research paper guides

How To Narrow A Topic For A Research Paper: General Guidelines


  1. Start by developing an understanding of the subject
  2. Research if necessary.

  3. Divide your subject into categories
  4. Draw a map or flow chart diagram to divide your subject into different categories and major divisions.

  5. Carry out research to find a potential gap
  6. Perform a quick background check or literature review to find the gap or niche you want to target in your research paper.

  7. Brainstorm for topic ideas to address a certain gap or problem
  8. Find a peaceful corner or go to the library to brainstorm topic ideas. Free yourself of all thoughts and stress and only focus on the main topic or gap that you want to answer with your paper. Come up with alternative solutions to have a number of options for your research paper.

  9. Eliminate the topics you do not need
  10. When you brainstorm, you may write down irrelevant or illogical topics in your list as well. You can eliminate such topics to narrow down your research paper options. Also, remember to delete those ideas and topics that appear more than once in your paper.

  11. Develop your major arguments
  12. Do this for top three or four topics and see if you can come up with great ideas for each. You can evaluate your decision based on the strength of these arguments. The topic which has the most valid and strong arguments should be your final choice.

  13. Find relevant supporting evidence
  14. When you develop major arguments, you need to see if there is enough data available to prove these arguments with logic and fact. Choose that topic for which you can find enough relevant and valid data.

  15. Choose the research paper topic that suits you the most
  16. You need to finalize that topic which you are most informed or knowledgeable about. When you write about something that you have passion for, then it is easy for you to continue writing and complete your paper. If you choose a less interesting topic then you will have lower motivation and may even leave the assignment half way through.

  17. Edit and rephrase
  18. After you have the final topic from your top list, then you can move forward with the editing and rephrasing. Make your topic precise and engaging by cutting out irrelevant words or phrases and adding necessary elements to keep it to the point. You can try writing your topic in different sentence structures to make sure it explains your subject the best.