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Bibliography Importance of Narrowing the Research Topic Whether you are assigned a general issue to investigate, given a list of problems to study, or you have to identify your own topic to investigate, it is important that the scope of the research problem underpinning your study is not too broad, otherwise, it will be very difficult to adequately address the problem in the space and time allowed.
You could experience a number of problems if your topic is too broad, including: You find too many information sources and, as a consequence, it is difficult to decide what to include or exclude or what are the most important.
You find information that is too general and, as a consequence, it is difficult to develop a clear framework for examining the research problem.
A lack of sufficient parameters that clearly define the research problem makes it difficult to identify and apply the proper methods needed to analyze it. You find information that covers a wide variety of concepts or ideas that can't be integrated into one paper and, as a consequence, you easily trail off into unnecessary tangents.
Lloyd-Walker, Beverly and Derek Walker. Salient Literature and Research Methods. Gower Publishing,pp.
Strategies for Narrowing the Research Topic A common challenge when beginning to write a research paper is determining how to narrow down your topic. A topic is too broad to be manageable when you find that you have too many different, and oftentimes conflicting or only remotely related, ideas about how to investigate the research problem.
Although you will want to start the writing process by considering a variety of different approaches to studying the research problem, you will need to narrow the focus of your investigation at some point early in the writing process.
This way, you don't attempt to do too much in one paper. Here are some strategies to help narrow your topic: Aspect -- choose one lens through which to view the research problem, or look at just one facet of it [e.
Components -- determine if your initial variable or unit of analysis can be broken into smaller parts, which can then be analyzed more precisely [e.
Methodology -- the way in which you gather information can reduce the domain of interpretive analysis needed to address the research problem [e.
Place -- generally, the smaller the geographic unit of analysis, the more narrow the focus [e. Relationship -- ask yourself how do two or more different perspectives or variables relate to one another.
Designing a study around the relationships between specific variables can help constrict the scope of analysis [e.
Time -- the shorter the time period of the study, the more narrow the focus [e. Type -- focus your topic in terms of a specific type or class of people, places, or phenomena [e. Combination -- use two or more of the above strategies to focus your topic very narrowly.
Apply one of the above strategies first in designing your study to determine if that gives you a manageable research problem to investigate.
You will know if the problem is manageable by reviewing the literature on this more specific problem and assessing whether prior research on the narrower topic is sufficient to move forward in your study [i.
Be careful, however, because combining multiple strategies risks creating the opposite problem--your problem becomes too narrowly defined and you can't locate enough research or data to support your study.There are many things you can do now to learn more about yourself and begin planning for your future.
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