Define & Refine Your Topic

Have you been given complete freedom to choose your topic from any area of interest, or is your topic assigned by your instructor and/or dictated by the subject you are studying in class? Either way, you might feel overwhelmed, especially if you jump straight into researching your topic before you define and refine your topic. You'll find it easier and more interesting to conduct research on a topic when you can ask a question whose answer solves a problem your audience cares about. Framing your topic as a problem you plan to solve will focus your research – saving you from searching for and collecting irrelevant information – and help ensure your final product captures your audience’s attention. The following sections will help you select a topic, form a question about that topic, and identify a rationale for answering that question.

Choosing a Topic

Forming a Question & Rationale

 

Continue to step two, Determine Information Needs

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