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How To Choose A Research Topic

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + Free Topic Evaluator

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | April 2024

Choosing the right research topic is likely the  most important decision you’ll make on your dissertation or thesis journey. To make the right choice, you need to take a systematic approach and evaluate each of your candidate ideas across a consistent set of criteria. In this tutorial, we’ll unpack five essential criteria that will help you evaluate your prospective research ideas and choose a winner.

Overview: The “Big 5” Key Criteria

  • Topic originality or novelty
  • Value and significance
  • Access to data and equipment
  • Time limitations and implications
  • Ethical requirements and constraints

Criterion #1: Originality & Novelty

As we’ve discussed extensively on this blog, originality in a research topic is essential. In other words, you need a clear research gap . The uniqueness of your topic determines its contribution to the field and its potential to stand out in the academic community. So, for each of your prospective topics, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What research gap and research problem am I filling?
  • Does my topic offer new insights?
  • Am I combining existing ideas in a unique way?
  • Am I taking a unique methodological approach?

To objectively evaluate the originality of each of your topic candidates, rate them on these aspects. This process will not only help in choosing a topic that stands out, but also one that can capture the interest of your audience and possibly contribute significantly to the field of study – which brings us to our next criterion.

Research topic evaluator

Criterion #2: Value & Significance

Next, you’ll need to assess the value and significance of each prospective topic. To do this, you’ll need to ask some hard questions.

  • Why is it important to explore these research questions?
  • Who stands to benefit from this study?
  • How will they benefit, specifically?

By clearly understanding and outlining the significance of each potential topic, you’ll not only be justifying your final choice – you’ll essentially be laying the groundwork for a persuasive research proposal , which is equally important.

Criterion #3: Access to Data & Equipment

Naturally, access to relevant data and equipment is crucial for the success of your research project. So, for each of your prospective topic ideas, you’ll need to evaluate whether you have the necessary resources to collect data and conduct your study.

Here are some questions to ask for each potential topic:

  • Will I be able to access the sample of interest (e.g., people, animals, etc.)?
  • Do I have (or can I get) access to the required equipment, at the time that I need it?
  • Are there costs associated with any of this? If so, what are they?

Keep in mind that getting access to certain types of data may also require special permissions and legalities, especially if your topic involves vulnerable groups (patients, youths, etc.). You may also need to adhere to specific data protection laws, depending on the country. So, be sure to evaluate these aspects thoroughly for each topic. Overlooking any of these can lead to significant complications down the line.

Free Webinar: How To Find A Dissertation Research Topic

Criterion #4: Time Requirements & Implications

Naturally, having a realistic timeline for each potential research idea is crucial. So, consider the scope of each potential topic and estimate how long each phase of the research will take — from literature review to data collection and analysis, to writing and revisions. Underestimating the time needed for a research project is extremely common , so it’s important to include buffer time for unforeseen delays.

Remember, efficient time management is not just about the duration but also about the timing . For example, if your research involves fieldwork, there may specific times of the year when this is most doable (or not doable at all).  So, be sure to consider both time and timing for each of your prospective topics.

Criterion #5: Ethical Compliance

Failing to adhere to your university’s research ethics policy is a surefire way to get your proposal rejected . So, you’ll need to evaluate each topic for potential ethical issues, especially if your research involves human subjects, sensitive data, or has any potential environmental impact.

Remember that ethical compliance is not just a formality – it’s a responsibility to ensure the integrity and social responsibility of your research. Topics that pose significant ethical challenges are typically the first to be rejected, so you need to take this seriously. It’s also useful to keep in mind that some topics are more “ethically sensitive” than others , which usually means that they’ll require multiple levels of approval. Ideally, you want to avoid this additional admin, so mark down any prospective topics that fall into an ethical “grey zone”.

If you’re unsure about the details of your university’s ethics policy, ask for a copy or speak directly to your course coordinator. Don’t make any assumptions when it comes to research ethics!

Key Takeaways

In this post, we’ve explored how to choose a research topic using a systematic approach. To recap, the “Big 5” assessment criteria include:

  • Topic originality and novelty
  • Time requirements
  • Ethical compliance

Be sure to grab a copy of our free research topic evaluator sheet here to fast-track your topic selection process. If you need hands-on help finding and refining a high-quality research topic for your dissertation or thesis, you can also check out our private coaching service .

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How to Select a Research Topic: A Step-by-Step Guide (2021)

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by  Antony W

September 15, 2021

how to select a research topic

Learning how to select a research topic can be the difference between failing your assignment and writing a comprehensive research paper. That’s why in this guide we’ll teach you how to select a research topic step-by-step.

You don’t need this guide if your professor has already given you a list of topics to consider for your assignment . You can skip to our guide on how to write a research paper .

If they have left it up to you to choose a topic to investigate, which they must approve before you start working on your research study, we suggest that you read the process shared in this post.

Choosing a topic after finding your research problem is important because:

  • The topic guides your research and gives you a mean to not only arrive at other interesting topics but also direct you to discover new knowledge
  • The topic you choose will govern what you say and ensures you keep a logical flow of information.

Picking a topic for a research paper can be challenging and sometimes intimidating, but it’s not impossible. In the following section, we show you how to choose the best research topic that your instructor can approve after the first review.

How to Select a Research Topic 

Below are four steps to follow to find the most suitable topic for your research paper assignment:

Step 1: Consider a Topic that Interests You 

how to choose your research topic

If your professor has asked you to choose a topic for your research paper, it means you can choose just about any subject to focus on in your area of study. A significant first step to take is to consider topics that interest you.

An interesting topic should meet two very important conditions.

First, it should be concise. The topic you choose should not be too broad or two narrow. Rather, it should be something focused on a specific issue. Second, the topic should allow you to find enough sources to cite in the research stage of your assignment.

The best way to determine if the research topic is interesting is to do some free writing for about 10 minutes. As you free write, think about the number of questions that people ask about the topic and try to consider why they’re important. These questions are important because they will make the research stage easier for you.

You’ll probably have a long list of interesting topics to consider for your research assignment. That’s a good first step because it means your options aren’t limited. However, you need to narrow down to only one topic for the assignment, so it’s time to start brainstorming.

Step 2: Brainstorm Your Topics 

how to choose your research topic

You aren’t doing research at this stage yet. You are only trying to make considerations to determine which topic will suit your research assignment.

The brainstorming stage isn’t difficult at all. It should take only a couple of hours or a few days depending on how you approach.

We recommend talking to your professor, classmates, and friends about the topics that you’ve picked and ask for their opinion. Expect mixed opinions from this audience and then consider the topics that make the most sense. Note what topics picked their interest the most and put them on top of the list.

You’ll end up removing some topics from your initial list after brainstorming, and that’s completely fine. The goal here is to end up with a topic that interests you as well as your readers.

Step 3: Define Your Topics 

how to choose your research topic

Check once again to make sure that your topic is a subject that you can easily define. You want to make sure the topic isn’t too broad or too narrow.

Often, a broad topic presents overwhelming amount of information, which makes it difficult to write a comprehensive research paper. A narrow topic, on the other hand, means you’ll find very little information, and therefore it can be difficult to do your assignment.

The length of the research paper, as stated in the assignment brief, should guide your topic selection.

Narrow down your list to topics that are:

  • Broad enough to allows you to find enough scholarly articles and journals for reference
  • Narrow enough to fit within the expected word count and the scope of the research

Topics that meet these two conditions should be easy to work on as they easily fit within the constraints of the research assignment.

Step 4: Read Background Information of Selected Topics  

how to choose your research topic

You probably have two or three topics by the time you get to this step. Now it’s time to read the background information on the topics to decide which topic to work on.

This step is important because it gives you a clear overview of the topic, enabling you to see how it relates to broader, narrower, and related concepts. Preliminary research also helps you to find keywords commonly used to describe the topic, which may be useful in further research.

It’s important to note how easy or difficult it is to find information on the topic.

Look at different sources of information to be sure you can find enough references for the topic. Such periodic indexes scan journals, newspaper articles, and magazines to find the information you’re looking for. You can even use web search engines. Google and Bing are currently that best options to consider because they make it easy for searchers to find relevant information on scholarly topics.

If you’re having a hard time to find references for a topic that you’ve so far considered for your research paper, skip it and go to the next one. Doing so will go a long way to ensure you have the right topic to work on from start to finish.

Get Research Paper Writing Help 

If you’ve found your research topic but you feel so stuck that you can’t proceed with the assignment without some assistance, we are here to help. With our research paper writing service ,  we can help you handle the assignment within the shortest time possible.

We will research your topic, develop a research question, outline the project, and help you with writing. We also get you involved in the process, allowing you to track the progress of your order until the delivery stage.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

Selecting a Research Topic: Overview

  • Refine your topic
  • Background information & facts
  • Writing help

Here are some resources to refer to when selecting a topic and preparing to write a paper:

  • MIT Writing and Communication Center "Providing free professional advice about all types of writing and speaking to all members of the MIT community."
  • Search Our Collections Find books about writing. Search by subject for: english language grammar; report writing handbooks; technical writing handbooks
  • Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation Online version of the book that provides examples and tips on grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and other writing rules.
  • Select a topic

Choosing an interesting research topic is your first challenge. Here are some tips:

  • Choose a topic that you are interested in! The research process is more relevant if you care about your topic.
  • If your topic is too broad, you will find too much information and not be able to focus.
  • Background reading can help you choose and limit the scope of your topic. 
  • Review the guidelines on topic selection outlined in your assignment.  Ask your professor or TA for suggestions.
  • Refer to lecture notes and required texts to refresh your knowledge of the course and assignment.
  • Talk about research ideas with a friend.  S/he may be able to help focus your topic by discussing issues that didn't occur to you at first.
  • WHY did you choose the topic?  What interests you about it?  Do you have an opinion about the issues involved?
  • WHO are the information providers on this topic?  Who might publish information about it?  Who is affected by the topic?  Do you know of organizations or institutions affiliated with the topic?
  • WHAT are the major questions for this topic?  Is there a debate about the topic?  Are there a range of issues and viewpoints to consider?
  • WHERE is your topic important: at the local, national or international level?  Are there specific places affected by the topic?
  • WHEN is/was your topic important?  Is it a current event or an historical issue?  Do you want to compare your topic by time periods?

