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Etido James
AKPOLY
Mass Communication
400Level, Nigeria.
CHOOSING GOOD PROJECT TOPICS AND DEVELOPING TIPS

The educational curriculum states that the end goal is to be granted a degree after graduation. Before this, there is a need for students to carry out research in their field of studies. Consequently, this is done at the final year level in all university institutions. A considerable number of final year students have challenges with regards to choosing their project topics. This is because they lack knowledge on the rudiments of picking a decent research project topic with the end goal, such that most students score terrible marks at the end of it or even have to change the project topic halfway through. This article is therefore targeted at helping final year students to know the basics in regards to choosing and developing their final year project topics.
Research work is an essay that presents the results of a writer’s (students) investigation of a particular topic in print, electronic, or multimedia format. The skills involved—finding, evaluating, and assimilating the ideas of other writers—are essential in any field of study. They will also be useful to you in your career. Most of the writing you do on the job, especially if you are in management, it requires you to express in your own words the facts, opinions, and ideas of others.
Writing a research project work follows the same process as other kinds of writing, from planning through drafting to revising. The difference is that instead of relying exclusively on what you already know about a topic, you include source material—facts, data, knowledge, or opinions of other writers—to support your thesis. This section explains the different kinds of source material you can choose from and tells you the strengths and weaknesses of each. See How to Summarize, Paraphrase, and Quote from Sources on this article for information on how to integrate into your paper the information you have found.
A research project work is not simply a collection of what other people have said about a subject. It is your responsibility to shape and control the discussion, to make sure that what you include from your sources is interesting and relevant to your thesis, and to comment on its validity or significance. It is your project, your thesis, your key ideas. Ideas from other writers should be included as support for your topic sentences.
One of the challenges of writing a research project work is differentiating between your ideas and those you took from sources. Readers cannot hear the different “speakers,” so you have to indicate who said what. To separate your sources from your own ideas, research papers require documentation—a system of acknowledging source materials. Research works are usually longer than essays, and the planning process is more complex. For these reasons, the time you are given to complete a research assignment is usually longer than the time allowed for an essay. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can put the assignment off for a few weeks. You will need all the time you’ve been given to find the sources you need, decide what you want to say, and then draft, revise, and polish your paper. Supervisors assign research papers so that they can assess not only your research skills but also your writing skills.


STEPS IN CHOOSING PROJECT TOPICS

To choose a good research topic and make the procedure less frustrating, we recommend the accompanying method for the determination of the research project works:
1. Decide on a useful zone or zones of essential interest, for example, accounting, banking and finance, business administration, computer science, economics, education, marketing, mass communication et cetera.
2. Next, pick a sub-region from the practical territory. For example, a student who has an interest in human resources may pick a research topic on the hospital working environment or organizational behavior
3. Look for the possible research topic in that sub-region.
4. Familiarize yourself with the subject matter relating to the proposed project topic idea.
5. Evaluate any provisional topic you pick precisely and fundamentally. A student ought to have not less than three speculative topics in. He ought to pick the topic which is most alluring to him or her among alternate topics having analyzed the upsides and downsides of every one of the case study.
6. Finally, present the chosen topics to the supervisor for facilitating discourse, clarifications, and elaborations if it requires.

CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING PROJECT TOPICS

It is plainly making no sense to embark on a case study you know almost nothing or nothing about. Though, it can obviously be contended that the student can acquaint himself with the project topic idea over the span of the investigation or study. But there are somewhere around two issues with this: firstly, he/she might not be able to defend it before the supervisor. Secondly, he/she may discover later that the research topic is more troublesome than foreseen or that the required research project materials are not accessible. He could even lose interest in the research work because of any of these unexpected challenges. The accompanying criteria should along these lines be borne in the mind of the students:

INTEREST IN THE PROJECT TOPIC

Numerous students have amidst their research, surrendered or abandon their research project topic for another one since they didn't have enough managing interest for it, in the first instance. For a few, they may have chosen it since it was proposed by the supervisor or some different people they couldn't state too. They may have felt that dismissing the project topic at that point would have added up to being ungrateful on their part which could be viewed as an affront to the supervisor. Whichever way, it is perilous to take a project topic you are not so much inspired by in light of the fact that when it gets extreme, your interest for the project topic is the thing that will support you more than some other things. One of the most important parts of doing a research work is choosing a topic. By choosing wisely, you can ensure that your research will go smoothly and that you will enjoy doing it when choosing a topic that you care about. A topic is a broad area of interest, such as AfricanAmerican history or animal behavior. One way to approach the search for a research topic is first to choose a general area of interest and then to focus on some part of it. Make sure that you have a real reason for wanting to explore the topic. Often the best project topics for research works are ones that are related to your own life or to the lives of people you know. If you are already keeping a “writing ideas” list in your journal or in your writing portfolio, you can refer to that list for possible topics. If you are not regularly listing your writing ideas, you might consider starting to do so now.

