Research Proposal- Basics

Topic Selection

Choosing your topic is the first step in the research process. Be aware that 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. Pick a topic that interests you.  You are going to live with this topic for weeks while you research, read, and write your assignment. Choose something that will hold your interest and that you might even be excited about. Your attitude towards your topic will come across in your writing or presentation!


The right selection of the topic enables the researcher to get a clear picture of the problem at every stage. It helps him to avoid as far as possible unnecessary modifications, omissions, and additions. The range of potential topics for social research is as broad as the range of social behavior itself. Clarity of thinking at the selection level minimizes confusion at every later stage and ultimately results in the success of the project. Therefore, in the selection of the topic the researcher should take into consideration the following factors:

Brainstorming is a technique you can use to help you generate ideas. Below are brainstorming exercises and resources to help you come up with research topic ideas.

Build an academic network within and outside the university. Topic selection does not have to be an individual effort. The researcher can interact with fellow students, seniors and teachers who can stimulate innovative ideas.

Find out the problems of the industries of interest and ideas to find solutions to the problems can win fully industry funded research.

A good research idea may arise from certain conditions or situations in the world. The present situation due to COVID-19 has created opportunities for research in microbiological, immunological, pathological, clinical, preventive and socio-economic aspects of the pandemic.


Once researchers have ideas, they need to evaluate those ideas critically to come up with potential research topics.

Researcher’s interest

The researcher should select a topic in which he is familiar or has in-depth understanding. He should possess a probing attitude, tenacity of spirit, and dedication. These three virtues would bring personal interest to his study. Choose potential topics of interest so that the researcher continues being motivated to successfully overcome problems that are generally encountered in the course of the study. The topic should also be interesting to the supervisor and other members of the committee, and meet the specifications and the standards of the university.

Researcher’s resources

The resources of researcher are his intelligence, training and experience and other facilities such as funds, clerical and technical assistance, library facilities and availability of time. For research library resources such as books, journals, periodicals, research reports, research journals, and indices are essential. If library resources are poor the researcher has to select a problem for which he can gather primary data. The capacity of the research problem should be within the physical resources available to a researcher.

Topics appropriate to the discipline

Researchers’ interest should be either in the core discipline or in closely related disciplines. Interdisciplinary research is now encouraged within the specifications and the standards set by the institute. Try to identify three potential topics and write a clear statement of the problem and describe research methodology in each case. Also think about the alternatives for discussion with the supervisor.

Narrow down the broad topic to a specific topic

When the scope of a topic is too broad or too narrow, it will be difficult to conduct research. If the topic is too broad, the researcher will end up writing only in general and is unlikely to go deeper into the problem due to the limitations of time and resources. If the topic is too narrow, it becomes difficult to find adequate literature which is necessary to describe the background of the study and to identify a research gap. It is necessary to narrow down the broad topic to a specific topic that is suitable for research.

Keep the topic focused

Sometimes the topic that you choose may be too broad to research on. A research paper with too many details and no direction can distort the purpose of the research. The research process also may seem never-ending. So, in a situation like this, you need to limit the scope of the research topic. To begin with, be sure to have a clear picture of the purpose of your research. Once you achieve this, you can fine-tune the topic and experiment until you are convinced of the outcome.

Time-bound program

A research problem should be time-bound. Research can be conducted within three months and the same research can be undertaken for three years also. Therefore, a topic must be selected in such a way as to finish the study within the prescribed period.


  1. Research process: A step-by-step approach (2022, 29). Nash Library & Student Learning Commons – Nash Library & Student Learning Commons at Gannon University.
  2. Library: Research help: Choosing a topic. (2022, May 16). Jack C. Taylor Library – Library at Fontbonne University.
  3. Sir, S. (2021, May 22). Topic selection in research. Hamro Library.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *