How do you decide what to write about when confronted with a research paper? You want a focused topic that will make a good paper. Make sure your topic meets the assignment requirements. Ask your professor for feedback if you are unsure.
Choose a topic that is interesting to you. It may seem obvious, but this will make the research process more fun and engaging for you. Consider the scope of your topic. Background research will help you develop your topic and hone or change it in more appropriate ways.
Though this seems like extra work, it is actually a vital, time-saving step. Knowing more about your topic’s background can only help you develop a more effective topic, and therefore, research paper. For example, if your topic is “polar bears,” you might think of the following words and topics in association: ice, cubs, pollution, hunting, diet, climate change, and environmental icon. Once you have come up with a broad topic and done some background research, you may want to develop a research question, or a question you’re going to answer in your paper by doing more, in-depth research. What’s your general approach to the topic? Start doing some exploratory, in-depth research. As you do more in-depth research, like looking for scholarly articles, books, and other sources to include in your paper, you can and probably will modify or refine your topic based on what you find.