Finding an interesting and intriguing research topic is the first process towards delivering a high-quality research paper. Settling on a suitable topic means the difference between succeeding or failing in the paper. Therefore, the ability to choose a suitable research topic is an important skill for students. This article will provide tips and proven techniques for landing on the best topic to use in your research paper.
There are limitless possibilities for a research topic in any field or subject. The challenge arises when trying to narrow down the ideas into a specific topic that solves a problem or improves an existing solution. Even though some subjects do not place strict emphasis on a research paper, it remains imperative to create a good topic. Some colleges just require a good enough paper discussing a topic, problem, and possible solutions. Who knows, you can even be published for delivering a thought-provoking topic and quality paper.
Therefore, the first tip is to note all possible topics that address a certain problem or improves an existing solution. Brainstorming helps reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by identifying areas of interest, and you can rank these ideas based on how confident you are in each topic. For instance, in psychology, broad areas could include child abuse, gender roles, eating disorders, body image, criminal psychology, and mental illness. You can rank the broad areas in the order you feel comfortable with each topic.
The second tip is to conduct preliminary research on the broad research topic. This means researching the topic to find available sources and what the researchers say on the issue. This step should be relatively easy because you skim through the sources without getting into specifics. More importantly, observe the ease with which you get potential sources, either from the school library or online sources.
Avoid the costly mistake of picking a topic that you will struggle to find sources.
Select a Broad Topic
After completing the preliminary research, you should feel comfortable picking a broad topic. Select the one that interests you the most and has easily accessible sources.
Settling on a broad research topic will allow you to start the next phase of identifying possible gaps, problems, and solutions. For instance, assume you identified child abuse as a suitable area of interest. You will read some studies on child abuse to identify what the previous researchers could have missed.
Identify a Specific Research Topic
You have settled on a specific broad topic and feel comfortable enough to start writing. Take your time in this area to peruse previous studies for a better understanding of issues addressed and possible gaps. Google scholar is the best resource to use here for free scientific studies.
For instance, if you picked child abuse as your broad topic, try to find out how it affects social, emotional, and psychological development. Do you find a gap there or an issue you would like to address? That question will allow you to think critically about selecting a suitable research topic in a specific field. Other possible specific areas to explore under child abuse include link between child abuse and bullying tendencies, and prevalence of child abuse (select a specific setting such as daycare/school and impacts on performance). You can combine a broad topic with a specific area to generate a suitable research topic.
Formulate Research Questions
The essence of a research paper is to answer a question, solve a problem or improve a solution. Therefore, formulate your topic as a research question because it helps in creating the context of the paper.
Continuing on our previous example of child abuse, possible questions include: what is the prevalence rate of child abuse in school? How does it affect performance compared to other schools/unaffected children?
You can have multiple questions as per the example. They can be further broken into specific objectives.
Create an Outline
Writing the questions and breaking them into objectives will count towards creating an outline for the paper. Each objective could be a unique section of the research paper, and all combined help address the research topic.
In this article, we have identified six easy ways to come up with a research topic.
- The article indicates brainstorming as a crucial and necessary step towards identifying broad areas of study within your field.
- Selecting a broad topic will get you started and focus on an area that interests you the most. Do not forget to pick an area with available sources because they help prove or form ideas in the writing process.
- Perform preliminary research to identify gaps or possible solutions to improve within the selected broad topic. Addressing a specific issue is a mark of excellence in research paper writing. Some institutions and journals can publish well-researched and written college papers, which is a bonus to you.
- Research questions act as a guide to your paper. You can use questions to elaborate more on the specific issue.
- Finally, break down the questions into specific objectives to create an outline for the paper.
Feel free to contact us if you need more information or help coming with a suitable research topic.