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Judaic Studies Subject Guide — Finding A Topic

Choosing A Topic

This first step in your paper may prove to be the most difficult, but here are some tips to help you:

  • Always choose a topic that you are interested in. It will be much easier and much more fun for you and your reader.
  • Avoid broad topics (e.g. Art during war times), or narrow ones (e.g. Post World War II art of 1945 showing the gueules cassées). A better topic might be: The Atrocities of post World War II in art.
  • Review your assignment guidelines, and follow instructions regarding topic selection. (Also, do not hesitate to speak with your professor if you are having difficulties.)

The links below will provide extra tips on choosing topic.

Narrowing A Topic

Sometimes you start a term paper thinking you won't have enough to write about, but more often than not, you will find that you need to narrow down your topic. For example, let's say you want to write about French art. It is a very popular topic, but you will have to break it down into a time period, maybe a specific movement or even a specific artist. Help yourself to these tools and the concept mapping video to ask yourself the right questions so your topic becomes more focused.

Form Your Ideas into Research Questions

After reading some background information, start grouping the nouns and ideas together to formulate a question. Let's say you want to write about French painting, and what draws you to French art is the French revolution and the political changes that happened around that time.

Ideas: France, painting, revolution

Question: The French Revolution is a very important part of French History. How did paintings of the Revolution express the political turmoil of the time?

Concept Mapping

Interest Yourself in What You Write

When someone starts an argument