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Essential Things To Remember About Research Paper Problem Formulation


How on earth do you start writing your research paper when you don’t even know what it’s going to be about?! This is the first thought that many students have when starting to consider one of the biggest challenges of their academic career. Formulating a problem that is narrow enough and also broad enough and that takes into account modern movements and has enough data to use is a nightmare. However, with these three essential tips, the nightmare will soon be over.

  • The most important step is to identify the topic you want to write on
  • This is, of course, much easier said than done, but it is somewhere to start. For instance, if you are studying English and you are mad about Shakespeare’s Macbeth, then that is the perfect place to start your thought process. Try to think of something that is going to keep you interested for a while because writing your research paper can take some time! If you cannot pick just one topic, select a few that might be interesting, and proceed to the next step, outlined below.

  • You have to read around your chosen topic
  • In order to know whether the particular aspect of a subject has or has not already been studied, you need to be well-acquainted with the literature surrounding that topic. It also gives you a great idea of how much is written on or around your subject area, and therefore whether you will have enough references to support any research you wish to undertake. Sometimes, of course, the reading can seem overwhelming if a subject is particularly well studied. Don’t let this put you off. Instead, just read around a sub-topic in that subject area, narrowing the field even further if possible.

  • Make your question catchy!
  • Once you know exactly what you want to work on, it’s time actually to write the problem down. Make sure that it focuses on the subject you have chosen to focus on so that the work you will be doing will be answering the question - it sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget! Then, make sure that the way the question or problem is formulated it catchy and has plenty of keywords that will appear in the research paper. This will give the work a sense of unity even from the very beginning, and make it seem even more professional.

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