A research topic is the subject matter or issue of interest when conducting any study. And finding a suitable one can be challenging, especially for complete beginners. Luckily, this article helps you understand what makes a research paper topic good and how to turn it into amazing writing.
Selecting a topic is an ongoing process where the researcher engages with the existing literature to find an issue or knowledge gap. Conducting relevant research is a strong contributing factor to writing quality papers. And while settling on a particular topic, make sure it is neither too general nor too narrow.
A bad topic or research question is too abstract and general. For example, personnel management and social media aren’t specific enough and, therefore, unsuitable topics. In most cases, such topics fail to meet the professor’s requirements and often get declined.
On the other hand, a suitable research topic or question is manageable – using available resources (time and money) – and meets the tutor’s requirements. So, what makes a research paper topic good?
What is a Good Research Paper Topic?
The outcome of a research project highly (not entirely) depends on the choice of a topic. That’s why you must be extra careful to choose a doable and justifiable one. And conduct an extensive literature review to understand what other scholars have published (or not covered) about your proposed topic.
Make sure there is a theoretical basis in support of the topic. Besides, the topic should, at least, aim to bridge a specific knowledge gap(s) or suggest solutions to a particular problem.
You want to ensure that your research paper is outstanding, doable, and relevant. And your understanding of the topic, and the research process, affects the quality of your research project.
Here are the five factors that good research, essay, or thesis paper topic should meet.
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1. Does it Interests you?
Be sure to select a topic you are interested in or are curious about. You would be more willing and motivated to explore a subject you enjoy.
Your research project should have a wider scope – but not too wide to explore. Even if a research topic is popular or trending, do not make the mistake of selecting it unless you have some genuine interest in it.
For instance, if your interest is technology, do not choose a topic in gun control. However, if you are much into gun legislation or control, consider a topic like – Do states that allow citizens to carry guns have higher or lower crime rates?
Your interest should match your course. Remember, you must apply class theories and materials while writing your project. That’s why you should make sure your topic is relevant to your subject.
In rare circumstances, your tutor can select a topic for you, give you a list to select from, or give you some selection criteria. And in such instances, always follow their directions to avoid losing marks. More so, check the availability of materials before settling on a particular topic.
2. Are Research Materials Available?
Even if you select a great research paper topic that you’re over-excited to explore, your project would have limited information if there is no substantive previous study. Don’t get me wrong – there is no harm in suggesting an entirely new topic. But at least there should be some theoretical context surrounding it.
You don’t want to introduce a concept without enough resources – time and money – to analyze and sponsor. Remember, you have limited time – a term, maybe – and many other assignments.
Lack of information is usually encountered when the topic is either too specialized or new with limited facts. Unfortunately, a topic with limited data could be very hard to explore.
To ensure picking a nice topic, always conduct a preliminary search to examine its viability. Such a search would ensure you have all the information to provide a comprehensive research project.
Next, avoid general or over-exhausted topics.
3. Is the Topic Over-Exhausted?
Do not be blinded by the popularity of an over-exploited research topic.
On the bright side, such topics are easy to explore, as there is much information to include in the research paper. Yet your research may not catch the teachers’ or readers’ attention, as you may report what they already know or are familiar with. It is also possible that they won’t be much left to research.
A popular topic may not be appropriate for a research paper, as you may have to duplicate content, even if not intentionally. Please note that your topic does not have to be challenging, but at least not replicate the existing studies. Some of the popular topics to avoid while writing a research paper include:
- Abortion – unless you have a new strategy
- Capital Punishment
- Gun Control and Bullying in Society
- Politics, Race, and Religion
However, you can still use these topics in your research project. But make sure you have a new strategy or idea to address them. And avoid common phrases like the effects of abortion in society.
Next, confirm if your topic is manageable before settling on it.
4. Is the Topic Manageable?
A great research paper or thesis topic should be manageable using your limited resources – time and resources. Academic projects usually have limited time. For instance, the professor may expect you to complete your proposal in a month or two.
That’s why you should never propose a topic that requires a century to complete, yet you only have a few weeks. And for this reason, most academic studies tend to adopt a cross-sectional design.
Similarly, do not propose a topic that would need a huge budget unless you can afford it. And ensure your topic is practical. Remember, you have other coursework and projects to complete.
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5. Does it Fit the Guidelines?
Do not be carried away in finding a cool research topic that interests you and forgets the professor’s guidelines or even suggestions. After all, the instructor would be the one grading your project.
If you are taking a nursing course, deciding to research how corporate governance impacts corporate performance will probably not be accepted. However, the impact of taxation on the sustainability of private hospitals would probably be approved. So, find a research paper topic in your area of study.
No matter how interesting or popular a research topic is, always seek the professor’s approval before selecting it. However, finding a good topic doesn’t guarantee a great research paper. It would help if you learned how to convert your topic into an amazing piece of writing.
Turning a Topic into a Great Research Paper
As much as finding an appropriate topic is fundamental, remember that you need more than a topic to write an outstanding research project. Along the way, you’ll need to prepare an outline, write your proposal and submit it for approval, make corrections and resubmit for approval.
But that’s not all. You’ll need to transform your proposal into a great research project or thesis. Still, some things you need to remember before picking a topic for your research project, essay, or thesis include;
- The topic should be rigorous – to maintain quality
- It should be verifiable or provable using data – qualitative or quantitative data or both
- Research topics should be controllable or measurable – like weight and age
- It should be clear, concise, and valid – avoid vagueness
- A topic should also be original, sequential, and coherent
- Lastly, your research topic should be accurate
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The ability to explore previous research, identify the gap, and suggest a question that seeks to address the gap is fundamental in research paper writing. As much as finding an appropriate topic is fundamental, remember that you need more than a topic to write an outstanding research project.
A topic is appropriate or good if…
- It interests you
- There is the availability of materials to support it
- It is not over-exploited
- You can manage to work on it using available resources
- It meets the professor’s requirements
Our next articles would list over 1,000 cool research paper topics in education, pediatrics, law, crime, obesity, and gynecology, among other fields. Should you have a suggestion, feel free to leave a comment. You can also research writers to compile, polish and rewrite your academic papers.