How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper
When students are assigned to write a research paper, and the selection of the topic is left open, quite a few students have a difficult time choosing a topic to write on or organizing their writing. For some it may even be the most difficult part of the assignment. If you are in this situation, there are some steps to make choosing a subject easier. How to choose topic ideas will involve looking at several different criteria. Consider the following when you are selecting a topic:
- Choose a topic from an area you have an interest in. You will be spending a large amount of time with the topic. This is more easily done if you have a genuine interest in the subject.
- Consider a topic that has relevance to your life. Something that may prove beneficial to you in further studies or in some way other than just completing an assignment.
- Review available research materials. Spend some time checking on the availability of resources. You don’t want to select a topic for which almost no resource materials exist. (This can help in narrowing your topic down also).
Narrowing a Topic Area in a Field
Part of knowing how to choose a topic for a research paper is being able to narrow down the subject that you choose to write on. Selecting too broad of a topic area is a common mistake. It is much better to focus on an area that is not so big. After selecting a general topic try to narrow it down doing the following:
- Look at research in the field. What specific areas are being covered?
- As you research look at sources cited in the articles you are interested in. This will provide more materials and ideas.
- Are there specific areas you come across that interest you that you could approach in a different way?
- Select some key words dealing with your topic. Can you use them in a one sentence thesis statement that makes sense that you feel you can write about? Look at the major concepts the statement covers.
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How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper Tips
When you are working on making your topic selection keep these writing tips in mind:
- Choose something you have an interest in.
- Do same basic research on background information.
- Choose some key words.
- Write a thesis statement for your potential topic. Does it make sense and properly sum up the topic?
Choosing the correct topic will get your research paper started off in the right direction, and make the whole project easier.
Image credit: http://www.ntid.rit.edu/research/cprint_summary.php