If you are currently in the last year of your studies at a university as an undergrad, graduate or even postgrad student, you’re already getting the pressure of producing a research paper, as instructed by Rwanda Education Board and of course your university.
Being one of the major requirements of completing your degree and getting a graduation pass, your research presents in detail a practical problem that you want to solve in an academic or professional world that is related to what you majored in. Therefore this is when you really get hands on skills and it’s when you get a chance to wrap up what you’ve been studying all the 6, 5, 4 , 3 or 2 years.
While I can’t go through all aspects of research in one post, I just want to focus on the part of topic selection and provide you with a few examples of the topics you might want to work on this or the next year. Topic selection not only takes a lot of time and effort to come up with but also lays the foundation of your success or failure in coming up with a desired paper. It was a big challenge for me when I was writing my own research at University of Rwanda in January- May 2016. So the following tips may be helpful to you.
Choosing your research topic
Planning for your research i.e. finding a suitable supervisor, securing finances, organizing timelines with a clear to-do list, and building confidence to collect data on the field can all be tough and intimidating, sometimes impossible depending on various reasons. But the toughest of all also being the most important thing to focus on is selecting the right topic for your research.
The right topic is specific, the one you’re most passionate about, comfortable working on using available resources and data, the one you have some knowledge about, as well as the one that solves a real problem. In fact, your final research is different than an assignment in that the research takes you out to the real world while the assignment doesn’t necessary require you to think out of your class walls.
It is therefore crucial to have a topic that will help you to generate useful output, not only to you and the supervisor, but also to the society. It is also best to have a topic that will ease your life in terms of funding, data collection, data analysis, and presentation. Don’t wish to do the impossible and remember to discuss your topic with your colleagues and supervisors as early and regular as you possibly can, for you to get time to iterate your work.
Research related to the environment
My research topic was “Assessment of homegardens’ contribution to the nutritional amelioration in rural areas of Rwanda – Case study of Busogo Sector”. I chose it because at that time I was interested in tracking the role of Agroferestry in food security and food quality, because there are many home gardens to consider in Busogo, and because I was living there, hence data being within my reach and the costs associated with all my needs being within my budget.
So, make no mistake, choosing what makes your research hard to conduct.
As Rwanda puts the final touches on it’s Vision 2020, below is a list of a few high lever topics that I think would make sense, be easy to conduct, and solve or attempt to solve environmental problems for the Rwandan society. They might not be specific depending on your location or preferences but they will provide you with options to twist around as you craft your own topic.
If you need my help working on one of them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My prices are reasonable and negotiable. There are even more ways to collaborate with me via Greenny.
Research topic examples for graduating students: Environment track
- Pollution control in Kigali city
- When is Kigali most pollute/clean and why?
- Any novel control measures [on increasing private cars, public transport, industrial activities, construction, and waste disposal systems]?
- How about Kigali’s population migration trends? How many people add up every month/year?
- Alternative packaging sources after the ban of plastic bags since 2008: Highs and Lows
- How has the ban of plastic bags contributed to the creation of alternative options and what are their measurable advantages today?
- Poaching trends in Akagera National Park
- Having been the most poached park and now the most secure park in Rwanda, how has poaching been reduced or increased [for any animal in any year] under the management of African Parks?
- How about other parks?
- Assessment of the role of Girinka Program on soil improvement/degradation
- To what extent have Girinka’s cows reduced soil erosion [in any district/sector]?
- To what extent have they increased the soil nutrients [N,P,K] or improved soil physics such as texture?
- Also, while Girinka Program has improved people’s lives, what are some of the environmental issues might it have caused?
- Tourism vs visitors vs the local community
- How much threatening are uncontrolled animals damaging in the fields of local farmers. How much incentives do farmers receive in exchange to their patience and loss?
- What is the degree of risks associated with frequent visits at Akagera/NyungweVolcanoes National Park in terms of security or hazards? For e.g. in Muhabura Volcano.
- Illegal construction, land rights, permits and heritage
- Pain points around the issuance of construction permits
- Heritage rights for women and girls
- Step by step process and support available for landowners or land buyers
- The Kigali city master plan
- Rwanda’s marine life
- What are they apart from fish
- How are they being affected by increasing fishing?
- How are communities benefiting/losing from marine species, for e.g. in Burera, Ruhondo or Kivu or Muhazi?
- Rwanda’s energy production
- Why was the natural gas production in Kivu paused?
- How good/bad are we distributing electricity to houses and industries in rural and urban areas?
- How to help poor households switch from the use of firewood and charcoal to gas by 2025?
- Made in Rwanda vs the environment
- How as Made in Rwanda helped conserve the environment since 2014? For e.g. reduced oil and transport kilometers through importation of goods
- Since the production has increased [Honey and other processed foods, perfumes, decorations, art and garments] have we better conserved the nature or not?