How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper

It is, perhaps, a trite thing to say, but I will say it nevertheless, because it is true: the topic you choose for your research paper will, to a high degree, determine its overall quality and therefore mark. That is why you should think very carefully before committing to writing on any particular subject.

Of course, every particular discipline presupposes different approaches to academic writing, but there are still some principles that should be followed irrespective of what you write about. I hope they will make the task of writing your next research paper a little bit easier and more enjoyable.

Write About Things You Know Best

Even if you are not very familiar with the topic in question there will certainly be some areas where you will be more knowledgeable than others. Probably, there are even some topics you genuinely like or at least are interested in. When you choose a topic, make sure you select something you like: people always write better about things they understand and you will not be an exception. Instead of collecting information about some unknown topic, research a topic that you are already familiar with.

Make Sure Information is Available

Don’t choose topics that are too obscure and difficult to research. No matter how brilliant you are, you still have to use sources, even if the only reason for this is to pacify your instructor and the committee that will evaluate your work. You may do any amount of research on your own, but it won’t be enough if you cannot refer to other authors. So make sure you are not the first to write about this or a similar topic.

Correlate the Estimated Size of the Work and its Topic

Research paper presupposes a more or less narrow scope, at least when we speak about a student’s work – simply because it shouldn’t be all encompassing. If you have a twenty-page limit, you shouldn’t write about The Concept of Love in World Literature – not because it is a bad topic, but because twenty pages are insufficient to do it justice . The correct approach is to choose one classic literary work – and the same goes for subjects in every other academic discipline.

Of course, the tips we give here are very superficial – but at least they suit any subject and any discipline. We hope they will be helpful in your academic endeavours.