Table of contents

  • Broaden your topic
  • Information Navigator home
  • Sources for facts - general
  • Sources for facts - specific subjects

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Start your research

Picking a good topic, step 1: choose a topic.

The first step in doing research is choosing a good topic. A good research topic should be focused and clear and not something that can be answered by a Google search.

For example, instead of asking "Why is social media harmful?" you could ask, "How is interacting with social media, like TikTok and Twitter, impacting the mental health of college students?"

In choosing a research topic, you should pick something that you are interested in and something that fits the assignment you are doing.

Something else here than explains the stuff.

Watch: Choosing a research topic

Choosing a research paper topic tutorial video. 4 minutes.

  • Find ideas and language on a topic using online tools and techniques
  • Use techniques like mind mapping, the 5W’s, and freeform writing to narrow a large topic
  • Tutorial: Choosing a research paper topic
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Choosing a Research Topic

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Where to Find Ideas

Persuasive paper assignments, dissertations and theses.

  • From Idea to Search
  • Make It Manageable

If you are starting a research project and would like some help choosing the best topic, this guide is for you.  Start by asking yourself these questions:

What does your instructor require? What interests you? What information sources can support your research? What is doable in the time you have?

While keeping these questions in mind, find suggestions in this guide to select a topic, turn that topic into a database search, and make your research manageable.  You will also find more information in our About the Research Process guide.

Whether your instructor has given a range of possible topics to you or you have to come up with a topic on your own, you could benefit from these activities:  

Consult Course Materials If a reading, film, or other resource is selected by your instructor, the subject of it is important to the course. You can often find inspiration for a paper in these materials.

  • Is a broad topic presented?  You can focus on a specific aspect of that topic.  For example, if your class viewed a film on poverty in the United States, you could look at poverty in a specific city or explore how poverty affects Americans of a specific gender, ethnic group, or age range.
  • Are experts presented, quoted, or cited?  Look up their work in BU Libraries Search or Google Scholar .

Use Background Sources If you've identified one or more topics you'd like to investigate further, look them up in an encyclopedia, handbook, or other background information source.  Here are some good places to start.

  • Britannica Academic This link opens in a new window Online version of Encyclopædia Britannica along Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, magazines and periodicals and other reference sources.
  • Oxford Reference This link opens in a new window Published by Oxford University Press, it is a fully-indexed, cross-searchable database containing dictionaries, language reference and subject reference works.

Explore the Scholarly Literature Ask your instructor or a librarian to guide you to the top journals in the field you're studying.  Scanning the tables of contents within these journals will provide some inspiration for your research project.  As a bonus, each of the articles in these journals will have a bibliography that will lead you to related articles, books, and other materials.

Ask a Librarian We are here to help you!  You can request a consultation or contact us by email or through our chat service .  We can help you identify what interests you, where to find more about it, and how to narrow the topic to something manageable in the time you have.

If your assignment entails persuading a reader to adopt a position, you can conduct your research in the same way you would with any other research project. The biggest mistake you can make, however, is choosing a position before you start your research.   Instead, the information you consult should inform your position.  Researching before choosing a position is also much easier; you will be able to explore all sides of a topic rather than limiting yourself to one.

If you would like examples of debates on controversial topics, try these resources:

  • CQ Researcher This link opens in a new window Covers the most current and controversial issues of the day with summaries, pros and cons, bibliographies and more. Provides reporting and analysis on issues in the news, including coverage of issues relating to health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy.
  • New York Times: Room for Debate Selections from the New York Times' opinion pages.
  • Created by Britannica, this site exposes readers to two sides of timely arguments. Each article includes a bibliography of suggested resources.

If you are writing a dissertation or thesis, you will find more specialized information at our Guide for Writers of Theses and Dissertations .

If you would like to find published dissertations and theses, please use this database:

This database contains indexing and abstracts of American doctoral dissertations accepted at accredited institutions since 1861 and a selection from other countries. Masters theses are included selectively. Date coverage: full text 1997 - present; abstracts 1980 - present; indexing 1861 - present.

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How to Start Your Research | Choose a Topic

  • Choose a Topic
  • Search Library Databases
  • Search the Library Catalog
  • Search Google
  • Stay Organized

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In This Section

In this section, you'll find advice on.

  • Choosing a topic
  • Doing some background reading
  • The difference between a topic, thesis, and research question

Start With What You Know

What are you curious about.

  • What do you still have questions about?
  • This might seem obvious, but your topic should interest you!

How can you contribute to the conversation?

  • Are there gaps in existing research?
  • Can you approach a topic from a new angle or perspective?

Picking a topic is research, too!

This video (3 minutes) describes the process of choosing and testing out a topic. See more tips below the video, too!

Do Some Background Reading

Reference sources are a great place to start when you're trying to choose or narrow a topic..

They'll help you learn the language of the topic you're interested in, and help you gather:

  • basic facts or established information on your topic
  • key concepts, terms, and people 
  • related topics and, often, suggested resources for learning more

Try these general reference sources to get started, and check out our  Research Guides  for subject-specific reference works.

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A reference source summarizes key facts, important figures, and major concepts of a topic and provides useful background information. Reference sources include dictionaries and encyclopedias and can be in print or online.

Topic vs. Thesis vs. Research Question

What's the difference between a topic, a thesis, and a research question.

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Research 101 (A How-to Guide): Step 1. Choose a topic

  • Step 1. Choose a topic
  • Step 2. Get background information
  • Step 3. Create a search strategy
  • Step 4. Find books and e-books
  • Step 5. Find articles
  • Step 6. Evaluate your sources
  • Step 7. Cite your sources

Step 1. Choose a Topic

Choosing an interesting research topic can be challenging.  This video tutorial will help you select and properly scope your topic by employing questioning, free writing, and mind mapping techniques so that you can formulate a research question.


Good Sources for Finding a Topic

  • CQ Researcher This link opens in a new window Browse the "hot topics" on the right hand side for inspiration.
  • 401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing, New York Times Great questions to consider for argumentative essays.
  • Facts, news, and thousands of diverse opinions on controversial issues in a pro-con format.
  • Room For Debate, New York Times This website, created by editorial staff from the New York Times, explores close to 1,500 news events and other timely issues. Knowledgeable outside contributors provide subject background and readers may contribute their own views. Great help for choosing a topic!
  • US News & World Report: Debate Club Pro/Con arguments on current issues.
  • Writing Prompts, New York Times New York Times Opinion articles that are geared toward students and invite comment.

Tips for Choosing a Topic

  • Choose a topic that interests you!   
  • Pick a manageable topic, not too broad, not too narrow. Reading background info can help you choose and limit the scope of your topic.
  • Review lecture notes and class readings for ideas.
  • Check with your instructor to make sure your topic fits with the assignment.

Picking your topic IS research!

  • Developing a Research Question Worksheet

Mind Mapping Tools

Mind mapping, a visual form of brainstorming, is an effective technique for developing a topic.  Here are some free tools to create mind maps.

  • Free account allows you to save 3 mind maps, download as image or HTML, and share with others.
  • Coggle Sign in with your Google account to create maps that you can download as PDF or PNG or share with others.
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Research Process: An Overview: Choosing a Topic

  • Choosing a Topic
  • Refining Your Topic
  • Finding Information
  • Evaluating Your Sources
  • Database Searching
  • APA Citation This link opens in a new window
  • Topic selection
  • Brainstorm Questions
  • Tip: Keywords
  • Finding Topic Ideas Online

Read Background Information

Tip: keywords.

Keywords are the main terms that describe your research question or topic.   Keep track of these words so you can use them when searching for books and articles.

  • Identify the main concepts in your research question. Typically there should only be two or three main concepts.
  • Look for keywords that best describe these concepts.
  • You can look for keywords when reading background information or encyclopedia articles on your topic
  • Use a thesaurus, your textbook and subject headings in databases to find different keywords.

how to choose your research topic

Related Research Guides

how to choose your research topic

APA Citation

Click through the tabs to learn the basics, find examples, and watch video tutorials.

how to choose your research topic

English Writing Skills

This guide supports academic and business writing, including a basic review of grammar fundamentals, writing guides, video tutorials on business writing, and resources for the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE exams.

Getting Started

Topic selection.

Choosing your topic is the first step in the research process. Be aware that selecting a good topic may not be easy. It must be narrow and focused enough to be interesting, yet broad enough to find adequate information. 

For help getting started on the writing process go to the  GGU Online Writing Lab (Writing tutor) where you can set up and appointment with a writing tutor.

#1 Research ti p:  Pick a topic that interests you.  You are going to live with this topic for weeks while you research, read, and write your assignment. Choose something that will hold your interest and that you might even be excited about. Your attitude towards your topic will come across in your writing or presentation!

Brainstorming  is a technique you can use to help you generate ideas. Below are brainstorming exercises and resources to help you come up with research topic ideas. 

Brainstorming Topic Ideas

Ask yourself the following questions to help you generate topic ideas:.

  • Do you have a strong opinion on a current social or political controversy?
  • Did you read or see a news story recently that has interested you?
  • Do you have a personal issue, problem or interest that you would like to know more about?
  • Is there an aspect of one of your classes that you would like to learn more about?

Finding Topic Ideas

Topic ideas.

