How to choose a theme: 9 steps (with pictures)

How to choose a theme: 9 steps (with pictures)
How to choose a theme: 9 steps (with pictures)

Being able to know how to do research is necessary and far from complicated. It may seem like a long time to go through all the data and sources available, but don't be so pessimistic. You will very quickly be able to do a direct and rapid search.


Part 1 of 2: get started

Research a Topic Step 1

Step 1. Choose the subject of your research

Either you have to find a topic yourself, or your teacher will give you one. But in the end, whatever the topic, it will be your own analysis. Find an interesting idea and start your research.

  • For the first few steps, you don't need your subject to be too specific. You just need a basic idea that will get you started and as you go along you will see that your subject will be more focused.
  • If for example your theme is "Hamlet" by Shakespeare, the basis of your work will be to find information about Hamlet and then you can choose a sub-theme for yourself such as "the importance of madness" in this theatrical work.
Research a Topic Step 2

Step 2. Try to understand the work required

You should know that there are a number of questions to ask yourself before you start your research. How much information do you need? You will need more information for a 10 page topic than a 5 page topic. What kind of information will you need?

  • If the topic assigned to you makes you research, then you will need facts, rather than mere opinions on a certain topic and especially if it is on a scientific topic like depression.
  • In the case of a persuasive essay or a presentation aimed at convincing you will then have to integrate your own opinions and of course have the arguments and examples that can confirm your statements. It is strongly recommended that you include one or more opposing opinions about yourself so that you can analyze them and compare them to your own opinion.
  • If you are dealing with an analytical narrative, for example the madness in the play "Hamlet", you will need different types of information: your own opinion, the opinions of several people specialized in the analysis of theatrical works as well as information on the topic of insanity in Shakespeare's time. If you are writing a piece of analysis, such as The Significance of Madness in Hamlet, you are going to be using your opinions on the piece in question, as well as the opinions of scholars who worked with the text and information on the madness in the time of Shakespeare and on Elizabethan literary conventions.
Research a Topic Step 3

Step 3. Find the types of information you will need to analyze

The type of information source, the time required, the importance of foreign languages ​​and geographic data, or a mixture of all of these, are some of them.

  • Consider your sources of information. Will you have quality information in a book or in a newspaper? If it is medical research, the most relevant information will probably be in a medical journal, while information about Hamlet will be easier to find in books or articles dealing with literary works.
  • Ask yourself whether your information is up to date? (every year there are discoveries on subjects such as medicine or other scientific categories) or whether information from the beginning of the last century is sufficient. If this is historical research, you will need documents from the period
Research a Topic Step 4

Step 4. First, do an initial research

When starting out, it's best to do a fairly general search. So you can categorize and choose the ideas needed for the next step. Stick to the outlines, as they give a more general view of a work.

  • If you covered the topic in class and wrote it down in your notebook, this may give you some basic ideas for your research.
  • Also use other types of sources like encyclopedias that specialize in the topic category. These are very useful sources to begin to cover your topic.
  • Remember to write down all the important information about your topic, as this can help you plan or build your essay.

Part 2 of 2: Deepening the Research

Research a Topic Step 5

Step 1. Choose the area of ​​your research

As soon as the basic search is complete, you will need to move on to focus on your subject. If you have a lot of information about Hamlet, but they are quite different from each other, try to group them together to find a common theme that interests you (like the importance of insanity) instead of putting all the information in your 10 pages.

  • The more specific your subject, the easier your research will be. This means that you have to have a specific topic and have it written down what you are trying to argue or just explain.
  • You can modify your target to make it more relevant to your research if you think that this one modifies or rejects the thesis.
Research a Topic Step 6

Step 2. Access academic sources

You will need confirmed sources and you will need to analyze them as you research. Although the Internet is a very important source of information, it is difficult to verify the veracity of the information given. Remember to always save or write down the research elements that interest you.

  • Search the WorldCat online database for books. You will be able to check if you have the books related to the subject you are dealing with or those you should consult. You can then consult them in university libraries or municipal libraries.
  • Consult the ESBCOHost or JSTOR database for access to articles on various topics.
  • Search academic magazines, specialist journals, official documents (legal, government). You can also do this through TV shows, radio shows, interviews or lectures.
  • The majority of the databases are classified by topic so that by the simple entry of your topic appears a list of suggestions. Be as specific as possible when looking at the themes: don't just stop at "Hamlet", but rather "Hamlet and Madness" or "The Elizabethan Opinion of Madness".
Research a Topic Step 7

Step 3. Check your sources

Finding credible data can be tricky, especially on the Internet. You will need to take a good look at where the data you have chosen come from and whether this is information confirmed by researchers specializing in the subject.

  • Make sure that the author of your sources and their affiliation are indicated.
  • Are these facts or opinions? And are those facts or opinions backed up by extensive research and quotes. Do these quotes have a credible link with the sources (universities, research groups). Check the information withheld and verify if it is reliable.
  • If your sources are based on vague generalities or no information seems credible (for example: "madness was despised during the Elizabethan period") or the arguments make no sense and there is no other opinion, this will not make it a good research tool.
Research a Topic Step 8

Step 4. Put some organization in your research

When you think you've found enough items, organize what you've collected. This will help shape your final brief or essay so you know where each piece of information needs to go. It will also help you see if you are missing some knowledge or data to make your topic as complete as possible.

Make sure you are done with the research phase. If not, you will need to do some further research

Research a Topic Step 9

Step 5. Mention your sources

When you have completed the research for your topic (essay, article, project) you will need to present your sources. Each course or subject has its own way of citing sources for a topic, so do it in the most appropriate way.

  • The APA format is related to social sciences (eg psychology or education.
  • The MLA format corresponds to literature, arts and humanities.
  • The AMA format is associated with medicine, health, and the biological sciences.
  • Turabian is a more general format, created for students, but it is the least known. If you are not on others, you can choose it.
  • The Chicago format works with all "real world" subjects for books, magazines, newspapers, and other non-academic texts.


  • Trusted web pages are those with the end of their address Those that are not verified end,.org
  • School or city libraries have a large supply of books on your subject.
  • When looking for a website, you need to remember the five elements that demonstrate its quality: currency used, responsible authority, purpose, objectivity and writing style.


  • In case your topic is in a foreign language, avoid using Google Translate, as there are a lot of translation errors and many missed their topics due to gross translator errors.
  • Before you begin your topic, ask yourself, "Is this topic interesting and relevant?" "
  • Remember to cite your sources, because if you forget it would correspond to plagiarism. It is illegal and false. It gives the wrong person credit. For this reason, it is essential to cite your sources.

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