The unnerving task of coming up with research topics for your academic research can be not too good a thing.
Sometimes you have no option than to browse through thousands of topics on the internet for a topic idea.
This can get sad as you browse through different web pages. Your discoveries show that a lot of people have written on your preferred topics. Now, this is also tiring. How about if I tell you that in Academics, knowledge is like a circular shape with different edges. That sounds awkward right?
Okay, this is it. In learning, there is no constant knowledge. Ideas keep evolving and what is relevant today may not be relevant after some time. Also, in academic research, findings from empirical studies are sparse. This limitation could be a result of time, space, and some uncontrollable factors.
This is why the act of learning is a continuous process. Shakespeare was right when he said, whoever stops learning will die. If you have a good research idea, dealing with similar topics should not be a barrier to you.
From my experience, there are three proven ways by which you can create a new idea from a similar topic.
Let’s look at how to get this done.
1. Change the focus of the study.
Every academic piece of writing has a focus. This is most times titled as the objectives of the study. The objectives of a study refer to what a
study seeks to achieve, uncover, or communicate. It is the aim of a study that guides research. The goal of a study is the central focus of every academic research.
Looking for a new academic research topic?
Leverage on this limitation. You can consider making new work out of previous works by changing the focus. This will save you the time of flipping the pages of your textbook or browsing the internet for topics.
Sounds great, right?
Let’s move on.
2. Change the Time-frame.
This is most popular with researches under the social sciences and management sciences. Time is a limitation in some academic findings. This is because, events, knowledge, policies, assumptions, and lots more change with time.
What research considers relevant today may not relevant tomorrow. Let’s get even more practical. The government makes policies based on certain findings. An example could be a directive to people of a certain society to ensure the use of nose masks. As in the case of COVID-19 as a preventive measure.
The researcher could decide to find out the perception of people towards the use of nose masks. How about if the directive was overridden as a result of increased death with the use of nose masks? A researcher would also like to carry out a study to examine public perception.
The findings of public perception during the use and after the use of nose masks are different researches. The difference is time as a result of a change in policy. You can apply this method to some topics which findings you consider not recent. You will contribute recent knowledge to academics by this action.
Let’s consider yet another example.
A case of an Economics student interested in the impact of Foreign direct investment. He has read a lot of previous works and decides to make recent findings. He can choose to study from 2010-2020 or 2015-2020.
Same topic but with different time frames. This is another way you can take up a new study from an old topic.
3. Change the case study.
Oops! This is actually most common amongst academic researchers. Academic researchers overtime have leveraged on this limitation. Through this gap they have contributed outstanding solutions to academic problems. The benefit of this approach is that it proffers answers to a specific person, group, or society. This approach does not generalize its findings. It makes provision for different gaps that may arise as a result of the scope of the study.
You can consider that too.
You can decide to study a topic using a different case/place of study.
It is an act of giving a different perspective on a problem. This is acceptable in academic research.
Let’s take an example.
A study was undertaken to examine the attitudes of men’s presence with their wives in the delivery room. In Saudi Arabia, the findings revealed that a high number of men were calm. This period and their attitude were traced to their level of education. This implied that men with better education extravasate a better attitude when their wives get in the delivery room.
How about conducting the same study in Nigeria? Would the answer be positive? Do you think we will have lots of Nigerian men who will be calm when their wives are in the delivery room?
Well, you can take up that study to find out.
So, one of the ways you can conduct a new study from an old topic is to change the case or say the place of study.
That should be all. But I will give you one more. This is much deeper.
Another way you could come up with a new study from previous work is to change your research method. Yes!
Every research process, has a limitation. You can find different results from the same study if you adopt a different research process. The findings from linear regression analysis can be different from many variables. The Chi-square is useful in testing relationships. ANOVA examines the level of variance between variables. The results of a parametric test can present different findings with non-parametric tests. In academic research, most times, the findings set them apart.
Now, you have learned ways of conducting fresh research from an old study. First, you can change the focus. Second, you can change the time. Third, you can change the case/place of study. And of course, the research process.
You should now have fewer worries dealing with project/thesis topics.
You have the tools to make your research new. If you wish to hire an academic writer or consult one, you are a click away.
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Here are some of the best resources we’ve published on this subject in the past: