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Writing a History Paper: Picking a Topic

Picking a Topic

Be sure to pick a topic that

  • fits the limits of the assignment
  • interests you


This can be the hardest part of the assignment. To get topic ideas, think about

  • why you selected this class
  • what you hope to learn
  • topics in your text or required readings
  • personal interests


If you have a broad area of interest, use a subject encyclopedia to read about issues within that area which might make a good paper topic, many are listed under the Background section of the History Subject pages or the Class Pages. Other resources for finding subject encyclopedias include: 

Subject Guide

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Sue Collins
Sue Collins
Senior Librarian
109E Hunt Library
4909 Frew St.
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 15213
Currently Working From Home and working part-time
Subjects: History, Reference