Settling on a topic is the very first step in accomplishing your research paper. In some cases, instructors specifically give you a question to answer, but what if you have to think up of the question to be answered instead? Picking a topic may be confusing and overwhelming, so here are some tips in choosing a topic for your research paper.
Consider the given guidelines
Your instructor might not give you a specific topic to work on, but guidelines will most likely be provided. So in considering your research topic, you must first take into account the guidelines given for your project. Is there any specific methodology you’re required to use? Then think of a topic that will align with that methodology. Another essential guideline to consider is the length of your paper, which we will talk about more later.
Pick something that interests you
Let’s state the obvious-- doing research on something you find uninteresting will not lead to good results. It will most probably bore you and even suck your will to finish your paper. So in choosing a topic for your research paper, make sure to ask yourself about what mostly intrigues you. Remember that the potential topic does not have to be something you know a lot about. As long as it excites your interest and makes you want to answer the questions it presents, then you are surely on the right track.
Look for articles, theses, journals, and any available literature related to your topic. This will not only help you clarify and decide what to focus on, but doing so will also give you a head start on the references you can cite in your paper. After all, there is nothing more frustrating than settling on a specific topic only to find out that there are limited resources to help you out.
Think about the scope and specifications of your topic
Okay, so maybe you’re interested in a lot of things under your course. That means you still have to further narrow down your options, and the first step to do so is to think about the scope and specifications of your research. Writing a research paper means that you are limited by the required number of pages and word counts, so you most likely will not be able to answer all the questions related to your topic. Make the paper manageable and possible to complete by deciding on the specifications of your research. Getting too carried away by answering too many questions while being limited by the required research length may make your content suffer.
Write down your research topic as a thesis statement
Try formulating a thesis statement that clarifies the aim of your study. Doing this may help you decide on the focus of your research as thesis statements lay out the main goal and purpose of your study.
We hope these tips will make the experience of choosing a topic for your research paper a little less tricky. Once you have decided on the final topic of your paper, you are well on your way on writing your research paper. This may sound like a more challenging task, but with a focused topic in mind, you will surely be well-guided in completing it.