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Research strategy for informative writing.
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2009 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Selecting a Topic Print Page

Topic Selection

Topic Selection

Topic selection can sometimes be a daunting challenge. This page will help you brainstorm topics for your research. It will help you either broaden or narrow your selection using a concept map.



Map Your Ideas


  • Choose a topic that interests you, something you'd like to know more about.
  • You could start with a very broad topic, for example, civil rights
  • But you would find way too much information on this subject--enough to write several books! The topic is too broad.
  • To develop and narrow your topic begin by "mapping out" your ideas to create a concept map. A concept map is a way to visually convey your topic idea and related concepts.
  • Concept mapping wil help you organize your ideas and further develop your topic.
  • Let's start a map with the above example, civil rights.

Examples of Mapping your Idea to Develop your Topic

Think of some issues related to the general subject of civil rights, for example, that interest you.
These might be:


This is how the concept map would look.


The next step in narrowing your topic would be to use the concept map to focus in on a specific topic. Below is an example of this. You will notice that from the more broad topic of People involved with Civil Rights you can brainstorm the names of several people that could be the topic of your research.

Martin Luther King
Rosa Parks
President Johnson

 Using concept maps can help you narrow a very broad topic to something that is specific and focused. If you find that you can not find enough information after you have narrowed your topic you can use the concept map to broaden your topic back to a point where you have enough information but not a topic that is too broad.


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