top of page

*Conceptualising a Research Area to Defining a Succinct Title

Most of the supervisors allow their students to find their own topics. However, the hardest thing for most postgraduate students is when it comes to discovering a research topic that seems everything that is possible and interested to be written. Most of the postgraduate students will hold their interest and attempt to establish the connection between their interests and the inherent issues of the subjects throughout the entire research process.

A research study is a planned, methodical, critical, objective, scientific inquiry or examination into a specific subject with the goal of discovering answers or solutions. It gives insights that help a decision-maker make educated judgments about how to deal with a particular situation. Choosing a focused study topic may be even more challenging if you have never conducted research before.

Tips for Conceptualising a Research Area Solutions

Each student must have a respective area of research. So, a research area corresponds to something very general, such as pure science, information technology, social science, and humanities. It is also considered as a field assigned, yet it is far bigger than a general subject and the research topic; for example, it can include any areas like social science, which can be meaningfully broken down further into general subjects, such as psychology and education.

At some point, you may need to sit back, relax, and use your imagination to speculate about your research area to discover the subjects prior to focusing on the topics. Do some reading of other people's work before you start your own so you know what has been done and what is presently being done. You can conceptualise your research areas in the following ways:

  1. Free writing

  2. Listing keywords

  3. Arranging keywords into a rough outline

  4. Clustering

  5. Narrowing by comparison

  6. Asking questions

Tips for Narrowing a General Subject Solutions

A general subject could be considered more specific or a specialised discipline that corresponds to the subcategory of the research area. If you consider education as a research area, it can be broken down into general subjects like education technology and educational psychology. Some general subjects might even cross over into other research areas such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Prior to narrowing the general subject into a scholarly topic, you may consider social issues such as your cultural and ethnic backgrounds that may prompt you toward detailed research. Besides, consider also the potential problem to be investigated, identify the research objectives, formulate hypotheses to be tested, as well the key questions to be answered. However, you may depend on the following ten criteria before embarking on a research topic.

  1. Interest

  2. Avoid being influenced by your parents or friends.

  3. Avoid being imposed by the supervisors.

  4. Past education and experience

  5. Can be an extension of your Master's dissertation.

  6. Can be related to your working experience.

  7. Aspiration

  8. Consider the topic related to the subject you are currently teaching.

  9. Look for a topic that offers you new opportunities.

  10. Market demand

  11. Offer a promotion opportunity.

  12. Possess high employability value.

  13. Aim

  14. Achieve your vision and mission.

  15. Help to achieve your goal.

  16. Capability

  17. Suit your personal niche area.

  18. Possess sufficient knowledge and skills.

  19. Resources

  20. Possess full accessibilities.

  21. Have the know-how in usage.

  22. Finance

  23. Avoid excessive research costs to reduce the financial burden.

  24. Consider your own financial status.

  25. Feasibility

  26. Know where and how to get the research support.

  27. Prioritise graduation on time.

  28. Trend

  29. Achieve breakthrough discoveries.

  30. Avoid well-researched topics.

Tips for Refining a Scholarly Topic Solutions

A scholarly topic should examine a narrowed issue instead of a general subject. It should address knowledgeable readers with a serious purpose, which demands analysis of the issues, arguments from a position, and explaining complex details. A scholarly topic also meets the expectations of the supervisor and conforms to the programme's requirements.

Your inquiry into the issues or your initiatives to solve a problem empower you to conduct research. Your scholarly topic addresses the issues that make you examine with intellectual curiosity based on the evidence found. You intend to share your investigation of the issues with your readers by bringing them special perspectives and insightful details. You will also present a meaningful discussion of the implications of your study rather than just a summary of ideas.

A postgraduate student needs to keep in mind that a scholarly topic requires inquiry and problem-solving. It is an issue or problem that can be researched. You have to think of something that should be fairly general but not too vague. Let's have a look at the topics below. Do you think the topics below can be scholarly topics?

  1. The Meaning of Life

  2. The Importance of Cleanliness

  3. Health Is More Important than Wealth. Why?

  4. The Best Way to Conserve Energy

  5. The Memorisation Technique I Love to Use the Most

Tips for Defining a Succinct Title Solutions

1. 4Cs Attributes

  1. The value and impression of a thesis are often judged by its title.

  2. A title's role in a thesis is more than just presentational; a well-crafted title broadens the work's reach, particularly to audiences that may gain the most from it.

  3. After deciding on your scholarly topic, it is time to define your title by looking into the precise keywords in order to define your research with a succinct title.

