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.
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:
Who, What, When, Where, and Why (the 5 W’s), and How
These kinds of questions can help you brainstorm ways you might narrow your question.
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 and reference sources, such as those in Oxford Handbooks Online and Gale Virtual Reference Library.
Sources for background reading: