For most of those who are new to academic research, the process of zeroing–in on a Topic of Research can quickly get confusing and daunting. Here are six steps to a more focused and happy outcome:
For a more focused approach, remember that broad and interdisciplinary topics can become too much to research — you may become overwhelmed with lots of extraneous or superficial information. Consider whether you can afford the requisite resources, or the time needed to sift through a vast body of data, most of which may not be directly relevant to your research. Do you have the guidance of a good mentor who can dedicate the time and mental faculties to help you successfully wade through this?
Which are the terms you encounter most when a discussion of you topic of interest comes up? Make a list. Examples include: Sustainability, Rammed Earth building, Vernacular, Regionalism, Charles Correa, Biomimicry, Santiago Calatrava, etc.
Here’s an interesting read from ArchDaily: 150 Weird Words That Only Architects Use
Use the “keywords” that you have shortlisted previously to generate your initial research, which in turn will allow you to further add to, remove from, and fine-tune your keywords list.
Every step of the way, keep structured notes of your research, the keywords, data sources, extracts, your observations, and your thought processes. These will eventually become the backbone of your research paper, or dissertation.
Starting the Research Process. Source: Scribd