Keys to Finding and Narrowing Your Topic

Written By: Kendra Saxton

5% Blog Post

You’re faced once again with the challenging task of figuring out the topic you will use for a research assignment. I’m sure we have all struggled with this at least once in our lives but really, finding a topic is much easier than you could imagine. First and most importantly, try to pick something that interests you! Obviously you won’t want to do research on it if you aren’t passionate or enthusiastic about it and it will definitely show to your reader or listener. When I started looking for a topic, I found it very challenging to engage myself in the topic of information communication technology. But, I began brainstorming a few potential ideas and tried to connect them to technology.

Also, you really want to make sure that the topic you choose is narrowed down and is manageable. For example, the topic of cell phones and communication is too broad. You must narrow it to something more focused such as why people are becoming addicted to cell phones and maybe it’s a psychological issue. I definitely struggled a lot with narrowing my topic. At first I thought just talking about how people can use apps on their phones and not leave their homes was a good topic, but was I ever wrong. I really didn’t understand how to narrow my search until I was told to ask myself these questions: So what? Who cares? Why do we need to know about it? This was when I realized I had to find an angle. I had to find something that went deeper and really answered these questions.

Once I found a narrowed topic, it was so much easier to find sources. Really what you should take away from this is that finding a good topic may seem hard at first, but once you find what interests you and you are able to answer those three questions you will be ok, I promise. Just open up your laptop or a book, brainstorm and just get started. Using resources such as Google Scholar as well as the library databases at York University can really help find ideas for a topic. Even if you roughly know what you want to talk about, type in a few key phrases into these search engines and you never know what might come up!