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Research Basics
Refining Topics

Strategies for Narrowing a Topic to a Focused Research Question

Usually researchers start out with a broad topic before narrowing it down to a question. These strategies can help with that process.

Concept Maps

Create a visual map your topic that shows different aspects of the topic.

Think about questions related to your topic. For example, when researching the local food culture, you might consider:

  • Why do people buy local?
  • What specific food items are people more likely to buy local and why?
  • What are the economic aspects of buying local? Is it cheaper?
  • Do people in all socio-economic strata have access to local food?

Who, What, When, where, and Why (the 5 W’s).
These kinds of questions can help you brainstorm ways you might narrow your question. 


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