Choosing a topic and writing the thesis statement

Welcome! This is the first of five information literacy research activities from the Library that
you will see throughout your CCS120 course. We will be taking you through the steps of the
research process to help you plan and write your final research paper for this course. We can
be reached with any questions and/or for personalized assistance at 877-247-3097 or by email
to We look forward to working with you!
The first step in the research process is choosing what you want to write about. In this activity,
you are going to choose a topic for your final research paper, narrow down your topic and turn
that topic into a thesis statement.
By the end of this activity you will be able to:
 Define or modify your selected topic to achieve a manageable focus
 Explore general information sources to increase your familiarity with the topic
 Develop a thesis statement
Rozakis, L. (2007). Schaum’s quick guide to writing great research papers (2nd ed.). Retrieved
Read chapters 3 & 4, pages 21-34
Chapter 3: How Do I Narrow My Subject into a Research Topic? (and Why!)
Chapter 4: How Do I Write a Thesis Statement?
To access the reading: Click on the link above and login to the Library with your MyExcelsior
username and password. You will be taken directly to Chapter 3. You need to read Chapters 3
& 4. To turn the pages, click on the left & right arrows located above the book on the right.
Now that you’ve read about the process for narrowing a subject into a research topic and how
to write a thesis statement, you’re going to do this by following the steps below:
1. In your webtext, you have already reviewed the topic choices available to you by
reading at least three of the CQ Researcher reports linked below.

Now it is time to commit to one of the following topic areas:
European Unrest Medical Breakthroughs
Fighting Urban Poverty New Space Race
Food Labeling Privacy and the Internet
Gentrification Reforming Veteran’s Health Care
High-Tech Policing Universal Basic Income
Housing Discrimination Video Games and Learning
Marijuana Industry Workplace Sexual Harassment
2. Next, think about how you would narrow this broad topic area into a research topic for
your final paper. Please refer to the Chapter 3 reading for tips on how to narrow a
subject into a topic. You can also use a mind mapping tool (in the Brainstorm box) to
visually brainstorm keywords and phrases or you can simply use paper and a pencil or
anything else you are comfortable with. For example:
As you brainstorm topic ideas, also start thinking about the angle that you will take.
Your chosen topic needs to have at least two sides and you will need to choose a
position when you narrow your topic into a thesis statement.
3. Now that you have some potential directions that you could go in, you may want to
search for additional background information on your more-specific chosen topic by
using the resources below. Note: The CQ Researcher report that you already read is one source for background information. As you consult additional sources, consider which
side you want to take with your topic. What point would you like to prove to your
audience about your topic?
 Credo Reference
 If you need additional sources, visit the Background Information page
4. Rewrite your final chosen topic in the form of a thesis statement. Watch the following
short video to help you turn your topic into an effective thesis statement: Writing an
Effective Thesis Statement
If you want additional examples of thesis statements, check out Excelsior’s Online
Writing Lab (OWL), Parts of a Thesis Sentence (You may also want to review thesis
angles, common problems, and thesis creation on the left side menu.)
You can also review the Guidelines for Crafting a Thesis Statement found on page 1.13 &
1.14 of your webtext for this course.
Note: A thesis statement is usually one sentence. It does not include details or facts. It
tells the audience what your paper will be about and the angle/position that you
Submit 1-2 paragraphs that include the information listed below as a Word document to the
assignment drop box for your instructor to grade:
 Note what your chosen topic is and explain why you chose this topic for your research
 Describe at least two sides or angles that this topic could take and then explain what
your position will be.
 Include your thesis statement
 Discuss the steps that you took to get to this thesis statement. (i.e. Using the readings,
the process of taking a broad topic area and turning it into a narrower topic, the
background information that you found in the Library’s databases, how you
brainstormed possible ideas, how you narrowed your topic, etc.)
If you get stuck or have any questions the librarians are here to help! Want more? Check out
the Starting Your Research page.

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