Try the resources below to help you get ideas for possible research topics:

  • CQ Researcher This link opens in a new window Coverage of the most important issues and controversies of the day, including pro-con analysis. Help Video
  • Google News This site provides national and international news on a variety of subjects gathered from over 4,000 sources.
  • Article & News Databases Use the Library's Articles and News databases to browse contents of current magazines and newspapers. If you do not know how to browse current issues ask a librarian for help.

Background Information

Read an encyclopedia article on the top two or three topics you are considering. Reading a broad summary enables you to get an overview of the topic and see how your idea relates to broader, narrower, and related issues. If you cant find an article on your topic, ask a librarian for help.

  • Gale eBooks The Gale Virtual Reference Library contains several business focused encyclopedias such as The Encyclopedia of Management and The Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries which may provide background information on possible topics.
  • Article & News Databases Use the Library's Articles and News databases to search for brief articles on your topic ideas.
  • SAGE Knowledge Hundreds of encyclopedias and handbooks on key topics in the social and behavioral sciences. User Guide

SAGE Research Methods

  • SAGE Research Methods

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How to Write a Research Paper: Choosing Your Topic

Choosing Your Topic

  • Citation & Style Guides This link opens in a new window
  • Critical Thinking
  • Evaluating Information
  • Parts of the Paper
  • Writing Tips from UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Librarian Contact

  • Choose a topic you are interested in, and can find information about.
  • Your opinion of the topic might change as you conduct your research and find out more about the subject.
  • Choose a topic that is not too broad or too narrow. The first will be hard to keep focused and the second might be hard to find information about.

Rethinking Your Topic

You may discover that you’re looking for information by search terms that are not the most effective. Databases use search terminology called Subject Terms . Find these descriptive words to help with your search. For example: "death penalty" is often classified as "capital punishment."

Write all of those search terms down to keep track of them. These terms might give you new ways of thinking about your topic.. Maybe come up with a question or two for things you’re curious about. Those questions will help you focus your paper.

Narrowing Your Topic

After you have found some information, try to narrow your topic. If your topic is too broad, it will be hard to keep a focus in your paper and the information range will be too large. Adjust your topic to a topic field that is specific enough to research without having large amounts of articles, but still general enough to have some relevant information sources.

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Finding your Goal: How to choose a research topic

Finding a research topic can be challenging, but the steps outlined in this article will help you with that.

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The study of science and academics cannot be completed without research. You’ll need to choose a research topic carefully when writing a research paper or conducting a study, no matter whether you’re a student or a professional researcher. It is your choice of topic that determines how your study will be conducted and ultimately how successful it will be.

If you don’t know where to begin or what factors to consider when choosing a research topic, it can be daunting. It is possible to choose a research topic in a variety of ways, and what is effective for one person may not be effective for another, but the question remains the same: “How to choose a research topic?”

Well, choosing the right topic takes some trial and error, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all process. Let’s discuss a few key factors to consider when choosing a research topic that aligns with your passion, expertise, and research goals in this blog.

A Well-Chosen Research Topic Can Make or Break Your Project

If you want to conduct a successful research project, it is imperative to pick a good research topic, regardless of your field or discipline. The topic you choose will influence your research’s direction and scope, as well as its methods and approaches. It is important to choose a topic that will allow you to explore your area of interest in-depth and also contribute to the existing body of knowledge in the field.

The first step to conducting a meaningful and fulfilling research project is choosing a good research topic. Your enthusiasm and dedication to the subject matter will lead to better outcomes when you’re passionate about it. Even when faced with challenges or setbacks during the project, a well-chosen research topic will keep you focused and motivated.

In addition to being beneficial to your own research project, a research topic can also have a broader impact on the field at large. You can help advance the field by selecting a topic that addresses a knowledge gap, contributes to an ongoing debate, or informs policy or practice by providing new insights. Additionally, an interesting research topic can provide opportunities to collaborate with other researchers, leading to further advancements and broader networks in the field.

A successful and rewarding research project depends on choosing the right research topic for you. The best way to achieve a fulfilling and impactful research experience is to choose topics aligned with your interests and expertise, contribute to the field, and allow for meaningful engagement.

Unlocking Ideas: How to brainstorm your research topic

A brainstorming session is a crucial first step in selecting a research topic. Identifying potential options and taking into account factors such as feasibility, relevance, and significance are essential steps. Depending on your research goals and personal preferences, you may benefit from using different brainstorming techniques. 

Visual diagrams that organize ideas around a central topic, such as mind maps, are an effective way to settle ideas. The central topic should be written in the center of the page, then related ideas or subtopics should be written around it. Identifying potential research directions can be accomplished by seeing how different ideas are connected. 

Listing is another method, where you write as many topics as possible without worrying about their feasibility or relevance at first. Based on your expertise, the significance of the research question , the availability of data and resources, and the time required to complete the research, you can narrow down the list of potential topics. 

Brainstorm with a group or seek feedback from peers, mentors, or colleagues, who may offer unique insights and perspectives. A good research topic can be identified by brainstorming, and by using different techniques and taking into account various factors, you can choose one that fits your interests, goals, and resources.

How to Choose a Research Topic: 6 Steps to Make It Easy

Following these steps will help you choose a research topic that fits your interests, expertise, and objectives, while also being feasible to conduct within the constraints of your resources and schedule.

1. Brainstorm possible subject matter

Begin by brainstorming a list of potential research topics that are of interest to you in order to narrow down your choices. If you have a specific question or topic that you are curious about, this could be anything from a broad topic that you are passionate about to a more specific question, that’s the perfect time to write it down. Be sure to take into consideration your field of study, current events, and any research gaps you have discovered in your area of expertise. Make a list of any ideas that come to mind, no matter how unrelated or impractical they may seem. As a result, you will be able to generate many potential topics to explore.

2. Think about your expertise and interests

Identify a topic that corresponds to your interests and expertise. When you are passionate about your topic, your research will be more engaging and motivating. Make a list of topics you’re familiar with and topics you’re interested in learning about. The goal is to choose a topic that you enjoy researching and will keep you motivated throughout the research process.

3. Do a literature review

After you’ve compiled a list of potential topics, review the literature to see what previous research has been done in the area. As a result, you will be able to identify gaps in the existing research that you might be able to fill. Gather relevant research articles and papers by searching academic databases, journals, and other credible sources. Study the literature carefully, making notes on key findings and areas that have not been addressed. By focusing on topics that lack extensive research or that have gaps in the existing literature, you will be able to narrow down your list of potential research topics.

4. Assess the feasibility

Consider factors like data availability, time constraints, and access to research participants or resources once you have a list of possible topics. You can use this information to determine which topics may be suitable for your research. Consider ensuring you have enough participants for your study if you intend to do a large-scale study that requires a large sample size. Considering the resources and equipment you’ll need for your research is important if you’re working within a limited budget.

5. Make your research question more specific 

As soon as you have chosen your topic, refine your research question to make sure it is specific, relevant, and feasible. Your research will be guided, and you will stay on track by doing this. Good research questions are clear and concise, and they identify the specific problem you’re trying to solve. You should ensure that your research question is based on existing research and that it can be conducted within the time and resource constraints you have.

6. Be open to feedback 

You may benefit from the feedback of colleagues, advisors, or other experts in your field regarding the topic and research question you have chosen. You may gain valuable insights from them or find alternative approaches you hadn’t thought of. Your research question can be refined further by doing this, and you can ensure that you are on the right track with your research.

A successful research project depends on choosing the right topic. You’re just beginning a long and rewarding journey when you choose a research topic. Perseverance and dedication can lead to research that advances human understanding of our world and contributes to the advancement of your field.

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How to Find a Topic for Your Research Paper

Last Updated: September 12, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Matthew Snipp, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . C. Matthew Snipp is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. He is also the Director for the Institute for Research in the Social Science’s Secure Data Center. He has been a Research Fellow at the U.S. Bureau of the Census and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has published 3 books and over 70 articles and book chapters on demography, economic development, poverty and unemployment. He is also currently serving on the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Population Science Subcommittee. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. This article has been viewed 95,345 times.

Sometimes, finding a topic for a research paper can be the most challenging part of the whole process. When you're looking out at a field brimming with possibilities, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Lucky for you, we here at wikiHow have come up with a list of ways to pick that topic that will take you from the more vague brainstorming all the way to your specific, perfectly focused research question and thesis.

Review your course materials.

Your textbook, syllabus, and class notes can help you find a topic.

  • If your textbook has discussion questions at the end of each chapter, these can be great to comb through for potential research paper topic ideas.
  • Look at any recommended reading your instructor has suggested—you might find ideas there as well.

Search hot issues in your field of study.

Run an internet search or talk to your instructor.

  • Think about current events that touch on your field of study as well. For example, if you're writing a research paper for a sociology class, you might want to write something related to race in America or the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Other instructors in the same department or field might also have ideas for you. Don't be afraid to stop in during their office hours and talk or send them an email, even if you've never had them for a class.

Go for a walk to get your brain going.

Being active can stimulate your mind to focus on topic ideas.

  • If you want to walk with a friend and discuss topic ideas as you walk, that can help too. Sometimes, you'll come up with new things when you can bounce your ideas off someone else.

Ask your family or friends for input.

Bounce ideas off of people you know to get their thoughts.

  • People who aren't really familiar with the general subject you're researching can be helpful too! Because they aren't making many assumptions, they might bring up something you'd overlooked or not thought about before.

Free-write on topic ideas to find your passion.

Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and write without stopping.

  • Having a personal interest in the topic will keep you from getting bored. You'll do better research—and write a better paper—if you're excited about the topic itself.

Read background information on your favorites.

Search online for background articles about topics you like.

  • Ideally, based on your background research, you'll be able to choose one of the topics that interests you the most. If you still can't narrow it down, keep reading!
  • Even though you wouldn't want to use them as sources for your actual paper, sources like Wikipedia can be excellent for getting background information about a topic.

Identify important words to use as keywords.

Jot down words related to your topic to search for sources.

