Narrowing A Research Paper Topic: General Advice

General research paper topics are hard to deal with. These kinds of topics are discouraged because at the end of the write up, you find that there was no particular question answered. This deviates from the purpose of a paper, which is to provide an answer to a specific problem. Even answering many questions at the end of the day is not desirable for a paper.

A narrow topic is easier to deal with because you avoid going through many research papers and theories to write it. This needs more time. It is just good for you to have a narrow topic because there is not much time to do this. Even if you managed to do it, it is a tiring job. This is one thing that can make you hate writing papers in college.

Narrowing the topic let's you see that there aren't many things to deal with - not many theories, not many research questions, not many objectives - and thus it makes the work look easier from the word go.

In addition, a writing process is always time-bound: and running around to write about every theory and model is the best way of missing the deadline. Narrowing down a topic is the best way of saving time for other things in college - for instance doing other assignments and even going out to play with friends.

With a wide topic, it is hard to stay organized as you try to put all information within the set paper length. Many supervisors just hate it when you exceed the length limit with several words. Therefore, writing everything to cover a wide topic isn't the solution.

But how can you select a narrow topic? Here's how:

  1. Start with a specific chapter in the course of study.
  2. Ask if there is a research question you would like to answer by writing a paper on the chapter selected. Generating a question is the best way of staying focused in your writing.
  3. Look out for issues that make great debates in the public arena within the area of study. An example is political debates about various policies. In most cases, these debates can be summarized in one single sentence by identifying the main or outstanding issues/arguments - you could also use keyword strategy by asking what the keyword is in a debate.

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