Research Skills for Developing Writers: Developing a Research Topic

An introductory guide to help multilingual undergraduate writers at the U develop their research skills.

Narrowing your Topic Using a Funnel

Below is an example using a "funnel" to help narrow your ideas into research questions.    

Choosing a Topic

There are many resources available to you to help choose a topic. Check out these resources to give you some ideas:

  • CQ Researcher: This database is available via the Marriott Library website.  Type in a search term for some current research ideas on your topic.
  • "10,000 ideas for term papers, projects, and reports" by Kathryn Lamm:  This book is available in the Marriott Library (call number LB1047.3 .L35 1987).  Talk to a librarian to help you find it.
  • Take a look at news websites to get current event ideas.  For local issues, see the Salt Lake Tribune or KSL.  For national news, go to National Public Radio (NPR), Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), or Voice of America (VOA).  For international news, go to the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) or the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC).
  • Talk to your instructor.
  • Talk to the librarians at the Knowledge Commons desk

Using a Chart to Narrow your Research Topic

Charts are an organized way to brainstorm topic ideas and search terms.  Click the image below and follow the instructions to use a blank chart to develop your own topic.

(1) Used with permission of Austin Community College Library Services.

Next: Keywords vs. Subject Terms

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