Establishing the topic of your essay

Establishing the topic of your essay

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When writing an essay, obviously, the first thing that needs to be done is to think of a topic. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do and requires careful consideration. It can be tempting to pick out the very first topic that you think of and write about that; however, this is not always the best way to go about things.

You need to give careful consideration as to whether or not you will be able to write enough about the topic, as well as bearing in mind your knowledge of what you are writing about in the first place.

If it is an in-depth essay, such as a dissertation or research paper, then you may be what more willing to carry out further research, but if it is just a simple essay, you may not want to get too bogged down in research before you can even start writing anything.


Therefore, it is best to pick a topic that suits the needs of your essay and your abilities.

· Put together a list of any topic ideas or themes to work with The first thing you want to do is have a brainstorming session where you put together any ideas that you may have. The easiest thing to do is just list everything that you think of, so as to give yourself more choice when it comes to actually selecting the final topic that you choose to work with.

· Use this wide list to draw up a shortlist of ideas

Having put together an extensive list of topic ideas, narrow these down into a shortlist of maybe five or six different themes. Remember to factor in the amount of research required and your ability to write about the topic when creating a shortlist. Try to do a small research for potential topic ideas. If you are writing an essay about programming, use programming help and ask experts, read book and articles. Ultimately, one of the ideas will be the one the one that you write about for your essay, so be sure that it is a topic that you will be to work with.

· Work out any pros and cons of each idea

Once you have your shortlist put together, use a simple chart to work out the pros and cons of each essay theme and balance these against each other to work out which one will work best for you. There may be ideas where you can write about the topic extensively, but bear in mind whether or not the topic actually meets the requirements of the essay and the direction that you are given in the first place. Therefore, ensure that the final topic that you come up with is also relevant, as well as easy enough for you to write about.

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