HOW TO DECIDE A RESEARCH TOPIC

The research topic selection is a daunting task for most researchers who plan to write a research article . In most of my webinars and classes, the most commonly asked question with consistency is about the selection of a research topic. The research topic selection becomes very easy if we follow two rules discussed below. I learned these rules with experience, and I am providing you with these rules to save a lot of your time. Now let’s discuss the two rules of the art of topic selection for a research article.

THE FIRST RULE:

The first and the most important rule of topic selection is to first discover what you are passionate about. You need to have a clear idea about your passion. This is also the statement that most of us have heard at some point in our lives, yet we don’t know how to discover passion. Your passion is something you love the most, a subject or a topic that you most like to talk about, or most like to enjoy studying or reading about. Is economics the subject that you enjoy the most, or is it medicine? Or is it engineering? What kind if engineering? You cannot just say I love medicine as a subject to decide a research topic, because you have to narrow it down. Narrow it down to one specialty. The same concept is valid for engineering, economics, history or whatever field you belong to.

How do you discover your passion is the topic of another blog that I will write soon, however, in this blog I would just like to focus on the rules of topic selection. Why deciding the topic of your passion is important? It is important because you need to select a topic that you enjoy rather than getting bored. If you get bored, you will not be able to complete your paper.

THE SECOND RULE:

Many people forget this when they choose the topic they are passionate about, that we should give the fish the worms not ice cream to eat, this is the philosophy by Dale Carnegie. Now what does that mean? It means that fish eats worms, it cannot eat ice cream, if you try to feed ice-cream to fish, it will die.

Many authors try to write an article that is solely about their own passion and interest. They forget the fact that the final decision about publishing is that of the journal. You cannot publish an article if the journal doesn’t want it or like it. Now this may sound contrary to what I mentioned in the first rule, but if you read it carefully, I said in the first rule that you should write what you are passionate about but in second rule I said that “your passion should be in demand.” If you are passionate about a topic and the topic is boring for the rest of the world, then no one will publish your article. Therefore, always write an article on a topic that you are passionate about but that topic should be the topic that is trending, or the topic that you feel will interest other readers as well. You should also analyze whether the journal you are targeting has been publishing these kinds of papers or not? In conclusion, what I said was, don’t be self-centered while deciding your topic. Your focus should be the service to mankind and others, the selfish passion (that doesn’t benefit anyone) will not take you anywhere. Your passion should be useful for others, the topic should serve others, it should help others, it should be a trending topic, and last of all it should be also of interest for general population. You can figure this out by a quick survey, by including 50-100 people that what particular aspect of your passion related topic people would be more interested in, this will give you a fair bit of an idea about what to focus on. May be just ask your friends’ or family’s vote, siblings and cousins can come in handy for this voting that what is in trend these days. Ask any friend, sibling, or cousin who is always on social media, that relative or friend will tell you what is in trend. For example, everyone knows Baby Shark is in trend these days, how about a research topic on why kids love the song Baby Shark? It is a very good Psychology Topic.

Another approach could be, search your passion related topic and see what is being published these days related to your topic and how much is the attention that topic is getting. If you follow these two rules, you will write an outstanding article and successfully publish it in a scientific journal.

LESSON LEARNED:

Select a topic that you are passionate about but don’t be selfish while selecting the topic. Your topic should serve others. Analyze what particular aspect of your passion is in trend and journals would be interested in publishing. Otherwise, in the end you will probably complain and say that “I chose the topic related to my passion but my article never got published!”

Dr. Hassaan Tohid

Hassaan Tohid
Hassaan Tohid

PROFESSOR

Dr. Hassaan Tohid MBBS, CCATP, CSOTP is a TEDx Speaker, Entrepreneur, Neuroscientist, Motivational speaker, Trainer, Certified Life Coach, and a Published author. He has a career with three domains. An entrepreneur, an academic (neuroscientist, and a teacher), and a clinician (Addiction treatment). As an entrepreneur, he is the founder of California Institute of Behavioral Neurosciences and Psychology. Where he leads the organization as the CEO. He is a trainer, a coach, and a teacher. His training includes Public Speaking, Research Writing and Research Data Analysis, Business training and coaching, life coaching, and Sales. An academic he is a Neuroscientist and delivered a TED talk on his specialty Mirror Neurons and Dissociative Identity Disorder at TEDx UCDavissf and TEDxUAlberta. He has published over 40 scientific articles and written 3 books. A clinician with substance use disorder treatment specialty. Dr. Tohid graduated as a medical doctor and chose mental health and substance use disorder as a domain of his clinical career. Dr. Tohid has delivered lectures on the subjects of success, motivation, business, sales, and research writing and publishing in different languages to thousands of medical and non-medical students.

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