How to Narrow Down a Research Topic

Narrow Down a Research TopicNowadays, it is typical to face the situation when students or researchers set off on a particular research topic, just realizing that it is too broad. By the way, lucky people may find out that the chosen topic is too broad before conducting a strong research. On the other hand, they will need to conduct it again, as much of the beginning research would be useless.

Actually, people need to know how to narrow down a research topic and do it at the very beginning of their work. However, there are some useful tactics that can help to examine whether the topic is too broad and how to change it. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of how to narrow down a research topic.

Characteristics of a Broad Topic

Today, choosing too broad topics remains a common problem for students and researchers. By the way, it is easy to determine whether the chosen topic is broad.

Literally, broad topics are characterized as:

  • a requirement of a full section of books;
  • can be summed in one word;
  • hard to come up with a thesis.

Finally, a good topic should address a specific question so that five books would be enough for studying the problem. On the other hand, a proper topic should consist of more than two words. In addition, a specific topic gives an opportunity to come up with a thesis statement without any additional problems.

Tactics of Making the Topic Narrow

There are two main tactics of making the topic narrow:

  • who, what, when, where, why, how;
  • brainstorming.

In particular, the best way of narrowing the topic is to follow the first tactic. It is based on familiar question words. For instance, “Dancing” is a broad topic, but “Contemporary Dancing as Therapy for Students in the USA” is narrower. This specific topic involves answers to questions “What? Where? Who?”. In particular, “as a therapy” is the answer to the question “what?”, “in the USA” – “where?”, and “students” – “who?”. Finally, such process is rather interesting in practice and useful in research. Moreover, this part makes a researcher on one step closer to the successful outcome.

One more narrowing tactic is known as brainstorming of both questions and also terms related to the topic.

This is also a useful way to get a clear focus on the broad topic. In this case, a researcher chooses a broad topic, which consists just of one or two words. Then, it is necessary to make a list of somewhat related to the chosen topic. The next step is to choose a question that will connect two subjects. Actually, a thesis of a research paper will be the answer to that chosen question. For instance, the broad topic is “healthy behavior” so some related areas may be “art” or “juice”. Therefore, the question, which will connect “healthy behavior” with “juice”, may look like: “How healthy is juicing for adults?”. Overall, both tactics can lead to various great research ideas, which did not come to mind before.