A Counter-Intuitive Solution to finding your Research Topic

Written by Nithin Davuluri

“How do I find a research topic?” is by far the most common question we get asked. It can be pretty confusing when you’re starting off with your first project. Here are some tips that will prove useful in your search . 

1. Ask more questions
Yes, the path to finding an answer to your question is to ask more questions. Be inquisitive, and learn as much as you can about the topic you are interested in. Try to understand more than acquire facts. Clear all the doubts you get with your guide and look to gain a high level overview of the subject. The more questions you ask, the more options you have to choose from. Engage your curiosity, it will keep you engaged in turn.

2. The amount of knowledge you have is directly related to the quality of your research question
Remember this thumb rule when you are working on finding a topic. If you haven’t found one yet, go on and learn some more, dig a little deeper and you will find your shining question.
When you know more about a subject, you are able to see more clearly the holes in it. You see where the most impactful issues lie.
While choosing a research topic, it is important to consider the impact of its findings and with more knowledge you can better estimate its contribution to medical knowledge. The topic you choose doesn’t need to produce radical changes, but it does need to make a meaningful contribution. Id like to mention here that a common misconception is that getting a ‘No’ to your research question is a failed study. This is not true,
‘Yes’ and ‘No’ both are a valuable addition to the knowledge. They are one step ahead in all of our understanding. Maybe not one that will make the most stunning headline, but not less valuable by any chance.
Gaining more knowledge about the specific topic gives you a strong upper hand while thinking about your research objectives. Literature reviews are stressed upon simply for this reason. You need to get to know what contributions everyone else has added, so that you can build on them and not repeat them. Take inputs from your guide because they do know more about the subject than you. You can always talk to seniors or SRF members if you have any doubts.

3. Don’t start your research project before you’ve framed your research question clearly
Put in solid work into reading up about your research topic and looking at it with different perspectives. Have a clear view of your objectives through the study and try to gauge the impact it could have. Being hasty while framing your research question will alter the entire course of your study. Therefore, it is important to take your time while finalising your topic and objectives.

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