Five steps to choosing your research topic
Definitely one of the hardest things to write is a research paper. Research papers have to be formal, precise, and factual—in short, they can be pretty boring.
Some people, however, find the first step tedious—choosing the topic. More often than not, this step can either make or break your paper, as well as greatly affect the entire process. To help you with that, here are five steps in choosing your research topic.
1. Know the needs of your field
One of the qualities of a successful research paper is its relevance to your field. Look for a problem or a loophole. If you like, you can also look into something that has little to no research, and start a pioneer study. Bear in mind, however, that pioneer studies take longer to accomplish and are harder to write.
2. Take your interests into consideration
To avoid running out of motivation in the midst of writing your paper, choose something interesting. This could be a subtopic of the field you’re interested in, or even better, combine an unrelated interest with your field of study.
3. Research, research, research
Before choosing your topic, make sure that you have some material to back up your future study. Look ahead for other studies that may be similar to the one you’re planning to do to make sure that you aren’t repeating someone else’s work or to prove that there is something worth studying in that field.
4. Create a timeline
This is very important for time-sensitive research papers. Estimate the amount of time you need to finish researching and writing your paper. Always allot extra time for revisions and for further research. It will also help you to look for libraries containing the materials you need early on.
5. Don’t rush
Don’t just decide on which one sounds best, which one has the most resources, or which one is the most relevant. Instead, make a list of all the topics you want to work on. Reflect on whether or not each topic is worth the time and effort and if they have a little bit of everything.
Once you have chosen a topic and done the right research, the rest of the process becomes a lot easier. Keep in mind that a research paper is a real commitment—it takes time, effort, discipline, and a lot of hard work, but the end result are well worth it.
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