North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries, 3:10
Narrow Your Topic or Research Question
It's very common to select a topic or formulate a question that starts out too broad.
Question 1: What do the arts mean? (broad)
When the scope of your topic is too big, it's hard to dig through the huge volume of information available to find something relevant. It's also hard to write a paper or give a presentation of with any depth.
Most scholarly research examines fairly narrow topics and looks at relationships between concepts. For example, the arts is a pretty broad topic, but looking at the relationship between the arts and religion might be a more manageable topic.
There are many ways to narrow a topic that is too broad by asking one or more W questions. Let's use art as an example:
Use how, what, or where (two or three) to develop a research question on the topic of the arts:
Question 2: What makes painting such a powerful medium for spiritual expression? (narrowed)