Although there is a sea of options when it comes to research paper topics, not every topic fits the bill for a quality research paper. Topic selection may thus take a substantial duration of time as you gauge the feasibility of a topic and its relevance to the research question.
Often, students invest time in writing a topic, only to receive negative feedback that they settled for an exhausted topic and thus presented original ideas. What are bad research topics? This article will cover the types of topics to avoid when you are writing a paper and the process of choosing a paper topic, helping you overcome the common challenges for students.
How to choose a research paper topic
Selecting the first topic that catches your sight is an approach bound to result in issues in the latter writing stages. Proper topic selection is thus essential to ensure a smooth writing process and easy retrieval of sources to support your claims.
When gauging topics for your paper:
- Consider your interests
Your topic selection should begin with a brainstorming session to identify the topics that interest you and those you are conversant with. When brainstorming, jot down the topics you are conversant with and use these as inspiration for your research.
- Conduct research
Before you fix your focus on a specific topic, conduct research to gauge the extent of information in a field and to identify the knowledge gaps that you could address. This research also expands your grasp of a given field, helping you determine the perspectives from which you could address your topic.
Also, check for emerging issues within your field to determine the topic that offers room for a fresh perspective.
- Information gathering
After coming up with possible topics for discussion, research two of the topics to identify the one with adequate sources. Be keen to avoid a topic with few resources as this may limit your arguments deeming your paper as conjecture.
- Come up with research questions
After investigating your topic, formulate research questions to be tackled within the topic. These questions allow you to visualize the extent to which a topic can be handed out and also to gauge your capacity to exhaust your topic.
When coming up with a research topic, consider the methods that can be applied to your research and settle for the topic that can be examined with the resources that are at your disposal.
The final check for the feasibility of a topic is developing an outline. Before you settle for a topic, prepare an outline to gauge how you can manage the topic. avoid any topic that presents a challenge as you develop the outline as this may result in an incomplete research paper.
Topics to avoid in research papers
As mentioned earlier, poor topic selection can doom your writing efforts before you even embark on research. Here, we’ll tackle some of the topics to avoid when writing a research paper, to point you in the right direction for topic selection.
- Popular topics
Although these topics provide a wide range of sources in support of your argument, popular topics deny you the chance to offer original insight into your topic. as such, be keen to check for existing work and identify research gaps and emerging issues that could allow you a wide range of original arguments.
- Personal stories
Research topics should be supported by credible academic sources as opposed to emotive stories and personal opinions. As such, avoid basing a research paper on personal opinions, instead, settle for a topic where claims can be justified using scholarly evidence.
- Complex topics
Although you may feel the urge to settle for a complex topic to wow your tutor, doing so may leave you shy of arguments, limiting your ability to meet the prescribed word count. Equivalently, avoid controversial topics for research papers as these may expose you to a myriad of uncredible sources, resulting in sub-standard arguments.
- Narrow topics
You should select a research paper that allows you to tackle two to three research questions. This will allow you to reach your word count without resorting to superfluous details.
Can research papers have opinions?
Unlike opinionated papers, research papers should be based on credible resources and replicable investigations. As such, opinions in a research paper should be supported using viable resources. Alternatively, your opinions could be expressed within the conclusion as you make suggestions for future studies.