The first step when planning and writing a research paper is picking a good topic. A good topic is relevant to the assignment and has enough information available for you to use and is neither too broad nor too narrow. This section will help you pick a subject that interests you, and refine that subject to a specific topic.
Use your background information to think of appropriate search terms. Brainstorm every possible search term for your topic.Try to think of synonyms and related words for each keyword to help broaden or narrow your search.
Look at your topic. For example: ‘Are Canadian youth politically engaged?’ The keywords in this topic would be Canadian, youth, and political engagement.
These keywords can become:
My research question was ‘Can alternative energy sources help stop global warming?’
For this question, the keywords would be alternative energy sources, and global warming. So, some search terms could be:
Write a research report on a topic of your choice
My broad topic for the assignment is ‘Global Warming’.
Narrowing your subject to a more specific topic takes a bit of research and thought.
Here are some ideas to help you narrow your topic:
Use these questions:
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The subject we chose in the earlier step is ‘global warming.’ This subject is a very broad topic with many different aspects you could research. We will use the techniques above to narrow our subject to a research topic.
Sample research question: Can alternative energy sources help stop global warming?