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Don't choose easy and popular science research paper topics

One of the most common mistakes students make in choosing their research paper topics for their science courses is to choose topics that are too common and much too easy for them. This can lead to a low overall grade on the assignment, as the instructor looks very closely at a student’s choice of topic when determining how to grade the research paper. Here are some ways to avoid this common mistake:

  1. Don’t choose topics related to current events.
  2. The first thing most students do is look to events they’ve heard about in the news for their topics. While this can be appropriate in many disciplines, it can be a poor way to choose a research topic for a science paper. That’s because the scientific information that reaches the mainstream news is often watered down significantly. If a topic in the news does interest the student, they can build from it, but should be sure to follow the steps below to ensure that it isn’t considered too simple or popular for their research topic.

  3. Don’t choose a topic that’s too broad.
  4. The second mistake students often make is to identify a broad topic that interests them and then run with that as the main idea of their research paper. This is a big mistake, because scientific research papers should be very specific. To gauge whether or not a topic is specific enough, look up journal articles from peer reviewed scientific journals about the topic. If the topic isn’t covered in the same scope by these articles, it’s probably too broad. Read up on it more and choose a single idea from the topic and expand on that.

  5. Don’t choose a topic that’s not debatable
  6. Another common mistake students make is to choose a topic with an obvious answer. They should keep in mind that the thesis statement for their research paper should be the answer to a question they are asking of their sources. If the answer is plainly obvious, their arguments won’t seem very well crafted, because they don’t need to be—there’s no refuting argument. The student needs to choose a topic that is challenging enough that there are sources arguing different sides of it and suggesting different conclusions. If there aren’t, the topic is definitely too easy to be considered appropriate for a research paper assignment.

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