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How To: Get Started on a Research Project: Choose a Topic

This guide gives suggestions and resources to help students as they begin a research project.

Understand Your Assignment

When you begin a research project for a class, it's very useful to know what the requirements and expectations are for the project. To help as you investigate topics and decide on a subject for your project, keep these things in mind:

  • When is the project due? How much time do you need to locate sources, to organize your research, and to write your paper?
  • How long does the project need to be?
  • What types of sources are you required to use? What types of resources are not accepted?
  • Is there a minimum number of sources required?
  • What documentation style do you need to use, if you are required to cite external sources?

Current Issues Databases

These databases may help you find a topic that interests you. Each includes materials that offer different viewpoints about topics related to current events and social issues. You might also use the information you find in these databases as sources for your research project. 

Topic Tutorial