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How to...Find a Topic

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How to Turn a Common Topic Into a Focused Research Question

Think of ways to narrow overly broad topics to more interesting research questions by identifying specific angles or aspects, such as in the examples below. Ask open ended questions (how/why) instead of questions with just a yes/no answer.

Overly Broad or Overdone Topics

Different Aspects to Explore

More Focused Research Questions



How does immigration impact employment opportunities for documented citizens?

  Political What responsibility do nations have in providing asylum to refugees?
  Global Compared to the US, how are other countries addressing immigration and how effective are these measures?
Legalizing Marijuana Economic How have the economies of states that have legalized marijuana been impacted?
  Social/Legal How has the legalization of marijuana affected incarceration rates and recidivism?  
  Global How does legalizing marijuana in parts of the US impact the international drug trade?
Minimum Wage Economic How does raising the minimum wage impact prices for consumers, and does this hurt or help the economy?
  Political Should there be a federal minimum wage, or should it be determined at state and local levels and why?
  Social What impact does raising the minimum wage have on the value of a college degree or professional credentials?