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How to Narrow a Research Topic

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How to Narrow a Research
Topic
How to Narrow a Research Topic
When your research topic is too
broad, ask yourself these questions:
Who?
What?
When?
Where?
Why?
В© 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
How to Narrow a Research Topic
Let’s see how this works with an
example: eating disorders
This topic is too broad (general) to write
about in a short paper. We need to
make it narrower (more specific).
В© 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
How to Narrow a Research Topic
Who?
TOPIC: EATING DISORDERS
Populations
Age
NEW TOPIC:
Gender
Eating disorders
in elderly females
Race or
Ethnicity
В© 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
How to Narrow a Research Topic
What?
TOPIC: EATING DISORDERS
Types
Anorexia
NEW TOPIC:
Bulimia
Anorexia in
elderly females
Compulsive
eating
В© 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
How to Narrow a Research Topic
When?
TOPIC: EATING DISORDERS
Timeframes
Current or
historical
view
Period
of life
В© 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
NEW TOPIC:
Bulimia in middleaged females
How to Narrow a Research Topic
Where?
TOPIC: EATING DISORDERS
Places
States
NEW TOPIC:
Regions
Anorexia in
Australian women
Countries
В© 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
How to Narrow a Research Topic
Why?
TOPIC: EATING DISORDERS
Evaluate
Causes
Treatments
Outcomes
В© 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
NEW TOPIC:
Successful
methods for
treatment of
compulsive eating
How to Narrow a Research Topic
Mix n’ Match
Combine any number of elements that you derive from
asking these questions until you find an interesting topic
to research.
Some examples:
• Causes and treatment of anorexia in college athletes
• Prevalence of bulimia in teen-age males in the United States
• Changes in treatment for compulsive overeaters, 1950-present.
В© 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
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