Consider the prompt fully: what material(s) does the prompt ask you to write about? Does your professor provide any examples of potential topics? Some prompts have clearly defined topics to choose from; others leave it up to you, the writer, to decide what you would like to write about. Pay particular attention to vocabulary in the prompt that relates to material from class, as this will help guide the focus of your paper. What terms do you recognize? Use these as a jumping off point for deciding your paper’s topic.
Finally, consider your instructor’s purpose in giving you this assignment. Your instructor may include a description of the purpose on the assignment sheet, but if not, consider how the assignment fits into the content and progression of the course.
For example, if your class is reading a book together, an early assignment might ask students to summarize key points from the book to make sure everyone understands it. However, a later assignment might ask students to analyze why the author used a particular writing technique. Try to keep purpose in mind as you plan to begin to write your paper.