As a student, one major hurdle you will have to cross at one point or another is the selection of a research topic.
In fact, this may come up several times in a student’s life, depending on what his or her program is like, and the number of degrees he/she intends to acquire. However, regardless of what your current level of education is, choosing a research topic follows basic principles. While some persons say that this is the most difficult part of writing a text, I beg to differ. As a matter of fact, if you can carefully apply the guidelines and principles laid out in this article, arriving at a research topic will be the least of your worries. Let’s get cracking!
1. Begin by observing things that are of interest to you
The best way to choose a research topic is from within. Think about the things that interest you the most. Write down all of your interests, and then go on to break them down into smaller topics. Following this, narrow down these topics to the one you find most interesting- one capable of sustaining your interest over a period of time. If you end up selecting a controversial topic, make sure you choose a perspective your research will develop. It’s important that you are interested in what you’re working on as it is difficult to motivate yourself to undertake research and write about something you do not care about.
2. Practice mind mapping
This is a test of what and how much you know about a particular topic. Before you settle down on a topic, make a mind map of the topic. To do this, place the main concept right in the middle of a sheet, and begin adding relevant terms about the topic around it. Continue to add as much as you know, and by the time you run out of terms you know about the topic, you’d know whether or not you know enough to take on the topic, or if they’re enough for a paper.
3. Develop an argumentative research question
It is important that a section of your paper reveals the importance of the paper to your course and the subject at hand. It might seem pretty sufficient to make a general statement, but the real deal is that your argumentation ought to pose a research question. Ask yourself the reason for which you chose the topic, and how the research you’re undertaking will provide clarity or solutions to the problems identified by the paper.
4. Study available research topic ideas
Like earlier mentioned, it is necessary that you do not choose something too broad, but instead, narrow down your thoughts and interests to something that captivates you the most. After you have arrived at this topic of choice, broaden your knowledge by studying research paper ideas that deal with the same subject.
5. Find out if you have sufficient resources to develop your paper
It’s one thing to start out with a particular topic, another thing is finding the necessary materials to get the study on track. Before you decide to run with your topic of choice, make sure there’s enough research material for the topic or subject. It will be really sad to spend long hours of time searching through sources, only to realize that you do not have enough information and resources to get your assignment done.
6. Work with your audience in mind
Whether it’s an academic paper or not, you’re going to have an audience. When writing, work with your audience in mind. What interests them? What are they looking forward to reading from you? Keep in mind the audience you’re writing to. When doing research for a certain class, ensure that the topic is covered in that class, else, no one will pay attention to whatever you’ve written.
7. Compose a strong statement of the problem
No paper or research work is complete without a defined problem which the study seeks to address. This is known as the statement of the problem. This must be done at the point of selecting a topic because both concepts must be interconnected. The main idea of your thesis and all it seeks to address must be reflected here.