Reference and Education

11 Vital Steps To Find An Appropriate Proposal Essay Topic

Have you ever sat on a giant wheel thinking it’s not that scary, only to realize it was too unsettling to sit through? The process of proposal essay writing is the same. It may not seem too daunting, but once you dive into it, you realize you’re going to have to spend a sleepless night or two working on it.

However, finding the right research proposal essay topics definitely makes the process a lot less grueling. But finding a suitable topic for your essay is another tedious process. Once you get this right, consider half the battle won.

Now, if you’re unsure about how to find the right topic, there are steps you can follow. Mentioned below are the steps that will help you come up with a brilliant topic for your proposal essay.

  1. See if the paper requires a specific focus

If the topic is already provided to you by your professors, you should minutely follow the instructions that your professor has shared with you. You probably need to write on a specific topic, or a range of topics may be given to you.

If you’re required to write about a current event, think about the major aspects related to that incident and find an angle to write about. This should help you narrow your focus.

  1. Brainstorm some topics that pique your interest

Typically, your professor may give you a broad subject and expect you to find a narrow topic that fits that broad area.

From your list, select one angle in particular that you want to explore further. This is where you’ll begin the research process. One way to make sure you have a topic that’s intriguing is to make sure you have a personal connection with the broad subject you pick. Another way to trim your possible options is to see if there any patterns you can find emerging from the long list.

Also, if you don’t know a lot about your topic, find a resource that will offer a general overview so you can be more acquainted with the possible angles you can explore in our essay paper.

  1. Check your textbook or syllabus, or notes to find a topic

You can skim through your syllabus, textbook or class notes to find out if any topic sparks your interest or not. The reputed academic journals from a specific field or discipline might also give you ideas for a topic.

If your textbook comes with questions at the end of each chapter, these can be great to scan through for potential proposal essay topic ideas. Check any recommended reading your professor has suggested; you might get your ideas from there as well.

  1. Read current news about your potential topics

Search the databases of renowned newspapers or even your local newspapers. This will highlight any current articles related to your topics. This will also let you understand if there are any new or critical developments to think about as you choose an area to write about.

Some newspaper databases consist of data from years ago, so these can offer a historical background as well. You can save the URLs of any good or helpful articles, as you may need these sources later on. Keeping track of the URLs will help you put together the reference list as well.

  1. Write down the words related to your topic to search for sources

For some topics, you’ll need proper nouns, such as the name of a specific person you’re researching. If your topic is more conceptual, on the other hand, include synonyms as well as the specific terminology you plan to use in your paper.

For example, if you’ve chosen racial injustice as a topic, you might also include keywords like “racism, “conservation,” and “nature.”

  1. Assess the potential sources using the CRAAP method

These letters refer to Currency, Reliability, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. This method offers you a simple way to quickly and uniformly examine the quality of potential sources you’ve found by asking specific questions about the same sources.

If your source doesn’t comply with any prong of the CRAAP method, use proper caution if you refer to it in your essay paper. If your sources are more than the one criteria, you’re probably better off without using them in your essay.

7. Pick a question you’d want to answer through your research

After you’ve carried out a little preliminary research, you’ll need to know the kinds of issues prevalent in your chosen area. Develop a question depending on one of those issues that you can address through your research.

You need to be versatile with your essay question. Once you delve further into your research, you may notice that you have to adjust the question or even change it entirely, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Consider it a part of the research process.

8. Find general details about the proposal essay topic

Once you’ve got a concrete idea for a narrow topic that you want to write about, perform an online search to check what information is out there. At this point, just notice the amount of useful information available and the resources highlighted in some resources.

If you’re carrying out a general internet search on your topic and not receiving a lot of relevant results, there may not be enough details out there to research that topic. Such instances are generally rare, though, unless you’ve started working on a topic that’s too narrow.

9. Revise your question based on the information you collect                                             

You may find your question to be too broad or too narrow, depending on the number of potential sources you find. If you want to adjust the scope of your question, ponder over the “when,” “what,” and “where” of the topic.

For instance, if you’re working on a topic of the Black Lives Matter movement and its connection with racial injustice, the “what” in this case refers to the movement.

10. Find additional sources to fill gaps in your research

When looking at your notes, you may see that some points are more clearly defined than others. You may check small issues that you hadn’t noticed before that need to be addressed.

It’s also possible that as you create your essay outline, you notice that you didn’t need some sources you previously thought would be useful. In that case, you may need to find more sources, particularly if dismissing a source took you below the minimum number of sources required for your paper.

11. Form a thesis statement

Now, use your research to prepare a simple answer to the question you created. This will be connected with the topic of your essay and the idea around which major research will revolve going forward. The answer can be obvious in your opinion depending on what you’ve read, or you might want to check some sources now that you’ve narrowed your topic.

Often there’s no single right answer to a research query, and there doesn’t need to be! The answer relies on your opinion and how you approach what you’ve read. Don’t be shy away from drawing your own new conclusions.


The essay writing process may seem as uncomfortable as sitting on a giant wheel for many of you. But once you find the right topic, the process becomes a lot smoother. You just need to know these steps highlighted above, and you’re good to go.

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