What are the basics of selecting a topic? :
a. Selection of an area for research:
The central point of consideration is that one must narrow down on anarea that interests one. A great deal of time is consumed in legal research and legal writing, therefore, selecting an area of interest helps one stay focused on the tedious job of legal research. The true essence of the legal research lies in learning and imbibing the methodology and preparation that goes into writing a research. Practically, it makes more sense to narrow down on a topic before even starting the research-related work, as it saves a lot of effort and confusion as to where to or what, to begin with. The next thing is to narrow down a particular topic in the area of one’s interest. Research, in its real sense, is nothing but pointing out a problem and finding a solution to the said problem. Achieving the clarity on the topic of research itself consumes a significant effort and time; therefore, this point is of utmost importance for the legal researchto even begin.
b. Reading the pertinent legalliterature:
A lot of literature is available in legalmagazines, journals, commentaries etc. A thorough online and offline research is a must, about the recent developments, judicial precedents, trends, legal issues and legal debates related to the topic that has been decided. At the same time, it is critically important to prepa3re a chronological flow of the comprehensive points that have been gone through already. The significance of this order of flow is, it helpsto avoid confusion at the initial stage of the research itself and avoids confusing while preparing the final draft of the legal research. Reading gives one a fair idea about the needs and demands of the legal research in the topic; therefore, at no cost can one afford to skip reading while undertaking legal research.
c. Guidance from the seniors and faculties:
All the selection that one makes and the reading that one does, more or less, provides only a theoretical perspective to the legal research. This is where the guidance from the superiors helps the most. As people who have had more exposure to and better experience in the field, their valuable guidance would undoubtedly help one understand the legal issues with a practical point of view, too. Legal research which does not only talk about the theories but also puts forward some practical aspects to the legal research would always be preferred to one who only talks about the former. Legal research which covers both, theoretical as well as practical aspects of the legal issue would be wholesome legal research and a little help and guidance from one’s superiors would benefit significantly in achieving that.
d. Keep abreast with the judicial precedents:
Legal research is not just limited to the black letter of the law. The Hon’ble Supreme Court and other Hon’able High Courts decide on various cases each day. The law works in harmony with these judicial precedents. It is imperative to be aware of these judicial precedents. Moreover, theyhelp one develop logical, analytical and critical thought process and provide with valuable insights about the topic. It is to be noted here, that the topic of legal research can certainly be common in nature; only the perspective provided by the research has to be unique.
e. Do not hesitate to experiment:
A topic can be customized in alignment to any conference or seminar that one has attended or going to attend. An interdisciplinary approach to synthesise law with other streams can also make a good topic for legal research. For example, interdisciplinary research on biology, technology and law resulted in a new branch of law, known as biotechnology law. Same applies to cyber law as well, where research on information technology and law gave rise to an entirely new branch of law.
If delved deeper into the selection of a unique topic, precedents, comparative analysis of precedents with the present positions and comparative analysis of the same issue in India vis-a-vis foreign countries can also help. Selecting a unique topic has its own advantages, however, it must be taken care of that detailed reading of literature and other material and its cohesive reproduction in an entirely novel format is what goes into making your writings unique.