Writing About What You Know
This is often the first piece of advice given to anyone choosing a topic for any type of project. The advantage to writing about what you already know is obvious: You are researching a topic with which you already have a level of familiarity. You probably know where to look for information and may already know some experts in the field. In addition, you probably know what the key discussion points are before you actually do any research.
Think about the hobbies you pursue. Almost everyone has one or two favorite hobbies or activities they pursue in their spare time. Do you spend time knitting or woodworking or painting? Do you enjoy reading fantasy novels or playing games online? Do you grow your own herbs or play the clarinet or collect everything related to unicorns? Any one of your hobbies and interests is a potential starting point for a research paper topic.
Sports and Other Activities
We tend to think of sports involvement as only including organized sports, such as teams we play on or lessons we take, but this certainly is not where sports involvement ends. Though you may have a definite idea for a topic if you play basketball or excel at karate, thousands of other recreational sporting pursuits also could spin off into a research paper. Do you enjoy golfing? Have you ever played tennis? How about that time you went bungee jumping? Or got together with your friends to play paintball? These are also great starting points to choose a topic.
Other Areas of Interest
Sports and hobbies are not the only things you already know about. Maybe you have a part-time job that gives you some unique knowledge. If, for example, you work in a local electronics store, you may know all about computers. You may know which laptops are hot right now, or how to build your own machine.
You also may have family members or roommates whose jobs or interests inspire you. A brother who restores old cars or a friend who had a summer job fighting forest fires may have passed on some unique knowledge about these things to you.
Similarly, an event in your life may have prompted some interest or at least some knowledge. Suppose you broke your leg in the eighth grade. You might want to write about the long-term effects of a fracture, or about whether kids’ bones heal faster than adults’ bones do.