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ENGL 1410: Writing and AI: Getting Started

How do you research?

Research can be difficult, even if you do everything right. This page is about the first two steps in the research process. 

  • Pick a topic that you care about
  • Figure out what kind of information you're looking for

Picking a Topic

How to Pick a Good Topic

1. Make it something you care about

Do you already have a topic in mind? Think about why that topic interests you. If you can't think of anything about it that interests you, consider changing your topic. Caring makes everything easier.

If you don't already have a topic in mind, think about what you're just generally interested in. For example Susan cares about 4 things on a regular basis:

  • 19th century literature
  • The glam rock movement of the early 1970s
  • Pasta
  • Bison or Marmots

2. Consider the parameters of the assignment

  • Does your topic fit? Can you fit your interest into the assignment?  Rather than writing about something she doesn't care about, Susan is going to write about how AI is interacting with 19th century authors through predictive algorithms and data mining. 
  • Will you have enough to write about? Some questions have easy, simple answers and won't last for a multiple page paper. Other questions are way too complicated and would take a whole book to answer. Questions to avoid: Yes or No questions, definition questions, questions with one, inarguable answer that would take only one sentence to write.

3. Still don't have a good topic? 

Look at recent news stories and blog posts on your topic. What makes you excited, curious, or mad? Use that as the basis for your topic. 

Topic Picking Help

Here is a brainstorming worksheet to help you with choosing a topic:

Which source is right for you?