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Choosing a Topic

I often assign class essays that are fairly open-ended. If you need help settling upon a topic, please consider the following:

  1. Review the class objectives from the syllabus.
  2. Review your the course readings, your reading and class notes, and your reading responses. What caught your attention? What did you feel strongly about? Do you have a mystery you want to engage or an argument you want to make?
  3. Consider provocative, intriguing, or contentions news stories related to your interest. Do you want to understand and explain a puzzle or make an argument about a current event?
  4. Brainstorm a handful of ideas first, and only then consider which one or two will have the best support by way of course and external sources.
  5. Write a proposal for (at least) yourself and (perhaps) share it with the instructor that identifies:
    1. what is the topic?
    2. what argument/thesis are you likely to make?
    3. what concepts/readings from class will you make use of?
    4. what external readings (if appropriate) will you make use of?

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