George Mason University

Develop Your Topic

  • Choose a workable topic. This guide from Colorado State on "Choosing Workable Topics" offers strategies for generating topic ideas and for finding topics appropriate to particular types of writing assignments.

  • State your topic as a question. Articulating your research question as specifically as possible can help you identify search keywords. Example: What measures can be taken by educators to prevent violence in elementary schools? For more help writing research questions, see the Writing Center at George Mason University handout on "How To Write a Research Question".

  • Identify the most important concepts in your question. These concepts are likely to lead you to search keywords. Example: violence, grade or elementary school, prevention

  • Narrow or broaden your topic as needed. If your topic is too broad, you may be overwhelmed with information. On the other hand, if your topic is too narrow, you may have trouble finding enough information. There are a number of ways to narrow or broaden a topic, such as these suggestions from Mason Libraries and NC State Libraries.

Need help with your topic? Ask your professor or a Ask a librarian.