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 reading to learn about the current research being done on your topic and the types of questions that other scholars are asking. This can give you some ideas about possible topics and angles for your research. Reference sources like the ones listed below can help you find an angle on your topic and identify an interesting research question. If you are focusing on a particular academic discipline, you might do background reading in subject-specific encyclopedias.
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:
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.