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Teacher Tips and Answers

Prewriting for Research Papers

When something fascinates you, studying it is simple. You naturally train all your attention on it and try to figure it out. Learning is easy because all the doors and windows of your mind are flung wide open. When something bores you, studying it is a chore. You can't stay focused. No one could pay you enough to care.

Since you need to closely study whatever topic you choose for your research paper, you should strive up front to find a topic that fascinates you. The next activity will help you find a strong topic, and the activities afterward will help you launch your research.

Prewriting to Select a Topic

The following "Basics of Life" list includes broad subject areas that are critical to life. You can click on any entry to find more resources about it. You can also apply these general subjects to a specific class in order to find a unique topic. For example, applying "Personality" to the Spanish-American War unit in AP U.S. History would suggest studying the irrepressible Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders.

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