Topic selection in research


Topic Selection

The research problem undertaken for the study must be carefully selected. It should not be borrowed. It should spring from the researcher's mind like a plant springing from its own seed. A research problem rightly and rationally selected solves half the problems. The right selection of the topic has unlimited advantages and it boosts the morale of the researcher. A right selection of a research problem helps the researcher to proceed with his work methodically and step by step. This will help the researcher to finish the project within the stipulated time and that too with a minimum cost. 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:

1. 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.

2. Topic of significance

The researcher should select a topic that is socially significant. For example if a researcher works on an applied economic problem such as unemployment, population explosion and environmental pollution, he will be able to attract the attention of the people in the practical field of study. The results of the study may also be used by the people in the business and by the planners and policymakers.

3. Novelty of the idea

A novel problem may lead to new ways of looking at the problem. A novel problem conceived by the researcher is a sign of his promising research career. For the sake of novelty, he should not take a controversial subject.

4. 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. Again for a social 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.

5. 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.

6. Availability of data

In the absence of adequate data, no research is purposeful. The researcher has to examine whether the data for the project are available in plenty. If the study is based on secondary data, the researcher has to satisfy whether the data is within his reach. If the research is based on primary data the researcher has to see whether the respondents will answer the questions. It will be very difficult to get in information about sensitive data on profits, sales, etc. Availability and adequacy of data are very important because it is with the help of data alone the existing hypothesis may be confirmed or rejected. Hence a problem of less significance might be taken up when data is available as compared with an important problem about which there is no availability of possible data.

7. Feasibility of the study

A researcher should never be in a hurry in choosing a problem. Spending considerable time selecting a topic would not be a waste at all. It could very well same enormous time at a later stage. Problem awareness is not ordinarily a characteristic of a beginner and even a more experienced researcher approaches this step with hesitancy. It is a serious responsibility to commit oneself to a problem that will inevitably require much time and energy, and upon which so much academic significance is based. Normally a young researcher wants his study to bring extraordinary results. But in his enthusiasm, he should not select an unmanageable problem. A thesis today is judged, not by its revolutionary findings and original discoveries but in terms of the candidate's methods of work and analysis.

8. Benefits of the research

The results of a research study give intellectual satisfaction to the researcher. He must get recognition for his work. The researcher can publish his thesis. The institutions sponsoring research studies derive benefit from the study.

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