Sometimes instructors will assign a specific topic, but usually they will ask you to select a topic that interests you. When you choose your own topic, you will need to:
Selecting a good topic is not easy. It must be narrow and focused enough to be interesting yet broad enough to find adequate information. Before you select your topic, make sure you know what your final research project should look like. Each instructor or class will have somewhat different requirements and purposes for research.
Use the steps below to help you carefully define and select your research topic.
There are several different approaches to organizing your research topic prior to searching for a literature review, but the most popular by far is the development of a set of essential keywords.
Keywords are short words and phrases that, when combined, describe more complex ideas and topics. For instance, the following keywords might be used to describe general research on the various effects of climate change of South American rainforests:
Begin by creating a list of 3-5 "core" keywords based on the major concepts behind your research topic. Once you have generated this initial list extend it by including:
Below is a textual map that will help to organize the keywords relative to your research topic.