Examine Research Topics
1. What is your topic?
Your topic can be words, phrases, ideas, concepts, or questions.
2. Clarity: Are the words in the topic vague or clear? What words would be more clear?
3. General/Specific: Is the topic too general? What words/concepts would be more specific?
4. Broad/Narrow: Is your topic too broad? How can you narrow down your topic so it is more focused?
5. Break down complex topics: If your topic is complex and convoluted, break down the topic into several smaller topic areas.
Explore Contexts and Relationships
1. Are there related topics, concepts, theories, history, movements, authors, and etc. that you need to research?
2. What is the context of your topic: historical, geographical, cultural, socioeconomic, political, psychological, religious, and etc.?
Document the Research Process
1. How would you describe your research or writing process?
2. What did you learn in the research process?
3. What new concepts or ideas did you discover? Add them to your notes.
4. What new questions do you have now? How would you approach them?
For example, you can narrow down your topic when it is too broad or when you find too much information.
You can expand, refine, or revise your search words to make your search more precise. Both are necessary. Research is a fluid, creative and elastic process.
You can use connectors such as AND, OR, NOT, and techniques such as *-- the wildcard or truncation mark, and/or double quotes " " to refine your search.
Try using the techniques above & create search statements that capture your research interests.