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Research Process: Selecting a Topic

This tutorial aims to help develop effective library research skills and critical thinking skills in all courses at Prince George's Community College.

Selecting a Topic

One of the key things to remember when selecting a topic is to choose a subject that is of interest to you. It makes the research process more enjoyable and fun. You might want to consider selecting a topic that has occurred over the past several months. You can always get ideas from your instructor and/or a librarian. 

Sources for Topic Ideas


  • Ready Reference Books (Shelved at the Reference Desk):
    • 10,000 Ideas for Term Papers, Projects, Reports and Speeches
    • 1,000 Ideas for English Papers
  • Current Issues
  • Stories in the News
  • Newspaper Editorials
  • Table of Contents and Indexes of Books
  • Encyclopedias
  • Personal Experiences
  • Suggestions from Your instructor
  • Online Resources


Successful research papers are determined by understanding the assignment and developing a research strategy. Listed below are hints for developing a strategy for the research process.

S - Select a topic that is of interest to you.

T - Tailor the topic, do background reading, and formulate a thesis.

R - Review sources to determine the pertinent ones for the topic.

A - Access a range of resources to develop a well rounded paper.

T - Time and stress management help to yield a quality paper.

E - Engage help from faculty and librarians to develop the paper.

G - Gather quality resources to document points.

Y - Yield to understand that information is power.