The ability to choose a right topic for a research is in itself a useful skill. Most often, you get a topic assigned by your instructor, but sometimes you get a great opportunity to choose your topic, and we suggest making the best of it.
Sometimes selecting a topic may be a tricky task. The thing is that you need to be specific. Your topic must be narrow so you can tell more about it. On the other hand, it should be broad enough so you can find all the necessary information. To make your choice easier, just define what your project will look like, taking into account the required format.
Choose a topic that is really interesting for you. To narrow down the range of available topics, start brainstorming ideas.
- Did you hear some new story that interested you? Did you find some information that brought up strong emotions?
- What in a class interests you most?
- Are you personally interested in some issue that you would like to learn more about?
- Do you have a strong opinion on some controversial political or social issue?
Think of things that look interesting to you and jot down keywords. Make a list of terms that may help you find sources for your research.
Make sure your ideas are original. Some topics are overused, and we suggest not choosing them for your research. For example, these are such topics as gun control or abortion. However, you may still make a nice research out of them, in case you use a unique approach.
Familiarize Yourself With the Background Information
Let’s say, you found three interesting topics that you would like to write about. Start with searching for basic information. Open an encyclopedia and read about crucial features of your subject. This will also allow you to find the most common keywords that you can use further in your research. If you see that there are not enough facts in the encyclopedia, forget about this topic and try another one, or just make it a little broader.
Focus on Your Topic
As we said above, it’s important to stay focused on something specific. To narrow down your topic, try to limit it by different parameters. For example, if your topic is “the environment,” it’s too broad to make a good research. In this case, you can limit it:
- by time frame
What environmental issues are most important now?
- by geographical area
What issues are most important in Europe or Asia?
- by culture
How Western civilization deals with environmental issues?
Some topics are particularly difficult in terms of available sources. These topics are:
- too broad
You won’t be able to find useful information having too many sources.
- significant in one specific location
It’s hard to write on a topic that is covered only in local newspapers.
- too recent
There may be fewer resources available
There is nothing wrong with modifying your topic during the writing process. First of all, sometimes you don’t know what results you will get when your research is done. In addition, the more information you collect, the clearer you understand the idea of your paper. This is a usual thing when you work on a research paper. Just make sure that you don’t switch between unrelated subjects within one paper.
Your writing approach is determined by many factors, including the required word count, bibliography, and the type of the project. Keep in mind your deadlines and adjust your research to the conditions you need to work in.
Read More About Your Topic
Take a look at the keywords you’ve collected, and start searching for any available sources in article databases, catalogs, and using search engines. The more information you have, the more detailed your research. Define your topic as a focused question and try to answer it so that your readers will get a full grasp on the considered issue. It’s very important to have enough information, so let it be the main option when choosing a topic. Don’t forget that the success of your research depends to a large extent on the topic.
Elaborate Your Thesis Statement
Your thesis statement should be directly related to the topic. In turn, the topic must be reflected in the thesis statement, and its main question must be answered in the main idea of your paper. Usually, thesis statements are one-two sentences long. Make your thesis concise, specific, and proven. Keep in mind that you will need to support your thesis further, so you must have necessary evidence.
In general, there are three things that must point to each other: your topic, the title of your paper, and your thesis statement. However, don’t repeat your thesis statement in the title — its purpose is to reflect the general meaning and the purpose of your research.