Finding a Topic

  • You may write on any topic that is related to the core question and mutually agreeable to you and your professor. The paper must reflect your independent approach to the issue, problem, question, or idea that you have chosen. The central argument of your paper must be yours; that is, it must result from your own analysis. You may do research if you choose or if the nature of the topic demands it. You should be able to find a thesis based on the reading you have been doing in your unit; adjust your topic accordingly.

    In choosing a topic, keep in mind that the paper needs to reflect a serious and thorough exploration of a significant idea. The paper needs to display a careful and critical intelligence at work. You should shun grandiose projects; focus, instead, on an idea that you can handle successfully. The best way to find a topic in our disciplines is to find an issue, question, or problem in the course material that both interests you and is narrow enough to be examined carefully. Often such intriguing issues, questions, and problems emerge in class discussion or in the process of writing your journal entries.

    While class discussion and assigned reading are good springboards to a thesis, papers that simply repeat class discussions or report a reading(s) are not acceptable. We are interested in seeing you develop your own critical intelligence. Avoid trendy approaches unless they truly help to reveal a significant reading of the primary material.

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