Literature research paper topics and research resources for term papers

When writing a term paper the first step is to decide on a topic from the many possible term paper subjects. When writing a term paper (sometimes called a research paper) that’s on the subject of literature, you can choose from many literature research paper topics. Once you decide on your focus, you’ll want to explore literature research resources.

Finding your focus

The topic of literature is rich with possibilities for exploration in a term paper. Start early because you’ll want to allow yourself plenty of time to explore before settling on your topic. Not sure where to begin? Go to the literature topics section of Questia, the world’s largest online library of over 77,000 books and 4 million journal, magazine, and newspaper articles. Broad topics in literature include:

  • Literature of Specific Countries
  • Fiction
  • Drama
  • Poetry
  • Nonfiction
  • Language

An exploration of the topic African American Literature will lead you to hundreds of books and articles. Among them you will find Language and Literature in the African American Imagination, Edited by Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay.

Regarding the subject of African American literature, Belay said, “African American language and literature are the twin generators of a productive cultural thrust into American literature. Language is the means by which we understand ourselves and the societies in which we play a part. Language is also pertinent to resolving some of the problems and tensions that arise from human interaction.”

Free resources

You can dress up your research paper or create a media-rich slide show presentation with free resources from the government at Once you arrive at the site, go to Language Arts where you can follow several tracks. If you choose Literature and Writers, then Other Literature, you will find a link to American Notes: Travels in America, 1750 – 1920.

This website “provides 253 narratives describing travels in the colonies and U.S. The collection includes works by authors not widely known as well as by Matthew Arnold, James Fenimore Cooper, Dickens, Washington Irving, Sir Charles Lyell, Robert Louis Stevenson, and other major figures. The collection is searchable and can be browsed by not only by author and title, but also by subject.”

That’s just one example of the kind of resources at, which come in many formats such as text, audio and images. The resources are from the many collections maintained by the government including:

  • The Library of Congress
  • The National Museum of Art
  • Department of Education
  • National Endowment for the Arts

Related topics

If you decide to do your research on a topic related indirectly to literature, then be sure to check out the TeleRead blog maintained by Chris Meadows. The blog covers news and opinions on the world of libraries, publishing and other related topics.

In his post on January 25, 2012 titled, “Classic literature: ‘Boring’ or relevant?” Meadows addressed dueling blog posts from BookRiot that discussed the idea that reading classic literature is boring because of a lack of sex or violence. The opposing view stated that though muted, such depth of human experience existed in the literature nonetheless, often in the minds of the characters. Moreover, many works considered classics have become so because they focused on social causes and highly charged issues of their day such as slavery and women’s rights.

“Of course, one more excellent reason for reading the classics is that, in this era of agency priced DRM-locked e-books, most of the classics are in the public domain and available free on-line. There are so many amazing books out there to be had at no charge, it’s like having a library of the wisdom of the ages instantaneously at your beck and call,” Meadows said.

Additional resources

Other resources on topics related to literature:

  • The Open Library
  • The Internet Public Library
  • American Libraries Magazine
  •, a site that aims to make “learning and writing more fun and relevant for students in the digital age.”
  • English Literature Links, a massive site maintained by Ian Mackean since 2000.
  • The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) American Collection

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