Research Essay Requirements You must choose a research essay topic from the list of approved topics (see below). No other topics will be accepted, and essays about other topics will be given a zero. You change your essay topic at any time before the essay is due, but the new topic must be one from this list. You cannot combine or alter topics. Choose your topic carefully! Your essay must have a thesis, where you take a position on your topic and defend your point of view. Think of it as a “pro” or “con” position – you must take a strong stand on one side of the issue or another. Do not sit in the middle – pick a side and defend it! So if you select the “Should genetic engineering be controlled by law” topic, your essay should either by for or against those sorts of laws, and make a case for why you believe you’re right. Essays should be 1000-1500 words, not including the Works Cited material.