How to Narrow Your Research Topic

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Check out this PPT courtesy of the OSU Libraries, Instruction Office on How to Narrow a Research Topic by asking yourself the 5 W's.

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How to Narrow Your Research Topic

  1. 1. How to Narrow a Research Topic
  2. 2. How to Narrow a Research Topic When your research topic is too broad, ask yourself these questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? © 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
  3. 3. 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). © 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
  4. 4. How to Narrow a Research Topic Who? TOPIC: EATING DISORDERS Populations Age NEW TOPIC: Gender Eating disorders in elderly females Race or Ethnicity © 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
  5. 5. How to Narrow a Research Topic What? TOPIC: EATING DISORDERS Types Anorexia NEW TOPIC: Bulimia Anorexia in elderly females Compulsive eating © 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
  6. 6. How to Narrow a Research Topic When? TOPIC: EATING DISORDERS Timeframes Current or historical view Period of life © 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office NEW TOPIC: Bulimia in middleaged females
  7. 7. How to Narrow a Research Topic Where? TOPIC: EATING DISORDERS Places States NEW TOPIC: Regions Anorexia in Australian women Countries © 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
  8. 8. How to Narrow a Research Topic Why? TOPIC: EATING DISORDERS Evaluate Causes Treatments Outcomes © 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office NEW TOPIC: Successful methods for treatment of compulsive eating
  9. 9. 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. © 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office
  10. 10. 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. © 2007, OSU Libraries, Instruction Office

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