Choosing a Research Paper Topic

Writing a research paper has a lot in common with constructing a building: both require careful planning upfront and thoughtful execution throughout, but most of all both need a lot of hard work to come out right. Perhaps the biggest pitfall when writing a research paper is dumping hours into the process, only to realize that you will not be able to complete the task you began. This requires you to pivot, revise your thesis, change your strategy, and possibly scrap your whole rough draft, but let’s not get hasty. Before you make a huge mistake like this, save yourself a lot of time and energy by carefully choosing a topic. This article will teach you how.

1. Choose a topic that interests you. This is probably the most important thing you can do when selecting a research topic. Your teacher might constrain your selection, but if you are given any opportunity to influence topic selection, you should thoughtfully choose a topic about which you are eager to learn more. Since your research paper will require hours upon hours of reading, thinking, and writing about your topic, you’ll want to choose a topic that will at least capture your attention. Think of those burning questions that you have inside. Those may be the topics on which you write with the most passion.

2. Start wide and get narrow: If you start with a topic that is too narrow, you may not be able to find any useful or interesting research. Perhaps you may find some, but you may not find term paper enough. If this is the case, it either because you are not searching correctly or there is just not enough information out there. You can minimize occurrences of the latter by researching broadly initially, and then narrowing your focus as your explore the available research.

3. Don’t be afraid to revise your topic: As you enter the composition phase of your research paper, you may find that your paper starts off one way and ends another. This is an indication that you need to revise your thesis or topic statement. Make sure that your paper follows a continuous line of logic. You should state the course of this line at the beginning and follow it throughout. If by the end of the paper, you deviate from your preview or thesis statement in the introduction, you should revise your introduction to include the turn your paper has taken.

Writing a research paper is no sweet treat, but if you give yourself enough time to complete each step, the process should be a lot less painful. Procrastination is the serial killer of academia still at large. You can avoid this threat by choosing a topic that interests you, setting a schedule, and following through. I hope that the ideas flow effortlessly and your arguments are compelling.

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