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Expert Research Help from IUB Libraries

Topic to Question

Strategies for Narrowing a Topic to a Focused Research Question
Usually researchers start out with a broad topic before narrowing it down and turning it into a question. These strategies can help with that process.

Do some background research. 
This research is to help you create a good research question. You can use databases, such as the ones listed above, or do some simple Google searches to learn the terminology and understand the big picture

Concept Maps
Create a visual map your topic that shows different aspects of the topic. Video on Concept Mapping for a Research Paper.

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?

The Five W's: Who, What, When, Where, and Why
These kinds of questions can help you brainstorm ways to narrow your question and develop a more specific focus for your research.