What is the criteria for selecting a research problem ? My question relates to Research Methodology.
In selecting your research problem (or question/topic), consider an area of study that first, interests you so that you do not become bored with the research process. It must be a topic you can grasp and understand about which others have not exhausted all possible elements of research. Be sure to check the literature on the subject to determine if there is still anything left to research on the topic. Scan for resources as well, to insure that there are available sources of information.
Once you have taken these steps, consider the topic's importance to society. Is there a need for research on the topic? If so, you will probably need to narrow the topic to a manageable area of study. Be careful not to leave the topic so broad that you cannot cover it nor so narrow that there is not enough to research.
Write a specific question that will be your over-arching research problem and a few sub-questions to guide your research. In your questions, define the problem concisely in a way that others can understand.
Research methodology refers to research based on a set of principles or rules. For example, you will need to decide on the process for your research. Does your topic lend itself to a quantitative (a deductive process that seeks generalizations leading to predictions) or qualitative (an inductive process that seeks patterns and theories) process? Perhaps your research topic requires a mixture of both.
The first criteria in selecting a research problem is to make sure that it fits your instructor's parameters for the research. Many instructors even have students clear their research topics with them before beginning the work. Also, make sure that you have an interest in the subject. Give this a lot of thought, because it is one of the most important things to consider before beginning your research. You should have an interest in digging deeper into this topic, past what is considered common knowledge about it. Make sure that you have access to a wealth of sources as well. Your research may even have to include some work about what other people in your field have already decided about the topic—in history, this is called historiography. You also need to be able to form a thesis statement about your topic—what is the paper trying to prove with your research? Can this be proven? All of these things should be taken into account when finding a good research topic.
When choosing a problem for a research paper you are going to want to consider a few things:
- What limits or restrections has your instructor placed on you?
- What topics are you interested in?
- Of the topics you are interested in, which one has the most relevant material available for research? -or-
- If not much is available for research, which topic would you be most interested in conducting your own research for?
Once you've narrowed down your subjects you can run them through this test:
- Is this a real problem? (Does it actually exist and do people care?)
- What am I looking to do with this paper? Present the problem, its causes and effects, or the general trends therein? Solve the problem?