How to identify your research interests and why it is important? Throughout our academic and research career we identify that we have some areas of interests that we prefer to study more than the others. Mostly, we are willing to work hard on interesting topics. On the other hand, lack of interest means that we find it overwhelming when we have to go through the difficult work in our research.
Identify an area of interest
You should identify a broad area of interest, this is your first step to explore your interests in research. Ask yourself what is it that really interests you in this subject area. What are some particular topics in the subject that you want to explore with your research. There may be more than one area of interest and you can explore further which area is most interesting to you.
Dissect this area of interest in sub areas
Now dissect your major area of interest in subtopics and see how much you are interested in each subtopic. Also see which topics are worth studying and research. Make an exhaustive list of sub areas. If you are not sure that your list is exhaustive you can ask someone who has knowledge about the subject. An exhaustive list will help you figure out area of interest and importance for your research.
You can use any technique to list all the sub areas, for example, brainstorming is a good way to list sub areas. Also you can read and review books related to the subject area to dig deep about the possible topics. If you are still not sure you can ask your supervisor, research advisor, teacher, or a person expert in the subject area.
Select sub areas that interests you
Once you have an exhaustive list of all the possible research sub areas you can eliminate areas that are not interesting to you. An easier way to do this is to eliminate those areas that are least interesting. Now look at the remaining options. Also keep eliminating those topics that does not interest you until you have a topic that is most interesting. Also this topic needs to be manageable in given time and other resources.
Final area of interest
You should now be able to formulate research questions, objectives, and research hypothesis related to the topic. If in any case the topic looks broad and difficult to manage you should further narrow it down.