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  • General Essay Topics: How To Come Up With Interesting Ideas

    Before you start researching and writing an essay, it is important that you take some time to review the specific assignment and pick an interesting topic. You want to make sure that you do more than present facts, but that you also develop and display reason. You can save yourself a great deal of time and frustration by reviewing your guidelines before you start so that you ensure a comprehensive understanding of the task.

    • Take note of key words that are included in your description. This includes words that define the precise type of reasoning you should be using such as “compare” or “analyze” or “argue”. You want to really review what these words mean and what you are supposed to do.
    • If you are asked to analyze something that means you have to see what relationship each part of it plays in the grand scheme of things and whether there are any cause and effect relationships.
    • You want to look for any underlying assumptions in your argument and to question the validity of things you find in the work. When you analyze something it is important that you answer questions such as “how” and “why”.
    • If you are asked to compare something, that means you should search for differences as well as similarities between two things. You want to pay particular attention to how you organize the paper with headings designed specifically for those things you are going to compare/contrast.
    • If you are asked to evaluate that means that you have to apply your judgment and really provide a well-defined and clear opinion that is supposed with evidence.
    • If you are asked to argue something then you should take a stand in the argument or discussion and use clear evidence to support your viewpoint, to consider other viewpoints, and to defend yours.

    With this information in mind, you can start to choose an interesting idea. Brainstorm potential ideas by listing things you have studied in class that you really enjoyed, and things you want to learn more about. Review the textbooks you have for the class, or any readings and look for sections that stand out as interesting or that you marked as intriguing when you were taking notes. If you are interested in the topic it will show in your writing and you will find the process of writing to be significantly easier.

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