The first step in a research project is to select a topic, narrow and then define it. This is an important step to the overall success of your paper. Sometimes this process may mean that you choose from a list of subjects while other times you may have much more freedom to select a topic of your choosing.
Considerations in Choosing a Topic
- Don't choose a topic that is too broad.
- Choose a topic that is of interest to you.
- Choose a topic that will enable you to read and understand the literature.
- Choose a topic that has resources available. Make sure there are enough to write a good paper.
Remember, choose a topic that is interesting as well as relevant to your situation, manageable and researchable.
Defining and Developing Your Topic
It is essential to define your topic for an effective literature review.
How to Limit a Topic
There are several ways to narrow your topic.
- Limit to a particular population or age group. For example, infants, teenagers, college students, or adults.
- Limit to a particular environment such as schools.
- Limit to an ethnic background such as Asian Americans.
- Limit by a particular theory or approach. For example, in Psychology, you might limit to behavior modification.
- Limit to a methodology such as only field experiments, or research studies or naturalistic observations.
Is Your Topic Ready?
Can you state your topic as a question? For example, "What is the effect of television violence on children?" Or write it as a statment in a sentence or two. "Watching television with too much violence can have a negative impact on children."