A research paper is essential to your academic excellence. It doesn’t matter the level of education you are currently studying; the correct research paper topics will help you reach the next academic level.

Research papers are usually long-form essays in which you present what you believe and have researched concerning a particular topic. Besides other class tests, research papers also make a significant contribution to your overall performance, whether you are in high school or college. Moreover, advanced post-graduate studies require a solid research paper.

Writing a research paper is often carried out in stages. The first step to getting one done is selecting your topic. Now, this might often be considered the easiest step to penning such essays. However, this initial move will determine the direction of your research.

If you don’t get the first step right, your entire write-up won’t hold well on its own once critical examination begins. Therefore, a lot of work goes into developing your ideas and coming up with a worthwhile research paper topic.

Steps To Planning For Your Research Paper Topics


As with any academic write-up, research papers often take time to complete. Typically, students are encouraged to follow laid-down procedures when developing an excellent essay. The most crucial step when making your research paper is developing your idea.

Coming up with research paper topics is not as straightforward as many people would like it to be. However, if it were too easy, then we would have too many similar research paper topics around and a lot more half-baked academicians.

When you follow a proven process, you will eventually end up with a concise and original research paper topic that drives your point home.

So what does it take to develop research paper topics? Read on and find out all there is when it comes to advancing your idea.

Consider The Assignment Question

A lot of students overlook the first step to developing their research paper topics. Ignorance is indeed blissful, but when you are developing an essay, naivety will ultimately cost you dearly along the way.

The assignment question is your guide when writing a research paper. This initial document contains all you need to know before you begin writing.

Academic instructors will usually spell out everything they require from your research paper from the goals right down to the nitty-gritty details such as the timeframe for the entire project. Ignoring these instructions will confuse you during the writing process.

Also, if you happen to miss out on any details in the instructions’ manual, you will ultimately miss out on the best grade possible.

Failure to understand what your instructor requires from the paper will cost you precious time. Time is an essential factor when handling research papers, especially since strict timeframes accompany most write-ups. You do not want to get working on something only to realize much later that it wasn’t part of the assignment.

Focus On Your Interests

When writing a research paper, make sure to tailor your topic to your interests. Ultimately, you are studying something in which you have a legitimate interest. Otherwise, there would be no point in studying at all if the topic at hand doesn’t excite you at all.

Your interest often guides the career path that you ultimately decide to settle on. Consider the world around you. What do you want to change? What do you want to know? The answers to these two questions will ultimately determine the path your research topic will follow.

When you know what piques your interest, then the entire project will be a worthwhile endeavor. Writing a research paper is a long process. You do not want to be slaving around getting information that holds no benefit for your academic and even professional future.

Besides, no one wants to work for nothing, and the prospect of wasting your precious time gathering pointless information is unimaginable.

The Scope Of Your Topic Is Crucial

When dealing with a broad topic, be prepared for long hours gathering information. For some, such grueling research will make the entire process stressful.

Also, a broad topic requires you to consider tons of information and this can make it harder to remain focused on the research paper.

On the other hand, if the topic is shallow, you have the opportunity to find out more about it. The research should allow you to dig deeper and find out more than what is currently available. However, narrow topics usually have fewer resources worth considering. As such, you might find the process quite challenging.

Ultimately, it depends on the kind of student you are. If you are up to the challenge, then either choice works.

However, for a smoother ride through the research writing process, consider topics that have enough supporting information. These will make your school life more manageable, and you are bound to enjoy the entire research paper writing process.

Strategy For Developing Research Paper Topics

Once you have analyzed the assignment in-depth, you will have a broad idea in mind. However, having a general picture of your potential research is not enough to generate a specific research paper topic.

Still, you must have this general thought because the specific topic will come from it. At this stage, you can now narrow down the broad idea into a particular research paper topic which your investigation will later on expand.

Here is a proven strategy for developing your research paper topic.

1.      Background Research

Firstly, do some research on your brow topic idea. Usually, you don’t have to look for something specific but simply consider the entire concept.

At this stage, you might want to check out different resources from the web. You can even consider the current events unfolding around the globe with what you have in mind.

Do not limit yourself to what you can read. However, as mentioned before, time is a crucial factor, so do not overstay in this step.

The background research should give you several other ideas on the investigation. Additionally, when you consider global news, you are bound to get a new perspective on your potential research. 

Typically, you have to carry out your background research alone to get a proper feel of the direction you wish your research paper should follow.

