Choosing a Topic
Sometimes your professor will give you a specific topic or a list of possible topics to choose from. In those cases, it is important that you follow the instructions and stay on the assigned topic. If you have a different idea that is related or similar to the assigned topic, check with your professor first.
If it is up to you to choose a topic, here are some things to consider when brainstorming a topic:
Remember, your topic can be a bit broader for a long paper or overview but should be more specific for a shorter paper or an in-depth analysis.
Creating an appropriately focused topic is a learning process, but here are some signs you’ve got it:
Your topic may be too broad if:
How to narrow your topic
Your topic may be too narrow if:
If your topic is too narrow, you may have to remove limiters on time, place, population, etc.
Here are some examples of ways to broaden a research topic:
Original question: What was the ecological impact of the 2019 California Wildfires?
You might not be able to find anything specifically about the 2019 Wildfires. Instead, try:
Original question: How does the parenting style of the Navajo impact childhood obesity rates?
Here you may have to decide what part of the question you’re really interested in. Are you interested in parenting styles in general, or specifically the parenting styles of the Navajo? Are you interested in childhood obesity in general, or specifically how family relationships influence obesity? Try some of these more general questions: