10 Tips to Generate Your Research Topic

Are you in that state where you need to formulate research questions as part of your thesis writing undertaking? Or are you just starting to engage in research but find difficulty in identifying research ideas to work on? The following article will be able to help you. Here are 10 tips to generate your research topic and get you going.

After you have gone through and finished your academic requirements in college, do you find difficulty in coming up with your own research topic? Or probably you are a budding researcher looking for research topics that strike your interest? Don’t despair. You are one of the thousands of new researchers who have experienced the same thing during the last leg of their venture to the research world.

If you are a college student, your classmates might ask you if you have already come up with your statement of the problem, and you would say that’s actually your problem. This sentiment, however, is not without solutions and one of the best action to take, of course is you should do something about it. Quit complaining, read, and apply the 10 steps below to generate ideas for your research topic.

1. Review your notes in your major subjects.

Review the topics you have discussed during your classes in the major subjects and ask yourself: “Which of these topics interest me?” List down three to five major topics and choose the one that really appeals to you. Type that topic in a search box (Bing, Yahoo, or Google) and find out if there are scientific papers written about it.

For example, when I type the words “camouflage + findings”, I found a new finding about quail camouflage in eScience News. It says quails know the patterns of their own eggs and how to camouflage their eggs in the specific substrate they will lay those eggs. That’s interesting finding you might want to test in other animals as your research topic.

2. Ask your professor if he needs a research assistant.

There are professors who are undertaking research as part of their professional advancement. They may be needing a research assistant to help them with their research. Volunteer and learn while doing the research. In doing so, you will get some research topics to work on. It is also possible that your research may get funding from the research project of your professor.

3. Brainstorm with classmates and friends.

Engage the brains of other people. Brainstorm on issues along your field. For more details on how this is done, read my previous post on brainstorming.


4. Read scientific literature.

Find out what topics are being published along your area of specialization. You may log on to a free, online resource such as the Directory of Open Access Journals or www.doaj.org. Type your keyword and it will return research topics that may interest you.

5. Visit the workplace of those who graduated in your field.

You can get some ideas while exploring the workplace of those who have graduated in your field of specialization. For this reason, having senior students as your friends or associates in a student organization can help  a lot in generating your research topic.

6. Join research groups.

If you are still in your junior years, you may join those graduating students while they conduct their research. This will enable you to see some areas which have not been explored. Questions may also arise during the research process that may bring you to develop a research topic of your own.

7. Visit marginalized communities.

One of the major purposes of research is to uplift the living condition of marginalized people. Visit communities and see how you can help resolve their problems through research. This is what we call immersion. There are many unresolved issues and concerns that you can write down as your research topic.

8. Find a need.

This corresponds with #7. But you can do this at home by recalling what you need in your own household or your neighbors. What can you do to fulfill that need? List anything that comes to mind.

9. Construct a problem tree.

Try to explore the root causes of a problem by constructing a problem tree. A problem tree is similar to a mind map where you list down a key problem, find out its causes as well as outcomes. If there are unanswered or blank areas that need further study, note these down and use it as the focus of your research.

10. Subscribe to this blog.

Well, that’s easy to understand. As I write topics here on research, something worthy pursuing might crop up in your mind thus prompt you to do research on that topic.

© 2013 March 19 P. A. Regoniel


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