Home Topic Search and Selection
ISP - Topic Search and Selection PDF Print E-mail
The first and most incontrovertible rule of genuine research is that it begins with an individual who is genuinely interested in the subject he or she is going to research. If a person is not deeply personally involved with the subject, the research he or she does will be mediocre.

Only you can assign the topic you will study because only you know what you are genuinely interested in. However, your topic is subject to teacher approval.

In beginning your Independent Study Project, follow the process below:

A. Select a topic from your personal interests:

  1. What do you really care about?
  2. What plays an important part in your life?
  3. See the Interest Survey provided by your teacher.

B. Narrow the topic:

  1. If a book or a lengthy article has been written on your topic, then it is too broad.
  2. Another check: Look up your topic in the index of an encyclopedia. If there are several sub-topics listed under your topic, then it may still be too broad.

C. Develop the HYPOTHESIS:

  1. The hypothesis is a statement about your subject that you are going to test and prove by doing your research. Try to avoid purely speculative and morally judgmental issues, as data is inconclusive or unverifiable.
  2. Unlike the thesis statement of an essay, your hypothesis is an "educated guess." It's tentative and can change depending on what you find when you do your research.
  3. Like the thesis statement of an essay, your hypothesis must be ARGUABLE - it is a statement that you are going to prove.

Topics should be researchable, concise, and personally significant or innovative.


  1. Select a topic that interests you (Use the Interest Survey).
  2. Narrow it down.
  3. Develop a hypothesis that sets out to prove something about your narrowed topic.