Focusing to Narrow Research Paper Topic

Most of the times you need to focus to narrow a research paper topic. It is very rare that you find the specific topic that you want to research without any focus and thought. Finding the specific research paper topic is crucial to the success of your research paper. You have a limited time, and other human and nonhuman resources, you have to limit your topic so that you can work on it easily.  There are certain ways in which you can focus on your topic and bring out the specific research paper topic that you should work. A specific research paper topic is one that has been narrowed down so that it is workable within the limitations that you have.

How to focus on narrow research paper topic


Freewriting is one method to narrow research paper topic and bring out the final topic. All you need to do is to just sit down and think about the research paper topic and write down whatever comes to your mind. Do not fear at this stage about any thought to being too vague or simple just write down whatever comes to your mind. You will be able to focus on all the points that you have written and it will give you direction on the final topic. This step helps you bring out all the options that you have in your mind on the paper so you are opening your mind in other words.


Brainstorming is the most common method students use to bring out new ideas about the topic. Write down the topic and under the topic write down all the keywords that come to your mind do it as quickly as possible so you have no distractions. These keywords or phrases can later be analyzed to reach the final topic.



Clustering is a little-organized activity. the student needs to cluster around one main idea all the sub-ideas or subheadings. These subheadings will help the researcher later decide what should be the specific topic of his/her research. Clustering helps a student a lot in narrowing down the topic because each subheading is more specific than the one before. It is a good activity to narrow a difficult topic and you can pair it up with brainstorming as well.

The five Ws

The five Ws are what, where, who, when, why, these five Ws help a studenty make better choices in the selection of a research topic. These five Ws help a student understand the reason behind selecting any topic and it also helps the student in deciding whether a topic is worth studying within the given time period or not.

  • Who is the person, group or organization that you want to study? Is it an individual that you want to study or is it a group, is it a living or a nonliving organism that you want to study. Who is an important question to ask because it helps you understand the main target group or target situation of your study?

  • By what we mean to say that what is the purpose of the study, what goals do you want to achieve and what is the timeframe of the study etc. There are many “what” questions that you need to ask yourself. What are your resources, what are your limitations and what are your requirements for this project?

  • Where can you find the information about your topic? Where can you find the target audience? and where can you apply the results of your study?

  • When do you have to complete your study? When do you have to submit it and when will you be able to collect information about your study?

  • Why do you want to study a particular topic? Why is this topic important to you? `

After asking all these questions you can decide on the final topic for your research paper.


  • Roth, A. J., The Research Paper: Process, Form, and Content, 8th Ed.,  Wadsworth Pub Co., 1999, Pp-44-49



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