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Writing an Educational Research Paper


Choosing a Topic

The following guide contains tips on writing a research paper in Education.


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Factors Involved

Some tips when choosing a topic:

Interest. Choose a topic of interest to you; a topic that you find boring will result in a boring paper.

Knowledge. You don't need to know much about the subject at the outset. The research process mines new knowledge.

Breadth of Topic. Too broad a topic is unmanageable, e.g. "The History of Universities" or "Computers in Schools." On the other hand, too narrow and/or trivial a topic is uninteresting and extremely difficult to research.

Guidelines.Carefully follow the instructor's guidelines: they should help prevent you selecting an inappropriate topic and/or research methodology.

Other Practicalities

  • Enough Time Available? Make sure that you choose a topic that's "doable" within the time available. In short, allow enough time to complete your paper.

  • Resources? Are your research sources readily accessible? Traveling, for example, to the U. of Cal. at Berkeley to study archival material can present time and/or financial problems.

  • Length of Paper? If the instructor mandates 7,500 words, then respect the limit. Not exceeding the limit does not suggest being wildly under the limit. For a paper with a 7.500 word limit, 2,000 words is unacceptable.

  • Schedule. Most papers have deadlines. To meet a deadline, establish a workable schedule. Writing a quality, satisfactorily researched, drafted, revised, and well written paper takes time!

  • Final Observation. Most instructors do not allow a student to submit the same paper in two courses. Some may allow students to expand or update an earlier paper, the product being essentially a new paper. Always discuss this issue with your instructor.