1) Think about the kinds of subjects you like to talk about outside of class with friends, co-workers, parents and family, etc. Make a list of these topics.
2) Complete the following idea-starters:
a. My friends and I like to argue about .
b. I think it is wrong when . . .
c. I wish I could convince someone that . . .
d. I am definitely opposed to . . .
e. Someone believes . . .; however, I beieve . . .
f. I wish this university would address the problem of . . .
g. I think we should pass a law so that . . .
3) Read through some current newspapers and note the stories that interest you. Think about why they interest you; is this an issue that you would like to know more about? One caveat is in selecting current topics from newspapers you may choose a topic that has very few related sources. Be sure to select a current topic that has a history to it or a topic that can be related to a larger issue where there should be sufficient material.
4) Choose one topic from the lists you have made. Spend some time writing down words, ideas, and phrases that come to mind when you think of that topic.
5) Do some preliminary research on your topic.
a. Does the library have any reference sources that would help with researching your topic?
b. Does the library's online catalog list any books that appear to be on your topic?
c. Can you locate any periodical articles that the library can access that pertains to your topic?
d. Using a standard web search engine can you locate any web sites that discuss your topic?
6) If you feel that you can locate enough sources on your topic then approach your classroom instructor with your idea and make sure that this topic is appropriate for this assignment.
7) Remember the library has a staff of professional librarians that can advise and assist you in the research process.