Whether your assignment is for a written paper, a speech, a demonstration or presentation, a film or a digital media production, there is an easy way to find a suitable topic, and to get the information you need. The process outlined in this guide will help you. Follow the tabs on this guide to develop your knowledge and understanding of the issues and problems relevant to your topic, and you will be able to confidently write or speak about it in your final product. Each tab describes a phase in the research process:
BROAD TOPICS are generally phrases that describe a big idea or thing:
RESTRICTED TOPICS may only be one part of the broad topic or they may link two different ideas. In the examples below, “water pollution” is a particular type of pollution; “Nutrition and pregnancy” links the broad topic of nutrition with pregnancy to focus it.
NARROWED TOPICS give your research more focus. In the examples below, “Pollution in San Francisco Bay” is still looking at “water pollution” – but only water pollution in a particular location. “Commercial salmon fishing” is looking at the salmon fishing industry, rather than at sport fishing.
FOCUSED RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
As you do your research, you need to ask very specific, focused questions to find out the information for your paper.
Who = People
What = Facts; causes and effects
When = Time
Where = Place(s) or geographical information
Why = Reasons
How = Methods (How many, How much = Statistics, amounts)
Focused Research Question #1
Focused Research Question #2
|Pollution||water pollution||pollution in San Francisco Bay||What is the most common pollutant in the bay?||Where does the pollution come from?|
|Fishing||salmon fishing||commercial salmon fishing||When can fisherman legally catch wild salmon?||Why don't people only eat farm raised salmon?|
|Nutrition||nutrition and pregnancy||vegetarian diets and pregnancy||How much protein does a pregnant woman need to eat daily?||What foods will provide the most protein in a vegetarian diet?|
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