How To Develop A Good Topic For Your Research Paper In Three Steps


How do you start a research paper without a topic? The first step in writing a research paper is deciding on a topic. Since today’s research papers are usually persuasive in nature, you need to pick a topic that you can successfully argue. This is easier to said than done. So, here are three steps to develop a research paper topic that you can successfully complete:

  1. Pick a general, controversial topic. You need to begin somewhere and a general topic is the best. At this point, all you need to do is choose a topic like global warming, salaries of professional athletes, or maternity leave in the United States. There are bound to be several general topics that are interesting to you and with a little brainstorming, you will be able to get the first step completed.
  2. Conduct preliminary research. This is not research that you necessarily need to use to write your research paper. It is research to help you see what potential arguments you could write. You do not even have to do any reading; you simply need to look at the headlines of articles about the topics that interest you looking for arguments that you can defend. When you conduct your preliminary research, you should not look on the general search engines. The best places to look are on the article databases that universities and colleges subscribe to for research papers. These databases will have articles that are researched and supported with cited facts and sources.
  3. Narrow your topic. After you have conducted your preliminary research, you should have enough information to formulate an arguable topic. Instead of writing just about maternity leave in the United States, you might be able to argue how the lack of paid maternity leave correlates to the number of women who suffer from post-partum depression. You might even be able to find some research to support that by looking at the post-partum depression rates in countries that have long, paid leaves for new mothers and fathers. You might also find enough research to help you argue that professional athletes deserve their large salaries because they work hard and they are constantly in the public eye. You might also be able to find research that supports how global warming is changing the way that meteorologists predict the weather.