Once interest is recognized, a particular research topic can be identified. This idea should be explored thoroughly by scanning and reviewing related literature. To do this, the following can be done:
- reading books, research articles, and other professional publications regarding a given topic of interest;
- asking help from experts in the field for more relevant ideas and perspectives; and
- observing things for some experiences about this interest.
Research topics can also be identified from the following:
- current events or emerging ideas;
- problems that require solutions;
- products that may be tested;
- reports about what scientists are currently working. on;
- problems encountered when using a new technology; and
- specific needs of a certain community.
In selecting a research topic, the following factors may also be (but not solely) considered:
- Personal factors are related to personal experiences, professional qualifications, expertise, motivation, intellectual curiosity, and perceptiveness of the researcher. Time element, benefits, and hazards may also be considered.
- External factors include uniqueness or novelty, importance or value of the research, availability of data and materials, ethical considerations, and department or unit where the research is to be undertaken.
The following are some reminders in selecting appropriate research topic.
- Do not choose a research topic only because it seems workable and feasible. Also consider the nature of data that is required of the research.
- Have the means of data collection.
- Consider your technical skills, capability, and limitations.
- Consider your interest and support systems.
- Do not get spellbound and fascinated with the allure and attraction of a topic without considering the possible consequences that the research may bring about.
- Study all possible angles. It will be difficult to turn back when so much effort, time, and resources have already been expended.