Many high school and undergraduate students have difficulties choosing their research paper topic. Indeed, choosing an appropriate and interesting topic can be very challenging. Below you can find a step by step guide that, I hope, will help you manage this task.
Step #1 Understand the assignment. There are many questions to be answered before you can start defining the topic of your research. How many sources should I use? What kind of sources: books, articles, websites, or my own research results? You need to clarify this information with your teacher/professor.
Step #2 Write down potential topics. You can do it in standard form of a list or more creative one, which is a spider map. Remember that you need to put on paper only the ideas you are interested in.
Step #3 Narrow your list. Now that you have all your potential topics written down, you need to cross out those which are too wide and too difficult to find materials on. Remember that your topic must be specific. For example,the topic of “Digital tools” is not manageable. There is too much information about it. So, you need to choose something more precise, like “Most popular digital tools used by entrepreneurs.” Leave on the list only the topics you can find much information about.
Step #4 Discuss your ideas. Ask your teacher/professor or academic advisor to look at your ideas and give his or her opinion on them. Yes, you may not like what you hear, but it will save your efforts in case the direction you have taken is wrong.
Step #5 Background reading. Choose the keywords of your potential topic and look them up on the Internet. In our case, it will be like this: “Most popular digital tools used by entrepreneurs” the keywords are: digital tools and entrepreneurs. Now you want to read some of the articles and/or books chapters that are related to those keywords. Reading will give you more information on the topics you want to choose from. You will be able to decide which topic is less interesting and should not be researched.
Step #6 Develop the research question. Try to make it as specific as possible. Again, back to our example with digital tools, we can use specification of place: “What are the most popular digital tools used by entrepreneurs in Australia;” or we can define a certain time period: “What are the most popular digital tools used by entrepreneurs since 2010.” Do not forget to check whether you can find the information on your specified topic.
So, I hope you’ve found this information useful. Good luck with your research!