  • For example, if you've chosen environmental regulations as a topic, you might also include keywords such as "conservation," "pollution," and "nature."

Do preliminary research using your keywords.

Search online or on library databases and review your results.

  • Your results might also suggest other keywords you can search to find more sources. Searching for specific terminology used in articles you find often leads to other articles.
  • Check the bibliography of any papers you find to pick up some other sources you might be able to use.

Limit a broad topic.

Narrow your topic to a specific time period, geographic area, or population.

  • For example, suppose you decided to look at race relations in the US during the Trump administration. If you got too many results, you might narrow your results to a single US city or state.
  • Keep in mind how long your research paper will ultimately be. For example, if there's an entire book written on a topic you want to write a 20-page research paper on, it's probably too broad.

Expand a topic that's too narrow.

Broaden your scope if you're not getting enough results from your keywords.

  • For example, suppose you wanted to research the impact of a particular environmental law on your hometown, but when you did a search, you didn't get any quality results. You might expand your search to encompass the entire state or region, rather than just your hometown.

Do more in-depth research to fine-tune your topic.

Run another search based on the information you've gained.

  • For example, you might do an initial search and get hundreds of results back and decide your topic is too broad. Then, when you limit it, you get next to nothing and figure out you've narrowed it too much, so you have to broaden it a little bit again.
  • Stay flexible and keep going until you've found that happy medium that you think will work for your paper.

Formulate the question you'll answer in your paper.

Use the 5 W's (who, what, when, where, and why) to write your question.

  • For example, your research question might be something like "How did environmental regulations affect the living conditions of people living near paper mills?" This question covers "who" (people living near paper mills), "what" (living conditions), "where" (near paper mills), and "why" (environmental regulations).

Build a list of potential sources.

Write down citation information as you work.

  • At this point, your list is still a "working" list. You won't necessarily use all the sources you find in your actual paper.
  • Building a working list of sources is also helpful if you want to use a source and can't immediately get access to it. If you have to get it through your professor or request it from another library, you have time to do so.

Develop your thesis.

Your thesis is the answer to your research question.

  • For example, suppose your research question is "How did environmental regulations affect the living conditions of people living near paper mills?" Your thesis might be something like: "Environmental regulations improved living conditions for people living around paper mills."
  • As another example, suppose your research question is "Why did hate crimes spike in the US from 2017 to 2020?" Your thesis might be: "A permissive attitude towards racial supremacy caused a spike in hate crimes in the US from 2017 to 2020."
  • Keep in mind, you don't have to prove that your thesis is correct. Proving that your thesis was wrong can make for an even more compelling research paper, especially if your thesis follows conventional wisdom.

Expert Q&A

  • If you've been given a list of topics but you come up with something different that you want to do, don't be afraid to talk to your instructor about it! The worst that will happen is that they'll make you choose something from the list instead. [11] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Choosing a Topic

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The first step of any research paper is for the student to understand the assignment. If this is not done, the student will often travel down many dead-end roads, wasting a great deal of time along the way. Do not hesitate to approach the instructor with questions if there is any confusion. A clear understanding of the assignment will allow you to focus on other aspects of the process, such as choosing a topic and identifying your audience.

A student will often encounter one of two situations when it comes to choosing a topic for a research paper. The first situation occurs when the instructor provides a list of topics from which the student may choose. These topics have been deemed worthy by the instructor; therefore, the student should be confident in the topic he chooses from the list. Many first-time researchers appreciate such an arrangement by the instructor because it eliminates the stress of having to decide upon a topic on their own.

However, the student may also find the topics that have been provided to be limiting; moreover, it is not uncommon for the student to have a topic in mind that does not fit with any of those provided. If this is the case, it is always beneficial to approach the instructor with one's ideas. Be respectful, and ask the instructor if the topic you have in mind would be a possible research option for the assignment. Remember, as a first-time researcher, your knowledge of the process is quite limited; the instructor is experienced, and may have very precise reasons for choosing the topics she has offered to the class. Trust that she has the best interests of the class in mind. If she likes the topic, great! If not, do not take it personally and choose the topic from the list that seems most interesting to you.

The second situation occurs when the instructor simply hands out an assignment sheet that covers the logistics of the research paper, but leaves the choice of topic up to the student. Typically, assignments in which students are given the opportunity to choose the topic require the topic to be relevant to some aspect of the course; so, keep this in mind as you begin a course in which you know there will be a research paper near the end. That way, you can be on the lookout for a topic that may interest you. Do not be anxious on account of a perceived lack of authority or knowledge about the topic chosen. Instead, realize that it takes practice to become an experienced researcher in any field.

For a discussion of Evaluating Sources, see Evaluating Sources of Information .

Methods for choosing a topic

Thinking early leads to starting early. If the student begins thinking about possible topics when the assignment is given, she has already begun the arduous, yet rewarding, task of planning and organization. Once she has made the assignment a priority in her mind, she may begin to have ideas throughout the day. Brainstorming is often a successful way for students to get some of these ideas down on paper. Seeing one's ideas in writing is often an impetus for the writing process. Though brainstorming is particularly effective when a topic has been chosen, it can also benefit the student who is unable to narrow a topic. It consists of a timed writing session during which the student jots down—often in list or bulleted form—any ideas that come to his mind. At the end of the timed period, the student will peruse his list for patterns of consistency. If it appears that something seems to be standing out in his mind more than others, it may be wise to pursue this as a topic possibility.

It is important for the student to keep in mind that an initial topic that you come up with may not be the exact topic about which you end up writing. Research topics are often fluid, and dictated more by the student's ongoing research than by the original chosen topic. Such fluidity is common in research, and should be embraced as one of its many characteristics.

The Purdue OWL also offers a number of other resources on choosing and developing a topic:

  • Understanding Writing Assignments
  • Starting the Writing Process
  • Invention Slide Presentation


Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 113 great research paper topics.

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One of the hardest parts of writing a research paper can be just finding a good topic to write about. Fortunately we've done the hard work for you and have compiled a list of 113 interesting research paper topics. They've been organized into ten categories and cover a wide range of subjects so you can easily find the best topic for you.

In addition to the list of good research topics, we've included advice on what makes a good research paper topic and how you can use your topic to start writing a great paper.

What Makes a Good Research Paper Topic?

Not all research paper topics are created equal, and you want to make sure you choose a great topic before you start writing. Below are the three most important factors to consider to make sure you choose the best research paper topics.

#1: It's Something You're Interested In

A paper is always easier to write if you're interested in the topic, and you'll be more motivated to do in-depth research and write a paper that really covers the entire subject. Even if a certain research paper topic is getting a lot of buzz right now or other people seem interested in writing about it, don't feel tempted to make it your topic unless you genuinely have some sort of interest in it as well.

#2: There's Enough Information to Write a Paper

Even if you come up with the absolute best research paper topic and you're so excited to write about it, you won't be able to produce a good paper if there isn't enough research about the topic. This can happen for very specific or specialized topics, as well as topics that are too new to have enough research done on them at the moment. Easy research paper topics will always be topics with enough information to write a full-length paper.

Trying to write a research paper on a topic that doesn't have much research on it is incredibly hard, so before you decide on a topic, do a bit of preliminary searching and make sure you'll have all the information you need to write your paper.

#3: It Fits Your Teacher's Guidelines

Don't get so carried away looking at lists of research paper topics that you forget any requirements or restrictions your teacher may have put on research topic ideas. If you're writing a research paper on a health-related topic, deciding to write about the impact of rap on the music scene probably won't be allowed, but there may be some sort of leeway. For example, if you're really interested in current events but your teacher wants you to write a research paper on a history topic, you may be able to choose a topic that fits both categories, like exploring the relationship between the US and North Korea. No matter what, always get your research paper topic approved by your teacher first before you begin writing.

113 Good Research Paper Topics

Below are 113 good research topics to help you get you started on your paper. We've organized them into ten categories to make it easier to find the type of research paper topics you're looking for.


  • Discuss the main differences in art from the Italian Renaissance and the Northern Renaissance .
  • Analyze the impact a famous artist had on the world.
  • How is sexism portrayed in different types of media (music, film, video games, etc.)? Has the amount/type of sexism changed over the years?
  • How has the music of slaves brought over from Africa shaped modern American music?
  • How has rap music evolved in the past decade?
  • How has the portrayal of minorities in the media changed?


Current Events

  • What have been the impacts of China's one child policy?
  • How have the goals of feminists changed over the decades?
  • How has the Trump presidency changed international relations?
  • Analyze the history of the relationship between the United States and North Korea.
  • What factors contributed to the current decline in the rate of unemployment?
  • What have been the impacts of states which have increased their minimum wage?
  • How do US immigration laws compare to immigration laws of other countries?
  • How have the US's immigration laws changed in the past few years/decades?
  • How has the Black Lives Matter movement affected discussions and view about racism in the US?
  • What impact has the Affordable Care Act had on healthcare in the US?
  • What factors contributed to the UK deciding to leave the EU (Brexit)?
  • What factors contributed to China becoming an economic power?
  • Discuss the history of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies  (some of which tokenize the S&P 500 Index on the blockchain) .
  • Do students in schools that eliminate grades do better in college and their careers?
  • Do students from wealthier backgrounds score higher on standardized tests?
  • Do students who receive free meals at school get higher grades compared to when they weren't receiving a free meal?
  • Do students who attend charter schools score higher on standardized tests than students in public schools?
  • Do students learn better in same-sex classrooms?
  • How does giving each student access to an iPad or laptop affect their studies?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Montessori Method ?
  • Do children who attend preschool do better in school later on?
  • What was the impact of the No Child Left Behind act?
  • How does the US education system compare to education systems in other countries?
  • What impact does mandatory physical education classes have on students' health?
  • Which methods are most effective at reducing bullying in schools?
  • Do homeschoolers who attend college do as well as students who attended traditional schools?
  • Does offering tenure increase or decrease quality of teaching?
  • How does college debt affect future life choices of students?
  • Should graduate students be able to form unions?


