Methods for Discovering New Research Topics

Finding new research topics is an important skill to develop before pursuing a doctorate. It is commonly accepted, however, that selecting a new topic for your research is difficult. Professors may occasionally inquire about your interests in specific topics. If you answered yes, you may be assigned to those precise themes and will not have to come up with your dissertation topic. The majority of the time, however, professors will require you to establish some subjects on which you can work and then collaborate with you to choose one of the topics as your dissertation topic. Here are some pointers to keep in mind while you brainstorm fresh study subjects.

1. Look for collaborators from various disciplinary backgrounds.

When you run out of ideas for research topics in your particular discipline, you might broaden your horizons and look for cross-functional collaboration. For example, scientific students may apply their existing methods to other sectors, whereas education students may seek scientific ways to demonstrate that their proposals are rational and have the potential to be implemented in society.

2. Attend relevant workshops

Each quarter, departments host regular seminars. Our school also provides select workshops that are available to the entire campus. Please do not limit yourself to attending seminars in your professional field. Different sectors can often provide additional opportunities for developing unique ideas. Participate in as many seminars as possible, not only to uncover fresh ideas but also to keep up with advanced technologies. Seminars allow you to interact with presenters about their initiatives. These debates may provide you with new ideas for developing your intriguing themes. You might even find that some of the projects given have restrictions; it’s then up to you to create a new model to overcome those limitations.

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3. Read to learn about new topics and advanced technologies

Each week, read at least two to three papers. Don’t worry if that seems like a lot! You do not need to carefully study every paper. When you first go over the paper, scan it. If you can locate aspects of interest, you will spend more time reading the paper carefully. After a second reading, you should completely understand how the author investigates their topic and whether you can make any adjustments based on the article. If you can make modifications or apply the methods to various challenges, you can try to expand your research based on the paper.

4. Establish a broad area of interest or ideas you already have.

Good projects are completed in a repeatable or sequential manner. If you are stuck for ideas, consider the classes or projects you were interested in as an undergraduate or early graduate student. Then, using your prior projects, try to develop or deepen your new study topic. For example, as an undergraduate, the methods you used to complete a project may have had limits that you can now either improve on or overcome by developing a new algorithm. Furthermore, you may be able to apply your present methodologies to some emerging fields.

5. Create a research topic based on a social phenomenon.

Although the public frequently highlights the benefits of a college education for graduates, the benefits to society are equally essential. You could explore social phenomena and discover a new technique to solve societal problems through research. For example, there have recently been numerous fires in the mountains that have spread throughout California. This situation can be used to inspire a variety of initiatives. Biological experts, for example, can look into how these fires influence species. Statisticians can work on predicting and avoiding similar tragedies in the future. During this disaster, social workers can focus on ways to protect people’s lives.

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