DEVELOPING OUTSTANDING RESEARCH TOPICS
December 24, 2012 By Chidi RafaelTweet
Just like news headlines, your research project topic is your first selling point. If media houses do not caption a football match between Nigeria and Ghana as 'Nigeria and Ghana goes to War again' they may continue enjoying being broke. In essence, your project topic and the material you produce should be captivating. It should have the magical power to draw people’s interest, and achieve good grades for you.
Your ability to come up with an interesting and good research project topic is your first step in building an 'A' in Research Methodology. Fantastic research papers in Nigeria do not fall from heaven. They come about as a result of serious brainstorming mixed with great fun. Anyways in my little experience as an independent researcher, I do not entirely agree that developing a project topic should be too tasking. I rather see it as fun. When you are about to write a research project, the first skill you should have in order to get the best out of your project is your fun skills-What interest you? Throughout your stay in lecture rooms from semester one to the end, you should be able to identify that very topic or course you enjoy so much.
If you are a final year student in Nigeria, and you are eager to develop an outstanding research topic you should at least follow these few steps.
1. Think of a research area that is of great interest to you.
2. Brainstorm on possible subjects, titles and topics that could come out of the research area.
3. Narrow down the topic to a specific issue.
4. Look for trending issues in Nigeria.
5. Ensure there is adequate material for the study.
6. Take a time out to structure your topic properly.
Get a Research Area
The first step in developing outstanding research topics is by identifying a research area that interests you. Successful researchers align their work to their research area or interest. By doing this, you become an expert in your chosen research area, and your previous research papers become foundation for future research studies. Final year students in Nigeria should identify what subjects they love talking about. Good examples of research areas are Taxation, Employee Performance, Work-Life Balance, Electricity Conductors etc. Visit http://nairaproject.com for more examples of research areas for your academic field.
Brainstorm for that Outstanding Topic
That unique and outstanding research topic is deep down in your brains only that you have not yet realized it. After identifying a suitable research area, pick up a paper or a book and try to formulate as many research-able topics as possible (the more the topics, the better your chances of getting a good one). The topics may look weird at first, but you may not realize how important this process will be to you until you try it. One benefit I have achieved with brainstorming is that it gives me the freedom to put down as many whack ideas as possible. The truth is, after some days these ideas become very useful, as they serve as foundations for formulating better research topics.
Narrow Down your Research Topic
Since you have been able to identify your research area and a research topic, you should now avoid broad topics. Broad topics are killer research topics. They make you stress your self for no good reasons. Your topic is probably broad if:
1. You find your research topic too confusing.
2. You seem to forget your topic frequently.
3. Your supervisor is not interested in your project work.
4. You seem to find conflicting materials on your topic.
5. You frequently feel dizzy or lazy whenever you see you research topic.
If all these happen to you then you need help. Breakdown the topic! If you are writing on the role of management in an organization, then you are not on point! Management can still be broken down to other variables, nouns, and subjects such as financial management, strategic management etc.
Look for Trending issues
One secret about outstanding researchers is that they are always solving current issues on ground. When new issues such as bank recapitalization in Nigeria and fuel subsidy arise, research topics and materials on them sell like pure water. When you present a research topic on a current issue that needs urgent attention in a country like Nigeria, your supervisor is happy with you. When defending it, you are assured of a good grade because, you are not only presenting a unique work, but you are also solving an urgent problem and building literature for that issue as well.
However, when developing research topics to suite trending issues in your country, you must be very careful. Writing on very current issues can get you hanging. Availability of materials to support your literature review-both theoretical and empirical review becomes a big challenge. Before formulating research topics on trending issues, one must first make sure there are studies already conducted. Students wishing to explore into newer research areas or topics with little or no materials are still encouraged to do so, but it is best done at a PhD level.
Source for Adequate Materials
Students wishing to get the best out of their research project are usually encourage to make sure that there is adequate literature concerning or relating to their study. However, you can still check my site http://nairaproject.com for over 10,000 sample research materials that can guide you throughout your research.
Structure your Research Topic
In structuring your research topic, follow the following steps:
1. Make sure your topic is not broad. Structure your topic to address a specific problem or answer a specific question. Do not write on every thing as you may get confused.
2. Identify variables in your research topic. Variables must be present in your topic. After brainstorming, arrange these variables in such a way your readers can easily understand what your study is all about. For more info read this article on research variables.
3. Avoid lengthy research topics.