  • What are different ways to lower gun-related deaths in the US?
  • How and why have divorce rates changed over time?
  • Is affirmative action still necessary in education and/or the workplace?
  • Should physician-assisted suicide be legal?
  • How has stem cell research impacted the medical field?
  • How can human trafficking be reduced in the United States/world?
  • Should people be able to donate organs in exchange for money?
  • Which types of juvenile punishment have proven most effective at preventing future crimes?
  • Has the increase in US airport security made passengers safer?
  • Analyze the immigration policies of certain countries and how they are similar and different from one another.
  • Several states have legalized recreational marijuana. What positive and negative impacts have they experienced as a result?
  • Do tariffs increase the number of domestic jobs?
  • Which prison reforms have proven most effective?
  • Should governments be able to censor certain information on the internet?
  • Which methods/programs have been most effective at reducing teen pregnancy?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Keto diet?
  • How effective are different exercise regimes for losing weight and maintaining weight loss?
  • How do the healthcare plans of various countries differ from each other?
  • What are the most effective ways to treat depression ?
  • What are the pros and cons of genetically modified foods?
  • Which methods are most effective for improving memory?
  • What can be done to lower healthcare costs in the US?
  • What factors contributed to the current opioid crisis?
  • Analyze the history and impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic .
  • Are low-carbohydrate or low-fat diets more effective for weight loss?
  • How much exercise should the average adult be getting each week?
  • Which methods are most effective to get parents to vaccinate their children?
  • What are the pros and cons of clean needle programs?
  • How does stress affect the body?
  • Discuss the history of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • What were the causes and effects of the Salem Witch Trials?
  • Who was responsible for the Iran-Contra situation?
  • How has New Orleans and the government's response to natural disasters changed since Hurricane Katrina?
  • What events led to the fall of the Roman Empire?
  • What were the impacts of British rule in India ?
  • Was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary?
  • What were the successes and failures of the women's suffrage movement in the United States?
  • What were the causes of the Civil War?
  • How did Abraham Lincoln's assassination impact the country and reconstruction after the Civil War?
  • Which factors contributed to the colonies winning the American Revolution?
  • What caused Hitler's rise to power?
  • Discuss how a specific invention impacted history.
  • What led to Cleopatra's fall as ruler of Egypt?
  • How has Japan changed and evolved over the centuries?
  • What were the causes of the Rwandan genocide ?


  • Why did Martin Luther decide to split with the Catholic Church?
  • Analyze the history and impact of a well-known cult (Jonestown, Manson family, etc.)
  • How did the sexual abuse scandal impact how people view the Catholic Church?
  • How has the Catholic church's power changed over the past decades/centuries?
  • What are the causes behind the rise in atheism/ agnosticism in the United States?
  • What were the influences in Siddhartha's life resulted in him becoming the Buddha?
  • How has media portrayal of Islam/Muslims changed since September 11th?


  • How has the earth's climate changed in the past few decades?
  • How has the use and elimination of DDT affected bird populations in the US?
  • Analyze how the number and severity of natural disasters have increased in the past few decades.
  • Analyze deforestation rates in a certain area or globally over a period of time.
  • How have past oil spills changed regulations and cleanup methods?
  • How has the Flint water crisis changed water regulation safety?
  • What are the pros and cons of fracking?
  • What impact has the Paris Climate Agreement had so far?
  • What have NASA's biggest successes and failures been?
  • How can we improve access to clean water around the world?
  • Does ecotourism actually have a positive impact on the environment?
  • Should the US rely on nuclear energy more?
  • What can be done to save amphibian species currently at risk of extinction?
  • What impact has climate change had on coral reefs?
  • How are black holes created?
  • Are teens who spend more time on social media more likely to suffer anxiety and/or depression?
  • How will the loss of net neutrality affect internet users?
  • Analyze the history and progress of self-driving vehicles.
  • How has the use of drones changed surveillance and warfare methods?
  • Has social media made people more or less connected?
  • What progress has currently been made with artificial intelligence ?
  • Do smartphones increase or decrease workplace productivity?
  • What are the most effective ways to use technology in the classroom?
  • How is Google search affecting our intelligence?
  • When is the best age for a child to begin owning a smartphone?
  • Has frequent texting reduced teen literacy rates?


How to Write a Great Research Paper

Even great research paper topics won't give you a great research paper if you don't hone your topic before and during the writing process. Follow these three tips to turn good research paper topics into great papers.

#1: Figure Out Your Thesis Early

Before you start writing a single word of your paper, you first need to know what your thesis will be. Your thesis is a statement that explains what you intend to prove/show in your paper. Every sentence in your research paper will relate back to your thesis, so you don't want to start writing without it!

As some examples, if you're writing a research paper on if students learn better in same-sex classrooms, your thesis might be "Research has shown that elementary-age students in same-sex classrooms score higher on standardized tests and report feeling more comfortable in the classroom."

If you're writing a paper on the causes of the Civil War, your thesis might be "While the dispute between the North and South over slavery is the most well-known cause of the Civil War, other key causes include differences in the economies of the North and South, states' rights, and territorial expansion."

#2: Back Every Statement Up With Research

Remember, this is a research paper you're writing, so you'll need to use lots of research to make your points. Every statement you give must be backed up with research, properly cited the way your teacher requested. You're allowed to include opinions of your own, but they must also be supported by the research you give.

#3: Do Your Research Before You Begin Writing

You don't want to start writing your research paper and then learn that there isn't enough research to back up the points you're making, or, even worse, that the research contradicts the points you're trying to make!

Get most of your research on your good research topics done before you begin writing. Then use the research you've collected to create a rough outline of what your paper will cover and the key points you're going to make. This will help keep your paper clear and organized, and it'll ensure you have enough research to produce a strong paper.

What's Next?

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These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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Develop a research proposal

Once you have established that you meet entry requirements for your preferred program, you need to clarify your chosen area of study and identify a research area and/or research question, clarify its importance and prepare a research proposal. Your research question will provide the key research focus for the full duration of your degree so it is important that you consult a wide variety of resources and select a topic you feel highly motivated to investigate. Depending on your area of study and research, you may be starting at the very beginning or you may already have a research topic or area of focus from an already established research team.

How to choose your research topic

Choosing a research topic and writing your research proposal can be difficult when you're faced with a lot of choice. Current Griffith PhD candidates and supervisors give some advice to help you create a winning research proposal.

How to develop a research proposal

Think carefully about your motivation to complete an HDR program—what are you passionate about, what topic or question or problem do you want to tackle? Remember you will be spending a lot of time on this topic so a keen interest is a must.

Find a connection with a Griffith school, department, research centre or institute to find a match for your research area and/or research question. Some research centres and institutes have proposed research projects and hot topics for prospective candidates.

Find out more

Narrow your focus to a single research topic. Once you have connected with your prospective supervisor, it is important that you seek their input and advice on your research proposal. Developing a research proposal is an iterative process, so expect to work on a number of drafts before you finalise your research proposal. You need to allow time to prepare multiple drafts and seek feedback along the way. Your potential supervisor is the best person to contact, so make sure you reach out to find one as soon as possible. Where applicable, this may also be an appropriate time to seek a connection with an industry partner or external organisation who could collaborate on your research. They will also provide input to your research proposal.

Your draft research proposal should include the following:

  • Student name
  • Dissertation/thesis title
  • Summary of project (maximum 100 words)
  • Rationale—brief review of relevant research in the field
  • Statement of the principal focus of intended research
  • Significance of the study
  • Intended methodology and project feasibility
  • (Where applicable) details of an industry partner or external organisation’s involvement in project
  • Anticipated project costs (if required by your enrolling school or research centre)
  • Any requirements for specialist equipment or resources.

Your proposal should be no longer than 2–3 pages.

Professors' advice

What you’re doing is something that nobody else has ever done before, so you’re going to come across problems that nobody has solved before.

Professor Robert Sang

In preparing a research proposal for your application, keep in mind the objective, which is to demonstrate that you have thought about the topic deeply, have some interesting ideas about the topic, and have considered possible methodologies of research and the project’s feasibility. It is advantageous to show why you think that your chosen topic is significant or interesting.

Professor Gerry Docherty

how to choose your research topic

  • How to Choose a PhD Research Topic
  • Finding a PhD


Whilst there are plenty of resources available to help prospective PhD students find doctoral programmes, deciding on a research topic is a process students often find more difficult.

Some advertised PhD programmes have predefined titles, so the exact topic is decided already. Generally, these programmes exist mainly in STEM, though other fields also have them. Funded projects are more likely to have defined titles, and structured aims and objectives.

Self funded projects, and those in fields such as arts and humanities, are less likely to have defined titles. The flexibility of topic selection means more scope exists for applicants to propose research ideas and suit the topic of research to their interests.

A middle ground also exists where Universities advertise funded PhD programmes in subjects without a defined scope, for example: “PhD Studentship in Biomechanics”. The applicant can then liaise with the project supervisor to choose a particular title such as “A study of fatigue and impact resistance of biodegradable knee implants”.

If a predefined programme is not right for you, then you need to propose your own research topic. There are several factors to consider when choosing a good research topic, which will be outlined in this article.

How to Choose a Research Topic

Our first piece of advice is to PhD candidates is to stop thinking about ‘finding’ a research topic, as it is unlikely that you will. Instead, think about developing a research topic (from research and conversations with advisors).

Consider several ideas and critically appraise them:

  • You must be able to explain to others why your chosen topic is worth studying.
  • You must be genuinely interested in the subject area.
  • You must be competent and equipped to answer the research question.
  • You must set achievable and measurable aims and objectives.
  • You need to be able to achieve your objectives within a given timeframe.
  • Your research question must be original and contribute to the field of study.

