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International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement Students: Getting Started

Get Organized

Starter Points


If you know you are interested in doing research in a broad subject area, try to think of ways you can make your subject more specific.

Some tips to consider when choosing a topic:

  • When selecting a topic, be sure to choose a subject area that is of genuine interest to you.

  • Consult your instructor, as he or she may be able to give advice concerning paper topics.

  • In order to articulate your ideas, it helps to express your topic idea as a question.

What if you don't have enough information to express your topic idea as a specific question? If this is the case, doing some background reading can help you to articulate your research topic.

Background Information

Finding background information about a topic is an important step of the research process. If you are interested in pursuing a topic which is unfamiliar to you, reading an encyclopedia or a general article about the subject can allow you to articulate your topic idea and assist in pointing out areas for further research.

Sources to consult for background information include:

  • Encyclopedias
  • General News Articles