  4. A succinct title should possess the 4Cs attributes:

  5. Correct

  6. Clear

  7. Concise

  8. Compact

2. Scientific, Linguistic, and Stylistic Perspectives

Three types of useful perspectives for producing outstanding titles are scientific, linguistic, and stylistic.

  1. Scientific requirements are more readily manipulated.

  2. You have some freedom in how much information must be presented as long as the title is correct.

  3. Avoid the follows:

  4. A broad title

  5. Imply that the report is a review of prior work rather than expressing new discoveries.

  6. Fail to explain what is unique or novel about the study.

  7. Assert traits or implications with phrases like 'with broad application' 'with clinical potential' and 'for point-of-care usage' if the study only looked at one application'.

  8. Express big assertions unless the evidence fully supports the work or proclaims the primary findings.

  9. Being excessively precise or wordy

  10. Employ unusual gene names or scientific processes.

  11. May repel readers who might have benefited from digging into the work.

  12. Linguistic constraints save the reader time and effort.

  13. Avoid the follows:

  14. Shorter titles as they are difficult to read, communicate insufficient information, or exclude an important term

  15. Phrases that indicate novelty or excitement, such as 'for the first time,' 'dramatic,' 'intriguing,' and 'successful,' to avoid biassing the reader

  16. Broad or vague phrases such as 'system,' 'platform,' 'engineering,' and 'approach'

  17. Stacking adjectives

  18. Use hyphenation to minimise ambiguity

  19. Jargons

  20. Replace them with simple phrases whenever feasible to make the title flow.

  21. Stylistic constraints include the follows:

  22. The maximum amount of characters

  23. Punctuation and non-standard abbreviations

  24. Declarative, imperative, and interrogative phrases and dependent clauses

  25. New acronyms, colons, ing-ending verbs, British or American spelling

3. Title Construction

  1. The choice and placement (sequencing and positioning) of the words determine the focus of the title of the research.

  2. Phrases like 'A Study on...', 'An Investigation into...', 'Research on...' are unnecessary since it is considered understood that the study has been conducted.

  3. Avoid using bombastic or verbose language to impress the readers; just be short and simple.

  4. Consider a title with 12 to 15 words that are sufficient to define your objective of the study.

  5. Omit the redundant words.

  6. Using a single long phrase is normally better than using a colon to separate the phrase into segments due to precision and focus.

  7. However, a two-part title is allowable if there is found appropriate.

  8. For example:

  9. The Systematic Development of a Local Initiative to Create a Learning Centre for Engineering Education (X)

  10. A Local Learning Centre for Engineering Education (/)

  11. You should incorporate the five aspects of your study into your title: Variable(s), Subject(s), Setting, Scope (optional), and Methodology (optional)

  12. For example:

  13. The Relationship between Students' Engagement and Speaking Performance in the Secondary English Classroom

  14. Variables: Students' engagement and speaking performance

  15. Setting: Secondary English classroom

  16. Subjects: Secondary students

4. Title Refinement

  1. The title should be constantly reviewed as a working title.

  2. Deliberate practice is what works.

  3. Write titles with intention, and seek constructive criticism.

  4. It is fine to go with the modified scientific title.

  5. Enable the reader to get an overview of your study.

  6. Consider the following ways:

  7. Talk with others.

  8. Personal interviews and discussions

  9. Consult with your supervisor.

  10. Discuss your topic with three or four peers.

  11. Listen to the concerns of others.

  12. Online discussion groups

  13. Join an online discussion group.

  14. Take careful notes.

  15. Adjust your research accordingly.

  16. Use online searches to refine your topic.

  17. Use an online subject directory.

  18. Refer to SELEH under 6. DOING RESEARCH

  19. Use an internet keyword search.

  20. Boolean expressions

  21. Stipulate which words and phrases can, must, or must not appear in the search results.

  22. Place AND, OR, NOT, +, or - signs between keywords to instruct the search engine to display only those websites in which your research terms appear in certain combinations, and to ignore others.

  23. Use the library's electronic databases.

  24. Use the library's electronic book catalogue.

  25. List and prioritise the most significant keywords.

  26. Distinguish the work.

  27. Attempt to put the top-ranked phrases at the start and conclusion of the title.

Knowledge Check

To share your thoughts by leaving a comment on this post, kindly sign up as a member by filling in your details in the Contact below.



Lester, J. D. (2015). Writing research papers: A complete guide (15th ed.). Pearson Education.

Parmjit, S., Chan, Y. F., & Gurnam, K. S. (2006). A comprehensive guide to writing a research proposal. Venton Publishing.

Tips for constructing an effective title. (2022). Nature Biomedical Engineering, 6(105).

378 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page