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School of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

How to choose a topic

If you are in an education course, you will probably have to limit your topic selection to something related to education but that still gives you a wide variety of subjects to choose from. While there is no perfect topic there are some questions you can ask yourself about a topic to help you determine if it is a good one for your particular research project.

Does it meet the requirements of your instructor and course?

If you decide to write about monster truck rallys for an Early Childhood Education class you might need to reconisder your topic.

What do you arleady know about your topic?

Writing down everything you already know will help you to sort out how you are going to present your thoughts about the topic in your project.

What do you want to know about the topic?

Write down any questions that you have about your topic.

Use your topic, what you already know, and questions about what you don't know as points to research for your paper.

Featured video from Films on Demand: "Early Childhood: Classroom Culture"

Find more videos like this by going to the UA-PTC Libraries website (, clicking on Databases A-Z, and selecting "Films on Demand."

NOTE:  If you are accessing these videos from off-campus, you will need to log in using your UA-PTC Portal User Name and Password. 

The Research Process

A research paper or project can seem overwhelming at first. It helps to break it down into steps:

Step1: Determine your project's focus

Step 2: Locate appropriate sources

Step 3: Read sources and present that information in your project.

This guide is designed to help you do these things. Start with the Research Basics tab to learn how to focus your project and what makes up an appropriate and credible source. The Finding Books, Finding Articles and Web Sites tabs will guide you to locating these types of sources. The Citing Sources tab will help you cite your sources in the correct format.

Why do research?

So, why is research important and how can it help me?

In everyday life, research can help you in a variety of ways, from finding the best restaurants in a particular area to figuring out which kind of vehicle best meets your family's needs. 

Research is also important in college for a number of reasons, such as:  

  • Researching a topic and citing where you get your information makes your paper more credible since it shows you are backing up your thoughts with expert information.
  • Research increases your knowledge by giving you a more well-rounded view of a topic than you might have otherwise.
  • Research prevents accidental plagiarism, which can happen if someone takes credit for an idea that somebody else has already had.

Adapted from "Why is research important when writing a paper?"

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