Research Topics

Research Topics

Definition: Research Topics

A research topic is the subject or issue that forms the basis of a research paper. It is a well-defined subject the researcher is interested in. It can be phrased as a question but you are not required to do so. The research then addresses the question posed. It can also be phrased both as a research question and a hypothesis.

This article is to help understand what research topics are and how they are used to conduct good research. The characteristics of good research topics are discussed. Information on various types of research topics is provided and techniques for coming up with good ones are enumerated. The importance of research topics in academic writing is explained and some examples of research topics are provided.

Very usefull: How to write an introduction?

Research topics – FAQ

How do you come up with ideas for suitable research topics?Rational thinking and creative techniques are the two predominant methods you can utilise to generate research ideas. You can use one or the other technique but you can try both techniques and then decide which one you find more useful for your research. Both concepts are further discussed later in this article.
How do you refine these ideas?The Delphi technique is an approach many students have found useful for refining their research ideas. Usually, a number of people with interest in the research are assembled to help generate and select more refined research topics.
What are the main parts of the research proposal? It comprises an appropriate title which mirrors the content of the proposal, the background which justifies the need for the research and a statement on what the research is meant to achieve. A section should be dedicated to the methods to be adopted for achieving the research objectives within the expected timescale. A section on resource considerations will help convince a reader about the feasibility of the research. This should be followed by a list of references.
How do you propose research topics? Writing helps in organising our ideas into coherent statements. The draft proposal should be discussed with the module tutor who can advise on how the proposal may be amended if necessary, so that the research can be achieved within the proposed timescale. This is usually important, especially if the proposal has to be presented for funding or to an academic research committee for approval.

How to Find Research Topics

Finding research topics can be interesting if it done in a systematic way. A range of techniques involving rational as well as creative thinking are used to find a research topic.


This is a problem-solving technique which generates best results when carried out as a group, but it can be done on your own. Find a quiet place to work and write down a problem related to your lectures or curriculum that interests you and on which you have some prior knowledge.

If you are working in a group, members can make suggestions regarding the problem. Make a note of all the suggestions and include all contributions however wild they may be. Review each of the suggestions with your group and select the ones that appeal to you most. You may arrange to discuss with the tutor in charge of your project if you cannot make a final choice on your own.

Inspiration from your teachers

Project tutors, professional groups and practitioners in your field will often have project ideas they are happy to share. They can come up with good research topics, just ensure that you document the ideas discussed so that you can remember to further explore them on your own.

Literature search

Articles, reports in academic journals and books are all useful sources of research topics. Review articles in particular often indicate areas in which more research may be required. Most recently published reports usually contain recommendations which can form the basis of further research and books contain an overview of research already undertaken and they may suggest new areas to explore for further research.

Relevance trees

This technique involves generating topics from a broad concept. Each of these topics constitutes an independent branch which can yield sub-branches. You can review these sub-branches and combine some of them to provide new research topics. Your project tutor may be of assistance in selecting a final topic from the shortlisted ones if you cannot arrive at one topic on your own.

Looking inwards

Another way of finding a research topic is to review the assignments you have already completed and select the ones you received good grades in. These are the ones in which you are already knowledgeable. They will provide you with possibilities for further research.

What Makes Good Research Topics

A good research topic should have well defined objectives. Selecting a research topic which you will be interested in for the entire research duration is vital. If you have only a vague interest in the topic, it will be difficult to excel on such a topic. Therefore you should have a genuine interest in the research topic you have chosen.

You should be sure you possess the skills and the resources required, or that you can develop the capability that is necessary to research the topic within the given time frame. You should also have reasonable certainty that you can access the data you will need to collect in the course of the research. Your research topic should be one you are familiar with and in which you have the capacity to produce a well-written final research report.

TIP: Always use transition words to connect the sentences in your thesis or essay properly.

Research Topics for Academic Writing

Academic writing is a style of expression that defines the intellectual boundaries of a discipline. It focuses on a research problem and conveys an agreed meaning about concepts or complex ideas. Research topics are germane to academic writing because they proffer rigorous arguments that can convince a reader to reconsider previously agreed positions on a topic.

Examples of Research Topics

Previous research topics can serve as sources of inspiration for finding new research topics. Some examples of different research topics include:
• Media and communications research paper topics
• Environmental research paper topics
• Business research paper topics
Depending on your field of study, looking at past projects can be very helpful in your search for new research topics.

In a nutshell

  • Research topics are well-defined subject the researcher is interested in.
  • Rational thinking and creative techniques are the two methods you can utilise to generate research ideas.
  • There are some techniques to find good research topics like brainstorming, inspiration from you teachers, relevance trees, literature search or looking inwards.
  • You should have a genuine interest in the research topic you have chosen.
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