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General Education

Explore Potential Topics

These links can help you explore a variety of contemporary issues, so you can find one or two topics you'd most like to delve into.

Tips for Choosing and Limiting a Topic

Choose a topic you're curious about, so you'll be more interested in doing the work.

  • Make sure your topic is not so broad that you are overwhelmed with information.
  • Make sure your topic is not so narrow that you can't find enough information.

Start your research early to reduce stress and anxiety.

Consider how much information you need. Pay attention to your professor's requirements for sources. It's best to know what you need before you start looking.

Explore your topic online or using Library Search or the databases to see what information is available and to get ideas of related topics. It's normal to refine or even change your topic based on what you discover at the beginning of the research process.

Ask questions about your topic from the perspective of every kind of class you have ever seen in a school’s schedule: Ask a historical question, an economic question, a science (biology or other), a global question, a sociological question, a political question, an environmental question, a literature question, an artistic question, and so on.

Limit your topic to a time period (for example: 2, 5 or 10 years) or geographical area (for example: the US, Wisconsin, or Milwaukee) to make it more manageable.

This content is adapted from Choosing a Topic via Murphy Library, UW-La Crosse and from Information Literacy Basic Research Skills by Carol M. Withers.

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