Choosing research paper topics that interest you and are viable subjects for a good paper make the difference between a good grade and a bad one. If the topic is not an assigned one, you can discover a topic by reading for information and following a few steps.
Searching and reading for information involves looking over applicable course materials, going to the library or conducting online searches. The number of research paper topics possible is endless, so starting with your course books by looking at table of contents, chapter headings and chapter subheadings can help trigger viable topic ideas. Other ways to search for information include the following:
Make sure to focus on those topics that interest you or in which you have some knowledge. Writing about what you know or can relate to automatically makes your research paper topic a better one.
As you are reading through information for potential research paper topics, make notes of topics that interest you or of questions that cross your mind as you read. Do not focus so much on the quality of the questions or notes; instead, focus on what interests you and what you know. For example, if you are looking for a research paper topic for an abnormal psychology class, your notes might include the following questions:
In addition to your notes, brainstorm with friends, classmates or family – let those ideas bounce around in your head to help you zero in on potential research paper topics.
Something in your learning or life experiences should relate to the topic ideas you identify. For example, someone you know could have a phobia or suffer from seasonal affective disorder – making the answers to your questions mean something on a personal level. Whatever you read for information, look for and jot down keywords that define the topic, and make note of them.
Once you have a list of questions and possible research paper topic ideas, you must carefully examine the research potential of each. If you cannot find adequate research to write the paper, it does not matter how interesting the topic is to you or your general audience. When evaluation the research potential for each topic, use the keywords you noted to find the answers these questions:
After evaluating the viable sources of information for your list of topic ideas, make a decision on your research paper topic. The topic you choose does not need to be narrow in scope; forming and narrowing your focus usually comes after deciding on a broad topic. How narrow your topic is largely depends on the scope and length of the assignment. Making sure your topic is the right fit for both you and the assignment involves evaluating how well the topic fits with the following:
Once you have decided on a topic, you can work on narrowing your focus in order to write the thesis statement.