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ENG 408: Reader Response: Choosing & Using Your Topic

Choosing a topic

Choosing a topic can be the hardest part of doing a research paper.  There are so many options!  

Think about what YOU are interested in.  If you are going to be spending the time and effort to do the research and write the paper, it might as well be about something you like.  Don't think you are interested in any reader-response related texts or topics?  Think again!  Talk to your professor or a librarian, who will be able to help.

First: Search WISE

Try searching the WISE online catalog.  Start with broad search terms -  like "reader response"  - to see what's out there. 

Search for an item in libraries near you:
WorldCat.org >>

What are you noticing?  What terms/authors/titles seem most useful and relevant to you?  Try adding another term to your search - "reader response" AND "feminism" - this will narrow your results.

Start thinking about the terms you are typing into the search box.  Think the main ideas of your research.  Think about synonyms.  It may be helpful at this point to start brainstorming your ideas (try using whiteboards or actual paper).  Highlight or circle key terms and ideas. 

Remember: databases are dumb!