Formulating a Search Topic
Once you have determined the information you need to fill the information gap, formulating an appropriate search topic is the next vital step. How do you whittle down all the information available and develop an appropriate search topic? A well-formulated search topic takes into consideration:
- The assignment. Are you writing a research paper? A thesis? A book? Making a presentation? The assignment will determine the scope and depth of your research.
- The type of sources needed. If your topic is too broad, like "Religion in America" you will require wide coverage and numerous sources. A narrow search topic, such as the History of St. Matthews Baptist Church, may present a challenge in finding the limited sources available to investigate your subject.
- Deadlines. You must factor in whether or not you have adequate time to do the research required to produce good results.
Take a look at the following graphic. It demonstrates topics ranging from very broad to very narrow. Then answer the questions below.
Whenever you have the freedom to select your topic for research, choose something that interests you. A topic that sparks your curiosity will transform the assignment from a chore to a satisfying adventure of discovery and it will be reflected in the quality of your work and presentation.