How to choose your research topic: 5 simple steps

There comes a time when you as a student or researcher has to choose your research topic. So here are my tips on how you should make that choice.

  • Try to find something both topical, interesting to you and with significant implications
  • You will enjoy working on your dissertation more if the topic you choose is of personal interest to you. Ask yourself if it’s something you would really like to know about even if you did not need to do it as part of your course. The work will simply be more enjoyable. Also, your dissertation would benefit to be linked to a topic of current relevance. Similarly, you should be able to answer the question ‘Does this topic matter?’ meaning it should have important implications for the discipline or for society as a whole.

  • Start broad then narrow down
  • Your process of choosing a topic should start with a very broad area then narrow down to something more focused. So for example, this could be:

    -Trust

    -Trust in organisations

    -Trust and organisational performance

    -Trust and organisational performance in the UK

  • Turn your topic into a question.
  • So, for example, if your topic is ‘Trust and Organisational Performance’ the question might be’ How does trust affect organisational performance?’ Or ‘What is the relationship between trust and organisational performance?’

  • Is it doable?
  • With your topic and question established it’s now time to check that your research is doable. The main question is, Can I get my hands on the data. Is it available to me? If it’s secondary data then check where it is and that it is freely available. If it is primary data that you are going to collect yourself, then will you be able to get responses to your survey or participants for your interviews.

  • Create an outline
  • Once you have established your topic. Imagine you are asked by someone to summarise what you are going to do in just 60 seconds. First, I am going to ……. Then I am going to …. Etc. Briefly, plan your sections/ chapters. You could write down the aim of each section/ chapter in one sentence.


    So, there you are – 5 steps to follow to choose your research topic.

    If you need any writing support let me know and also whatever your topic, don’t forget to get it professionally proofread before you submit it.