Research Topic Development & Selection

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    Conor Horan

    I’m a lecturer in Research Methods in a Business Faculty and over the years I have found there’s is really very little thought put into guiding students on topic development and selection. The textbooks list items that students should consider i.e. what to do, but very few really discuss the process of development i.e how to do it. I’m wondering if anyone has any thoughts on practical activites to help student refine their research down quickly. I discuss levels of analysis, units of analysis, functionally focused research topics and a ‘group’ of interest that data would be collected from. Any other ideas? Much appreciated.


    Here’s an open source Conference Paper that reflected some of my earliest thoughts on the matter..


    Alice MacGillivray

    This is a REALLY high level list, but I’ve been thinking about the same questions and have these 10 considerations posted on my blog ( I plan to build on it with more specifics later.

    Santosh Mishra

    Dear sir,

    I think it is also important to let the student do some background reading from some journals in the area, discuss with peer group and possible subjects on whom/which research will be done. After a preliminary reading, you may call him/her for a discussion and should not forget to allow the student work in the area of his/her interest with the least required modification. Thank you sir!


    Conor Horan

    Thanks for that… I think it’s within the readings and consultations that I’m looking for techniques … what to look for, how to think as a researcher, how to identify how other researcher have approached a topic – this requires students to switch out of ‘learning something off’ and into ‘understanding the research agenda’ in papers. Within THAT context I’d be interested to hear what instruction is given.

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