Excelling in Crafting Short Research Paper Topics

In order to be good, a short research paper must be focused on a single and narrow question. This is the most important thing you must consider when choosing a topic.

When you are given a broad topic by your teacher, for example “The government’s role in the lives of its citizens”, you will need to narrow it down to a question that can be answered in a short research paper. In order to do this, you need to understand what the problem with the general topic is. “The government’s role in the lives of its citizens” is a subject that may require you to study a long history of governments. This topic is so huge that you’ll have to write an encyclopedia to cover it. The first thing you need to narrow down is the timespan. For a short essay, you shouldn’t involve more than a decade.

The topic evolves into “The government’s role in the lives of its citizens in the 1950s”. Next, you should make it obvious that you won’t be describing every government on the planet. You can do this by changing the title into “The U.S. government’s role in the lives of citizens in the 1950s”. This is definitely better, but it still implies too much information that you will have to cover. Not even one-tenth of it can fit into a short research paper. You will have to single out one aspect of the U.S. citizens’ lives in the 1950s, and focus your topic on this particular matter. For example, you can choose something like “Federal policies that affected the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s”.

Things to Consider When Narrowing Down Your Research Paper Topic

Apart from the fact that you need to focus the paper, you will also need to consider factors that will make the essay more effective. There are hundreds of ways to narrow down a general topic, so you must pick one that will be the most beneficial in this particular situation. In order to do this, you need to consider your audience. If the paper is for school, it will need to impress your professor and fellow students.

What are your fellow students interested in? What kind of subjects do they like to discuss? What matters in their lives?

Answer these questions, and you will be able to determine the direction your topic should take.

Here are a few examples of topics on graduate education that will definitely catch your audience’s attention.

  • The challenges of going to graduate school.
  • How to find scholarships for graduate schools.
  • The benefits of studying abroad.
  • How does a graduate degree affect your ability to get a better paying job?