How to narrow down your research topic? and why it is important?
The formulation of a research topic is the most important part of your research. While we are formulating our research topic we need to narrow it down so that it is focused and manageable. Throughout the process of formulation of research topic we have to dissect it and select a part of it. We keep dissecting our topic until we reach to the final topic.
How to narrow down your research topic?
To narrow down your research topic you can use any of the various methods but the simplest method can be as follows
- To narrow down your research topic first write down your research subject area and then the research topic that you have decided.
- Your next task should be to brainstorm the different aspects or dimensions of your research topic. From these topics select one dimension that best suits your research.
- Now you are in a position to rephrase your research topic. Read out your new research topic again and again to look for any chances of narrowing down again. Narrow it until you get satisfied with the width and depth of your research topic.
- Now decide whether you want to make it a comparative study, a correlational study, a descriptive or historical study. You need to rephrase your topic again. The phrasing of the research topic should be such that it can explain what type of study you are going to undertake.
- In the end check your topic for any loopholes, if there are any fix them now. Check the phrasing, the spelling, the use of language, the objectives it conveys to the readers and to you.
- One thing you should keep in mind research is a task of responsibility and from the start do not take anything for granted and be very clear about your research topic. If you find that the research topic is not one that is manageable or focused you can change it as it will help you later in your research.
Why narrow down your research topic?
Research is a task that requires time, patience, skill and expertise in a particular subject area. When you start a research you think about the time and other resources available to you. You will need these resources during your research. Every researcher narrows the research topic in order to make it workable, manageable, justifiable, and focused. Be it a research topic for high school research paper, thesis, dissertation or any other research the topic should have a focus and direction that can pave the path to success. Your time is money in the case of research and you have to develop a topic that can make better use of it.
Sometimes student think that their research topic is already a focused one but in reality it is not. Ask your research advisor to critically evaluate your research topic. Make sure that your research topic brings focus and direction to your research.
Generally, you need to narrow down your research topic for the following reasons.
- Broad topics cannot be justified in a limited time and you cannot develop a focal point. Your thoughts and actions wander from one point to another.
- Broad topics require more time, money and energy to accomplish the research. As a student you have limited time and your first priority should be to fulfill the task on time.
- When the topic is broad there are many dimensions and you cannot control these dimensions. Due to many dimensions the chances of bias increase. The chances of error increase as you cannot focus properly.
- The evaluation of data also becomes difficult and you cannot make appropriate conclusions. The readers also get confused what are the main focus of your study.
- You cannot generate in depth knowledge because you have to focus on many subject areas in one research. Generally, big studies require several researchers working as a team.
- Broad topics yield lengthy research and oftentimes one gets bored and loses interest. You are not able to fulfill the requirement of maximum words as it requires lengthy explanations.
- K. Ranjit. Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners, 3rd Ed. Sage Pub. 2011.