Answered By: Business Librarian
Last Updated: 02 Feb, 2022     Views: 37

These ideas are written with a business student in mind, but many of the suggestions will be of use to other students too.

I have lots of general ideas on choosing a research topic:

  • Do something you’re interested in and/or something that will be of use to your future work
  • Read newspaper and trade magazine articles (in databases Business Source Premier and Nexis, and via an account) on topics that interest you, to get an idea of current issues
  • Think about previous coursework, modules that have particularly interested you
  • Read the latest issues of journals most relevant to your subject area, that are on your reading list
  • Once you’ve come up with a general idea, do some searching in journal databases (Google Scholar/Library Search, perhaps Business Source Premier or Scopus to see what research there is on the topic. Reading a few articles, perhaps those referred to in a chapter on the topic in Oxford Handbooks Online might give you an idea of the direction of research in this area, and help you with deciding on specifics
  • If you are going to need data, qualitative or quantitative, for your project then identify whether you have access to this kind of data, through the Market Research and Data and Statistics results. Or whether you’ll have the capacity to get enough results from primary research (interviews, surveys, focus groups)
  • If this is required for your module: before you spend too much time researching, ensure that you get confirmation from your module leader or supervisor that your research topic is appropriate and manageable in the time you have


But I think there is more to it than that.


I have been reading chapters two and three of:


Saunders, M.N.K., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2019) Research methods for business students, 8th edn, Harlow: Pearson. ProQuest Ebook Central - Detail page


recently and I think that has lots of ideas for choosing and developing a research topic. This will be true of many research methods books in variety of subject areas.


I’ve been looking in the database Sage Research Methods, exploring the Methods Map. These are the results for Research question Search Results for '"Research questions"' (in Full Text) : SAGE Research Methods ( and a Project Planner for Developing a Researchable Question Developing a Researchable - SAGE Research Methods (

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