We have outlined the key considerations you should use when developing possible topics. We explore these below:

Focus on your interests and career aspirations

It is important to choose a topic of research that you are genuinely interested in. The decision you make will shape the rest of your career. Remember, a full-time programme lasts 3-4 years, and there will be unforeseen challenges during this time. If you are not passionate about the study, you will struggle to find motivation during these difficult periods.

You should also look to your academic and professional background. If there are any modules you undertook as part of your Undergraduate/Master degree that you particularly enjoyed or excelled in? These could form part of your PhD research topic. Similarly, if you have professional work experience, this could lead to you asking questions which can only be answered through research.

When deciding on a PhD research topic you should always consider your long-term career aspirations. For example, as a physicist, if you wish to become an astrophysicist, a research project studying black holes would be more relevant to you than a research project studying nuclear fission.

Read dissertations and published journals

Reading dissertations and published journals is a great way to identify potential PhD topics. When reviewing existing research ask yourself:

  • What has been done and what do existing results show?
  • What did previous projects involve (e.g. lab-work or fieldwork)?
  • How often are papers published in the field?
  • Are your research ideas original?
  • Is there value in your research question?
  • Could I expand on or put my own spin on this research?

Reading dissertations will also give you an insight into the practical aspects of doctoral study, such as what methodology the author used, how much data analysis was required and how was information presented.

You can also think of this process as a miniature literature review . You are searching for gaps in knowledge and developing a PhD project to address them. Focus on recent publications (e.g. in the last five years). In particular, the literature review of recent publications will give an excellent summary of the state of existing knowledge, and what research questions remain unanswered.

If you have the opportunity to attend an academic conference, go for it! This is often an excellent way to find out current theories in the industry and the research direction. This knowledge could reveal a possible research idea or topic for further study.

Finding a PhD has never been this easy – search for a PhD by keyword, location or academic area of interest.

Discuss research topic ideas with a PhD supervisor

Discuss your research topic ideas with a supervisor. This could be your current undergraduate/masters supervisor, or potential supervisors of advertised PhD programmes at different institutions. Come to these meetings prepared with initial PhD topic ideas, and your findings from reading published journals. PhD supervisors will be more receptive to your ideas if you can demonstrate you have thought about them and are committed to your research.

You should discuss your research interests, what you have found through reading publications, and what you are proposing to research. Supervisors who have expertise in your chosen field will have insight into the gaps in knowledge that exist, what is being done to address them, and if there is any overlap between your proposed research ideas and ongoing research projects.

Talking to an expert in the field can shape your research topic to something more tangible, which has clear aims and objectives. It can also find potential shortfalls of your PhD ideas.

It is important to remember, however, that although it is good to develop your research topic based on feedback, you should not let the supervisor decide a topic for you. An interesting topic for a supervisor may not be interesting to you, and a supervisor is more likely to advise on a topic title which lends itself to a career in academia.

Another tip is to talk to a PhD student or researcher who is involved in a similar research project. Alternatively, you can usually find a relevant research group within your University to talk to. They can explain in more detail their experiences and suggest what your PhD programme could involve with respect to daily routines and challenges.

Look at advertised PhD Programmes

Use our Search tool , or look on University PhD listing pages to identify advertised PhD programmes for ideas.

  • What kind of PhD research topics are available?
  • Are these similar to your ideas?
  • Are you interested in any of these topics?
  • What do these programmes entail?

The popularity of similar PhD programmes to your proposed topic is a good indicator that universities see value in the research area. The final bullet point is perhaps the most valuable takeaway from looking at advertised listings. Review what similar programmes involve, and whether this is something you would like to do. If so, a similar research topic would allow you to do this.

Writing a Research Proposal

As part of the PhD application process , you may be asked to summarise your proposed research topic in a research proposal. This is a document which summarises your intended research and will include the title of your proposed project, an Abstract, Background and Rationale, Research Aims and Objectives, Research Methodology, Timetable, and a Bibliography. If you are required to submit this document then read our guidance on how to write a research proposal for your PhD application.

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  • Research process

How to Choose a Dissertation Topic | 8 Steps to Follow

Published on 11 November 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George.

Choosing your dissertation topic is the first step in making sure your research goes as smoothly as possible. When choosing a topic, it’s important to consider:

  • Your institution and department’s requirements
  • Your areas of knowledge and interest
  • The scientific, social, or practical relevance
  • The availability of data and resources
  • The timeframe of your dissertation

You can follow these steps to begin narrowing down your ideas.

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Table of contents

Step 1: check the requirements, step 2: choose a broad field of research, step 3: look for books and articles, step 4: find a niche, step 5: consider the type of research, step 6: determine the relevance, step 7: make sure it’s plausible, step 8: get your topic approved, frequently asked questions.

The very first step is to check your program’s requirements. This determines the scope of what it is possible for you to research.

  • Is there a minimum and maximum word count?
  • When is the deadline?
  • Should the research have an academic or a professional orientation?
  • Are there any methodological conditions? Do you have to conduct fieldwork, or use specific types of sources?

Some programs have stricter requirements than others. You might be given nothing more than a word count and a deadline, or you might have a restricted list of topics and approaches to choose from. If in doubt about what is expected of you, always ask your supervisor or department coordinator.

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Start by thinking about your areas of interest within the subject you’re studying. Examples of broad ideas include:

  • Twentieth-century literature
  • Economic history
  • Health policy

To get a more specific sense of the current state of research on your potential topic, skim through a few recent issues of the top journals in your field. Be sure to check out their most-cited articles in particular. For inspiration, you can also search Google Scholar , subject-specific databases , and your university library’s resources.

As you read, note down any specific ideas that interest you and make a shortlist of possible topics. If you’ve written other papers, such as a 3rd-year paper or a conference paper, consider how those topics can be broadened into a dissertation.

After doing some initial reading, it’s time to start narrowing down options for your potential topic. This can be a gradual process, and should get more and more specific as you go. For example, from the ideas above, you might narrow it down like this:

  • Twentieth-century literature   Twentieth-century Irish literature   Post-war Irish poetry
  • Economic history   European economic history   German labor union history
  • Health policy   Reproductive health policy   Reproductive rights in South America

All of these topics are still broad enough that you’ll find a huge amount of books and articles about them. Try to find a specific niche where you can make your mark, such as: something not many people have researched yet, a question that’s still being debated, or a very current practical issue.

At this stage, make sure you have a few backup ideas – there’s still time to change your focus. If your topic doesn’t make it through the next few steps, you can try a different one. Later, you will narrow your focus down even more in your problem statement and research questions .

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There are many different types of research , so at this stage, it’s a good idea to start thinking about what kind of approach you’ll take to your topic. Will you mainly focus on:

  • Collecting original data (e.g., experimental or field research)?
  • Analysing existing data (e.g., national statistics, public records, or archives)?
  • Interpreting cultural objects (e.g., novels, films, or paintings)?
  • Comparing scholarly approaches (e.g., theories, methods, or interpretations)?

Many dissertations will combine more than one of these. Sometimes the type of research is obvious: if your topic is post-war Irish poetry, you will probably mainly be interpreting poems. But in other cases, there are several possible approaches. If your topic is reproductive rights in South America, you could analyse public policy documents and media coverage, or you could gather original data through interviews and surveys .

You don’t have to finalise your research design and methods yet, but the type of research will influence which aspects of the topic it’s possible to address, so it’s wise to consider this as you narrow down your ideas.

It’s important that your topic is interesting to you, but you’ll also have to make sure it’s academically, sociallym or practically relevant to your field.

  • Academic relevance means that the research can fill a gap in knowledge or contribute to a scholarly debate in your field.
  • Social relevance means that the research can advance our understanding of society and inform social change.
  • Practical relevance means that the research can be applied to solve concrete problems or improve real-life processes.

The easiest way to make sure your research is relevant is to choose a topic that is clearly connected to current issues or debates, either in society at large or in your academic discipline. The relevance must be clearly stated when you define your research problem .

Before you make a final decision on your topic, consider again the length of your dissertation, the timeframe in which you have to complete it, and the practicalities of conducting the research.

Will you have enough time to read all the most important academic literature on this topic? If there’s too much information to tackle, consider narrowing your focus even more.

Will you be able to find enough sources or gather enough data to fulfil the requirements of the dissertation? If you think you might struggle to find information, consider broadening or shifting your focus.

Do you have to go to a specific location to gather data on the topic? Make sure that you have enough funding and practical access.

Last but not least, will the topic hold your interest for the length of the research process? To stay motivated, it’s important to choose something you’re enthusiastic about!

Most programmes will require you to submit a brief description of your topic, called a research prospectus or proposal .

Remember, if you discover that your topic is not as strong as you thought it was, it’s usually acceptable to change your mind and switch focus early in the dissertation process. Just make sure you have enough time to start on a new topic, and always check with your supervisor or department.

Formulating a main research question can be a difficult task. Overall, your question should contribute to solving the problem that you have defined in your problem statement .

However, it should also fulfill criteria in three main areas:

  • Researchability
  • Feasibility and specificity
  • Relevance and originality

All research questions should be:

  • Focused on a single problem or issue
  • Researchable using primary and/or secondary sources
  • Feasible to answer within the timeframe and practical constraints
  • Specific enough to answer thoroughly
  • Complex enough to develop the answer over the space of a paper or thesis
  • Relevant to your field of study and/or society more broadly

Writing Strong Research Questions

You can assess information and arguments critically by asking certain questions about the source. You can use the CRAAP test , focusing on the currency , relevance , authority , accuracy , and purpose of a source of information.

Ask questions such as:

  • Who is the author? Are they an expert?
  • Why did the author publish it? What is their motivation?
  • How do they make their argument? Is it backed up by evidence?

A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.

It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.

Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.

