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Woo Hoo! It is our first research step!
Step 1 for your research paper is Finding a Topic, and it consists of four brainstorming activities. Of all of the research steps we complete, it is the most creative, so try to have some fun with it! Once you declare your topic, you are not “stuck” with it; it you want to change it, you can. We just need to get started on something.
Remember to use the Databases, CQ Researcher Online and Opposing Viewpoints in Context, to help you fine tune your research topic.
There are 4 parts to Step 1, and they are listed below:
List any 10 topics about which you are willing to research/investigate further.
Narrow your 10-item list to your 3 favorite ideas and Draw 3 clusters–1 cluster for each of your chosen topics (see the student Sample Step 1 for a sample).  
From your 3 clusters, choose 1 topic and complete the “Topic Narrowing ExerciseActions.” (download or open the pdf, fill it out, and attach to your assignment).
Write a small paragraph (4-5 sentences) about your topic:
What is your topic?

Why did you choose this topic?
What do you already know about the topic?

What is your research question (what are you trying to prove)?Step 1
10 Topics:
1. Systemic Racism
2. Abortion
3. Death Penalty
4. Genetically Modified Foods
5. Regulating Pesticides
6. Global Pollution
7. Climate Change Crisis
8. Decreasing Domestic Violence
9. Substance Abuse
10. Fixing Police Violence
Thought Clusters:
Topic Narrowing Exercise:
Global pollution
Plastic pollution
Plastic and chemical pollution
Pollutants affecting air quality
Pollutants affecting oceans and ocean life
Chemical pollution in our oceans
Oil spills
Untreated sewage
The effects of discharging wastewater (introduces different toxins)
Plastics overtaking
Temperature changes
Pollution has become a major issue in our world. While researching this and other subtopics, I
landed on chemical pollution in our oceans and decided this would be perfect to read and learn
more about. I chose this topic because it has always been something that I have been invested in
and I feel that this is just the right opportunity to make new discoveries and explore what I
already know. I already knew some information on chemical ocean pollution because I am
always reading the news stories about oil spills and how ocean life quality has been decreasing
due to a multitude of reasons. In this paper, my goal will be to prove that prioritizing the
prevention of ocean pollution right now, is key to a healthy future.

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