Refining a Research Topic

Refining a Research Topic


Many assignments often start with broad topics.

When you look for related information, you will uncover an overwhelming amount of published information and have difficulty writing your paper.

 It is much better to narrow your topic to something more manageable and focused. 

Let's say you are writing on hate crimes.

To narrow, combine the subject with another idea:

Broad Topic   


Combine with or limit by




hate crimes




WHAT: viewpoint, aspect

legal aspects
social implications
psychological impact

WHO: person, group, ethnicity

crimes against Muslims
crimes by neo-Nazis

WHEN: time period

during the 80's
last 6 months

WHERE: place or region


WHY: implications, impact

why people hate
why hate crimes are increasing

 Research Questions

Sentencing should be harsher for crimes based on sexual orientation.

Since 9/11, are Muslims and Arab-Americans targets for hate crimes?



Last modified: 10/6/2010 9:25 AM by M. Potter

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