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Anthropology 696A: Anthropological Research Design

Picking Your Topic is Research

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Choosing and Narrowing a Topic

A topic that is manageable for a research project will not be too broad or too narrow. Manageable topics generally have two to three concepts. Examples of manageable topics include:

  • Do children sent to daycare or preschool start kindergarten with more highly developed language skills?
  • What impact has deregulation had on commercial airline safety?

Topics with one concept are generally too broad.

  • global warming
  • body image
  • food safety

When a topic idea is too broad, common ways to break down an idea include: place, time period, gender, age group, or ethnic group.

Topics with more that three concepts are usually too narrow.

  • What are the 14 different disease-causing genes that were discovered in 2000?
  • Are genetically altered soybeans grown in Iowa safe for human or animal use?

Using less specificity will be necessary when a topic idea is too narrow. 

Check out the Picking Your Topic is Research video on this page for more specifics on selecting a manageable topic.

"Choosing a Topic" information was based on the information in following websites. Suny Empire State CollegeDePaul University Library, and Walden University.

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