Choosing a topic for Ph.D. research is a straightforward matter. So you ensure while finding a suitable theoretical & methodological framework for your research topic. When you choose a topic then you have a brilliant idea but the ultimate quality of your research topic will depend on your execution. Your abilities will help you to research your topic and manage your resources such as funding, technical support, equipment and time. There are many steps which provide help to choose an appropriate topic for Ph.D. research that is mentioned below: –
- Brainstorm For Ideas: – Brainstorming is a tool of mind mapping through which you can visualize related terms and ideas according to your interest. Firstly, start with a central idea then draw sub-topics & further sub-sub-topics according to your research needs. So you can create mind maps. Then you have to follow professor’s advice and make your own choices.
- Developing an Idea: – After this, you develop your idea of the research topic. So research topic which you pursue will affect on everything that you follow and puts pressure on your choice of topic. However, creative processes help you to take the pressure off and give freedom to consider many ideas so that you are free to choose anyone from it.
- Read General Background Information: – You have read several dissertations on related subjects so that you get familiar with different ideas and individual research styles. Then you have to read a broad summary about the chosen topic. So you get an overview of the topic. It also gives you a great source for finding words that are used to describe your topic. These finding keywords can also be used for later research. You can also get the background information from the Encyclopedias, Magazines, Newspapers Articles, and Web Engines such as Google, Bing etc. or Journals about your topic.
- Focus on Your Topic: – A research topic is not an easy task. You face many difficulties when you make research about your topic. So you have to focus on your research topic and keep follow some factors in your mind that are: –
- By Culture
- By Geographical Area
- By Time Frame
- By Discipline
- By Population Group
If you still face any difficulties with focusing your topic then discuss with your guide or instructor. You can also investigate old ideas what you read during your master’s studies and check your old resources from your previous research during your graduation.
- Make a List of Useful Keywords: – After investigation all important facts then you make a list of useful records that are following: –
- Make a list of useful keywords which provide helps to describe your topic in a detailed manner
- You can get the useful keywords from newspapers articles, encyclopedia, background information and general information.
- You have to find narrower and broader terms, key concepts, synonyms and widen keywords for your search capabilities
- Make short notes of these useful keywords and use them later when you search databases and catalogs.
- Be Flexible: – Your research topic should be flexible so that you are able to modify your topic during the research process. During your research process, you will never be sure of what you may find. When you find your material you can get too little data so that you need to broaden your focus or if you get too much then need to narrow your focus. But it is the normal of your research process.
Once you start your research you are not able to change your research topic but you can decide to change various aspects of your topic and make it manageable and interesting according to your requirements or preferences. There are some facts which need to keep in your mind that is mentioned below: –
- Detailed description of your project
- Length of the research paper
- Research assignments
- Clear Aim & Techniques
- Aware of depth of coverage needs
- Due date of the submission of your research topic
So these factors will provide help to decide how much and when you will able to modify your research topic. Your guide can give you specific requirements in a rough table
|Length of Research Paper||Guidelines for Choosing Sources for Your Topic|
|1-2 Page Research Paper||2-3 website links or magazine articles|
|3-5 Page Research Paper||4-8 things from website links, books, newspaper articles|
|Bibliography||6-15 items from scholarly type articles, books etc|
|10-15 Page Research Paper||12-20 items from website links, articles, journals and so on.|
- Define Your Topic as a Focused Research Question: – You can start with your finding words. Firstly, select a particular word then develop your interest with more focused interest on that topic which relates to that particular word. After this, make the research question about your research and focus on your findings. So the skillful applications and well-established techniques offer you a reliable foundation work from your research.
- Research & Read More About Your Topic: – You have gathered the more information about your research in the articles databases, catalogs, and Internet search engine by using the list of keywords. So this scenario offers you more information regarding the answer to your research question. Sometimes bad ideas are the intermediate stages of the development of good ones. But you require research and reading before select your final topic. So, selecting a topic for Ph.D. research is an important and complex part of the research process.
- Formulate a Thesis Statement: – Now, write the thesis statement of your research topic. It can be the answer to your research questions and clearly state the purpose of your research. Your thesis statement is about one or two statements description of your research topic. The title of your should clearly convey the focus, purpose, and meaning of your research.
It is very difficult task to choose the appropriate topic for your research PhD. But you should always follow any specific instructions from your instructor.