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Choosing and Narrowing a Topic to Write About (for Research Papers). Mr. Chu Research Seminar. Research is Never a Waste of Time, But Always Make Good Use of Your Time Research is an act of discovery. Introduction. Choosing a Specific Topic in Three Steps

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choosing a topic

Choosing a Specific Topic in Three Steps

  • Choose any topic or topics in the universe.

Example:something about organic matter

  • Be a little more specific about your topic.

Example: compost and soil

  • Be a lot more specific about your topic

Example: soil nutrients released by organic matter decomposition

Choosing a Topic
choosing a topic1

Repeat these three steps three or more times to give yourself a few examples of topics to choose from.

  • When you have a few examples, choose the topic that you feel meets your course requirements, the needs of your intended (or imagined) audience, and/or has the most relevant source material to support it. .
  • Once you feel terrifically solid about the topic you have chosen, you are ready to Narrow Down Your Topic.
Choosing a Topic
narrowing down your topic

Follow the 3-Steps to help narrow down your topic:

1) Make one or two more words more specific.

In this case, we replaced the words "soil nutrients" with nitrogen and replaced "organic matter" with food waste to make the topic we wish to write about as precise and as specific as possible.

Example:soil nutrientsnitrogen released by organic matterthe decomposition of food waste

2) OK, we've added a few words to make the topic more specific. Now turn the topic into a complete sentence that actually makes a statement.

Example: The forms of nitrogen released by the decomposition of food waste is poorly understood.

3) Make the sentence as precise and arguable as possible.

If you compare the following example with the previous step, you might notice how the context of decomposition moves from just a generalized process of decomposition to a particular process that involves household waste. In addition, this example makes a firm statement that can be argued and supported.

Example: The amount and value of plant-available nitrogen released by decomposition of household food waste is not well understood because most home composters do not have the tools to measure soil nutrients.

Narrowing Down Your Topic
overview 6 steps


STEP 2: Be a little more specific - Video Game and Learning

STEP 3: Be even a little more specific - first person shooter video games and their effect on learning behavior

overview 6 steps1

STEP 4: change any vague words and make them more specific

first person shooter games and their effect on the ability of adolescents to learn how to socialize with their peers

STEP 5: write a complete sentence - The effect of first person shooter games affects the ability of adolescents to learn positive social behaviors.

STEP 6: write a complete (and arguable) sentence

When played in peer groups, first person shoot video games significantly influence the ability of adolescents to develop and enhance positive group social behavior.