How To Come Up with a Great Essay Topic

Coming up with an essay topic can be difficult, especially if your lecturer has given you a broad assignment with very little direction. However, here are a few tips and tricks to help you focus and narrow your ideas.

  • Write What You Like

    Writing essays is never more difficult than when you have to talk about something you’re not interested in. Choose something that strikes you first and foremost. At least you’ll have fun talking about it.

  • Write What You Know

    Don’t choose something you know nothing about. Focus on the facts you have at hand. If you love researching Germany during WWII or are a maestro at the piano, don’t fly into an essay about Hungary or the Sitar. Stick to what you’re good at. It’ll show in the end result.

  • Don’t Be Boring

    Yes, that’s right, lecturers have lives too. They have their own interests. If your essay is boring for you to write, chances are it’s boring for them to read. It doesn’t have to be hilarious, you don’t have to be a class-A comic, but make sure you’re not droning on or rambling. Lecturers hate waffle, and it’s easy to spot!

  • Start Broad

    Choose something very generic, very open to interpretation. Your essay shouldn’t end up being broad, but if you’re not sure exactly what you want to talk about it’s ok to start this way.

  • Brainstorm

    There are many methods of brainstorming, whether you do a group think-tank, a spider-diagram of just sit there talking to yourself. Whatever method you go for, make sure you cover as much ground as you can, as quickly as you can.

  • Make a List

    Make a list of three talking points for every idea you come up with. If you can’t at least make three points out of it, scrap it. A good essay should be able to make three key arguments that focus the piece.

  • Narrow It Down

    Broad is fine for firing out ideas, but you’ll need to narrow it down to make it interesting to your lecturer. Once you know you can write three key arguments, then pick something and go for it. Find an element of your broad idea that you’re interested in and that not many other people will be talking about. That way you’ll stand out from the crowd.

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