How to brainstorm Academic Essay Topics

Brainstorming is common in the creative fields and academia requires it from time to time as well. The method of brainstorming that you choose to employ depends entirely on the intention of your essay as we will explore below.

  1. Ease of research
  2. If time is a serious issue for you, your brainstorming should center around the topics with the largest quantity of sources you can reference that are readily available to you. Another factor to consider would be areas that you already possess some expertise in or have written on previously. Do a search of the available research papers and journals and see what appears most frequently. Cross reference it against things you already have some knowledge of and you can come up with the essay topic that you would find easiest to write.

  3. Impact
  4. The most in depth form of brainstorming takes place if the intention of your essay is to leave a lasting impression on the reader. The ideas you are searching for must be unique and impressive even to people who are not experienced in the field. Your level of research should be thorough enough to impress seasoned academics. If you have access to a mastermind or some other group of likeminded academics, you can address the issue as a group and exchange ideas that relate to the research you would like to engage in. Higher quality ideas emerge from this type of collaboration.

  5. Acceptance
  6. If your essay is being judged by people with very strict academic tastes and your scholarship, for instance, hangs in the balance, you will need to limit your brainstorming considerably. You can come up with several ideas, but they must all “toe the line” to keep the people in charge content. Look carefully at essays that were accepted by the people you are trying to impress. Find the thing they all have in common and write all the words that come to mind when you think of that theme. Write for at least five minutes and then use your list to compile the most original topic you can. This is the most difficult circumstance because you will most likely happen upon a topic that would be perfect for you if the powers that be were a little less rigid!

Ask yourself honestly what the purpose of your research is and the best method of brainstorming will become clear.

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