From Gerald R. Lucas
📝 English Composition Writing FAQ 11011102📖

Choose a Strong, Focused Topic

The topic of an essay refers to the specific aspect or focus of the subject that the essay is addressing. The subject, on the other hand, is the general area or theme that the essay is about.

For example, if the subject of an essay is “climate change,” the topic could be “the impact of climate change on sea levels,” “the role of carbon emissions in climate change,” or “strategies for mitigating the effects of climate change.”

In other words, the subject provides the broad area of focus for the essay, while the topic narrows the focus to a specific aspect or angle within that subject.

It’s important to identify both the subject and the topic when planning and writing an essay, as they help to guide the overall focus and organization of the piece.

A strong topic for an essay is one that is specific, interesting, and relevant to the assignment or purpose of the essay. Try to choose a topic that is unique and hasn’t been extensively covered in previous research or writing.

Examples of essay topics could include:

  • The impact of social media on mental health among young adults.
  • The effects of climate change on ocean ecosystems.
  • The portrayal of gender roles in contemporary literature.
  • The history and significance of jazz music in American culture.
  • The ethical implications of gene editing technology.

Note, too, that each of these examples could be narrowed even further so as to be covered more easily in a shorter essay. A narrow or focused topic allows for a more detailed and thorough analysis, making it easier to develop a strong argument or thesis; for example:

  • The impact of Instagram on body image perception among teenage girls.
  • The effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef.
  • The representation of femininity in the works of Sylvia Plath.
  • The influence of Louis Armstrong on the development of jazz music in the 1920s.
  • The ethical implications of using CRISPR gene editing technology to alter human embryos.

These topics are more specific and focused than the previous examples, allowing for a deeper exploration and analysis within the scope of the essay.

For strategies on developing a strong topic, see CompFAQ/Ideas.

Written: 2002, 2022; Revised: 04-8-2023; Version: Beta 0.7 💬