Choosing the research topic

counseling-99740_640(1)Choosing the research topic –

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Have you been told that the task is yours to choose a research topic?    This post will help students to choose a research topic that they are interested in, one that suits the assignment and that is researchable.

Steps in the Process

1    Review your Professor’s    instructions for the research paper

The first thing you should do is review the instructions given to determine and

understand the paper’s requirements.

  • Are you being asked to undertake both secondary and primary research?
  • Is there a length requirement and if so how long should the final paper be?
  • Are there stipulations about sources that should be used e.g. scholarly journals?
  • What voice should be used in the report?  Scientific research often uses the passive voice even though there has been recently a movement away from the passive voice.

Ask your instructor for clarification if you have any questions.

2 Choosing a research topic:

A research topic can come from your desire to expand on existing research or can be based on your disagreement with existing research done.

2.1 Search existing research papers for those where additional research can be done or is suggested

You can use the search engine to locate research where the findings were inconclusive or where additional research can be done. Your research can build on other research.     Research topic finder is powered by Google Scholar search engine and is a good tool to use to find good research paper topics.  The website has a video that shows you how to use the tool.

When an item is shown in the finder, there is a PDF displayed which gives more information on the research.   A search done for project success factors revealed research which highlighted the need for further work.  The following is a quote from the Abstract:

This paper suggests the necessity of further investigations on the discrepancy between theoretical project success criteria and factors and those considered important in industry. In fact, the paper’s authors believe that this controversy occurs because projects’ stakeholders have different definitions of project success.”

2.2    Focus  the research topic to address your disagreement with the research work of others.

You may not agree with the researcher’s  findings or conclusions or even methodology.  You may therefore believe that the topic is worthy of further study  and may want to use a different approach or change some variables, etc. in the believe that the research will yield different results.  

2.3  Replicate a research changing certain aspects of it e.g. in a different territory or with a different population

2.4   Seek to investigate or challenge strange or contradictory findings of research done

(This post has four pages – see below)

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