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Your Research Paper: Concept to Completion: Step 1: Your Topic

Basic guide to take you from developing a research topic to a finished research paper

A General Topic

What will I write about?

General Topic: Usually a few words or a phrase that you'd be interested in researching.

  • Media Violence
  • Gun laws
  • Climate Change
  • Bullying
  • Animal Rights
  • Women's Issues
  • Anything else you can think of!

Background Research

Background Research: searching and reading a variety of information about your general topic in order to decide where you want to focus your research.

Thesis Statement/ Research Question

The thesis statement is a sentence within the introduction of your paper describing what you will discuss through the rest of the paper.

  • Should be debatable
  • Should be specific to what you will cover in your paper


Violence in the media is a significant contributor to the recent gun violence in schools.

Intervention and education can reduce the amount of bullying that occurs in schools.

Information Literacy Librarian

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Maria Barefoot
105 Stapleton Library