The importance of a research paper topic
What is a research paper?
A research paper is a thesis or project submitted during PG or Ph.D. after researching the specific topic. A research paper contains a problem statement/hypothesis, background, review of literature, methodology, analysis, results, discussion, conclusion, and recommendations. The problem is the research question you want to answer. Background information is obtained through reading a research paper topic area, subjects from the library and electronic databases. A literature review is noting down methods and results from similar researches in journals and databases like PubMed, Google Scholar, Elsevier, etc. We use different methods in collecting information and conducting our study. This refers to the methodology. It includes the study design, sample size calculation, sampling methods, data collection instruments, data analysis, and evaluation. We conclude the results in discussion and conclusion. We state necessary recommendations to correct the problem.
The first step in the research is the selection of a research paper topic. You have to select a research paper topic that you are interested in from a broad area, then narrow it down after focusing on the questions you need an explanation. You have to write down different topics you are interested in and discuss them with your guide and peers. Then get background information and literature reviews for two or three topics you are interested in. Refer to similar studies and gain knowledge about those topics. Then select a research paper topic you are most interested in.
What is the importance of a research paper topic?
- A research paper topic selection is very crucial. To do research is a very dedicated, time-consuming process. So you have to select a research paper topic that is interesting. You must be very much interested in that research paper topic. Otherwise, you may lose interest and cannot complete it. You must have a thorough knowledge of a research paper topic. Background information helps you to improve your knowledge, like reading encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, etc.
- Maybe you research once in a lifetime, so select a research paper topic that is unique and that you are interested in research. A research paper could be published in journals. So select a research paper topic that is unique to stand out. If you intend to publish the research in a specific journal, make sure that a research paper topic meets the criteria and standards of that journal.
- You have to research a research paper topic in the journals, library and online, to know whether a research paper topic similar to it had been researched. Without enough information about the previous studies, you cannot select an appropriate method to do the study. Assure that there is enough research material about a research paper topic.
- Researching about a research paper topic and writing the reviews help to figure out the methods and flaws in similar studies.
- Pilot studies can be done among a similar sample population to find out the defects in the instruments of research like a questionnaire. A pilot study is a sample study done similar to our research in a smaller and similar sample population. If you can do analysis using the research variables after the pilot study then the instruments and a research paper topic are well balanced.
- You have to make a goal and a plan to collect the sample, do the research and get the outcome you expected. A research paper topic selection is the first step in pursuing that goal.
- You must find out an appropriate guide and make sure that he/she can guide you in that subject. First, take approval from the guide on a research paper topic.
- Select some important research paper topics that you are interested in. Then write them down. Select a research paper topic you are interested in most and a guide is available.
- From a wider subject Ex: Cancer, narrow down a research paper topic to lung cancer and the effects of tobacco on it.
- Read a lot about a research paper topic, write the important points down, discuss with your peers, and guide. Refer to other similar research papers.
- You can do mind mapping to find out your knowledge concerning the subject. Write thea research paper topic in the center of the paper and write down terms about the topic. When you run out of terms you refer to books and databases to get additional information.
- Write down the what, why, how, when, who, and where of a research paper topic.
What are the research questions? What are the issues? What are the recommendations?
Why do you choose a research paper topic? Why a research paper topic is important?
How will you do the research? Who is affected? Who will publish the information?
Who will provide you with information?
Where is the topic-local, national, or international?
When is the current issue? Is it recent or a past one?
Which topics should be avoided?
- Most commonly researched topics: like maternal and child health, menstrual hygiene, abortion, etc. should be avoided. There are a lot of research papers based on commonly researched topics. So if your research paper needs to be unique, you must select a different topic.
- New topics which are not researched earlier should be avoided. In case of a new topic, you will not get enough information, data, or methods to conduct the study.
- Research topics, with no data or information available, should be avoided. Ex: Why didn't Monalisa smile showing teeth, were her teeth damaged?
- Personal stories and information-based researches must be avoided unless you can dig deep into your ancestral history, ie to find other sources of information other than you. For Ex: your ancestral history or upbringing, the story of your grandfather, etc.
- Research paper topics that are not significant in the current situation. Ex: Spread of smallpox in an area.
- Controversial topics must be ignored. Ex: Political and religious controversies. This is a research paper, so avoid those issues. Mostly controversial subjects will be offended by your guide and ethical committee.
- A research paper topic must not be too narrow. Ex: Toothpaste choice in a particular area. Narrow topics will be disinteresting and irrelevant to the readers.
- A research paper topic must not be too broad. It is difficult to manage-data, analysis, results. You must concentrate on certain areas, interesting, of a research paper topic and narrow it down. Ex: Diabetes, narrow it down to juvenile diabetes.
- Don't select a research paper topic that is too technical unless you are an expert on that subject. Consider the skills and standards of readers also while selecting technical topics.
- Do not select a research paper topic in which problem statements/hypotheses are already proved. Such topics are not challenging. Because you know the result already. If you find a solution for a problem through research, then it will be a feather on your throne. Pick the topics that require several resources to prove it.
What are the characteristics of a good research title?
- A research paper topic must contain important keywords.
- A research paper topic should predict the content of the paper.
- A research paper topic should reflect the tone of writing.
- A research paper topic should be interesting to the readers.
How to write a research topic?
- Make sure that your research a research paper topic describes the sample, method, results.
- Avoid complex words and statements. It must be clear and legible to common people.
- You can include the period of the study for preciseness.
- The title should be five to fifteen words in length.
- The title should match the academic and university standards.
- The title should contain important keywords.
- It should be descriptive of the purpose of the study.
Ex: A study on lung cancer among smoker and non-smoker patients of district govt hospital, Kottayam 2018.