Selecting A Topic For A Research Paper: Creative Instructions

One of the most challenging parts of writing a research paper is choosing the topic. To start the process, it is a good idea to look at a broad topic you can then narrow down. In order to do so, below is a list of tips that could help you choose a topic you can connect with.

Selecting a Topic

  1. Choose a topic you care about. When choosing a topic for a paper, it is important to enjoy it so that you don’t get bored during the process.
  2. If you have a broad topic in mind, narrow it down. If you have got as far as finding a general topic you enjoy, investigate it further so that you have one key focus throughout your paper.
  3. Don’t pick a topic your friends are doing. Choosing the same or similar topic as your friends will make your paper less interesting because you’ll find yourself limited as to what you can write about.
  4. Look at books, newspapers, magazine articles, articles online, etc. Because these articles are shorter, they are more concise and therefore really focus on key issues that need to be investigated. These may enable you to find a precise topic for your paper.
  5. Read through your past lecture notes. By looking at your current academic work, you will be able to choose a topic that is relevant to the work you have been doing throughout your academic year.
  6. Be flexible. When doing the research for your paper, it is likely you may have to make a few adjustments. Whether this be choosing an entirely new topic or a variation of the same one, it is possible you find there is not enough or too much material to support your point.
  7. Talk to your tutor. If you still find it difficult to choose a topic that you really engage with then, talk to your professor or tutor. Not only this, if you have found a broad topic that interests you and you need to refine your research question then a member of your faculty may be able to guide you in the right direction.


When you have found the topic, you will be writing about it is crucial you evaluate the Who? What? Where? When? Why? And how? If you can understand:

  • Who is relevant and will provide you with information on your paper
  • What are the key issues you are going to cover in your paper
  • Where is your topic important and relevant
  • When is your topic relevant or important i.e. now, in the future, in the past?
  • How are you going to investigate
  • Then you will know you have found a topic that is going to interest and keep you engaged.

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