research paper prompts

Finding good topics for a research paper - 5 features of a great topic


As every teacher and professor will tell you, the choice of topic for your research paper is vitally important. The choice of topic will go a long way to determining the quality of your writing. And if you don't believe me write two research papers. The first on a topic you hate and find really boring and the second on a topic which you love and already have a passionate interest in. Spot the difference?

So in your hunt for a really appealing and worthwhile research paper topic, what five features should you look for?

  1. Does the topic have one clear main idea?
  2. Does the topic lend itself to a detailed discussion?
  3. Is there plenty of relevant research material easily available?
  4. Has the topic being written about many times before?
  5. Does the topic have your teacher's approval?

If you come across a research paper topic and initially think that it would make a wonderful subject to be written about, you need to be sure that there is a single main idea which stands out. If there isn't, put that topic aside. You need a topic which has an abundantly clear major idea.

The topic must have depth. It must have ideas and themes which can be discussed in detail. It's pointless choosing a shallow topic because you can't even get warmed up let alone get involved in a serious writing assignment.

You must be certain that the topic you choose has a wealth of relevant research material which is easily available. It does not take long to search to discover if that is the case. There might be plenty of relevant research material but it could be difficult to locate. You need an abundance of relevant research material to write a really good research paper.

It's not necessarily a bad thing but if this topic has been written about by many students before, you run the risk of sending your teacher or professor to sleep with yet another research paper on that topic. Perhaps you could use that topic but find a different angle or approach to write about.

And it is always a good idea to ensure that your teacher or professor approves of your choice of topic before you write your research paper. By following these five features and checking to see they apply to your topic, you give yourself every chance of success.

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