How to choose an essay topic?

Choosing an essay topic can stall your writing process for a long time, because you just don’t know what you’re going to write about. Apart from the case when the exact topic of the essay is formulated by your teacher, the choice of the topic can be reduced to narrowing the direction set by the teacher, choosing from the proposed list of topics, or to “free swimming”.

Options for clarifying the topic
Narrowing a given direction
The first of these cases implies that you have been given some general direction. For example, write an essay on the culture of Yekaterinburg. This topic is too broad and requires narrowing it down to just one question. Let’s say, having visited this glorious city, you have traveled along the “Red Line” and now have the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčopening a similar tourist route in your city. Then you can formulate the topic, for example, like this: “Creation of the” Red Line “in Kostroma”. At the same time, your work itself may be devoted to what city objects can be included in this route, or what benefits the city will receive after the creation of the “Red Line”.

Pay attention to who exactly you are writing the essay for. Ordinary work for delivery to a teacher at a university will differ significantly from an essay submitted upon admission to an educational institution, literary circle or when applying for a job. What does the person who will read your essay expect from you? Manifestations of originality, ability to reason correctly and beautifully, professional qualities or something else?

Choosing from a list of topics
This option is simpler than the previous one, but it requires analyzing what you know best or would like to understand. When choosing a topic from the list given by the teacher, evaluate what knowledge and experience you already have on this or that topic. What author’s position could you express on the chosen topic?

Lack of theme
The third case is the complete absence of any topic. This option is the most difficult in terms of choice, but it literally opens the doors to the world for you, allowing you to write about what you want. In order not to drown in this ocean of possibilities, first determine what is most interesting to you. What do you think about most often? What gets your attention to the point where you forget about everything else? What would you like to improve in the society, your city, the surrounding objects?

Once you’ve decided on a direction, figure out what you like best. Some like to picturesquely describe any events, places, interesting people, amazing things, others like to analyze, others like to write about themselves, and still others prefer to criticize what they don’t like. Depending on this, your essay will be descriptive, analytical, reflective, critical, or otherwise.

Once you’ve combined a topic that interests you with the look of an essay, sketch out a few options for topics. At this stage, it is not the exact formulation of the topic that is important, but the understanding of the essence of the problem and the potential for its solution.

Assessment of selected topics
After choosing specific topics, evaluate each of them for how meaningful you can reveal it. Do you have interesting observations and ideas on this topic, can you surprise the reader with something, do you feel inspired when thinking about this topic? You must understand that in the course of work you will have to formulate a certain thesis and then reasonably prove it. Will you be able to do this for the selected topics? What are your trump cards?

When exploring the potential of a topic, pay attention to the availability of literary sources. In some cases, it is more logical to first try to find the necessary information in the sources, and then proceed to formulating thoughts in the form of an essay. For example, for the topic of creating a “Red Line” in the city, it may be necessary to analyze the current state of this problem. Find out if you are late with your idea. Maybe someone has already managed to inspire others to implement it and is currently holding the “Red Line” right under your window? What attractions in your city deserve to be included in the tourist itinerary? How much money will it take to create such a line?

If the teacher demanded agreement on the topic with him, be sure to show him the work plan, the main thesis of the essay and the arguments for confirming it.

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