Researching A Topic For An Academic Essay

You've been asked to write an academic essay. First thing you need to think of is a topic. This is when you start to get stressed thinking about what topic to write about. Most professors will provide a list and ask you to choose one of them. Others may just give you a guideline. For example if you are taking a course on the 'European History' and you have been asked to write a paper on some of the important people within that period, showing their influence during one of the European Wars. This is a very general based topic. Not only there are hundreds of influential people, but there is a huge time span.

The topic is so broad that requires you to deal with too much information for one essay. This is when you need to think outside the box. This was the whole point of the topic. For you to drill down and figure out what is:

  • Interesting to you
  • What you have learnt to date?

So, there is no way that all this information can be in one essay, some but certainly not all.

The first thing to do is grip that title and find out what you want to say about the topic. You can get that from your course notes. Go through them and highlight the key timelines that were interesting to you. Let's be honest not all of it would have been interesting but there will be times when you found yourself reading books, researching on the net about particular timelines.

Once you have established your timeline, dig deeper and research the many people during that period that were again of interest to you. The key is to focus on interest. If a topic is interesting to you then you will have no problem trying to find information about it. It will be like solving a jigsaw puzzle, the longer you spent on it the greater the feeling is of accomplishment when it has been completed.

So, now we have the timelines and the interesting characters. We are ready to dig a bit deeper, do a floor map of all the information to date, get a large piece of paper and brainstorm the different titles for your essay. Once you have completed that you are ready to start the whole process of completing your academic paper.