Once you have a general topic for your research, essay, or project, the next step is to develop the question you are going to ask (and answer).

But first, make sure you review the assignment instructions so that you know what is being asked of you. Look for key points that will help you choose an appropriate topic.

Then you may want to brainstorm. What are the different aspects of your topic and how do they connect to each other? A great way to do this is to draw a concept map!


Once you have your concept map, you can start to develop some questions. What are you most interested in? You will be spending a lot of time reading about this so you might as well be interested in it! Do you want to investigate the who, the why, the what, the where or the how? Try to choose a topic that is not too broad (to avoid having too many resources to sift through) or too narrow (to avoid not having enough resources to complete the requirements of your assignment).

You may find that you need to do some preliminary research before you can develop your question. That’s OK! Doing some general reading on the topic will help you learn about it, and decide what you want to write about.

Check out our blog posting on improving your topic!