WEBVTT 00:00:00.340 --> 00:00:03.840 In this video, you will learn how to develop a good research topic. 00:00:03.840 --> 00:00:12.100 To start out, let's first answer the question "Why is it important to know how to develop a good research topic?" 00:00:12.190 --> 00:00:23.500 Think of it this way: during your time as a student, and perhaps even later, you will probably write a good number research papers. 00:00:23.510 --> 00:00:34.000 While some instructors might provide you with a list of research topics to choose from, others might not; you'll have to choose your own topic. 00:00:34.000 --> 00:00:37.000 So, what can you write about? 00:00:37.500 --> 00:00:40.000 Well let's first answer the question, "What makes a topic really good?" 00:00:40.000 --> 00:00:43.600 Three things worth mentioning here: 00:00:43.600 --> 00:00:47.950 First, it's a topic that strongly interests you. 00:00:47.950 --> 00:00:50.000 This is very important. 00:00:50.000 --> 00:00:58.300 Make sure that the topic you pick (the topic you will write about) is a topic that interests you, fascinates you, and that you want to talk about. 00:00:58.390 --> 00:01:04.000 Really, there is nothing worse than spending a lot of time writing about a topic that bores you. 00:01:04.000 --> 00:01:08.000 Second, make sure your topic is creative. 00:01:08.000 --> 00:01:10.710 What do we mean by that? 00:01:10.710 --> 00:01:17.000 Well, there are some topics that have just been written about over and over and over again. 00:01:17.000 --> 00:01:21.100 Can you come up with a topic that perhaps hasn't been covered that much? 00:01:21.189 --> 00:01:26.500 Try to pick something that is creative and exciting to you and your peers. 00:01:26.500 --> 00:01:33.500 Writing about Shakespeare's dramas is great, but that topic in itself has been covered extensively. 00:01:33.520 --> 00:01:37.500 Try to find something that might be a little more creative than that. 00:01:37.500 --> 00:01:44.000 And third, speaking of Shakespeare's dramas, make sure you pick something that is not too broad. 00:01:44.000 --> 00:01:45.400 Look at your assignment prompt. 00:01:45.460 --> 00:01:49.000 How many pages are you supposed to write? 00:01:49.000 --> 00:01:57.000 If you get a five page paper as an assignment, 'Shakespeare's dramas' is just going to be a little bit too broad. 00:01:57.000 --> 00:02:02.000 So, make sure that the topic you choose fits the scope of your paper. 00:02:02.000 --> 00:02:06.900 Sometimes, it can be really difficult to find a topic that is not too broad. 00:02:06.960 --> 00:02:13.000 Here are a couple of words of advice on what to do when your topic seems too broad. 00:02:13.000 --> 00:02:17.500 Let's say you are in an environmental science class. 00:02:17.599 --> 00:02:21.160 Your teacher gives you this assignment prompt: 00:02:21.160 --> 00:02:25.489 "Write a research paper on a topic dealing with a current environmental issue." 00:02:25.489 --> 00:02:33.200 "Your paper should not exceed five pages and should be based on a topic that strongly interests you." 00:02:33.200 --> 00:02:39.000 Well, you say, that's no problem! I know exactly what to write about. 00:02:39.000 --> 00:02:47.000 I saw this show the other day on TV and it talked about the effects deforestation on Gorillas in Africa. 00:02:47.000 --> 00:02:49.280 I think that's a great topic. 00:02:49.280 --> 00:02:56.800 I know it interests me and it's creative, so let's write about it. 00:02:56.890 --> 00:02:59.500 Well, not so fast. 00:02:59.500 --> 00:03:04.050 Remember, your paper is only supposed to be five pages. 00:03:04.050 --> 00:03:08.000 How are you going to fit that topic into a five page paper? 00:03:08.000 --> 00:03:11.849 That's going to be difficult. So what could you do instead? 00:03:11.849 --> 00:03:14.860 The key is to add more context. 00:03:14.860 --> 00:03:19.560 For example, you could add some geographical context your paper. 00:03:19.560 --> 00:03:27.000 Is there a geographic region or country in which gorillas are specifically affected by deforestation? 00:03:27.000 --> 00:03:31.000 Perhaps you want to focus more on a historical context. 00:03:31.000 --> 00:03:34.800 Is there a certain time aspect you want to write about? 00:03:34.890 --> 00:03:38.530 Perhaps the time when deforestation really started to affect gorillas? 00:03:38.530 --> 00:03:45.500 And third, with this topic, you could also add biological context. 00:03:45.500 --> 00:03:50.500 Perhaps there's a specific subspecies of the gorilla that you're interested to write about. 00:03:50.500 --> 00:03:59.500 So, when we combine all three contexts and incorporate them into the original topic, this is what we get: something like 00:03:59.500 --> 00:04:07.000 "Current effects of deforestation on the Mountain Gorilla in Southwest Uganda." 00:04:07.000 --> 00:04:15.000 We were able to incorporate the historical context, the biological context, and the geographical context. 00:04:22.000 --> 00:04:26.000 Adding context truly is a great way of narrowing your topic.