“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”

—Anne Lamott
“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”

How to Generate Ideas for Writing Academic Papers: Ultimate Guide

Staring at a blank Word page without a clue on what to write ranks top among the frustrating moments in a student’s life. With the urgency attached to an essay, you cannot afford to look at a blank paper for hours on end as you wait for motivation. 

How do you go about generating ideas for writing? Read on for various techniques to generate ideas and suggestions to help you brainstorm a topic. 

How to choose a research topic

Finding a topic to write about without the right approach may prove a daunting task. With various topics to consider in every field, you can easily make a wrong decision, getting stuck midway through your writing process. 

These steps should come in handy to guide you toward a great research topic.

  1. Gauge your interests

Selecting a topic that piques your interests is vital for a smooth writing experience. When you are interested in a topic, you have a bigger drive to exhaust the topic and scratch your intellectual itch.

Conversely, settling on a topic you are disinterested in brings about boredom in your writing process, making you a ripe candidate for procrastination. Before you search your keyword on the web, brainstorm ideas and jot them down on paper. 

This will allow you to see the areas you are interested in and thus guide your research efforts. However, ensure that your ideas are within the research paper question, to avoid irrelevant arguments. 

  1. Perform background research

After jotting your interests down, research each idea to determine the one with ample background study to warrant your investigation. However, steer clear of topics that have been investigated multiple times by fellow researchers. 

Ideally, your topic should tackle a trending issue in your field. This will allow you to make original claims and use data from existing research to back your arguments.

  1. Consult your peers

Speaking with friends is a great way to gauge the feasibility of an idea for a research topic. When selecting ideas, we may fall victim to biased decisions due to the sentimentality towards a topic. 

When discussing your ideas with friends, they may offer input, bringing an idea into focus and thus guiding your research. 

  1. Narrow your topic down

Often, we take on challenging topics under the guise of surprising the tutor. This sadly causes multiple loopholes in your arguments and makes it hard to exhaust ideas within the prescribed word count.

Before you settle for a topic, gauge the arguments you will make in the paper and narrow your focus to an idea that can be exhausted within the acceptable word count. you may opt to outline a topic before you write and consult your tutor on the outline.

Your tutor may offer you feedback on the feasibility of the topic and highlight loopholes in your argument. 

  1. Refer to the lecture notes

Lecture notes are a staple among common advice for how to generate ideas for writing. These notes allow you to see the issues you encountered in the course of study, offering you a starting point in your topic selection. 

  1. Check the current issues in your field

Current issues are a great option for your academic papers. You should thus start your writing process by visiting various sites in your field for current creative research project ideas.

This will widen your perspective on the possible issues and allow you to find an idea that piques your interest. However, check if there are ample sources on which to base your argument before you settle for a topic.

Research paper topics science

Having covered the criteria for selecting an essay topic, let’s look at some good research question examples to inspire your topic selection:

  • What causes viruses to evolve? 
  • Why do birds’ feathers have such vibrant colors? 
  • What is the significance of climate change legislation? 
  • Why do some people object to receiving Covid-19 vaccines? How are you going to persuade them? 
  • The causes of skin cancer 
  • How to Deal with Dementia and Memory Loss 
  • Climate change law and its applicability 
  • Climate change’s effects on flora and animals 
  • Procedures for generating critical disease vaccinations