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How To Select Strong British Literature Research Paper Topics


British Literature courses usually involve research papers, especially since the literature from the British Isles is some of the oldest on the planet. When instructors decide to assign a research paper about British Literature, they want their students to choose an unusual topic that will draw them further into the subject. While instructors love to assign research papers, they do not enjoy choosing topics for their students. This leaves students struggling to create a topic that they can research, organize, and write.


Topic Considerations to Ponder

When it comes time to choose a topic, there are a few considerations to make. The first is the literary time period that instructors want completed. Since British Literature includes several distinct time periods, it is easy to narrow the focus of your research paper topic. You could also focus on one author or a small collection of authors with similar styles and focus. Since research papers need to prove a thesis, you will need to find something to argue about in British Literature. These considerations will help you pick the topic that will keep your interest for the time it takes to complete the project.

Here are a few possible topics for your Brit-Lit project:

  • Choose a theme from several pieces of literature and investigate the changes of that issue throughout time. For example, you could look at poems about virgins, war, or religion and how British poets’ ideas changed over time. Instructors would enjoy reading papers where you covered several time periods and the poets’ ideas about themes.

  • Pick an author and look at the author’s life and how it affected his or her works. Some instructors might ask that you avoid writing about William Shakespeare, especially since many British Literature classes have large units devoted to this well-loved author. Some authors that offer interesting research include Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad, and Mary Shelley, especially since the topics of their works are so different from other authors’ projects.

  • Another fun research project could involve looking at topics that appear in several works, especially those that reference Biblical characters and topics. Students could research the ways that those characters/topics differ in the different time periods.

  • If you enjoy researching contemporary literature, you could look at the historical references in the new pieces. So, you look at references from the Middle Ages or from Arthurian legends. You could also look at how historical characters like King Henry the 8th is portrayed in modern literature.



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