Elements of fiction and other research paper topics for your literature research paper

With so many categories of literature from many parts of the world, there is a vast amount of topics to choose from. (Courtesy of William George Aston)

With so many categories of literature from many parts of the world, there is a vast amount of topics to choose from. (Courtesy of William George Aston)

Literature courses come in many forms. Your course might focus on the elements of fiction or on world literature. When you have to complete a research paper for your literature class, you’ll find that there are a vast number of possible research paper topics. Before you begin to panic, let’s check out a few tips and resources that can help you to manage your assignment.


According to Questia, literature is the “… sharing and preservation of knowledge, stories and ideas in the form of written communication.” And the folks at Questia should know. The website houses millions of full-text books and articles on a multitude of subjects. Browse the library for literature research topics and you’ll find topics that include:

  • literature of specific countries
  • fiction
  • drama
  • poetry
  • famous authors

Each topic branches into subtopics, such as:

  • novels
  • Native American literature
  • Shakespeare

If you want to explore the topic of science fiction and fantasy, for example, you’ll be led to information about authors like Anne Rice, author of Interview with the Vampire. Follow through and you’ll find links to a number of books about Rice and the place of vampires in literature.

One such work is The Blood Is the Life: Vampires in Literature by Leonard G. Heldreth and Mary Pharr. Regarding the use of sexual symbolism in the iconic novel Dracula, the authors said, “A great deal of recent criticism has focused on that aspect of the novel: it is rife with rape, incest, adultery, sado-masochism and homosexuality, all carefully kept at the symbolic level except for one notable scene.”

While you’re at Questia, be sure to check out the research tutorials on planning, researching, citing and writing your paper. You’ll also love the writing tools that help you to bookmark, highlight and store your sources.

Research paper help

It’s hard enough to write a decent research paper. When your assignment includes reading a novel and then interpreting its deeper meanings and contexts, well, let’s just say it can be stressful.

Luckily there are plenty of sites and blogs where literature lovers are happy to discuss their favorite stories and novels. One such site is Schmoop.com where you’ll find help on test preparation and various topics in literature.

If Russian novels put you to sleep, you’ll appreciate the discussion “Anna Karenina In a Nutshell.” Putting the context of the story into perspective, the writers said, “We were going to compare Anna Karenina to a soap opera, because it’s about cheating and scandals. We were going to say, ‘If you secretly like soap operas, you’ll love…’ But then we realized – no. Anna Karenina isn’t really like a soap opera.”

Literature decoded

Need help on deciphering your reading assignment? Find a good website written by a literature professor. A good place to start is with Professor K. Wheeler’s list of “Some Ways You Can Approach a Literary Text.

Professor Wheeler breaks down the 11 points you need to complete when reading your novel, which include:

  • Who wrote it and why?
  • What literary techniques does it use?
  • How does it affect individual readers like us?

Don’t these sound just like the kinds of questions that your professor would want you to address in your research paper? Be sure to take a look around Dr. Wheeler’s entire site. You’ll find plenty of helpful resources.

Best Literature Websites

Learn about the elements of fiction at ReadWriteThink.org where you’ll find a slide-show that simplifies literary devices such as conflict and point-of-view. Another helpful site that explains elements of plot, character, setting and more can be found at Bedford St. Martin’s Interactive Fiction Tutorial. Get help on how to conduct a literary analysis from either Roane State’s or Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Other sites that will appeal to those interested in books and literature include:

  • The Millions
  • Media Bistro’s GalleyCat
  • Voice of the Shuttle (VOS)
  • The Paris Review Daily
  • Book Riot

Explore a wealth of topics related to literature on Questia.

What reading assignment did you enjoy most in your literature course? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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