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Student’s Hints: How to Be the Lucky One and Find a Good Topic for a Research Paper Online


You probably already know that library research isn’t always easy. Despite there being hundreds of thousands of books in your typical university library, you won’t necessarily find the books or journals you need to choose a topic and conduct your research. It can be frustrating and so much time is lost that by the time you do find a topic you’re usually too tired to get into readings and writing your paper with much enthusiasm. But what other choice do you have?

You should try looking online. The internet provides thousands of thousands great topic ideas for your research papers as well as the occasional resource to help you get started. So how can you be one of the lucky ones? Follow these tips:

  • Subscribe to research journals in your discipline. Your college may give you access to dozens of online academic journals for free. Take advantage of this and subscribe to all that can within your discipline. These journals will prove to be a valuable first stop when you first start thinking about and searching for a potential research topic. Be sure to familiarize yourself with how to search for abstracts and back issues. Just because nothing has recently been published on a topic that interests you doesn’t mean there isn’t an excellent resource that is just a few years old.

  • Become an active searcher and reader. In addition to subscribing to academic journals for research topic opportunities, you also want to generally become an active searcher and reader of a number of topics in your discipline. Listen to what is said in lecture and talk to other students to hear about some interesting subjects. Even if it’s not up your alley, you develop a habit of being a part of the conversation. This will be tremendously helpful when your fellow students fall upon an article they think you will be interested in.

  • Develop and follow through on ideas. Whenever you come up with the germ of an idea, it’s always a good idea to write it down until you are able to follow through on it. Perhaps the idea goes nowhere but you won’t find out if this is the case unless you type in some keywords from your notes and search online. Whatever your results, you may find an interesting research path to follow. And remember, anything that is interesting to you will make for a great start in your research and writing.

  • Don’t let the obstacle of finding a research paper overwhelm you. Follow the tips above and give yourself plenty of time. A perfect topic is waiting for you just around the corner; you just have to get out in front of it before it slips away.

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