RESEARCHABLE PROJECT TOPIC

What makes a project topic researchable is the point at which you can research solid information to answer the research questions. A project topic that is researchable can be known to utilize available and scientific tools and techniques. Likewise, a research work might be un-researchable not on the grounds that the pertinent information doesn't exist, but rather in light of the fact that the student doesn't approach them. Your first step in writing a research work is the same as your first step in any writing task: select a suitable topic, preferably one you are convesant with. Whether you are assigned a topic or choose your own, don’t rush off to the library or log onto the Internet right away. A little preparation up front will save you a lot of time and possibly much grief later on.
First of all, if you’re not sure of what your supervisor expects from you, clarify what is required of you.
Next, consider what approach you might take in presenting your topic. Does it lend itself to a comparison? Process? Cause or effect? If the topic is assigned, often the wording of the research will suggest how your supervisor wants you to develop it. Deciding up front what kind of paper you are going to write will save you hours of work, both in the library and at your desk.
When you’ve decided, at least tentatively, on the approach you’re going to take, you are ready to focus on the kind of information you need to look for in your research. For example, if you’ve been asked to evaluate a contemporary Canadian novel, you won’t waste time discussing the history of the novel or its development since 1950. You can restrict your investigation to sources that contain information relevant to your specific subject.
Once you have an idea of the kind of information you need in order to develop your topic, it’s time to find the best sources you can.

FEASIBILITY OF STUDY

The possibility of the final year project alludes to what it will take the student to finish the research topic as far as the expense of the final year project, the monetary use, and the time allotment for the final year research. Thusly, it is vital that the student from the beginning, gauge that he has everything necessary to finish the research project regarding fund and research materials, and furthermore that he will have the capacity to finish the final year research inside the time period allotted for it. In the event that the response to this is negative, at that point he should forsake the project topic before setting out on it.

AVOID PLAGIARISM

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s ideas as your own. It’s a form of stealing (the word comes from the Latin word plagiarius, which means “kidnapper”). There have been famous cases of respected journalists and academics who have been accused of plagiarizing the articles or books they have written. Suspected plagiarists who are found guilty often lose their jobs. Sometimes the accusation alone is enough to compromise an author’s reputation and thus prevent him or her from continuing to work as a scholar or writer.
Students who copy essays or parts of essays from source material, download them from the Internet, or pay someone else to write them are cheating. And, in so doing, they commit a serious academic offence. Sometimes, however, academic plagiarism is accidental. It can result from careless note-taking or an incomplete understanding of the conventions of documentation. It is not necessary to identify the sources of common knowledge (e.g., Margaret Atwood is one of Canada’s best-known authors; British Columbia is Canada’s westernmost province) or proverbial sayings (e.g., Love is blind), but when you are not sure whether to cite a source, it’s wise to err on the side of caution and provide documentation. Statistics should always be cited because the meaning of numbers tends to change, depending on who is using them and for what purpose.
If, after you have finished your first draft, you are not sure which ideas need documenting and which don’t, take your research notes and your outline to your supervisor and ask. It’s better to ask before submitting a paper than to try to explain a problem afterward. Asking saves you potential embarrassment as well as time.

TIPS ON WRITING A RESEARCH WORK

1. Even though your supervisor may be your only reader, think of your potential audience as the other students who are taking the course with you, those who took it in recent years, and those who will take it in the near future. This way, you can count on a certain amount of shared knowledge. For a course in economics, for example, you can assume your audience knows what the Phillips curve relationship is; a definition would be superfluous. For a course in literature, you won’t need to inform your readers that Jonathan Swift was an 18th-century satirist. Think of your readers as colleagues who want to see what conclusions you have reached and what evidence you have used to support them.
2. Manage your time carefully. Divide the work into a number of tasks, develop a schedule that leaves lots of time for revision, and stick to your schedule.
3. Choose a topic that interests you. Define it as precisely as you can before beginning your research, but be prepared to modify, adapt, and revise it as you research and write your paper.
4. If you cannot find appropriate sources, ask a reference librarian for help.
5. When making notes, always record the author, title, publication data, and page numbers of the source. For electronic sources, note also the URL, the name of the database or site, the name of the institution or organization sponsoring the site, either the date of publication or the date the source was last revised, and the date you accessed the site.
6. Use your source material to support your own ideas, not the other way around.
7. Document your sources according to whatever style your supervisor prefers.
8. Revise, edit, and proofread carefully. If you omit this step, the hours and weeks you have spent on your assignment will be wasted, not rewarded.

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