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Lisa Cheby

What IS a Good Topic?

The Power of Three for Topic Development

To avoid a topic that is too narrow or  too broad, try the three-pronged approach to a topic.

For instance, the topic of "achievement gaps" can be narrowed by limiting the scope of the topic based one or more of the following:

  • Subject--math, reading, music 
  • Grade/age level: primary/secondary/upper level/community college
  • Geographic area: state, country
  • Time Period: last decade, last two decades

Build & Breakdown the Question

From these areas of interest start to build a question or theory that will start your research question.

  • Does self-selected reading in middle school help close achievement gaps in literacy in Title I schools in California?  

Next work backwards from your question to make sure you have about 2-3 main concepts, which is a number that leads to a workable research project.

  • Concept 1: self-selected reading
  • Concept 2: academic achievement -- literacy
  • Concept 3: middles  schools -- Title I -- California


The above guidelines are based on information from Walden University Library. A brief exercise in choosing the best research question is available from SUNY Empire State College. 

Picking Your Topic Is Research

This video is published under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license. (License, credits, and contact information)

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