What factors to consider when choosing a research topic? The selection of the research topic is one of the most important consideration of every research. A research topic forms the basis for all the efforts a researcher puts in the research. When you are selecting a research topic there are several considerations that will help you streamline your thoughts and formulate a manageable and interesting research topic.
Before you begin your quest to generate a research topic know that what qualities of a research topic are important. After this make it clear in your mind that once you formulate a research topic you have to narrow it down to your workable limits. Narrowing down the research topic is the most important consideration during this process. Let us see what are some of the most important considerations in choosing a research topic.
Narrow down your research topic
Even if you are comfortable with a topic and you feel like you want to write your research paper you need to know that how to narrow down your research topic so it is workable. Formulate a focused, directional, clear and specific in nature research problem. This needs a lot of brainstorming and looking at the research topic from all prospects. Sometimes there are very interesting topics that could not be narrowed down such topics cannot make a good research topic. For the beginner researchers/students it is often difficult to understand how to narrow down your topic. You should ask help from your supervisor, advisor, mentor or any other person who has expertise in research. Giving full time and attention to choosing the right research topic will be always beneficial.
A topic you are curious about
Choose a research topic that you know a little about but still you have a quest to know more about it. If you are choosing a research topic that you already know everything you will bring up everything that you already knew onto a piece of paper. This is not the aim of writing a research paper. Your research paper is your journey to know the answers to a question that you are curious about.
A topic that interests you
Choose a topic that seems interesting to you this is very obvious. If you do not have any interest in a topic you will not be able to do it in the best possible manner. Even professionals and researchers in advance level conduct research on topics that they are curious about. They do not take any random question and start a research on it. Your interest in the topic means that you will happily work and have better end result.
To know what interests you, you should consider over the course of studies what topics did you study with passion. Ask yourself what are the most interesting topics in your course that you want to explore. Apart from your interest it is also a good idea to think that the topic you have chosen is one that interests students in your class. Having interest in the topic you are studying is important but the topic should be still objective, directional and researchable.
A topic that is manageable
Every researcher has limited resources, especially, time and the research project should finish before the deadline. Choose a topic that you can easily justify within the given time frame. Oftentimes delay in the submission of research makes it hard for the student to get their degree. Sometimes our interest in a topic drives us to select a topic that is hard to manage in available resources. If you select a topic that is very interesting and inspiring to you, you should narrow it down so that it is workable.
A topic that is significant
Ask yourself what change the research on your chosen topic can bring to the world around you. Your preference should be a topic that can solve some problem in real life. Everyone enjoys reading a research paper that has a lot of practical implications. Such topics are all time favorites of the teachers as well as other readers. A significant topic is the best topic to do in research. However, this does not mean that you can choose any topic that promises a solution. There are sometimes such topics that are very engaging, promising, and have significance but you cannot manage them in the given time. So this should be your secondary preference when writing a research paper as a student.
Avoid over-exhausted topics
Do not get compelled by popular topics that have been over exhausted. Popular topics have a lot of information available that you can quote in your research paper. On the other hand, popular topics do not catch the attention of the teachers and the readers. If you choose such topic you might end up writing duplicate content even if you did not aim to do so.
A topic that is challenging
Some people enjoy writing on challenging topics that are also demanding. Picking a topic that is challenging can be daunting as it requires more of your resources. Select a topic that presents good challenge but weigh available literature on that topic so that you do not have problems later. You are bound by the time requirement so select if it is appropriate for you.
Availability of sources
There should have to have enough sources available so that you can quote in your research paper. Selecting a topic on which there is not any source material available can make your writing very difficult. Ample reference material is necessary as you will be at ease to finish the research on time. You can ask the librarian about the source material before you finalize your topic. It is easier to make any changes to the topic you have selected but as you have started writing the research paper it will be difficult to change the topic.
Finally, make sure that you narrow down your topic several times before you have the final topic that you want to write a research paper. Make any changes at this step and you will thank yourself later. Ask the help of your teacher if you are not sure whether the topic you have chosen will work or not.
- K. Ranjit. Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners, 3rd Ed. Sage Pub. 2011.