2.      Brainstorming

After finalizing the background research, you might want to gather some more information and even different views on the topics. Brainstorming is an excellent way to do this.

You will have to write down everything you have thought about on a piece of paper. After that, start by pointing out potential keywords on the topic.

For instance, if your research is around climate change, simply list some key elements surrounding this global issue. You can consider items such as polar ice caps, polar bears, arctic animals, penguins, etc. Once you get several ideas going, it is easier to find a unique one.

Moreover, you don’t have to brainstorm alone. Get some of your classmates and engage yourselves. Different people hold different opinions about a wide range of topics. Group discussions often generate many ideas that you had not considered. So don’t put off brainstorming with your friends.

The brainstorming process will yield a couple of broad topics that you need to narrow down before developing your research question. Brainstorming allows you to consider several items first and their relevance to both the needs of the assignment as well as your interests.

Remembers that piece of paper with your ideas? Well, start marking items that you think resonate well with your research paper topics. The point here is that you need a broad concept that you break down further until you have a specific item to work with. During this process, more information is always better for you, so don’t get tired just yet.

While still on climate change, you can consider topics on the process leading to climate change, the animals affected, or those known to cause climate change, the role of plants, etc.

If you go with the process surrounding climate change, continue to narrow down the topic still. This one might give you issues like human involvement in climate change, correcting the phenomenon, the impact of the sam, etc.

The idea here is only breaking down your general thoughts into smaller units, which you can then sort out further until you arrive on a single topic.

It is from this final idea that you shall develop your research question and, ultimately the research paper topic.

3.      Developing The Research Question

Once you have arrived at the preferred idea you intend to research, you can further develop the research question. The question will be answered by your paper and often points to the research paper topic.

While still on climate change, you can develop a question on a preferred topic such a ‘The impact of climate change on polar ice caps.’ From this topic, your research question will read as ’How has climate change influenced polar ice caps. ‘

Once you have a question ready to be answered, your research paper will start to take shape. What remains is the actual legwork comprising of in-depth research to answer your research question.

Resources To Use When Developing Your Research Paper Topics

research paper topics

When you are developing your research paper topic, you need to consider as much information as possible. Remember, when you dig through enough information, you tend to change your perspective on various things.

The more you know, the more you realize that there is still a lot more to learn. Considering different ideas and opinions broadens your view on your chosen topic. Sometimes, when you expose yourself to new ways of thinking, you can even generate your research topic from those brainstorming sessions.

However, besides brainstorming, you need to get down to reading about your chosen topic. For that, there are tons of different information sources out there which you need to consider when developing your research question.

1.  Your Instructor

in a broad sense, your instructor dictates the course of the research paper. The assignment question offers guidelines on what the research intends to achieve. It also provides details on the structure, wording, and delivery.

Some instructors will provide the research topics while others will offer a general idea from which you can expound further and obtain your research paper.

Additionally, your instructor is also a source of information. Remember, they were also involved in the research process as students and had been doing so for as long as they were teaching. They can offer sensible advice and a different perspective on your topic.

2.  Research Guide

Research guides are often prepared by a subject librarian and can go a long way in helping you plan your research. These guides contain valuable information on books, data, and encyclopedias that are specific to your preferred topic.

3.  Library Resources

besides the research guide, you can still check out as many books as you can in your institution’s library. Usually, before you settle on a specific idea, you have to consider different sources of information. Books are a great place to start owing to their reputation. Most authors have undertaken extensive research before publishing, and these sources can also be used as references for your inquiry.

The Takeaway

The research process cannot begin if you do not have an idea on hand. Therefore, before you think about writing aa single sentence, make sure that you have an original topic that doesn’t just interest you. The research paper topic should also be in line with the assignment’s requirements.

Your assignment question should be your guide when developing a research paper topic. Remember, you do not want to get ahead of yourself and write a well-researched paper only for the same to face rejection on the grounds of irrelevancy.

In addition to choosing a relevant idea, do not ignore valid information. The human race is at a stage when information is freely available. A while back, scientific research was reserved for a few elite individuals. However, today things have changed, and you can get information and even raw data on just about any topic.

Moreover, when you consider more information, you will have a better understanding of the topic in question. This eliminates any chances of you repeating a previously done research.

Research is a vigorous endeavor where you are bound to discover several new things. Do not be afraid to modify your research paper topic in light of new information.