Separating good research paper topics from the rest
You’ve probably heard/experienced that writing a research paper is tasking to your mind and takes up a lot of time and energy. The step before you even begin writing is probably one of the most difficult ones: choosing a research topic. The pressure comes in full force when you realize the topic you choose has to be able to maintain your interest levels throughout the whole project. It should also be a topic that has enough relevant information so that you don’t get halfway through the paper and you’re stuck. Finding a topic that you are interested in makes the task of writing a little less mundane because you will actually be enjoying it.
How to sift the right topic from the mess
There are so many good topics to write a research paper on out there, but setting apart the one that is most relevant to you is the reason many students pull their hair out. Here are eight steps that will make your life so much easier:
Have an idea brainstorm session
Jot down key words and concepts that may interest you. Can these concepts form a highly focused research topic? Stay away from overused ideas; gun control, suicide, teen pregnancy, etc. Unless you have something new to say that hasn’t already been said.
Do superficial research on your top three topics
Go over a general encyclopedia article on two or three of your top topics. This will enable you to get a rough outline of your topic of choice and see how your idea relates to the issues on both a broad and narrow aspect. Search engines also come in handy for this exercise.
Keep your topic manageable
A topic that’s too narrow or too broad is difficult to research. If your topic seems broad, you could limit it by geographical area, timeframe, culture, discipline, etc. One that’s too narrow should be completely avoided because you will lack content to finish the paper.
Create a list of important keywords
Keep record of the words that describe your topic. Take note of them and use them later when searching catalogs and databases.
Don’t be unwilling to change your topic during the research process. You may find that you have too much information and may need to narrow your focus or have far too little and need to broaden it.
Describe your topic as a focused research question
It always starts with one word which develops a more focused interest. From there, ask a question that relates to that phrase.
Do more research
Now that you have a research question, can you find enough information on it? Find out more information that helps you answer your question before you zero in on it.
Formulate a thesis statement
Turn your topic into a thesis statement. It could be the answer to your research question or just a way to define the purpose of your research.
- The thesis statement will give your paper purpose
- It will be a way for the reader to quickly tell what your paper is about
- It keeps you focused on the topic as you write
How we can help make your life easier
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