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Researching the Topic to Generate Ideas for Writing

The Writing Process | Enrichment Course

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Researching the Topic

If you know little or nothing about something, it is difficult or impossible to write about it. Even if you are (or think you are) familiar with a topic, you may not know or remember everything you need so you can write about it coherently.

When considering a potential topic for writing, spend some time researching it to learn more about it before you commit to it. In particular, do not start writing about it before you have a good amount of background knowledge on the topic.


At this pre-writing stage, you are simply generating ideas, so you do not need to spend too much time researching the topic deeply; you can go deeper later when you are actually writing about a topic. You can learn about a topic by reading, watching videos, or simply discussing with someone about it.

Researching the topic can be used in different situations. If you are free to define your own topic (i.e., you are not completing a written assignment for school or work), your research may help you explore topics and writing ideas you may not have considered otherwise.

If the topic has been assigned, you can still use the technique to generate subtopics and related ideas about it that you can include in your writing.

Keep track of your research carefully so you do not need to find materials twice. Save links to web pages and videos you have found helpful. (If you are using a word processor, you can even keep your notes in the same document that you will eventually use to write your work.)

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