Skip to Main Content

Research as a Conversation: Choosing a Topic

Writing & Speaking

Writing & Speaking
are like
     out loud!
1. Write out possible Topics.
2. Discuss possible Topics
    with others.
3. Share your gut reactions
    to Topics.
4. Once you decide on a Topic,
    write a description of it.


Choosing a Topic

Decide What Topic
You Want to Discuss
Choosing the right Topic
may be the most important
part of your research.

How to Choose a Topic


Questions for Choosing a Topic

 1. If this is for an assignment, what are the requirements about the topic?
  • Check with your teacher about this.

2. What interests you? What would you like to find out about the topic you are considering? And will it hold your attention over a periods of weeks?

  • Look in a textbook, encyclopedia, or book chapter for ideas.

3. What problem do you want to solve?

4. What do you know about that you would like to learn more about?

5. Can information be gathered and organized in the time allotted?

6. Is there enough information for the topic?

  • Do a quick search in your library to see if there is enough information on your topic.
  • Do you need to broaden the topic? What subject is it listed under?
  • Librarians can help you with this.
7. Is there too much information for the topic?
Be flexible - you can adjust you Topic as you go

Think Hierarchically

Think Hierarchically

You can always narrow or broaden your topic 

          1. Go up the hierarchy to find more specific topics.

          2. Go down the hierarchy to find broader topics.

          3. Go to the right or left on the hierarchy to find related topics.


                                     Burr oak trees in Ohio

       Burr oak trees

                                             Oak trees
      Trees                      Flowers
    Think of a tree                         




Good tools for narrowing a topic

It Takes Time

Allow yourself time
to think of a
good Topic!
You may have to rethink and revise your Topic many times.

You can refine and refocus your Topic as you join in the discussion.
Make sure you pick a topic about which you have enough time to research.