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Once you have identified your narrowed topic, you can refine your topic even more by creating a research question.
Maybe you don’t like Shakespeare, but maybe you’re interested in history, violence, and war. So even if you’re not thrilled about writing a research paper in a required course, if you think about your own interests and how they connect to the course, you’ll be able to find a topic.
Shakespeare is full of all of these, including plenty of violence. Don’t forget, you’ll be working with this topic over an extended period of time, so you need to have at least a mild interest in the subject.
How can you include all of these elements in one research paper? The solution is to narrow your topic so that you can write an effective essay in the time and word count allowed.
What do you do if you have a broad idea for a research topic but you’re not sure how to narrow it? Read a few sources to learn some facts and background information about your topic.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you narrowed your media violence topic to violence in children’s television programming.
Google violence in children’s television programming and you’ll get about 56 million results. That’s a few too many results to read, even if you do have three weeks before the assignment is due.
Well, if you are a researcher, then you must know that planning and executing a study is not child’s play.
And the first and most time-consuming step of conducting research is selecting a research topic.
Sure, when you first think of it, violence in the media sounds like the perfect topic, but have you stopped to think about how many pages you could write about the topic?
Violence in the media might include discussions about video game violence, violence on television, violence on children’s programs, or violence in music, just to name a few.