It’s not something you do once at the beginning and then put behind you.Honing your topic is vital to producing a first-rate research paper, and you should keep doing it throughout the project.The solution, however, is not to find a lukewarm bowl of porridge, a bland compromise.
The goal is to select a well-defined topic that is closely linked to some larger issue and can illuminate it.
You can begin your project with either a large issue or a narrowly defined topic, depending on your interests and the ideas you have generated.
It might be an empirical question or a theoretical puzzle.
In some fields, it might be a practical problem or policy issue.
Working with your professor or instructor, you could zero in on a related but feasible research topic, such as “Why did the Johnson administration choose to escalate the U. You can draw on major works covering all aspects of the Vietnam War and the Johnson administration’s decision making.
You have access to policy memos that were once stamped top secret. ” As one of America’s largest military engagements since World War II, the war in Vietnam should tell us a great deal about the more general question.
A good research paper topic is the one that is successful and manageable in your particular case.
A successful research paper poses an interesting question you can actually answer.
These primary documents have now been declassified, published by the State Department, and made available to research libraries. You can also take advantage of top-quality secondary sources (that is, books and articles based on primary documents, interviews, and other research data). As you answer this well-defined question about Vietnam, you can (and you should) return to the larger themes that interest you, namely, “What does the escalation in Southeast Asia tell us about the global projection of U. The goal here is to pick a good case to study, one that is compelling in its own right and speaks to the larger issue.
Drawing on these primary and secondary sources, you can uncover and critique the reasons behind U. It need not be a typical example, but it does need to illuminate the larger question.