Skip to Main Content
Library Logo Kalamazoo Valley Home Library Home Library Search

ENG 110 College Writing I

Picking a Topic IS Research

First things first--pick your subject matter and start gathering and reading information. ...Then tweak, focus, or even change your topic as you see fit. Repeat until you have a working paper!

Choosing Your Topic

As you're thinking about your topic, write down some questions. 

  • What is it you want to know about your topic? 
  • What aspects of your topic do you want to address specifically?
  • Do you have a question you want to answer?
  • Do you have a hypothesis you want to prove? 

Example: If you were interested in childhood obesity and technology, one way to articulate a research question would be: How does technology affect childhood obesity? 

Narrowing Your Topic

When narrowing down the topic, you may need to be more specific about aspects of your question. If we wanted to narrow the topic childhood obesity and technology, we may need to specify what we want to examine.  All technology? Or a specific kind such as video games or social media? All children? Or a specific group?

Make sure that your topic fits the length of your paper or project. For example can you write a five page paper on all of climate change? No! It is far too big a topic for five pages. You will need to choose some subtopics within climate change to focus on. 

If you are finding too few results, it may not be the topic. You may need to choose different keywords. Different synonyms, related words, and combinations of keywords will bring different results.