How to Select the Right Research Topic in 5 Easy Steps

Being able to choose suitable research topics is an important skill to have for any student. Not only is it the difference between writing a good paper and falling flat on your face, it’s imperative if you want the process to run smoothly.

The importance of writing a good paper can lead students to feel an enormous and looming weight hanging over their heads as time passes, however, if you know a few crucial steps, choosing the right research topics can be quick, easy and even fun.

In this article, you will see how to find the perfect research topics in just five easy steps, stress-free.

Rows of sociology books on bookshelves.

1. Brainstorm Some Research Topics

The first and probably the easiest step is to have a brainstorming session to see what topic is best for you. It’s best to find something that interests you, but you shouldn’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone a little bit. Look at what is going on in the news and see if anything sparks a creative burst of thought. Make a long list of possible choices and begin the selection process.

Here are ideas to get your brainstorm started (and yes, these are just some!):

History research Paper topics

  • 20th century
  • 18th century history
  • Art history
  • 21st century history

Religion research Paper Topics

  • Christianity and the Catholic Church
  • Monotheistic religions
  • Polytheism
  • Freedom of religion

Psychology research Paper Topics

  • Body image
  • Gender roles
  • Eating disorders
  • Criminal psychology
  • Child abuse
  • Mental illness

Environmental Research Paper Topics

  • Environmental issues
  • Climate change and global warming
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Renewable energy
  • Nuclear energy

Sociopolitical Research Paper Topics

  • Gender inequality
  • Race inequality and race relations
  • Gun control
  • Socioeconomics
  • Affirmative action
  • Welfare reform

Education Research Paper Topics

  • Early childhood education
  • Homeschool learning vs. in person learning
  • Special education

Technology Research Paper Topics

  • The impact of information technology
  • Future of machine learning
  • Artificial intelligence
  • History of computer science
  • Data science

Health Research Paper Topics

  • Alternative medicine
  • Pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs
  • Health systems
  • Public health
  • Mental health

 2. Select a Topic

The next step is selecting a topic. That might sound obvious and straightforward but doing this step right is important if you want the rest of the process to be painless.

A common mistake students can make, is getting far too specific at the early stages, however, selecting the right topic is a process of elimination.

The objective of starting off with a finalized idea is to save time, but the time you will spend getting to that stage will help you with the rest of the process, so it’s best not to rush it.

Start off by picking a very broad subject and the more widespread, the better. So if you decide to write about a multi-faceted subject such as music do it! The next steps will solidify your idea and bring you closer to that final draft.

3. Get Super Specific

Once you have a broad subject, the next step is to get super-specific. This will help you determine whether or not your subject has depth and is worth perusing. If this step takes a little time and you find yourself changing your mind about your topic, don’t worry because once you nail this step, the rest will be easy.

The idea is to get your broad idea and then extract a particular element of that subject. Then, you have to take that aspect and make that even more specific. For example, if your topic is about music get specific by making it about blues music. And then get even more precise by making it about the effect and influence blues from rural Mississippi had on Chicago blues in the ’50s; this is how you make a paper unique as well as interesting.

4. Define Your Topic as a Question

Once you have a specific topic you now need to define it a question that will help you with the context of your paper. So, if your chosen topic is the “The effect Mississippi Blues had on Chicago blues in the 50’s” You need to change it to something along the lines of: “How has rural Mississippi Blues influenced mainstream Chicago Blues”

5. Research Your Topic More / Create an Outline

At this stage you essentially have a paper that is waiting to be written, all you have to do now is some in-depth research on the specific aspects of your paper and create an outline of what you want your paper to say. Write a two-sentence answer to your defined topic question, and you are ready to begin.

The hardest part is complete; in only five steps, you have your research topic. Whether you choose to write about something fun but interesting, controversial issues, or current events, take the time to use these steps and do it right. Now all you need to do is write it!

The first thing you should do is make a list of things that you want your research paper to say, how you want to say it, and how you want it to be perceived. Create aims and goals and write a timeline of when and how you want to achieve them, but before you do so, be sure to take note of the five steps above and put them into practice before you write a single word.

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