Brainstorm Ideas For A Term Paper

Write down every possibility when brainstorming ideas for a paper.

Choosing a topic for a term paper can be a daunting task, especially if your instructor puts no restrictions on the scope of possible topics. An informed selection of a topic for your term paper will set you up for a good grade; some topics do not work as well as others for different types of term papers. Run your final topic by your instructor so he can verify that it is suitable for your course and assignment. Begin brainstorming before you write any of your paper. Brainstorming will help you to choose a solid topic and to come up with a good thesis statement.


1. Find a broad area that relates to your course, or a general direction for your paper that interests you. Write a list of any aspects related to that topic that come to mind. Include anything you think of while you are writing.

2. Select the topic from your list that interests you the most and write it down in the center of a piece of paper. Draw lines extending out to secondary sub-topics which relate to the central topic. If your main topic is “cars,” for example, your sub-topics can include “electric cars,” “race cars” or “types of cars.”

3. Repeat the branching process from each of the sub-topics for further classification. For example, extend the sub-topic of “electric cars” into “types,” “benefits” and “potential.”

4. Select your final idea from one of the end nodes of the tree structure: these ideas are specific enough to spark a substantial thesis statement and will likely allow a thorough discussion in your term paper.

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5. Research your idea to see if it has enough substance or available sources to fit your term paper assignment. Do this basic research early in the process to avoid any unpleasant last-minute problems. While researching, check for any other aspects of the topic that interests you in case you want to change your original idea.