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Composition I Research Guide for ENGL 101: Developing a Topic

Spring 2019

Hints on Developing a Topic

Developing a topic may be the hardest stage of research. This page gives tips on how to go about finding and focusing a topic, as well as important resources for background information. Properly exploring a topic by finding out the consensus on what is known or believed about it as well as gaps in our knowledge and unresolved questions is the purpose of background research. Don't skip this step as it will help you to focus your topic on a compelling and researchable question.

Choosing a Topic

Where do you go when you don't know what you are searching for? The resources listed below are great places to begin research on current issues.


Issues and Topics Databases

Online Reference

Focus on a Research Question

Research is not the mere compilation of information about a topic, but an inquiry that seeks answers to a specific question. To achieve a viable topic, focus on a single, specific research question. Sometimes a research question is stated in the form of a thesis statement or hypothesis. A research question focuses on just one aspect of a topic, and a topic is only part of a broader subject area. It is good to keep these levels in mind when looking for various kinds of information.

From Topic to Research Question

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