How to Choose a Good and Effective Research Topic
Creating a research paper or term paper requires time, effort and dedication. You will be gathering enormous information, evaluating the results and a whole lot more. Sometimes, your patience will be put in to test whenever problems arise as you go along the way. If this is not your first time making a research, then this task will never be very difficult for you. But, if you’re new in this kind of work, and don’t have an idea yet on how to start it right, then don’t be afraid, just keep reading this hub to help you get started.
To begin with your research paper, you must consider first making a good topic to work with. Choosing a good one is not as easy as ABC (nor as easy as counting the numbers one to ten.) In fact, I consider this part as the most critical stage. I tell you, the future of your project depends on your topic, and the difficulty in making a successful paper varies with the subject you are dealing with. Everything must be well-thought, planned and considered.
Common Mistakes of Students in Making a Term Paper
It is always important to develop the main topic first. You may find a good one, but it is not enough to be considered strong and effective. What do I mean? Some students choose a topic simply because they just want it. They immediately decide on what to focus on their study without making a preliminary research regarding the subject. What they do not know is that they’re already creating a big problem in the first place. Much to their excitement, these students start to work on their projects without due consideration on the references and the overall impact of their study. Some would spend so much time in the library, looking for books, encyclopedias and journals. Others spare their time in front of the computer, hoping to find relevant articles online. They exerted much effort, only to find out that they have few references, realizing that it is quite difficult to conceptualize and to continue. With this, they decide to create a new one and start all over again. It is indeed a waste of time and effort!
How to Choose a Strong and Effective Research Topic
These few easy steps will help you choose a good and effective research topic:
1. Choose a topic that interests you
It is really hard to work on something which you do not like. It would be very difficult to make a research paper regarding a thing that blows off your interest. So to start with, think of a topic that you really want and care about. You can go deeper on that subject as you wish. Just be selective though, and ask yourself how the society or community can benefit from your study. This is what I call “giving the study its purpose.” Please don’t go with topics that have been written and used elsewhere. Avoid those things that are very common and have been known by the ordinary people. You are doing research because you want to discover something new and not to reiterate other’s work.
- Be specific so that the scope and limitation of your study will be established. That said, you will be focused on a particular subject, thus eliminating the chance of making things more complicated.
- Be careful not to become too specific! You will be having a hard time finding reliable references.
2. Create a tentative list of related subjects
It’s the high time to narrow things down and be specific. Say you want a topic on “Security and Automation.” You find out that this subject matter is too broad, in fact, it includes different technologies like Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and intruder detection systems. Among these related subjects, you find yourself attracted to RFID technology. You have choosen this because it is new to you and you want to learn more about it.
3. Make a preliminary research
Just like an investor conducting a feasibility study before putting up a business, a good researcher must also make a preliminary research to check if the study is possible or not. A few hours in front of a computer and a visit on a library will do. Look for reliable references. When you can find plenty of good references, you are on the right track – doing the project is easier because you have sources which you can always refer to. On the other hand, a very few references would indicate a difficult topic. Well, you might consider dropping that topic and find another one before it’s too late.
References must be reliable
- When looking for related literature over the internet, choose those articles written and published by scholars. Peer-reviewed journals and articles are high recommended.
- Books are good sources of information written by excellent authors of the past. As we know it, books are more trustworthy compared to other sources of information. But be vigilant, most of the books are not updated and sometimes become obsolete. So if you want to explore on the latest inventions in science and technology, you better check the web first and you’ll surely find the latest development. Well, you can always refer to textbooks for the important principles. Though technology advances rapidly, still the basic fundamental principles of science exists in that development.
4. Keep reading related literature and learn from the past discoveries
After making a scrutiny, I suggest you will read the important literature that you have gathered. Read them in advance so that you will have a background about subject matter that you have selected - again, just be sure they’re of high quality articles. Take note of the discoveries and results of the previous study. They will serve as your guide as to what you should focus on your own research. This way should help you avoid making a duplicate study – I’m sure you don’t want to be called a clone.
Here's a good video that can help you
After reading this hub, do you think you can make a good and effective research topic
© 2013 Jemuel