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Teaching Tip: Research Paper Topic Guidelines


The first step your students face when writing a research paper is to choose a topic. Use the following guidelines to help your students choose an appropriate topic. Require that you approve a topic before a student begins to work on his or her paper.
  • Be sure your student's topic is not too broad. If the topic is too broad, your student will find so much information that it will be difficult for him or her to organize the information into a coherent paper. If you have a limit on the number of pages, the student will find it difficult to fit the available information within that limit.

    "Health Care in Today's Society" is too broad a topic. There are many issues related to health care and society has many segments. Your student should narrow this topic to a specific issue, such as "The Implications of Health Care Reform for the Elderly in the United States."
  • Be sure your student's topic is not too narrow. If the topic is too narrow, your student will be unable to find enough information to write a paper.

    "Using Computers to Teach Spelling in the First Half of Second Grade" is too narrow a topic. "Using Computers to Teach Spelling in Elementary School" is a more appropriate topic.
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