I Need Help In Selecting a Research Paper Topic

Composing a solid research paper requires a great deal of time accumulating sources, reading background information, outlining, drafting, and finally editing. This is taxing in even the best of circumstances, but can be absolute torture if you select a boring or demotivating topic.

You should put a great deal of thought into which topic you want to research and write about. But how do you arrive at a final selection? Here are some tips for zeroing in on a good research paper topic.

Choose Early

Do not use the process of selecting a topic as a means of procrastination (or as an excuse to procrastinate). You will never arrive at a ‘perfect’ topic, so do not place outrageously high standards on what options you do have available. Start brainstorming on topics the moment the assignment is given. Take notes, engage in freewriting exercises, daydream, and read materials from your class. Within a week or two, you should have a short list of two or three potential topics.

Ask Your Instructor

If you have created a short list of optional research paper topics, you should now take advantage of whatever help your course instructor has to offer. Schedule a meeting with your professor or come in during office hours, and present him or her with your short list. Your professor may quiz you on the three topics, or simply ask you what you intend to write about each one. This is meant to help you decide on the best possible topic. If you are lucky, your instructor will straightforwardly tell you which to select.

Choose A Topic With A Ton of Information Available

Make sure you select a research paper topic that you can find a ton of background data and research about. If you pick something too specific or unusual, you may find it hard to gather sufficient citations. Instead, pick a topic that has been covered in your class (or that is covered in your text book). Use your course materials to track down other work related to this subject and begin reading. It is better to have a wealth of information than to be desperately looking for even the slightest facts.

Trust Your Gut

If you cannot decide using the above steps, trust your intuition. Which topic do you feel the best about? Which one captures your interest? Is there a particular topic that you know more about, compared to the others? Try to imagine yourself writing about each topic; which one is easiest to imagine? Use your feelings as a guide and pick the topic you like best.

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Posted by December 3rd, 2014