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Early Childhood Education: Explore Topics

A compilation of audiovisual, print, electronic and online materials in the discipline of Early Childhood Education that are available for Harper College students

Explore Topics

Choosing a Topic

This page will guide you through choosing a topic for your Early Childhood Education research paper or assignment.


Step 1 - Read your assignment

Right after you receive the assignment, read through your assignment and make sure you understand what your instructor wants. The assignment may be very specific, giving you only a few choices, or very open, allowing you to pick based on your own interests.

Double check your idea with your instructor to make sure it meets his or her expectations. Ask any questions you have about the assignment. A quick email or a word after class could save you having to start all over again!

Your instructor might also be able to make some suggestions if you are truly stuck. Or, if you have several ideas that seem equally good, your instructor could help you choose the one that's the best fit for the class.

Step 2 - Get some background information

It may be that you have no previous information about Early Childhood Development.  That's okay! You are graded on what you learn from the assignment, not what you know when you start.

If Early Childhood Development is really new to you, you might not know what it covers. Take a look at some of our resources in the Background Information Box, and see if a smaller topic or chapter is interesting to you. Page through your text book or recommended reading. Was there one aspect that you wanted to learn more about?

By browsing resources, you might find topics you have never heard anything about. For example:

  Play and Learning

  Family Engagement

  Positive Guidance


Step 3 - Consider your own interests

No one says that research has to be boring! In fact, it should be a chance for you to steer your own learning.

If you are taking a class in an area outside your major or main program of study, can you tie your topic back to your major? For example:

   Psychology of Learning and Development

   Children's Exercise and Learning

   Early Childhood Nutrition

Can you tie your own personal interests into the topic? For example:

   Creative Art in Early Childhood Education

   Music and Early Childhood Education

   Gaming and Early Childhood

Choose something that will keep you interested. It will help you write a better paper or make a better presentation.

Step 4 - Get ready to research!

Once you've chosen your topic, doing a little extra right now will help your research and final product go more smoothly.

Change your topic into a question.

   This helps you stay on track. Every time you find a source, ask "Does this help answer my question?"

   This also helps you create a strong thesis or main idea, because it should be a direct answer to your question.

        Ex. Take "Play and Early Childhood Development" a great idea for a topic, and make it "Does play-based home support lead to positive changes in the development of children?" 

Brainstorm related words.

   Not everyone uses the same word for something. Think of other words that people may use to describe your topic.

         Ex. Early Childhood Education; Preschools; Child Development Centers; Developmental Appropriate Education

               Play; Recreation; Leisure; Hobbies; Games

It may be helpful to check a dictionary or read a basic overview in order to see what words are used to describe your topics, especially by the experts.

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