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A research topic is the subject or the matter to be addressed in a research. It can also be called a research question or title. It forms a critical foundation in writing a research paper or when conducting a research. In choosing of the subject matter to address during a research work or in research paper, the writer must identify the kind of research paper he/she wants or is working on. The different kinds or types of research papers that an author can choose from are argumentative, definition, comparison and contrast, reports, interpretive, cause and report, and analytical research papers. The type of research dictates the research topic an author should choose. Research topic has several characteristics that an author has to consider.
Precise and not ambiguous: In selection of a title or subject to address in a research, the author/researcher should focus on a subject that does not have more than one interpretation that would ensure clear understanding of the subject by the reader. Similarly, the title of the research paper should be clear and precise. The title should not be more than 12 words.
Access: A good research topic should generally give access to legitimate information sources. The researcher should focus on a subject that will have access to ideas and knowledge from other sources. There are subjects that researchers choose which eventually lead to little or no findings due to lack of information. For instance, there are research subjects on organisations such as managerial stress that organisations cannot provide that lead to sparse data that causes unexpected outcomes of the research.
Achievable in the time available: Most researches have a specific time spans that they need to use before their submission. In choosing subject of the research it is essential to consider the time available and choose a subject that is achievable in that time.
Value and scope of the research: A research topic should be in the researcher’s level of scope. For instance, an undergraduate research subject may have less scope to cover than for a master research subject. A researcher should ensure that before starting on a research that the subject is under his/her level of scope. This helps in ensuring that the researcher extensively carries the research to their best. Similarly, the researcher should consider the value of the research before choosing a research topic. For instance, for a course research the researcher should choose a research topic that will enable him/her to do the research in a competent way to earn a good grade.
Researcher’s interest and capabilities: In choosing a research topic, the researcher should focus on subjects that he/she has interest in and is capable of achieving. This motivates the researcher during the research that helps in reaching the possible outcomes or findings.
Symmetry of potential outcomes: A good research topic should give the researcher a basis to anticipate the possible findings and the results of the research. This helps the researcher in reducing any risks during the research. Similarly, it helps the researcher in evaluation of the findings and the expected results of his/her research.
Financial support: Before embarking on a research topic, the researcher should focus and evaluate his/her financial ability to meeting the expenses of the research. The researcher should thus focus on a research topic that he/she can afford as the topic dictates what the research entails.