Tips to find a research topic

In case of advanced researcher it is a bit easier to find topics as compared to a beginner. An advanced researcher may already have browsed through articles, essays and dissertations giving him enough ideas for finding a problem and topic. Sometimes, dissertations already completed might have further suggestions in their conclusions. Read their conclusions and consider what they suggest to further investigate a particular problem.

In case of less advanced researcher, or a beginner, it is best to seek advice from your teacher. Sometimes the teacher may give a list of topics to choose from or may just indicate to a particular topic.

The authors suggest tips for topics focused on a particular field.

1.Text Books

Look through a textbook which may be a level advanced than yours and browse through the study questions.

2. Attend a Public Lecture

This is one of the best ideas to find a great topic. Just go to any public lecture and note down things that you disagree with, or don’t understand it or simply want to know more about that.

3. Bibliographies

Just browse through the topic headings in bibliographies and abstracts.

4. Encyclopaedias

You might that your particular field has an encyclopaedia. If it has one, just browse through too see problems and possible topics.

5. Teachers and Instructors

They are more experienced than you. They may know more about issues in your chosen field. Best to discuss the most contested issues with them.

6. Use of Internet

It is always good to check the internet resources like websites, forums, blogs etc for debated topics in your chosen area.

After Finding the Topic

Finding topics does not mean you are ready to start gathering information. You must ask questions relating to your topic and the rationale behind it.

From Beginner to True Researcher

Once you find a topic go through these three steps to make it a meaningful process. You are not just gathering data for the sake of data. A true research identifies a problem, investigates it and then finds or suggests a solution to the problem. Here is an example of how one should proceed after finding the topic.

1. I am studying romantic poetry of the early 18th century

2. Question: Because I want to find out how they broke with earlier neo-classical and why?

3. Rationale: in order to understand how or why, or what were the causes that led to the romantic poetry only in the early part of 18th century.

What do these steps tell? They, indeed, tell you a number of things.

  1.  Not simply gathering data
  2.  No aimless curiosity
  3.  Significance of your research
  4. Usefulness of your research
  5.  From beginner to true researcher

Problems in Research

There are two kinds of problems. One is practical problem and the other is research problem. The practical problem is the one out there in the world. A practical problem if ignored means trouble. If there is an obvious solution, the problem is solved through that. If there is not obvious solution, one must pose a research problem and then solve it. The solution obtained as result of of the research problem may be applied to the practical problem.

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