Argumentative Research Essay

Selecting a Topic

When writing a research paper, there will be times when you are assigned a specific topic, or times when you will be asked to choose a topic from a pre-determined list. For this project, you will be able to select a topic of your own choosing. The advantage of this is that you get to write about something that interests you and that you want to write about. One downside to this is that it can be difficult to narrow down your topic. The following steps in this packet are designed to help you narrow your focus so that you can begin to select a topic that you will want to spend time researching and writing about. Begin by identifying two or three areas of interest.  If you don’t have any ideas, try brainstorming about some of the following general topics:

·         Current events

·         A hobby that you enjoy

·         A subject in school that you are studying

·         A news story that you found interesting

·         A career interest that you might have

·         Read through a newspaper

·         Discuss potential topics with your teacher

Think about two or three topics that interest you and list them in your research packet that corresponds with this website.

In order to choose one of these topics, spend some time brainstorming about each one.  What types of questions or ideas do you have about these topics? Specifically, what do you want to know more about these ideas? For example, you might have the topic of “junk food.” This is a very broad topic and you could narrow it down by brainstorming.  Just as you have done before writing paragraphs and essays, spend some time jotting down ideas about your topic. What comes to mind? Do you have any questions about your topic? What things are you curious about or would you like to have more information about?


Use the space in your packet to list your ideas and questions about at least two of your topics.

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