How to Find an Interesting Research Topic for your PhD

Many aspirants are looking forward for the research areas which he or she should follow. Few people are not intelligent enough to find the area of your interest. One you choose your research area for starting with your PhD, you will not be able to backtrack. This is because doing research in PhD is a tedious task. to may this task easy, choose your own research are rather than relying on suggestions given by your mates/ peers. As suggested earlier, you can always refer the research topics but never go with the topic chosen by others. Atleast expolore 8-10 domains before you pick one unless you are very sure. Your PhD may take 5 years or even longer and you should not quit in between. As the number of applicants are increasing, the number of dropouts will increase. Hence, keeping this in mind, we have enlisted following ways to find the area of your interest.

I hope we all are in sync and know why we are doing PhD….

Based on Research Papers

The research are is usually chosen based on research papers. If you are fond of reading and knowing what you need to read and what you love reading, just go through the recent research papers

Find SCI Indexed Journals and Core Ranked Conferences of your Subject

The SCI indexed journals are those which have been indexed by Thomson Reuters and the international conferences which are held for a specific area and accept only high quality papers are core ranked. Such Journals and conferences are very useful for starting with your research work.

Find Current Issue and Recent Proceedings of Journals and Conferences Respectively

The current issues and recent proceedings shall contain the topics which are currently under research and on which the research is going on. It is always good to follow the authors who have high h-index and high citation count so that you can follow experienced researchers instead of new ones. This is because usually recent researchers do not have much idea about the high level research areas.

Find Latest Research Papers and Try to Identify Topics which Interests you

This is done by reading the abstract and conclusion of every article which you come across. Try to identify the topic, research problem, research gap, problem statement, algorithm used for solution, performance metrics used and dataset. This information is usually given in Abstract. Moreover, the summary of what has been done in the paper, the results and future work can be studied from conclusion of the research paper.

No research work is small or big, scope based or preferable by all. You just need to find your interests and skills. You have to take a call to BEGIN with one of the domains.

How to Check if Research Paper is Interesting

Sometimes, we are not sure even after reading the abstract and conclusions if the research paper is interesting or not. For that, you need to read the research paper and then find some insights. if you are able to have the idea of the paper, you will get to know that it interests you or not. Also, keep in mind that

Reading first research paper needs patience.

This is also very important step before you decide if you want to pursue PhD or not. Hence, just go through 4-5 research papers before you decide anything about your PhD. This will give you an idea of the level of research. This will also help you to choose your guide for PhD. This is so because it is important to know which kind of guide will suite you and which organization is good for you to pursue PhD.

Find Interesting Research Paper

At later stage, you will have to write these papers. So read the paper keeping in mind that you have to un-roll this carpet once you roll it. Understand that do you have any idea or terminologies or will you be able to grasp these terminologies and continue in this areas.

Check the Related Work and Track the chain or storyline of this areas

The related work shall tell you if the research paper is completely a new idea or has been taken as revised or extend version of some existing technique. Why is it important?

Because it is always good to know the literature before you work with anything new. Once you track the research papers which are already there in this field, go through those papers as well. This you can track from literature survey.

Find previous papers from references

The previous papers are always given in references. This shall create one tree of previous to previous to previous related research. The set of research papers which you will find in this tree can be read to identify if they interest you.

Note that reading the papers will lead you to make some inference and insights about the study. you should always write these points ijn your noted so that you can track them later on.

If you manage to track upto 3 -4 levels and spend good amount of time in reading this research work, follow this.

Based on Links with Professors

It is always good to think about PhD. But any idea whom to visit once you decide? Go to professors and teachers to who are adorable. Never pick PhD half haphazardly.

No one can teach you how to do PhD. This is a child and it will grow itself

Understanding your professors, their research and what they want is the key to success. Email them your CV or resume along with the cover letter mentioning everything about what you desire, so that they can get idea of your mindset. Ask for appointment and go and meet them. These meetings can help you only if you have read their research papers before meeting them.

Send an Email to the researchers whom you like and would like to work with

Find professors having high H-index and more citations. Search their profile in Google scholar. Check all their research papers. Find the papers which have been published in current year like 2018. The paper which will have highest number of citations will be at the top. This research paper can be useful for you. Take print out and start reading.

Ask them for their recent works in the related area and start working on it from day ONE

Send him email mentioning everything your read and what you come across in that research paper. He will be only interested if you understand his approach and send him some alternatives solutions. Sometime, a researcher have alternative solutions but no time to explore them. You can try asking if there is any alternative approach which you can try. But keep in mind that do not forget to implement the existing paper or run the existing implementation of the research paper before you go with it ahead.

Follow-up is very very important. If you will delay, they will loose interest in you

Keep in mind that the professors are very busy and do not have time to remember whom they met or if they read any email 15 days ago. You should regularly keep track of the professors and researchers so that he might not miss you. This will also show your sincerity. On the other hand, do not fill his email inbox with lot of emails. Update him every week with new insights (only if you have obtained).

Spend more time on ResearchGate, Academia, and LinkedIn

Networking is the bet key to find people who are working in your domain. Make contacts and reach them via mutual friend. Comment, answer or question on researchgate and academia.

Check with Peer Researchers, their Research Area

  1. Find some seniors or peers who are already working in high profile
  2. Always check their profile before you approach them
  3. Find their recent research papers and tell them that you want to contribute.
  4. True researchers will never refuse you. This is the beauty of Research
  5. Try working with them for 15-20 days and check if it interests you.
  6. You may find totally different areas during this exercise which may interest you

Attend Conferences/ Symposium/ Seminars/ Workshops

This is the best place to know which areas interests you. There will be many researchers from different domains who will be presenting their paper. This can help you to know about your interest better. The one who interest you and you find it easy, go and speak to him about his domain and guide.

Go to international conferences and Workshops which are being held in your domain

There are many research conferences and workshops which have been enlisted in different domains. Find the one in your domain in which good researchers/ speakers are coming. Read their paper and try to discuss with them about their research areas. This can fetch you an amazing position in research.

Just listen to the speakers and check if any of them interests you

Listen all speakers with lot of patience. This can lead you to solution of finalizing a research domain. This is because Speakers are always interested in collaboration from good aspirants

Best approach to find different developing areas in your field


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