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Other students also liked, what is a dissertation | 5 essential questions to get started, how to write a dissertation proposal | a step-by-step guide, what is a literature review | guide, template, & examples.

Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D.

How to Get Started on Your First Psychology Experiment

Acquiring even a little expertise in advance makes science research easier..

Updated May 16, 2024 | Reviewed by Ray Parker

  • Why Education Is Important
  • Find a Child Therapist
  • Students often struggle at the beginning of research projects—knowing how to begin.
  • Research projects can sometimes be inspired by everyday life or personal concerns.
  • Becoming something of an "expert" on a topic in advance makes designing a study go more smoothly.

ARENA Creative/Shutterstock

One of the most rewarding and frustrating parts of my long career as a psychology professor at a small liberal arts college has been guiding students through the senior capstone research experience required near the end of their college years. Each psychology major must conduct an independent experiment in which they collect data to test a hypothesis, analyze the data, write a research paper, and present their results at a college poster session or at a professional conference.

The rewarding part of the process is clear: The students' pride at seeing their poster on display and maybe even getting their name on an article in a professional journal allows us professors to get a glimpse of students being happy and excited—for a change. I also derive great satisfaction from watching a student discover that he or she has an aptitude for research and perhaps start shifting their career plans accordingly.

The frustrating part comes at the beginning of the research process when students are attempting to find a topic to work on. There is a lot of floundering around as students get stuck by doing something that seems to make sense: They begin by trying to “think up a study.”

The problem is that even if the student's research interest is driven by some very personal topic that is deeply relevant to their own life, they simply do not yet know enough to know where to begin. They do not know what has already been done by others, nor do they know how researchers typically attack that topic.

Students also tend to think in terms of mission statements (I want to cure eating disorders) rather than in terms of research questions (Why are people of some ages or genders more susceptible to eating disorders than others?).

Needless to say, attempting to solve a serious, long-standing societal problem in a few weeks while conducting one’s first psychology experiment can be a showstopper.

Even a Little Bit of Expertise Can Go a Long Way

My usual approach to helping students get past this floundering stage is to tell them to try to avoid thinking up a study altogether. Instead, I tell them to conceive of their mission as becoming an “expert” on some topic that they find interesting. They begin by reading journal articles, writing summaries of these articles, and talking to me about them. As the student learns more about the topic, our conversations become more sophisticated and interesting. Researchable questions begin to emerge, and soon, the student is ready to start writing a literature review that will sharpen the focus of their research question.

In short, even a little bit of expertise on a subject makes it infinitely easier to craft an experiment on that topic because the research done by others provides a framework into which the student can fit his or her own work.

This was a lesson I learned early in my career when I was working on my own undergraduate capstone experience. Faced with the necessity of coming up with a research topic and lacking any urgent personal issues that I was trying to resolve, I fell back on what little psychological expertise I had already accumulated.

In a previous psychology course, I had written a literature review on why some information fails to move from short-term memory into long-term memory. The journal articles that I had read for this paper relied primarily on laboratory studies with mice, and the debate that was going on between researchers who had produced different results in their labs revolved around subtle differences in the way that mice were released into the experimental apparatus in the studies.

Because I already had done some homework on this, I had a ready-made research question available: What if the experimental task was set up so that the researcher had no influence on how the mouse entered the apparatus at all? I was able to design a simple animal memory experiment that fit very nicely into the psychological literature that was already out there, and this prevented a lot of angst.

Please note that my undergraduate research project was guided by the “expertise” that I had already acquired rather than by a burning desire to solve some sort of personal or social problem. I guarantee that I had not been walking around as an undergraduate student worrying about why mice forget things, but I was nonetheless able to complete a fun and interesting study.

how to choose your research topic

My first experiment may not have changed the world, but it successfully launched my research career, and I fondly remember it as I work with my students 50 years later.

Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D.

Frank McAndrew, Ph.D., is the Cornelia H. Dudley Professor of Psychology at Knox College.

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Study reveals consumers value animal welfare more than environmental sustainability when buying meat and dairy products

The treatment of animals rates higher than green issues when consumers choose meat and dairy products.

That's according to a new study, which suggests that while consumers consider sustainability important, other factors such as taste, quality, and animal welfare take precedence in their purchasing decisions.

On product labels, consumers valued information regarding animal welfare, food safety, and health and nutrition. The results can help producers to market particularly sustainably produced food products in a more targeted way and make them more attractive to consumers.

The study was conducted across five European countries -- Czechia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK to identify the attributes that are most important to consumers buying meat or dairy products.

Taking part in an online survey, 3,192 participants were asked to rate the importance of 18 different factors when shopping for meat and dairy products on a scale from 1 (not at all important) to 5 (extremely important):

· Attributes -- freshness, quality/taste, healthy eating, nutrition, price, processing, special offers, convenience of use/preparation, and familiarity of brand.

· Animal welfare attributes -- animal welfare, outdoor-reared/free range, and pasture-fed.

· Attributes related to environmental sustainability -- locally produced, sustainable packaging, food miles, carbon footprint, and organic.

· Social sustainability -- Fair trade or producer/farmer fairly paid.

Across all surveyed countries, consumers consistently prioritised freshness, quality/taste, and animal welfare as the most important attributes. In contrast, environmental factors such as food miles, carbon footprint, and organic production were deemed less important in influencing purchasing decisions. However, sustainability labels were perceived as helpful among consumers.

Study co-author Dr Andy Jin, Senior Lecturer in Risk Management in the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Portsmouth, said: "Our study highlights the complex interplay of factors that influence consumer behaviour when buying meat and dairy products. Consumers indicated that information related to animal welfare, food safety, and health and nutrition was considered more important than environmental sustainability when making food choices.

"The findings demonstrate the importance of labelling strategies that encompass multiple aspects of product attributes, beyond environmental considerations alone."

The implications of the research extend further than consumers to policymakers, producers, and retailers in the food industry who are striving to meet evolving consumer demands for more sustainable products.

Dr Jin added: "Labels on their own are not enough to change behaviour, especially for consumers who have low or no behavioural intention to buy sustainable meat or dairy products.

"These results should be translated into additional policy measures, such as nudges or behavioural interventions, helping individuals translate their attitudes into behaviour and facilitating the choice of sustainably produced products."

The research, published in the journal Food Quality and Preference , was conducted by the universities of Portsmouth and Newcastle in the UK, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, University of Córdoba in Spain, Mendel University in Czech Republic and Agroscope from Switzerland.

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  • Slaughterhouse

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Portsmouth . Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference :

  • Jeanine Ammann, Gabriele Mack, Nadja El Benni, Shan Jin, Paul Newell-Price, Sophie Tindale, Erik Hunter, Victoria Vicario-Modroño, Rosa Gallardo-Cobos, Pedro Sánchez-Zamora, Simona Miškolci, Lynn J. Frewer. Consumers across five European countries prioritise animal welfare above environmental sustainability when buying meat and dairy products . Food Quality and Preference , 2024; 117: 105179 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2024.105179

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About Down Syndrome

  • Down syndrome is a genetic condition where a person is born with an extra chromosome.
  • This can affect how their brain and body develop.
  • People diagnosed with Down syndrome can lead healthy lives with supportive care.

Happy toddler with Down syndome.

Down syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra copy of chromosome 21. Chromosomes are small "packages" of genes in the body's cells, which determine how the body forms and functions.

When babies are growing, the extra chromosome changes how their body and brain develop. This can cause both physical and mental challenges.

People with Down syndrome often have developmental challenges, such as being slower to learn to speak than other children.

Distinct physical signs of Down syndrome are usually present at birth and become more apparent as the baby grows. They can include facial features, such as:

  • A flattened face, especially the bridge of the nose
  • Almond-shaped eyes that slant up
  • A tongue that tends to stick out of the mouth

Other physical signs can include:

  • A short neck
  • Small ears, hands, and feet
  • A single line across the palm of the hand (palmar crease)
  • Small pinky fingers
  • Poor muscle tone or loose joints
  • Shorter-than-average height

Some people with Down syndrome have other medical problems as well. Common health problems include:

  • Congenital heart defects
  • Hearing loss
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States. Each year, about 5,700 babies born in the US have Down syndrome. 1

Collage of photos of people of all races and ages with Down syndrome. Text reads

There are three types of Down syndrome. The physical features and behaviors are similar for all three types.

With Trisomy 21, each cell in the body has three separate copies of chromosome 21. About 95% of people with Down syndrome have Trisomy 21.

Translocation Down syndrome

In this type, an extra part or a whole extra chromosome 21 is present. However, the extra chromosome is attached or "trans-located" to a different chromosome rather than being a separate chromosome 21. This type accounts for about 3% of people with Down syndrome.

Mosaic Down syndrome

Mosaic means mixture or combination. In this type, some cells have three copies of chromosome 21, but other cells have the typical two copies. People with mosaic Down syndrome may have fewer features of the condition. This type accounts for about 2% of people with Down syndrome.

Risk factors

We don't know for sure why Down syndrome occurs or how many different factors play a role. We do know that some things can affect your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome.

One factor is your age when you get pregnant. The risk of having a baby with Down syndrome increases with age, especially if you are 35 years or older when you get pregnant. 2 3 4

However, the majority of babies with Down syndrome are still born to mothers less than 35 years old. This is because there are many more births among younger women. 5 6

Regardless of age, parents who have one child with Down syndrome are at an increased risk of having another child with Down syndrome. 7

Screening and diagnosis

There are two types of tests available to detect Down syndrome during pregnancy: screening tests and diagnostic tests. A screening test can tell you if your pregnancy has a higher chance of being affected Down syndrome. Screening tests don't provide an absolute diagnosis.

Diagnostic tests can typically detect if a baby will have Down syndrome, but they carry more risk. Neither screening nor diagnostic tests can predict the full impact of Down syndrome on a baby.

