With vast amounts of information and possible research topics for any type of research choosing a topic can be the greatest barrier to progress upon starting the research process. It can also be a lot of fun. Your topic is what defines your research process. The process of choosing a topic can be instructional in and of itself. It can broaden your horizons and sharpen your thinking about how some issues might be related to and be affected by others. But perhaps the most important reason for you to spend time crafting your topic is that it will save you time in the long run. Hours can be wasted doing unfocused and unclear research. Your starting point likely falls somewhere on a continuum of choices. Your instructor may provide very specific projects or may allow you a lot of choice in the matter. On one end might be such strict parameters that you essentially do not have a choice. On the other are virtually limitless possibilities.
Research Topics and Ideas in 20 Fields
- Criminal Justice
- Political Science
Your success as a researcher depends on the nature of your topic—what you are writing about, what you are seeking, or what you hope to answer. Most students conduct research for the purposes of writing an essay or research paper assigned by their instructor. In most cases, your instructor will assign you a topic to write about, suggest some suitable possibilities or ask you to develop a topic of your choice.
Your subject should be timely and appropriate for research. Topics that generate the most press coverage (such as abortion, domestic violence, or gay marriage) and dominate the public’s consciousness are more easily researchable since so much published material from a variety of different sources is available. Conversely, subjects that are more specialized require a more concerted effort to uncover background information, relevant facts, and source material. In this case, unearthing this information may prove more difficult. Avoid settling on any topic without checking out its research potential first.
Developing a topic that is researchable isn’t as difficult as you think. To expedite the process, first take stock of those immediate resources that can aid you in the development of your idea and guide you in the right direction. To zero in on the most interesting or most suitable angle for your paper, check out the most promising resources.