This post is relevant for all those who are planning to do their PhD or who want to present a research paper in any university or who are in their masters and are looking forward to doing their dissertation. Also, if you have enrolled yourself in an MPhil program in that case.
Choosing the research paper topics are the most challenging part of any research because it is the base, and it is the starting point of the research. If you don’t choose a research topic appropriately chances are that you might end up leaving the research altogether. I have seen a lot of students who struggle.
with their research paper topics, take up anything start doing their research and towards the end of their PhD they find that their supervisors have rejected the topic and they have to begin again by choosing another topic. If you have not chosen a specific appropriate research paper topic you might yourself leave the research because you don’t know where to go, what to do, how to justify the topic.
So, in this article I’m going to tell you three easy steps which are going to help you to choose a research topic very easily and start with your research.
1. Choose a topic from interest area – Before You choose a research paper topic
The first important thing that you must remember when you decide to choose a research topic is your interest area. Always remember the fact that the research paper topics should be from your interest. There are a lot of students who contact me every day and ask me that; can you please suggest me an argumentative research paper topic or English 102 research paper topic or government research paper topic, and I sometimes wonder that you would probably come tomorrow and ask me that you are well-read, and you are relegated so is it okay if you can select a life partner for me. You will never do that, because you know that life partner cannot be selected by anybody. You need to know your own likes dislike, your own compatibility with a person, and only then you can decide whom to marry. The same thing exists in the case of choosing research paper. List of research topic is very individualistic. You need to see your topic; you need to choose a topic which appeals to you.
For example – If somebody asked me that you have to do a feminist study of some particular author or a particular work. I would really be unhappy. I would not know what to do, what not to do, and I would.
not feel like doing the research. On the other hand, my interest areas are psychology and my ecology. So, if I chose a research topic which is related to these two areas, I would feel like doing research. I would feel like studying a lot more and finding out my own interpretation. You need to always remember the fact that if you’re not happy, the learning would not occur. Hence, the first prominent factor in any field of study is your interest area.
2. Review Literature – Before You choose a research paper topic
The second important thing that you need to understand here is that look into the vast field of literature into the ocean of literature and beside what is your interest area it can be a particular literary movement like transcendentalism romanticism modernism. It can be a particular literary theory for example Marxism psychoanalytical criticism, or maybe feminism, it can be a particular author. Maybe you are a big fan of Shakespeare or Jane Austen or maybe Jerri Pinto. So, you can even take up that writer and you know look at that writer from a very new angle.
Another important area where you can do your research is any literary art form. For example, paintings Cinema; all these important art forms are nowadays incorporated in research paper topics of 2018 and 2019. So, if you are really interested in knowing more about cinema film and cinematography, in that case take up a book and its adaptation. You can take up a movie and the book on which that movie was phased, and then do a comparative study that would be a great thing, or you can take up a particular literary genre. May be crime fiction detective or maybe if you’re interested in children’s literature. So by knowing your interest area you actually know what you would like to invest your next three years into.
For example – My interest area is psychology and I’m really very interested in studies of books as well as movies so I took up these two movies Pride and Prejudice and Eat Pray Love which has Julia Roberts as the leading star, and I devised a topic based on my interest area. So, my initial research topic was “Quest of self-discovery a comparative study of the female protagonist Pride and Prejudice and Eat Pray and love.”
You can see how I was able to figure out the topic by knowing my interest area better. So in the similar fashion you can also know your interest area and then figure out what particular research paper topic would you like to do a research on after knowing your interest area.
3. Background study – Before You choose a research paper topic.
Next important thing that you must do in order to finalize your research paper topic is background study. Let’s first look at the aim of research, what do you think is the aim of research. Aim of research is either to find out some new facts, or to revisit the existing fact, and look at it and see if they’re still valid today. So, basically research aims at adding something new to the existing body of knowledge. If you take up a research paper topic on which a lot of work has already been done, then you would just be copying from a place and pasting it in your research and that will not be called as a research. Because you are not adding anything new in the existing body of knowledge. It is very important for you To do a background study of all the works which has already been done on that particular topic.
For example – when I decided to take up a topic in which I would be looking at deals in the day and eat Pray Love from psycho analytical point of view. I first saw what works were already done in this particular field, and I found out that a lot of works have been done on these movies. But they have been done from feminist point of view, nobody has actually compared these two works and looked at both these works from psychoanalytical point of view. So, I knew that I’m going to add something new to the existing body of knowledge. It doesn’t matter that you’re taking up a new author like Gerry Pinto and doing a research, because nobody has ever done a research on him. You can also take up any old author like Shakespeare or Jane Austen or George Eliot and look at their works from a different angle which is still not explored. So, when you will be reading the previous research papers of scholars who have done some work in this particular field, where you will be working on you’d find out the research gap.
Research Gap – Now what does a research gap means. A research gap is areas which will left unexplored in the previous research and from that particular research gap you will get your topic. So make it a habit before choosing a research topic, you go through different articles, journals, and existing research papers and then figure out the research gap, and finally you take up either a totally unexplored area or a partially unexplored area and begin your research. Also, remember that this background study is going to help you a lot when you will be writing your research synopsis, or you will be writing an introduction to your thesis. Because in your synopsis, you need to justify your topic and also mention the previous works which have been done in that particular topic. A review of literature is an essential part of a research and if you don’t do it then your research is not complete.
4. Limiting Genus – Before You choose a research paper topic.
Finally, third important thing that you must understand before you decide your research paper topic is; to limit the genus. Limiting genus means, if you take up a very bulky topic, for example exploring symbolism in the poetry of WB Yeats. This seems to be very simple and a very sweet research topic, but you cannot understand how bulky this topic is. There have been more than 250 poems written by WB Yeats and each poem contains millions of symbols. So how are you going to present all of this in a research paper or in a PhD thesis of about 250 pages.
Now this is a very bulky topic, and this is going to be on never-ending research. So what is important is to become specific after you know your interest area, after you know the research gaps in the previous researches you need to make your research paper topics extremely specific or else you would find that if you’ve taken a very open-ended research topic you are going to go haywire and you will never reach a definite conclusion at the end of the research and you might find that your entire PhD thesis was concluded to be nothing at the end. So, in that case what is important is that you know a very specific topic and how would you get to a specific topic understand. Either take up two or three authors or take up few selected works of one particular author. If you take up five authors and you’re researching on ten works of each of them you would find that in a PhD thesis of 250 pages you would just be summarizing and giving an introduction to all of these works and that would not be a PhD thesis, that would be a mere summary of fifty works. So, it is important either you take up two authors and one work of each author. Or you take up one author and few works of that author. But become very selective in what you are choosing.
Also, understand the that whenever you are doing a background study, you should always take up works which you have read, and also you must note that it’s not just that the work you would be talking about in your entire research. you would also be bringing a lot of different associated theories.
For example – If you’re doing a research on post-colonial literature in any particular writer like Chinua Achebe, you need to bring in Bill Browns theory of thing. Bill Brown is a great post-colonial thinker who said that in all these post-colonial works you will find that the post-colonial world represents think theory. What is the same theory every colonized person feels as if he has no identity in the world and his existence is reduced to a thing? If he is not of any use people are going to throw him. So, his existence is Mary Lee, our existence of a thing. So, whenever you’re doing a research on any post-colonial work you need to bring all these different and associated theories and look at these theories as well as their interpretation on the work that you have picked up for your research.
So, your research would not only go around the two or three authors you have chosen, but it is also going to go beyond that you’re going to explore a lot of theories and you’re going to look at those works in the light of those theories. So have the habit of limiting your genus before you finally decide your research paper topics.
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