How to Choose a Research Topic

Research papers drive students crazy, semester after semester. How to choose a research topic is the first and often most frustrating aspect of these assignments.

Teachers sometimes help by narrowing the selection of material.

Still, how do you choose?

Start by observing.

Even if you are assigned a topic, observation of the world around you will help you find an angle to write about. However, if you are only assigned a particular subject area, such as biology, doing this will help even more.

Using biology as our example, if you don't know what to write about this broad subject, start reading biology related news articles online.

Pay attention to the world around you - look for plants or animals that catch your interest. Noting what interests you will help you choose a research topic.

Ask why.

Ask yourself why something is the way it is.

Why do plants bloom only at a certain time of year? Or why don't birds stay put in one area throughout the year instead of migrating?

books for research

Write Down Ideas

When an idea catches your attention, write it down and start exploring it. Ask a lot of questions and seek out the answers from books, professors and your own hands-on experience. Soon, your specific topic will emerge from what you are learning.

Open Topic Papers

If the research paper is open topic, start with your own interests and proceed in much the same way.

This method works regardless of your field of study. So, the next time your teacher assigns a research paper, you can know how to choose your research topic without worry.

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