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WSH ENG102: Finding your topic

English 102

Choosing a topic

Your assignment requires you to find an intriguing article, either on the web or in print. 

Some good places to start looking for an article or topic are listed in the box below.

Once you have an idea for a topic, do some preliminary reading about it to determine whether 1) you remain interested in the topic and 2) there is enough information available to meet the requirements of your assignment.

Using Wikipedia or an encyclopedia can help you learn the generalities of your topic.

The A+ Research and Writing Guide, from the Internet Public Library, offers the following topic “fitness” test: 

The topic you choose should "fit" in several important respects: your interests and knowledge, the purpose of the assignment, the type of paper (report, issue, argument), and the length of the paper.

The boxes below suggest some database, book and internet sources to help you in choosing a topic.

Remember that the time you invest in selecting a topic will pay off when you are doing your research. Good luck!


Don't Forget our Reference Section!

The Library has an excellent print reference section which includes:

  • encyclopedias, general and specialized
  • dictionaries, general and specialized
  • indexes

The reference section is found adjacent to the library's small research lab, within eye-sight of the main desk.  Just ask if you have trouble finding it.

Podcast - CNN's Anderson Cooper 360

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NPR news feeds

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Generating a List of Keywords

As you've looked through encyclopedias, books and websites you should already have a list of keywords started about your topic. This list should include broad and narrow terminology.

We advise you keep a list near you throughout the research process and that you continually add words or concepts to this list. Research is a fluid and cyclical process. Bear in mind you may want to search the same sources several times whenever you add new terms.

Podcast - NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour

Some podcasts can be very broad, like the CNN or NPR news brief, or very narrow like this one on Pop Culture.  Do a Google search to see if there's a podcast out there on your topic.

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Podcast - NPR daily news brief

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