Choosing the Right Research Topic for Your Paper
Choosing a Research Topic
We all know that completing a project is not an easy task: deadlines to meet, formal requirements of the educational institution, assignment to submit, among other challenges. But many students end up facing an even more incredible difficulty when choosing the topic for research.
One crucial skill many people overlook is the ability to generate and build an excellent research topic. Indeed, a lecturer may give his student a particular topic; however, students are often asked to provide topics that interest them. Hence, to determine a research topic, there are certain things one needs to carry out:
- Brainstorm for ideas
- Choose a topic that will enable you to read and understand the literature
- Ensure that the topic is manageable, and that material is available
- Make a list of keywords
- Be flexible
- Define your topic as a focused research question
- Research and discover an in-depth understanding of your topic
- Formulate a thesis statement
How do I choose a project topic?
It is worthy to point out that choosing a good research topic may prove arduous considering that it must pinpoint a particular idea or phenomenon to be exciting and wide enough to encompass adequate information. Nevertheless, before choosing a research topic, it is important to envision how it would look like at the end. Below are some essential steps that will guide you through the process of choosing a research topic.
1. Brainstorm for ideas
To start, it is necessary to have a clear idea that should be as close to the research topic as possible. Everything can be confusing at first, but it can become more apparent as you get more information.
2. Choose a research topic that will enable you to read and understand the literature
Each student has an area with which he or she identifies most and is most interested in research. Usually, one chooses a topic in an area covering one’s interest and not simply in what is easier or has more bibliography available. Remember that you will spend a lot of time writing this monograph. It should be a topic that interests you, isn’t it?
It is essential that you feel attracted to the topic chosen for your research; otherwise, it will be very difficult to stay motivated during the process, and stress could end up killing you. A real interest in the project will help you overcome the difficulties that often arise during writing.
3. Ensure that the research topic is manageable, and that material is available
A good topic doesn’t have to be complex. The key to an approach is in the delimitation of the study in time and space. A specific idea can be expanded if the research requires it. Also, from a simple idea, other subsequent specialized studies can arise.
Make sure there is enough information available to carry out your research. Indeed, you can always start from scratch if things do not go as planned, but everything will be easier if you make sure you have a vast theoretical framework before you start working on the thesis and not after. When trying to choose a topic, it’s time to do a thorough bibliographic search. Ideally, it would help if you did not restrict yourself to your college library collection. It is possible to find excellent articles on online platforms.
4. Make a list of keywords
When trying to choose a topic, take note of the important words used to describe the topic you want to work on. Each research topic contains a semantic tree of keywords. For example, in history, there are the concepts of objectivity and subjectivity. They all create a nebula of ideas from which a question can be posed. For example, you can enter them in search engines for scientific articles, such as Google Scholar.
5. Be flexible
It is important to note that many people adjust their research topic during research. And many times, this is due to the unpredictability of findings. At times, the result might be too narrow to continue the research or too wide that there is nothing else to talk about. Many people find it difficult to change topics when they reach this stage; however, it is important to be flexible. The length of the research, due date, and bibliographies are major factors that lead to modifying the research topic.
6. Define your topic as a focused research question
One of the fundamental aspects of knowing how to choose a research topic is transforming the topic that interests you into a research question. Only in this way will you establish concretely what your research will be about: pointing out this knowledge gap that we will try to fill with new information. In this way, there will be no ambiguities, and confusion will not occur when developing the project.
Technically, you already have a research topic, but there is still one step left to finish choosing.
7. Research and discover an in-depth understanding of your topic
Another way to choose a more creative theme for your project is through a prior bibliographic search. You don’t have to be an expert on the subject but having some insight into your research’s backbone will make it easier to find important data and avoid unforeseen obstacles as you go along. Having prior knowledge is a strength, especially if you have been in contact with the object of study before because you will know where to find the information you need.
Through readings focused on the topic you intend to research; it is easier to find points of divergence in the topic and escape a little from what would be convenient when dealing with the subject. This need not be, exactly, the bibliographic research of the work, but rather a preliminary reading. Research on internet search tools helps a lot in this task!
8. Formulate a thesis statement
When you are preparing a bibliography, there is always one or another classic theoretical framework for each area of study. How about changing the analysis perspective of your object of study a little? Take this opportunity to choose theoretical frameworks little used in your area, getting in touch with different theorists and theories, which offer new study possibilities!
Some people may not believe that the theoretical framework is important, as they think that academic work consists of reading an article, writing a few things about it, and that’s it. But not quite. When writing an academic, you need to have what teachers call “basement”. In other words: you cannot write a paper-based only on your ideas.
To do a job well done, it is necessary to go after books, theoretical content, websites, files, and even other people’s work, to have a better “cultural framework,” that is, “solid” content for the job. It is also not just a matter of writing what you see in these reference materials because that would be plagiarism. It needs reasoning!