Subtopic in a Research Paper: How to Write Subtopics Well

Topic and Subtopics In Research Paper

Topic and Subtopics In Research Paper

A subtopic is a section of your topic that you are discussing in the same research paper. It is a phrase that identifies a section of your research project.  Also, it is part of the subject that you will be exploiting in the essay.

A subtopic is necessary for your essay to make your presentation of your ideas on the topic systematic. Thus, a good subtopic should support the main topic of the research paper and bolster its credibility.

Any essay with a subtopic will follow a standard format typically. Furthermore, the subtopic adds depth to your essay and break the topic into manageable chunks

Essay Subtopics Example

topics and suptopics examples

Before you develop your subtopic, you must understand what the entire essay topic is all about.

For you to make your topic more appealing, you have to break it into sections and promote effective delivery.

For example, if your topic is about ‘’ How to Maintain Food Security”, you should research and come up with findings that will support your arguments.

Under the topic, you have to create an outline that will specify the subtopics that will support the key topic.

For instance, they could be as follows:

Main topic: How to maintain food security


  • 1st Subtopic :  Identify fertile regions
  • 2nd Subtopic :  Develop irrigation schemes
  • 3rd Subtopic :  Create modern storage systems


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How to Write Subtopics in Research Paper

Subtopics are key pillars of your research paper. You should create a proper outline of these subtopics to make your paper easier to write.

In our guide to writing research papers, we gave steps on how to write paragraphs. These paragraphs carry the subtopics. What’s more, if your paper has good subtopics, it becomes understandable to the audience.

getting subtopic from topic

Base your subtopics on the thesis statement which is the critical issue you are trying to create. For that reason, make the appropriate heading as per the research subject. Use the following steps to come up with the subtopics of your research paper:

  • Identify the thesis statements of your essay which can be more than a single sentence. More importantly, this statement should summarize that point that you are putting across in your research. Since the thesis is the basis of the paper, allow the subtopics to come from this section.
  • Write an outline of your research paper that includes the introduction, body, and conclusion. Follow this simple rule; the introduction should carry the first heading while the conclusion should bear the final heading.
  • Divide the body into manageable sections which we will refer to as subtopics. You will base these subtopics on the area of your topic that you want to capture. Besides, use a few words to write your subtopics.
  • Lastly, check your outline and include the subtopics that you need to write about. For example, if you select a topic on “Population”, provide the relevant subtopics that will make your delivery easier. Let them support the main idea within your area of discussion.

Importance of Subtopics

1. Better understanding

When you include subtopics in your research paper, you will break the information into chewable levels and promote understanding.

Before one reads through the entire paper, scanning of the subtopics gives the hint of what you are discussing in the whole matter.

small chewable pieces

2. Improves Engagements

When one is reading your content that has subheadings, it becomes easier to concentrate on the content since the information will be flowing systematically.

A high performing content calls for better engagement where no one should struggle to figure out the direction of your topic.

3. Provides Clarity

Adding subtopics to your work provides clarity to the content. Besides, a subtopic is a great avenue that helps the audience to retain the given information more conveniently.

It is easier to remember certain concepts when broken into sections under meaningful subtitles well. It is a perfect method of connecting with your audience and winning their attention well.

4. Improves Comprehension

Subtopics improve literacy and comprehensions levels. Specifically, the titles assist one in reading speed, vocabulary acquisition, word recognition, and word knowledge.

The subtopics enhance the readability of the essay because the audience will be knowing what might be cooking in the next section in advance. If you did proper research, chances are high that one will end the essay to the end.

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Difference between Research Topic and Subtopic

A topic is a key idea of what the author will be building the main arguments about. The topic is the central idea in your writing. On the other hand, the subtopic is a section of the main topic that supports your argument to complete your discussion.

These two are part of writing but they are the difference between a research paper and an essay, especially when developing the paragraphs. We can illustrate that in the following example:


  • Subtopic

Supporting evidence

Features of a Good Topic

breakdown the main topic
  • Covers a specific subject: The right research topic must be specific. It should not appear too general. Also, you should settle for a topic that is too broad to tempt you to focus on different aspects.

The topic should be clear for the audience to understand the nature of your research.

Thus, it should have a single interpretation to prevent the audience from getting distracted. It should be directional and not ambiguous.

  • Well Defined: The topic bears a direct definition without giving a double-barreled impression. Meaning, it should be well-phrased for one to understand with a single meaning.
  • Relevant: The topic should be relevant and allow it to focus on timely issues. For example, if you select a topic on abortion, it could appear outdated. Instead, you should settle for other topics on women’s reproductive systems such as menstrual suppression. Develop a topic that has current importance.
  • Follows the Assignment: The right topic should follow the guidelines of your assignment. Before you develop your essay topic, read and understand the assignment guidelines.
  • Language: The topic language should be simple for everyone to understand. Use technical terms as appropriate. Besides, maintain the ethics of your writing to avoid using unethical sentences or terms. Avoid using a bias either willingly or unwillingly in your topic.
  • Titling: The research problem should follow titling rules. For example, you can use a title case or a sentence case. You should understand the titling rules before writing the topic down.

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FAQs on Subtopics

How to write subtopics in a research paper

Begin by understanding the thesis testament. Create an outline that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. Divide the topic into smaller sections which we refer to as the subtopics. Use a few words to serve as titles for the subtopics. Finally, use the titles of the subtopics in your outline.

What is a subtopic in an essay?

A subtopic is a section of a topic that complements the central idea of a topic. We use subtopics to expand the arguments in your topic for the readers to follow and understand what you are saying.

A subtopic is necessary as a convenient break to allow the writer to bring the point home. The right subtopic enhances the engagements of your essay to make it more exciting.

Topics and subtopics examples

When you are writing your essay or a research paper, you should create a topic and utilize subtopics to enhance delivery. Topics can vary based on the type of instruction that you will receive. However, be sure to make your topics relevant so that you do not deviate from what your professor wants.

Several topics exist for you to choose from depending on your field. The most common ones are:

Main topic: Effects of River Pollution


  • 1st subtopic: Sources of River Pollution
  • 2nd subtopic: Loss of aquatic life
  • 3rd subtopic: Contamination of freshwater
  • 4th subtopic: Communal diseases
  • 5th subtopic: solution to river pollution.