The ability to develop a good research topic is an important skill. An instructor may assign you a specific topic, but most often instructors require you to select your own topic of interest. When deciding on a topic, there are a few things you will need to do:
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. Before selecting your final topic, make sure you know what your final project should look like. Each class or instructor will likely require a different format or style of research project.
Can't think of a topic to research?
Interest: Choose a topic of interest to you and your reader(s); a boring topic translates into a boring paper.
Knowledge: You can be interested in a topic without knowing much about it at the beginning, but it's a good idea to learn a little about it before you begin your research. Read about the issue in a good encyclopedia or a short article to learn more, then go at it in depth. The research process mines new knowledge – you’ll learn as you go!
Breadth of Topic: How broad is the scope of your topic? Too broad a topic is unmanageable -- for example, "The Education of Children" or "The History of Books" or "Computers in Business." A topic that is too narrow and/or trivial, such as "My Favorite Pastime," is uninteresting and extremely difficult to research.
Guidelines: Carefully follow the instructor's guidelines. If none are provided in writing, ask your professor about his or her expectations. Tell your professor what you might write about and ask for feedback and advice. This should help prevent you from selecting an inappropriate topic.