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Annotated Bibliography : Picking Your Topic: Step 1

The Process

1. Choose a topic.

Where to Start?

When you have a lot of latitude in what topic you can research, it can be hard to get started! Think about what interests you, or what gets you really passionately irritated about the world. Or maybe just think of what you personally enjoy (playing music? reading? football?) and try to think of ways that interest might intersect with the assignment guidelines.  Consider the following:

  • Can I find enough information on my subject?
  • Will I be able to add my own perspective to this topic? 
  • Will the approach I take be convincing and insightful to others? 
  • Have I addressed more than just the obvious two sides of the issue? 
  • Consider your purpose, tone, and audience (your teacher, your peers). 
  • Narrow your topic appropriately:
    • For example, the topic of censorship is too broad. The adverse effect of internet censorship on individual rights or the positive effects of limited internet censorship is narrower. 
  • Consider the complexity of the issue when looking at your sources and thinking about your topic.