The W questions can help you identify what's important about your topic and help you understand it better.
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The hardest part about research can be choosing a topic. For your ENGL 107 paper, you're able to write about any topic of your choice. You'll need to make sure your topic is researchable, isn't too broad or narrow, and most of all, something that interests you. Think about these questions as you brainstorm topic ideas:
Is it interesting to me?
Research may never be your favorite task, but it can be a lot less painful if you're actually interested in what you're researching and writing about! For your assignments in ENGL 107, you're able to choose any topic you'd like. Don't be limited by what you think is a research topic, almost anything can be turned into a researchable topic. For instance, if you love music, you might consider writing about hip-hop.
Can I research this?
While you want your topic to be interesting to you personally, you also want it to appeal to a wider audience. If your topic is too personal, like how hip-hop has impacted me, you won't find research on your topic. But if you starting thinking about the impact of hip-hop on society, you'll be able to find research and sources to use.
Is my topic too narrow, or too broad?
In addition to having interest and general appeal, you also need to make sure your topic isn't too broad or too narrow. If your topic is too broad, you'll find too much research and it will be difficult to choose an area of focus. If your topic is too narrow, then you run the risk of not finding enough research- similar to if your topic is too personal. Try running some searches in the library's databases to see if you're retrieving too many irrelevant results or too few. If your results are in the high 10,000s, narrow your topic! If you're only getting 30 results, you may need to broaden your topic.
A thesis is the main idea or point that you're trying to make in a piece of writing. In ENGL 107, you'll write an argumentative essay where you attempt to persuade your audience with a thesis claim that is backed up by convincing evidence, which you will find in sources through your research.