The views of these organizations are their own and do not reflect the official position of CDC.

Down Syndrome Resource Foundation (DSRF) : The DSRF supports people living with Down syndrome and their families with individualized and leading-edge educational programs, health services, information resources, and rich social connections so each person can flourish in their own right.

GiGi's Playhouse : GiGi's Playhouse provides free educational, therapeutic-based, and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community, through a replicable playhouse model.

Global Down Syndrome Foundation : This foundation is dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy.

National Association for Down Syndrome : The National Association for Down Syndrome supports all persons with Down syndrome in achieving their full potential. They seek to help families, educate the public, address social issues and challenges, and facilitate active participation.

National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) : NDSS seeks to increase awareness and acceptance of those with Down syndrome.

  • Stallings, E. B., Isenburg, J. L., Rutkowski, R. E., Kirby, R. S., Nembhard, W.N., Sandidge, T., Villavicencio, S., Nguyen, H. H., McMahon, D. M., Nestoridi, E., Pabst, L. J., for the National Birth Defects Prevention Network. National population-based estimates for major birth defects, 2016–2020. Birth Defects Research. 2024 Jan;116(1), e2301.
  • Allen EG, Freeman SB, Druschel C, et al. Maternal age and risk for trisomy 21 assessed by the origin of chromosome nondisjunction: a report from the Atlanta and National Down Syndrome Projects. Hum Genet. 2009 Feb;125(1):41-52.
  • Ghosh S, Feingold E, Dey SK. Etiology of Down syndrome: Evidence for consistent association among altered meiotic recombination, nondisjunction, and maternal age across populations. Am J Med Genet A. 2009 Jul;149A(7):1415-20.
  • Sherman SL, Allen EG, Bean LH, Freeman SB. Epidemiology of Down syndrome. Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2007;13(3):221-7.
  • Olsen CL, Cross PK, Gensburg LJ, Hughes JP. The effects of prenatal diagnosis, population ageing, and changing fertility rates on the live birth prevalence of Down syndrome in New York State, 1983-1992. Prenat Diagn. 1996 Nov;16(11):991-1002.
  • Adams MM, Erickson JD, Layde PM, Oakley GP. Down's syndrome. Recent trends in the United States. JAMA. 1981 Aug 14;246(7):758-60.
  • Morris JK, Mutton DE, Alberman E. Recurrences of free trisomy 21: analysis of data from the National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register. Prenatal Diagnosis: Published in Affiliation With the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis. 2005 Dec 15;25(12):1120-8.

Birth Defects

About one in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect. Although not all birth defects can be prevented, people can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant.

For Everyone

Health care providers, public health.


  1. How To Choose A Research Topic

    To recap, the "Big 5" assessment criteria include: Topic originality and novelty. Value and significance. Access to data and equipment. Time requirements. Ethical compliance. Be sure to grab a copy of our free research topic evaluator sheet here to fast-track your topic selection process.

  2. How to Select a Research Topic: A Step-by-Step Guide (2021)

    Step 1: Consider a Topic that Interests You. If your professor has asked you to choose a topic for your research paper, it means you can choose just about any subject to focus on in your area of study. A significant first step to take is to consider topics that interest you. An interesting topic should meet two very important conditions.

  3. Overview

    Select a topic. Choosing an interesting research topic is your first challenge. Here are some tips: Choose a topic that you are interested in! The research process is more relevant if you care about your topic. Narrow your topic to something manageable. If your topic is too broad, you will find too much information and not be able to focus.

  4. How to Choose a Dissertation Topic

    Step 1: Check the requirements. Step 2: Choose a broad field of research. Step 3: Look for books and articles. Step 4: Find a niche. Step 5: Consider the type of research. Step 6: Determine the relevance. Step 7: Make sure it's plausible. Step 8: Get your topic approved. Other interesting articles.

  5. Research Guides: Start your research: Picking a Good Topic

    In choosing a research topic, you should pick something that you are interested in and something that fits the assignment you are doing. Something else here than explains the stuff. Watch: Choosing a research topic. After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:

  6. A Beginner's Guide to Starting the Research Process

    Step 1: Choose your topic. First you have to come up with some ideas. Your thesis or dissertation topic can start out very broad. Think about the general area or field you're interested in—maybe you already have specific research interests based on classes you've taken, or maybe you had to consider your topic when applying to graduate school and writing a statement of purpose.

  7. How to Choose the Right Research Topic in 5 Easy Steps

    5 Steps: How to Choose a Research Topic. 1. Brainstorm Some Research Topics. The first and probably the easiest step is to have a brainstorming session to see what topic is best for you. It's best to find something that interests you, but you shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone a little bit. Look at what is going on in the ...

  8. Research: Choosing a Research Topic: Starting Points

    The biggest mistake you can make, however, is choosing a position before you start your research. Instead, the information you consult should inform your position. Researching before choosing a position is also much easier; you will be able to explore all sides of a topic rather than limiting yourself to one.

  9. Writing Strong Research Questions

    A good research question is essential to guide your research paper, dissertation, or thesis. All research questions should be: Focused on a single problem or issue. Researchable using primary and/or secondary sources. Feasible to answer within the timeframe and practical constraints. Specific enough to answer thoroughly.

  10. How to Start Your Research

    Reference sources are a great place to start when you're trying to choose or narrow a topic. They'll help you learn the language of the topic you're interested in, and help you gather: basic facts or established information on your topic. key concepts, terms, and people. related topics and, often, suggested resources for learning more.

  11. Research 101 (A How-to Guide): Step 1. Choose a topic

    Step 1. Choose a Topic. Choosing an interesting research topic can be challenging. This video tutorial will help you select and properly scope your topic by employing questioning, free writing, and mind mapping techniques so that you can formulate a research question. Developing a Research Question.

  12. Research Guides: Research Process: An Overview: Choosing a Topic

    For help getting started on the writing process go to the GGU Online Writing Lab (Writing tutor) where you can set up and appointment with a writing tutor. #1 Research tip: Pick a topic that interests you. You are going to live with this topic for weeks while you research, read, and write your assignment. Choose something that will hold your ...

  13. How to select a topic for your research paper

    Choosing a topic for your research paper takes effort but there is an established pathway to follow. Tapping into the expertise around you, methodically reviewing existing literature and keeping an open mind will help you select a topic that is important, relevant and engaging - both to readers of your research and to yourself.

  14. How to Write a Research Paper: Choosing Your Topic

    Choose a topic you are interested in, and can find information about. Your opinion of the topic might change as you conduct your research and find out more about the subject. Choose a topic that is not too broad or too narrow. The first will be hard to keep focused and the second might be hard to find information about.

  15. Finding your Goal: How to choose a research topic

    How to Choose a Research Topic: 6 Steps to Make It Easy. Following these steps will help you choose a research topic that fits your interests, expertise, and objectives, while also being feasible to conduct within the constraints of your resources and schedule. 1. Brainstorm possible subject matter.

  16. Research: Where to Begin

    In sum, having a specific idea of what you want to research helps you find a topic that feels more manageable. Writing Your Research Question. Writing your research topic as a question helps you focus your topic in a clear and concise way. It ensure that your topic is arguable. While not all research papers have to offer an explicit argument ...

  17. (PDF) Strategies for Selecting a Research Topic

    Or even just because the faculty give funding for it. Nonetheless, in literature, proponents of the 'science-society-me' framework emphasise individual researcher's interest in the topic -in the ...

  18. 14 Ways to Find a Topic for Your Research Paper

    Review your course materials. Your textbook, syllabus, and class notes can help you find a topic. If you're writing your paper for a class, skim through your course materials to see what sparks your interest. Major academic journals in your field of study might also give you ideas for a topic. [1]

  19. Choosing a Topic

    Choosing a Topic. The first step of any research paper is for the student to understand the assignment. If this is not done, the student will often travel down many dead-end roads, wasting a great deal of time along the way. Do not hesitate to approach the instructor with questions if there is any confusion.

  20. 113 Great Research Paper Topics

    Not all research paper topics are created equal, and you want to make sure you choose a great topic before you start writing. Below are the three most important factors to consider to make sure you choose the best research paper topics. ... No matter what, always get your research paper topic approved by your teacher first before you begin ...

  21. Choose your research topic

    3. Narrow your focus to a single research topic. Once you have connected with your prospective supervisor, it is important that you seek their input and advice on your research proposal. Developing a research proposal is an iterative process, so expect to work on a number of drafts before you finalise your research proposal.

  22. How to Choose a PhD Research Topic

    Consider several ideas and critically appraise them: You must be able to explain to others why your chosen topic is worth studying. You must be genuinely interested in the subject area. You must be competent and equipped to answer the research question. You must set achievable and measurable aims and objectives.

  23. How to Choose a Dissertation Topic

    Step 2: Choose a broad field of research. Step 3: Look for books and articles. Step 4: Find a niche. Step 5: Consider the type of research. Step 6: Determine the relevance. Step 7: Make sure it's plausible. Step 8: Get your topic approved. Frequently asked questions.

  24. How to Get Started on Your First Psychology Experiment

    Even a Little Bit of Expertise Can Go a Long Way. My usual approach to helping students get past this floundering stage is to tell them to avoid thinking up a study altogether. Instead, I tell ...

  25. How to write a discussion text

    Set them the challenge of writing their own discussion piece on a topic using all the techniques outlined by Leah. You could also use the detailed explanation of writing in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ...

  26. Study reveals consumers value animal welfare more than ...

    The treatment of animals rates higher than green issues when consumers choose meat and dairy products. That's according to a new study, which suggests that while consumers consider sustainability ...

  27. About Down Syndrome

    What it is. Down syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra copy of chromosome 21. Chromosomes are small "packages" of genes in the body's cells, which determine how the body forms and functions. When babies are growing, the extra chromosome changes how their body and brain develop. This can cause both physical and mental challenges ...