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Simple guide for understanding how to choose high school research paper topics

The papers you’ll write in high school are like practice for college and university. You’ll need to get used to the format and the writing process now in order to save yourself a lot of frustration and wasted time once you move on to post-secondary school. Since you’re in high school right now, you probably don’t have too much past experience with essay or paper writing. Choosing a topic is probably the most important part of the entire process. You should always nail down your topic for sure before you start on any other part of writing, researching or editing.

How to Choose a Fantastic Topic

Writing a paper that you enjoy writing means, you need to enjoy the subject matter. If you choose a topic about economic crises for example, just because it sounds cool or seems easy, doesn’t mean you’ll like writing about it. If you have the freedom of topic choice, you need to pick something you’re passionate about. Even if that means writing about what skateboarding says about courage (if your teacher says it’s okay) then go for it!

There are some assignments where you’re confined to a broad topic, like in a biology class where you obviously have to have a topic about something to do with biology. But underneath that umbrella, there are tons of ideas and choices you can make and still be creative with it. Writing about cell division in fish eggs vs. natural ecosystem food chains might be more suited to your personality and interests. Choose something you’d love to read about or know more about, since you will have to read up on it during your research. When your teacher can see your energy and passion through the words you write, that’s a great place to be in for an A+. Here are a few other tips on topic choosing:

  • Find one that has many resources. If you get too narrow and obscure, you might not have enough research material to use.
  • Don’t have too broad a focus, either. Instead of just writing about snakes, write about how certain species raise their young compared to other species.
  • Make the topic seem more interesting through your words. For example, writing “the life cycle of seaweed” might seem pretty boring, but how about “seaweed: a revolution of life”?
  • Think outside what you’ve just studied in class. Your textbook can’t cover every possible topic, so go outside of its reach (as long as it’s still related to biology or whatever your class is).

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