How Do I Generate Essay Topic Ideas?

Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Part of Grand Central Station, there is a secret railway platform underneath the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.  more...

October 22 ,  1962 :  US President John F. Kennedy ordered an air and naval blockade in Cuba.  more...

Teachers and students are both very likely to need essay topic ideas at some point throughout the education process, and professional writers will also need to develop ideas. It helps to first know and understand any parameters set forth for the essay before trying to generate essay topic ideas; this is helpful because such parameters may limit what you can write about, or they may open up new options. Such guidelines may include the class or the topics currently being discusses in class; the audience for which the essay will be written; and if applicable, the magazine's space and subject matter requirements.

Brainstorming and outlines are helpful tools for developing essay topic ideas. Brainstorming webs or clouds can be drawn on a piece of paper to consider the many angles from which a single topic can be discussed. The writer will start by writing a general topic or idea in the center of the paper, and then thinking about issues or topics related to that main idea. Single word ideas are fine, as these will simply be guide markers for developing a more specific idea. Outlines serve the same purpose, but in a different format. A writer can write the general topic and then make a bullet point list of ideas that relate to that topic.


If no parameters have been set for essay topic ideas and you must develop them from scratch, think carefully about what subjects you have expertise in, what topics you would be interested in researching, and what topics would be interesting or marketable to your primary audience. You will also need to consider what type of essay you intend to write: an opinion essay will be written and researched differently than a personal narrative essay, or an expository essay. Be sure you know what type of essay you want to write before generating essay topic ideas, as some topics will be better suited to certain types of essays than others.

It is important to avoid plagiarizing other works or stealing another person's essay idea. It may be tempting to do a search on the internet for essay topic ideas, and while this is acceptable, it can be very tempting to simply steal those ideas. Avoid doing so, as plagiarism can get a student punished, or a professional fired from a job.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 4

@browncoat - If you are coming up with essay topics for students to use, it's definitely a good idea to keep this in mind. You want your students to be engaging, if only because it means that you're going to have more fun marking their work.

It can be a good idea to let them come up with a topic within particular parameters so they have a chance to be original.

Post 3

@umbra21 - You're not wrong, but there is something else that is important in my experience. The people reading your essay aren't just robots ticking off points, especially once you get to university level. The difference between a B and a A often seems to be the ability to really pull the topic together and add a bit of personality to the essay.

Don't be informal if it's a formal essay. But do something that you will find interesting and engaging and it's much easier to make the essay interesting and engaging for the reader. College essay topics are often worded in a way that makes this easier anyway.

Post 2

If you are going to have to write an essay for a standard test or exam, it's a very good idea to check out what the questions were in previous years. In fact, if you can get hold of previous exam papers, even if they don't hold that kind of exam anymore, it's a good way to see what kinds of themes come up commonly in your subject so you can figure out appropriate questions for your own essay topics.

If you're in high school, you're almost certainly studying a topic that has been done to death by millions of students before you, so there should be a lot of information out there on what the best approach is going

to be. You shouldn't plagiarize, of course, but if you read enough successful essays you'll find they often follow a particular format and hit on particular notes.

One of the best teachers I ever had basically told us to brainstorm out everything we were supposed to say and then just slot it together, rather than trying to write an essay like a book.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?