Determine what kind of paper you are writing:
If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.
2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.
4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.