You've chosen a research topic, and now you need to find resources about it. Before you get too far along, you will need to narrow down your topic into a research statement or question. The sooner you do this in your research process, the more time you'll save because you can conduct more focused searches.
How do I know if my topic is too broad?
Maybe you received feedback that your topic is too broad, or maybe you're having trouble finding relevant resources using your search keywords. Topics that are too broad are difficult to research. Your topic may be too broad if any of the following happens to you:
Choosing a topic can be a difficult process when starting an assignment or writing a paper, and narrowing your topic is an important step in the research process. Here's one strategy for narrowing a broad topic:
Generate a list of more specific areas of interest (or subtopics) related to your overall topic.
If your topic is education, subtopics include:
If your topic is crime, subtopics include:
If your topic is work, subtopics include:
Think about Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How
Even if your professor assigns you a specific topic to study, you might still have to narrow it down a little. One way to reframe topics is by thinking about who, what, when, where, why, and how. Here are some common ways you can narrow down any research topic:
Tip: Use more than one of these types of frames/questions to make your topic even more specific.
Once you have narrowed your topic, you can work on developing a research question that you want to explore. Try brainstorming questions related to your subtopics to develop your research question.
Generate a list of questions that interest you
Questions related to education and its subtopics:
Questions related to crime and its subtopics:
Questions related to work and its subtopics:
Once you have generated as many research questions as you can for narrowing the topic, choose the option that is most interesting to you and that you think will best fit the length and purpose of your assignment.
Focusing your Research Question
Your project’s focus will be the research question you choose to explore and the conclusions you reach. Begin the research and writing process using the following tips: