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Author: Coleen Martin

How To Select a Research Topic

Posted in research

Teamwork Clipart Liberalism – Research Topic

Hey Matadors! It’s the time of year you may be assigned a research paper or presentation. So let’s talk about how you can easily choose a topic. The great thing about choosing your own topic for an assignment is that you can choose something that interests you. However, it sometimes can be a challenge to come up with a topic that is manageable for the length of your specific paper or project.

When deciding upon a particular topic consider that manageable topics are not going to be too broad or too narrow. Manageable topics generally have two to three concepts. Examples of manageable topics include:

  • Do children sent to preschool start kindergarten with more highly developed language skills?
  • What impact has deregulation had on commercial airline safety?

On the other hand, topics with one concept are generally too broad. Examples of topics that are too broad are:

  • global warming
  • body image
  • food safety

When a topic idea is too broad, common ways to break down the idea include: place, time period, gender, age group, or ethnic group. A more manageable topic associated with the broad topic of global warming could be: Does global warming impact the drought in California?

Then there are instances when topics can be too narrow. Topics with more than three concepts are usually too narrow. Examples of these could be:

  • What are the 14 different disease-causing genes that were discovered in 2010?
  • Are genetically altered soybeans grown in Iowa safe for human or animal use?

In these instances, using less specificity will be necessary in order to develop a more manageable research topic. Choosing a topic can take some time. Browsing topics in the databases Opposing Viewpoints in Context and CQ Researcher also may be useful in helping you decide on a manageable topic. For additional information about developing and choosing a research topic please see our Research Strategies pages.