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CHM: General Chemistry (WO): Topic & Question

Select a Topic

Begin by exploring topics.  One way to do this is to find an interesting article from one of the databases below.  Popular sources like these help you get ideas before you dive into scholarly research.

You can search for a topic using the searchbox (blue box 1) or browse all chemistry topics (orange box 2).

Form a Research Question

Narrow your interest and decide what question your paper will answer.  It seems counterintuitive, but a narrow topic is actually easier to research than a broad one. 




Water Fluoridation

Check mark

How does caffeine chemically affect the human brain?

Good Research Questions Are...

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Specific    Deep, Not Wide

Only answer one main research question in your paper.


Instead of mentioning many ideas briefly, focus on a few points and develop them well.

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Interesting to You    Unique

Consider the assignment an opportunity to learn more about something that interests you.  Research is easier and more enjoyable when you pick a topic that interests you.


Good research tackles new, unusual topics.  Your professor is an expert in chemistry and will not be interested in a basic review.  Try thinking of something your professor has never considered.